Your bearded dragon’s poop can really tell you a lot about how they are feeling, so seeing an insect’s leg or wing in its poop is normal. This is because bearded dragons can gobble their food down. What’s not normal is seeing whole undigested insects and food in their poop. If you see this, you may panic and wonder what to do.
There are multiple reasons for undigested food in your bearded dragon’s poop. These include eating too fast, overfeeding, infections, and incorrect temperatures. Another reason is that the insect is too large for them to digest properly.
Knowing why your bearded dragon is not digesting their food is the first step to preventing it. Read on to learn what’s causing undigested food in their poop and how you can solve it.
What Are The Causes of Undigested Food in Your Bearded Dragon’s Poop?
Every beardie owner can tell you that bearded dragons like to gobble down their food as if they haven’t been fed in ages, and this is normal.
Often you may see an insect leg or wing in their poop or small pieces of whatever plant you fed them. However, seeing whole undigested insects and other food can be a sign that something is not right.
It usually just requires a simple fix of tweaking temperatures or feeding them smaller insects.
Here are some possible causes of undigested food in your beardies’ poop.
New bearded dragon owners often make the mistake of overfeeding their beardies because they think that fast eating is a sign that their beardie is hungry.
The only time you should feed your beardie multiple times per day is if they are a baby, which is around 3-5 times per day. Adult bearded dragons must only be fed five times per week.
When you are feeding your beardie, you must not leave the food in their tank all day. This is what encourages overeating.
As mentioned previously, bearded dragons love their food and can scoff it down when given a chance.
A good way of preventing overfeeding is to leave the insects in the tank for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, you need to remove any insects that are left over.
You can do the same for plants and vegetables, except you can increase this time to around 25-30 minutes.
Overfeeding can cause other health problems like impaction and weight gain. Crickets, in particular, have a very high-fat content, so you should avoid feeding your beardie too many of them.
Learn more about feeding your bearded dragon in this helpful guide.
They Have an Infection
If you notice that, along with the undigested food, your bearded dragon’s poop is runny and stinks badly, this is a sign that your beardie may suffer from an infection.
Poop that is runny is a sign that your beardie has parasites, and one possible way they became infected was from the food that they ate.
Insects are a carrier of parasites, and when consumed, these parasites can be passed onto your bearded dragon.
Make sure that you are getting your bearded dragons good quality insects and that you are storing them in hygienic conditions.
Remember never to feed your bearded dragon dead crickets, as they are a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites.
If you suspect your bearded dragon has parasites, you need to seek medical attention.
They Are Exposed to Incorrect Temperatures
Your bearded dragon’s tank temperature and UV light assist with digestion, so when these two are not set correctly, this can cause problems with digestion.
UV lighting is used to help your bearded dragon absorb calcium efficiently, and if this isn’t set up correctly or a poor quality light is used, this can cause undigested food to appear in their poop.
Bearded dragons that are exposed to temperatures that are too low will also suffer from food being undigested. Make sure that the basking area has temperatures of 108-113°F (42-45°C).
Keeping to a regular light cycle is helpful. During the day, the lights should be on, and during the night, they should be off for at least 8 hours.
Doing this will promote a calm and healthy environment so that your bearded dragon is not stressed or immunocompromised. A stressful environment does not promote a healthy metabolism.
Their Food is Too Large
Feeding your bearded dragon food that is just too large will cause them to poop out undigested food.
This is because the insect’s exoskeleton is too large for them to digest properly. Insect exoskeletons are made up of very strong calcium bonds. This makes it quite complex for the bearded dragon’s gut to break down.
Many first-time bearded dragon owners make the mistake of feeding them large insects regularly and wonder why they’re coming out whole.
You should avoid feeding them the larger insects as too many of them can cause painful problems like impaction.
A helpful method to check if the insect is too big for your beardie is to make sure that the insect is not larger than the space between the bearded dragon’s eyes.
They Are Eating Too Fast
This reason is a bit controversial, but it seems that many beardie owners have observed that their bearded dragons do not digest their food properly if they eat too fast and swallow the insects as a whole without chewing.
The reason why this is controversial is that reptiles are supposed to just swallow their food. Chewing in reptiles is more like gripping the food. So we assume that this also might have something to do with overfeeding.
To prevent this from happening, try feeding your beardie in increments of 10 minutes. This will force them to slow down.
For example, many owners have noticed that their beardies don’t digest Phoenix worms because they practically inhale them. This is likely because they enjoy eating them.
Instead of placing several in front of your beardie, try feeding them one or two at a time to encourage chewing.
Finding small bits of insects and food in your bearded dragon’s poop is normal, but not when there are regularly whole undigested insects.
To prevent undigested food in their poop, ensure they are not overeating, not too cold, not eating too fast, or eating too big insects.
If none of these suggestions are working or they are displaying signs of infection, you need to take your bearded dragon to the vet.
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