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Why Did My Bearded Dragon Throw Up?

A question many bearded dragon owners have asked themselves at one time or another is “Why did my bearded dragon throw up?” There are several reasons why your bearded dragon may throw up. Some reasons include overfeeding, gastrointestinal disturbance or issues, dehydration, bad food, and impaction.

It is also a good idea to take note of other complications that come with vomiting. For instance, is the beadier throwing up blood? This should provide more information on the condition of the lizard. If your beardie is sick, it is advisable to see a herp vet to get your pet checked out.

Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Is Vomiting and What You Can Do to Address the Issue

Here are some reasons why your pet is throwing up followed by the solutions to the issues.

Intestinal Impaction

One trouble that pet reptiles including bearded dragons face is impaction. This occurs when the reptile ingests too much substrate. The ingested substrate tends to block the passageway of food in the intestine. Impaction may seem like a minor inconvenience but when left untreated, the reptile can die.

A common substrate that causes impaction is sand. Impaction only becomes a problem when the reptile chooses to deliberately ingest the substrate. When too much substrate is invested, it leads to impaction. In the wild, reptiles feed on mineral-rich substrates in order to obtain needed minerals such as calcium. This behavior is known as geophagy. However, too much substrate ingestion can lead to death in wild beardies. Captive beardies are also at risk of impaction.

Other symptoms of impaction include – lethargy, inability to walk properly, the dragging of the back limbs, balk limb trembles, inability to excrete or difficulty when excreting, and a visible slight bump of the spinal area. If your beardie is throwing up (or regurgitating) along with any of the symptoms listed, you may want to see the vet as soon as possible.


Giving the reptile a way to bathe and massage its underside is one way to help it relieve itself. Since impaction is fatal, I advise that you see a herp vet.


One of the main reasons why beardies throw up is due to a lack of water and/or low humidity levels. Bearded dragons do not usually drink a lot of water and can survive with minimal water in the wild. However, in captivity, there is no reason to deny them water. Always have a bowl of water within the enclosure. The bowl should be large enough for the reptile to lie in.

You should also consider installing a dropper. This should enclose the reptile to drink more. One to try is the Neptonion Reptile Drinking Fountain.

To ensure that the beardie is well-hydrated, mist the enclosure regularly and give the pet warm baths.

In addition to a bowl of water, you need to find ways to introduce a lot of moisture to the reptile’s diet. One way to do this is by offering foods with high water content.

If you don’t see your dragon drinking water, do not worry. The beardie isn’t known to be a heavy drinker. You may never even see your dragon ever drinking water. However, as far as the dragon is hydrated, that should be okay.

Hydrated beardies have supple skins that bounce back when pinched. A dehydrated dragon’s skin does not bounce back when pinched.

Dehydration occurs when the beardie doesn’t have enough water or humidity. Bearded dragons do not like to drink from water bowls. Instead, they get their water from the food they eat. They also enjoy licking up small water droplets.

Some symptoms of dehydration include lethargy, vomiting, nausea, constipation, sunken eyes, loss of skin elasticity, and loss of skin to name a few.



You must always have a bowl of water within the enclosure. The bowl should be large enough for the reptile to lie in. Mist the enclosure regularly. Offer foods with high water content.

As mentioned earlier, dragons do not like to drink water directly from water bowls. The only way to hydrate a dehydrated dragon is to give it some water by inserting a force syringe filled with water directly into its mouth. The syringe shouldn’t be inserted too far into the mouth so as to prevent aspiration of the fluids.

Offer about just 50 ml for large adults. Smaller beardies require a few millimeters.

The fluids should contain electrolytes that have no sugar.

Also, you can bathe the reptile. That should get some moisture into the skin. The bath should be slightly warm. Supervise the beardie at all times. The water level shouldn’t pass the shoulders. You do not want to risk drowning. Splash some water on the face. This can help the beardie to drink.

Mist the enclosure. Beardies enjoy licking water droplets off surfaces. Mist the walls, the plants, and other objects within the enclosure. You can also mist the head of the dragon. It may lick the water that runs down the head.

You should only attempt home treatment if symptoms are mild. An example of symptoms being severe is if the reptile is unable to move.

Ingesting Bad Food/Plants

Another reason a bearded dragon may throw up is due to ingesting something that isn’t good for it. Most of the time the lizard ingests an unsafe plant. This can be a plant within the enclosure or outside of the enclosure.

Ensure that all the plants within the enclosure are safe. Some unsafe plants include iris, daffodils, elderberry, and hydrangea to name a few.  Before you put any plant within the enclosure ensure that it is safe for the reptile. Some safe plants include wandering jew,  bromeliad, fern, marantaceae such as herringbone plant,  ficus, rattlesnake plant, inch plant, mosaic plant, echeveria, peperomia, basil, snake plant, and pilea to name a few.

It isn’t just the plants that can be a threat, even the chemical treatment of the plants can be an issue. Chemicals such as pesticides can be bad for beardies. These chemicals may have been used to treat the plant. This also refers to plant-based food offered to the reptile.

Pesticides aren’t the only chemicals to be wary of. Fungicides and chemical fertilizers can also be harmful to the reptile’s system.

Beardies may also throw up food that they normally eat especially if they overeat or have difficulty digesting it.


Ensure that the plants within the enclosure are safe for consumption. Additionally, avoid offering foods that have been treated with harmful chemicals such as pesticides. Lastly, avoid overfeeding the reptile.

Coccidiosis (Parasitic Infection)

Coccidiosis is caused by a microscopic single-cell organism known as coccidia. The Coccidia protozoa that generally affect bearded dragons is Isospora amphiboluri.

The oocysts (eggs) of coccidia are found within the intestines which the animal later passes when it defecates. The eggs can survive on the ground/substrate for a very long time. So although the excrement may have been cleaned up, the eggs may remain. Another bearded dragon becomes affected when the eggs are ingested.

Symptoms of coccidiosis include throwing up after eating, refusal to eat, passing watery stools that may contain blood (diarrhea), and poor growth.

Not all affected beardies show symptoms of bad health. These individuals are carriers and can still spread the disease. Other individuals will show the symptoms. Individuals that generally show symptoms also suffer from other common diseases such as metabolic bone disease and viral infections. Individuals are also more likely to show symptoms if husbandry conditions are poor.

Other common parasites of the bearded dragon include motile protozoa and pinworms.


If your lizard is throwing up and shows other symptoms such as the ones listed, it is best to visit the vet. Coccidiosis is diagnosable by examining fecal smears of affected individuals.

If diagnosed with coccidiosis, the beardie is treated with sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim or toltrazuril.

Also, clean and disinfect the enclosure so as to destroy all remaining eggs. The vet may also have to treat any other health issues that come with coccidiosis such as viral infections.

Gastrointestinal Disturbances

Gastrointestinal issues such as gastrointestinal ulcers and parasitism generally cause throwing up and anemia. Another gastrointestinal issue known as Neuroendocrine gastric carcinoma also causes vomiting, anemia, weight loss, general weakness, and hyperglycemia.


Gastrointestinal issues are best treated by a herp vet.



Another issue that bearded dragons face that may cause them to throw up is overfeeding. This happens when you offer them too much to eat in a single go. The reptile may throw up the extra food.

Other signs of overfeeding include a bloated tummy, general weakness, refusal to eat, and inability to move.

If you continue to offer the dragon too much to eat, it will end up being overweight which comes with its own set of problems.


If you are wondering how much to feed your beardie, well here are some general directions. Feed the reptile within 10 minutes. Offer about 10 insects to juveniles. Juveniles are more carnivorous and their diet should consist of about 30 percent plant-based material and 70 percent animal-based material.

Offer dragons that are above 6 months more plants. Feed them within 10 minutes as well.


There isn’t much you can do here. Ensure that the reptile is well hydrated and do not feed it any more food. During its next feeding, do not overfeed it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did my lizard throw up?

There are several reasons that your lizard may throw up. Some of these reasons include ingestion of bad food, dehydration, parasitic infection, gastrointestinal issues, and intestinal impaction.

Why is my bearded dragon throwing up and not eating?

Usually throwing up is followed by a refusal to eat. If your beardie is throwing up and refusing to eat then you may have fed it too much.

Impaction can also cause the dragon to throw up and refuse to eat. This occurs when the reptile ingests too much substrate. The ingested substrate tends to block the passageway of food in the intestine.

Another reason why your pet dragon may be throwing up and refusing to eat is that it is suffering from a parasitic infection. Parasitic infections can be caused by coccidia, pinworms, and motile protozoa.

Can lizards vomit?

Yes, lizards can and do vomit. The reason for vomiting is down to several things. The lizard may be ill or it may have ingested something which isn’t right for it. Regardless of the reason why the lizard vomits, it is necessary to determine the cause and seek the necessary treatment.

Why is my bearded dragon throwing up blood?

If your dragon is throwing up blood is most likely down to a parasitic infection that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Some of these parasites include coccidia, pinworms, and motile protozoa. Treatment of parasites is best left to the herp vets. Pay a visit to your local herp or exotic veterinarian, if your beardie is throwing up blood.

What are the signs of a sick bearded dragon?

The signs that the bearded dragon shows when sick depend on the disease. Some common signs that a bearded dragon is unwell include lethargy, depression, and lack of appetite (anorexia).

Below are some symptoms of common diseases that affect bearded dragons. 
Symptoms of parasitic infections include smelly feces, weight loss, and diarrhea. 
Symptoms of the metabolic bone disease include leg tremors, softening of facial and jaw bones, swellings of hind limbs, and lower jaws.

Symptoms of atadenovirus infection include lethargy, lack of appetite, and paralysis. 
Symptoms of CANV (Chrysosporium anamorph of Nannizziopsis vriesii) include yellow plaques on the legs, sides, back, and face, weight loss, and lethargy.


Throwing up is usually a sign of bad health. There are many reasons why the lizard might throw up. The best way to know why your beardie throws up is to be observant of the other symptoms as well.

Apart from throwing up, symptoms could include lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea, blood in stool, sunken face, loose skin, and watery stools.

Reasons why a bearded dragon may throw up include parasitic infection, intestinal impaction, dehydration, ingestion of bad food, and overfeeding.

Other symptoms that accompany impaction include lethargy, inability to walk properly, dragging of the back limbs, trembling back limb, inability to excrete or difficulty when excreting, and a visible slight bump of the spinal area.

Other symptoms that accompany the ingestion of parasitic infections include blood in throw-up, refusal to eat, passing watery stools that may contain blood (diarrhea), and poor growth.

These are a few examples to highlight the importance of being observant of other symptoms.

If you have any worries, it is best to contact your nearest herp or exotic veterinarian.

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