Why Is My Bearded Dragon Not Moving? (Full Beginner’s Guide)

Bearded dragons are pretty active reptiles. Whether in captivity or in their wild environment, these lizards spend most of their time moving up and down, digging, exploring the tank, climbing, basking, and other active activities. It is a vital point of concern for a beardie owner if you notice that the beardie is not moving.

There are several reasons why a beardie might not move. Knowing the possible reason why your pet is not active will help you understand the immediate action to take. In addition, this knowledge plays a significant role in ensuring that your pet experiences an excellent quality of life.

Lethargy Vs. Laziness: Is My Bearded Dragon Lazy Or Lethargic?

A lazy bearded dragon will remain sluggish for a few hours or days and then get right back into being fully active. It will start exploring the tank again, climbing, digging, and moving around like before. It is not uncommon for a lizard to do so. Like us human beings, lizards also need to rest after days of being active.

On the other hand, a lethargic bearded dragon will stay in the same place for a long time, going into weeks sometimes. It also exhibits signs of being unresponsive, inability to move, and general body weakness. While you shouldn’t worry about a lazy dragon, lethargy in bearded dragons could indicate major underlying problems.

Let’s look at possible reasons why your bearded dragon is not moving.

8 Reasons Why A Bearded Dragon Is Not Moving

If you have noticed that your beardie is not moving or is unwilling or unable to move, you need to closely monitor the beardie for a couple of days. In case it is increasingly becoming lethargic, you should immediately contact an exotic vet. During this time, you should also take note of any other signs the beardie exhibits

Here are the main reasons why your beardie might be inactive.

1. Impaction

Impaction occurs when items such as food are unable to pass the reptile’s intestinal tract and leads to blockage. It can be really uncomfortable for the bearded dragon in a way that it prevents it from moving.

Other signs of impaction include changes in the consistency and color of feces. The feces might become fewer and grainy or disappear entirely. In addition, the bearded dragon will stop eating altogether, which is unlike cases where the beardie has lost appetite.

Common causes of impaction in bearded dragons include having the wrong choice of a substrate in the tank or digging box.

Non-particle substrates are more recommended for baby and juvenile bearded dragons. It is so because there’s a higher chance of impaction if a young beardie accidentally eats particle substrates such as sand.

Gently touching the beardie’s stomach can help detect impaction. If you establish that the beardie is suffering from impaction, do not give it any more food and instead take it to a vet immediately.

The vet might have to perform an x-ray on the pet to confirm that the underlying problem is impaction. Even though it might clear up on its own, taking the beardie to a vet will help establish the extent of the impaction and best remedies for the same.

2. Brumation

During winter, most bearded dragons go through a period of brumation. It is a period of dormancy that helps them save energy and often starts when daytimes begin to shorten and temperatures start to drop.

In the wild, brumation helps beardies save energy and enhances their chances of successful breeding and survival during this extreme weather.

Due to its benefits, brumation is encouraged for pet beardies in captivity, too, even though most do not brumate because their habitat’s temperature and lighting duration often remain consistent even during winter.

Preparing to go into brumation is one of the reasons why your bearded dragon might not be moving. Other indicators that your bearded dragon is about to brumate include losing appetite and digging into the substrate. The process slows down the reptile’s metabolism.

If you confirm that your bearded dragon is about to brumate, encourage it to do so. Lower the cage temperatures, and reduce the lighting hours in the tank to between 8 and 10 hours daily.

3. Parasites

Parasitic infection can make a bearded dragon sluggish. Parasites can drain your pet’s energy, making it less active. Some of the most rampant parasites in bearded dragons include trematodes, protozoans, and nematodes.

These infestations are common if you often feed your beardie with wild-caught insects and worms. In addition, it might also occur if you have a wild-caught beardie.

Captive bearded dragons might get parasites from contact with other animals or from prey. Few parasites will not hinder the beardie’s quality of life to the extent that it can’t move.

Severe internal and external parasitic infections can make them lethargic. Other major signs of parasitic infection in bearded dragons are discolored and runny poop.

In addition, the beardie will also exhibit symptoms of lack of appetite and weight loss.

4. Injury

Bearded dragons are active reptiles, and they move a lot. It is no wonder that fights and falls are common injuries with the lizards. In cases of extreme injuries such as internal bleeding and fractures, the pain might stop your bearded dragon from moving.

Unfortunately, animals have no means of direct communication like humans; they show signs of pain by being less active or not moving at all. If your bearded dragon becomes lethargic suddenly, you should physically examine it for any injuries or swelling.

Other signs of injuries in bearded dragons include loss of appetite, bleeding in the mouth, lower body paralysis, abdominal bloating, loss of appetite, and fast breathing.

5. Paralysis

Another reason why your bearded dragon might not be moving includes paralysis. Lizards might become paralytic due to prolonged impaction, improper temperatures, or having a poor diet. Sadly, paralysis might lead to the death of your beardie.

Other signs of paralysis in bearded dragons include trembling limbs, dragging limbs, and challenges in pooping. The best and immediate solution is to contact a vet for treatment.

6. Metabolic Bone Disease

It is an illness in reptiles that results from nutrients deficiency, especially Calcium, Vitamin D3, or when the animal does not get ideal exposure to UVB lighting. The metabolic bone disease often affects the limbs and joints, making it difficult for the animal to lift itself and move.

A bearded dragon suffering from metabolic bone disease will also have symptoms of muscles twitching, lower jaw and hind limbs swelling, seizures, and trembling when moving.

7. Low Temperatures

Having low temperatures in the tank can severely affect the beardie’s movement. Exposure to such will make the reptile less active, and the beardie might spend its days asleep due to feeling weak. Very low temperatures can lead to death if prolonged.

When the tank is cold, your pet might show symptoms of indigestion, failure to poop, not waking up, and indigestion.

8. The Bearded Dragon Is Dead or Dying

It might be sad, but one of the other reasons why your bearded dragon is not moving might be that it is dead or dying. It is the most likely reason for the inactiveness if you have ruled out all the other reasons above.

The average lifespan of a bearded dragon is between 10 and 15 years. If your beardie is within this range and suddenly not moving after being fit and healthy, it might be in its last moments of life.

Besides old age, other causes of death in bearded dragons include stress, organ failure, impaction, prolonged metabolic bone disease, poisoning, low temperatures, and egg binding.

Other signs of a dying bearded dragon include inactiveness, loss of appetite, droopy eyes, sunken eyes, grey or dull skin, and shallow breathing.

Image of bearded dragon

Bearded Dragon Won’t Move? Follow These 4 Steps

If your bearded dragon is not moving, then your first instinct might be to encourage it to do so. A lazy beardie will start moving around or become active if you poke it or offer it food. However, a lethargic beardie might not respond actively.

Here are effective measures to help and encourage your bearded dragon to start moving.

1. Provide A Proper Diet

Illnesses such as metabolic bone disease arise due to a lack of proper diet. Bearded dragons need enough calcium in their diet in addition to minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and manganese. It is also vital to ensure that the calcium to phosphorus ratio does not fall below a ratio of 2:1.

Another vital part of giving your bearded dragon a proper diet is knowing that baby, and juvenile beardies feed on 80% meat and 20% plants, while mature ones feed on 50% meat and 50% plants.

2. Change the Substrate

A loose substrate increases the chances of impaction compared to non-particle substrates. If you confirm that your bearded dragon is not moving due to blockage in the intestinal tract, then the best solution is to change the substrate to non-particle ones.

Some of the best non-particle substrates for a bearded dragon include newspaper, reptile carpets, rubber kitchen rolls, ceramic tiles, or slates.

3. Administer Anti-parasitic Medication

An expert will perform various tests to confirm that the reason your pet is not moving is a parasitic infection. Once done, the vet will recommend ideal anti-parasitic medication to help deal with the challenge.

Even after your pet improves, ensure to administer the recommended medication in full.

You may also put in place preventive measures by taking a new beardie to the pet for examination first. It helps detect parasites and other potential challenges earlier, preventing future problems.

Further, you should not feed your pet beardie with wild-caught insects and worms.

4. Provide Suitable Temperature

Low temperatures make your bearded dragon lethargic, and therefore, you should ensure that the bearded tank has appropriate temperatures at the basking and cooler part of the tank.

In general, basking temperatures in the tank should remain between 100 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. As for nighttime, the temperatures should range between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Having a digital thermometer in the tank will make it easy for you to monitor these temperatures.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Awake but Not Moving?

There are many reasons a bearded dragon could be awake and not moving. Besides being lazy, the beardie could be brumating, suffering from impaction, metabolic bone disease, or parasitic infection. Other reasons include having very low tank temperatures, paralysis, or injuries.

If you try to encourage the beardie to move, but it remains inactive, you should immediately contact an exotic vet.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Stay Still?

Bearded dragons go through a state of brumation in winter. It is a state of inactiveness but not to the extent of hibernation. Brumation among bearded dragons is more common with wild reptiles than with captive ones.

A bearded dragon that remains still could be brumating. Even when lighting hours and the temperature remains consistent in captivity, a beardie’s biological clock might make it brumate when winter approaches. Brumation is the most common reason beardies remain still in winter.

During other seasons, a beardie might remain still out of laziness, rest, or lethargy.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Not Responding? 

If the bearded dragon is breathing but not responding, it might be brumating. However, if it is not breathing and its body is still, the beardie might be dead.

In addition, the beardie will remain unresponsive even when you turn it on its back, lose its normal color and turn dull in case of death.

a picture of a bearded dragon lizard


A bearded dragon that is not moving can cause panic in the pet owner. However, you should not panic and instead observe the pet for other signs of abnormal behavior; after all, the reptile might just be acting lazy.

When you rule out laziness and brumation, but the beardie is still not moving, immediately contact the vet. The underlying problem could be metabolic bone diease, low tank temperatures, paralysis or even injuries.

A professional will help detect why your pet beardie is inactive. In addition, they will guide you on appropriate curative measures to make your pet active again and future preventive measures.

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