No matter the species, throwing up or vomiting is almost always indicative of an underlying health problem or concern, either major or minor. And a bearded dragon throwing up is surely no exception.
Bearded dragon vomit. If your bearded dragon is vomiting or throwing up, you will want to act fast to determine the reason(s) why as this is surely not healthy or normal behavior. Now, before you go into panic mode, you need to understand that just because your bearded dragon is throwing up doesn’t mean they’re necessarily ill or in poor health.
The following information will address issues regarding bearded dragon vomit:
- the temperature inside the tank may be too low
- the humidity inside the tank is extremely high
- you overfed your bearded dragon
- the cricket and other insects are too big for your dragon
- your dragon is impacted
- inadequate hygiene inside bearded dragon’s cage
- your dragon drank too much water
Unfortunately, if your bearded dragon is vomiting, you may have to do a little bit of detective work to find out the reason or reasons why.
Your bearded dragon could possibly throw up crickets, worms, superworms, or clear fluid (water). Thus, each of these might have its own reasons.
Therefore, take a look at the possible explanations below and see if any of them seem to be for your bearded dragon.
The Temperature Inside the Tank is Extremely Low
One of the most common mistakes that owners make is setting up optimal temperatures for a bearded dragon. If the temperature in the dragon’s vivarium is too low, it won’t be able to digest the food.
Hence, this can lead to digestive issues and throwing up big pieces of undigested food. What is more, you must be certain that there is a temperature gradient in the habitat, which means that there should be a hot and cool spot in the habitat. Also, when your bearded dragon gets hot, it will go to the cool spot or hide in a hideout (you need at least 1 hideout per bearded dragon).
Particularly, hot spot temperatures under the basking and UVB light should range between 92-110 degrees Fahrenheit (33-43 Celsius). And the cool side of the habitat should have the temperature of 75-85 F (23.8-29), so that your bearded dragon can cool down.
Generally, the best way to check the temperatures in the tank is to have two digital thermometers, one on a hot side, and one on a cool side.
Likewise, you can use an infrared gun thermometer to check temperatures quickly and easily.
The Humidity in the Tank Is Extremely High
Bearded dragons mostly inhabit in sandy deserts and rocky hills, which means that they need hot and dry conditions. Thus, if the humidity in the tank gets too high, your bearded dragon will develop respiratory issues.
Likewise, high humidity will cause fungus, mold and bacteria growth and generally weaken your bearded dragon’s immune system. Therefore, make sure to have a hygrometer that will have humidity readings inside the tank.
Then attach it to the back wall of the vivarium. Ideal humidity levels for a bearded dragon are between 30 to 40%. Anything above 50% is extremely high. If in any case, you are having issues with lowering the humidity, try placing plants that reduce humidity levels indoors, such as Boston Fern. Then make sure there is a proper airflow, only use screen lid made of wire mesh.
Furthermore, you can start putting the water dish only for few hours a day instead of leaving it in the tank during the day. Ideal high temperatures in the basking spot (95-110 F) will help to dry up the habitat. However, if nothing helps to reduce humidity, you can use a dehumidifier for your house.
Overfeeding Your Bearded Dragon
Your dragon is likely to throw up if you feed it too much food at once. Some bearded dragons, especially babies, like to eat more than they need to in one go. Adult dragons that were fine before and have a healthy weight often have their eating habits formed by adulthood. Bearded dragon babies up to 4 months old ought to eat like 2-3 times a day.
Juvenile bearded dragons (4-7 months old) need to eat twice a day. Adult bearded dragons (18 months+) need to eat once a day and insects only 2 times a week. Thus, make sure to have a salad bowl in the tank at all times so that your dragon can familiarize with greens, too.
Generally, you need to give your dragon as many insects as it can eat in a 10-15 minute period. If you suspect that your bearded dragon is overeating few times already, then reduce a feeding session to 10 minutes.
Depending on the age and size of crickets, your baby bearded dragon can eat 50+ crickets a day if you feed it 2-3 times daily. However, if you feed much less and it doesn’t eat more, but still looks full, then maybe it can’t digest the crickets due to lack of heat and light.
Don’t decrease the number of crickets unless your baby or juvenile bearded dragon is eating too many – more than 110-120 small ones per day. Therefore, the number of larger insects should be much lower. Nevertheless, this is only an estimate, and there are many factors that will affect this number.
The Crickets and Other Insects Are Extremely Big for Your Bearded Dragon
When feeding your dragon, you must make sure that the crickets and other insects are of appropriate size. This is especially true for baby and juvenile bearded dragons, as they are still very small.
Likewise, if you give crickets or other insects that are too big, your bearded dragon won’t be able to digest them. It can also lead to paralysis and death!
Thus, make sure that the crickets or other insects are not bigger than the space between your bearded dragon’s eyes. Also, hatchling bearded dragons can eat pinhead sized crickets until up 1 month of age.
After that, you can then move to 1/8, 1/4 sized insects for next few months and so on. Remember to measure the space between bearded dragon’s eyes every 2 weeks as they grow. And change the feeder insect sizes very carefully.
Your Dragon is Impacted
If you are using loose substrate in your dragon’s tank, it can swallow it and become impacted. Loose substrates include:
- small gravel
- cork and
- coco coir (you must not use it for bearded dragons).
Likewise, your bearded dragon might become impacted if you let it roam the house and have small objects on the floor. Another possible cause of impaction is feeding insects that are too large for your bearded dragon.
Measure the width between the eyes and don’t feed baby bearded dragons any superworms or mealworms.
Bearded dragons are very curious, and they can lick and then swallow any objects they find. Therefore, substrate ingestion happens when you don’t place bearded dragon’s food in bowls.
Baby dragons under 6 months are very likely to ingest the substrate because they are very curious. That’s why you need to keep baby bearded dragons on paper towels.
Symptoms of impaction among bearded dragons include:
- constipation and
- full belly.
Your dragon won’t be able to pass the mass, and will have trouble pooping. Its belly will look full and round. Your bearded dragon might vomit and its back legs might become paralyzed.
If you suspect the impaction in your bearded dragon, give it a bath and massage its belly with your fingers sliding towards its vent. As massaging and warm bath ideally help with impaction. You can also give your dragon a few drops of vegetable oil. Switch to paper towels until everything is completely clear.
You Don’t Clean Bearded Dragon’s Cage Well Enough
An immaculate hygiene in a dragon’s tank is crucial. You must replace the water in the tank daily, or as soon as you see it’s dirty. Also, remove any feces as soon as you see them (scoop or change towels, wash the carpet).
Further, every week, you need to clean the glass, wash food and water bowls with soap and clean under the substrate.
If you don’t clean the cage regularly, your bearded dragon might become sick and may go the length of developing internal parasites. Consequently, this will affect the appetite, digestion and overall health.
Thus, if you suspect parasitic infection in your bearded dragon, take its poop to the vet. With some certain parasites, you might be able to see them in the poop.
Thus, keep your dragon on paper towels until everything is completely clear. Likewise, make sure you practice good sanitation. That is, wash your hands after touching your dragon or its cage and don’t eat or drink around the tank. Don’t wash your bearded dragon’s accessories in the kitchen sink and don’t use personal towels for bathing a dragon.
You Give Your Bearded Dragon Drank Too Much Water
Most bearded dragons don’t drink much water, but get it from baths and from the food they eat. Nevertheless, you still need to have some water in tank for at least few hours a day. But sometimes, after drinking water, your dragon might vomit some of it. A clear slimy vomit with mucous might be a regurgitated water from your bearded dragon’s stomach.