Although you may enjoy spending time with your beardie each day, there may be times when you will have them alone. Besides, we all have our commitments and responsibilities in life. But how long can you leave a bearded dragon alone safely? And should you leave them alone, or is it better to have someone come to look after them each day? Here’s everything you’ll want to know.
So, how long can you leave a bearded dragon alone? It is generally possible to leave a bearded dragon alone for one to two days, as long as you have given them everything they need (such as appropriate food, Water, timed lighting, etc.) and that they are in a quiet and safe place. However, more than three days without human care is too long, and you could end up with problems.
If you plan to step away, then you need to prepare for it.
And that means being very mindful and cognizant of the needs of your particular lizard.
Otherwise, it may not be such a happy return.
The good news is, if you are only planning a short day-out and do intend on returning home the same day, it is generally possible.
But let us now look at other contexts when you can look to do so and how to ensure their needs are met if and when you leave them alone.
- 1 When Can You Leave Your Bearded Dragon Alone?
- 2 Do Bearded Dragons Like to Be Alone?
- 3 How Do I Leave My Bearded Dragon Alone?
- 4 Best Practices When Leaving Your Bearded Dragon Alone
- 5 What To Do When You Return
- 6 Finally
When Can You Leave Your Bearded Dragon Alone?
You can leave your bearded dragon alone when they are of sufficient age, you have done everything to make sure they will be safe and healthy, and you intend on returning within two days, at most.
Beardies are hardy creatures, and yes, they can survive for days on their own, but that doesn’t mean they will continue to thrive.
There’s quite a difference between what you can do with your beardie and what you should do.
Humans can live for weeks with no other human contact, but that doesn’t mean we like it!
Some irresponsible beardie parents leave their dragons for as long as two weeks without care.
A beardie may survive, but would you want to live in a week’s worth of your own feces with no food and no one there in case of an emergency?
Of course not.
A pet surviving (i.e., not dying) is not the same as a pet thriving.
Our responsibility is to look after our pets and consider them as other living beings who need care and attention: even if they don’t show it in ways that we can see.
You can leave your bearded dragon alone when you know that you are able to follow a few simple, practical guidelines, which we will outline below.
Do Bearded Dragons Like to Be Alone?
Bearded dragons are indifferent to being alone; they are solitary creatures, by nature, after all.
The truth is, this is not about ensuring your bearded dragon doesn’t get lonely.
Instead, it’s about ensuring needs are met.
But just because bearded dragons can survive for days without human contact doesn’t mean it is best.
Yes, some people have left their bearded dragons alone for as long as two weeks.
Some of those same people have also lost their young adult beardies when doing so and have wondered why!
A bearded dragon will find a long-term lack of food and care extremely stressful.
Even though your beardie might seem okay after a long absence, they have no way of telling you how they are feeling.
And there is no way to know what the long-term effect that stress has had on them.
Stress has definite impacts on our physical and mental health, and animals – including reptiles – are no different.
How Do I Leave My Bearded Dragon Alone?
The best way to leave your bearded dragon alone is with proper care and with the right provisions.
In a perfect world, we would all have access to friendly neighbors, family members, or boarding facilities who would be happy to look after and take care of our reptiles.
However, given that most people won’t have these options, here’s how you do it if you have to leave your beardie alone for a short period.
Leave Them With A Clean Home
Give their tank a good cleaning before you go. Clear out any old feces, shed skin, old food, and other debris.
Clean their food dish and water bowl, too. They’ll need nice, clean receptacles for the food and water that you’ll leave them while you’re gone.
And whatever you do, don’t put their tank by a window! Direct sunlight is not needed for your beardie while you’re gone.
What your friend most needs is as little change as possible, so keep the same lighting and leave the tank in its usual place.
Put the Lighting On A Timer
Timed artificial lighting that is on for 12 hours and then off for 12 hours on a regular basis is the best kind of lighting for your bearded dragon.
In fact, if you haven’t been doing this already, start now and keep it up even when you’re home.
Your beardie will get confused and even stressed if the lights never go on and off at the same time every day.
You can get a travel timer that will do this job for you.
Put the UV light as well as the basking lamp on this 12-hour cycle. Your beardie will appreciate it!
Check Your Heating Settings
In this day and age of smart thermostats that register when you’re home with geofencing, you want to make sure that your device doesn’t switch the heating off when you’re not at home, but your beardie is!
You can set your ‘away’ temperature to 65 degrees or get a ceramic heater that switches on for the 12 hours that your basking light goes off.
Your home’s temperature must never drop below 65 degrees, or your beardie could die.
Don’t Forget Water
It’s a good idea to bathe your beardie once a week anyway, so give them a bath before you go.
Baths are essential for hydration. Leave them a bowl of water, even if you think they won’t drink. They will!
Best Practices When Leaving Your Bearded Dragon Alone
There are some essential factors to consider for best practices when leaving your bearded dragon alone.
Consider Their Age
If you have a baby bearded dragon (less than six months old), you don’t really want to leave them alone, not even overnight.
Baby bearded dragons are fragile, and they need loving care and time spent with you several times a day to make sure they grow up to be healthy adults.
Once your baby becomes a juvenile – so 6 to 12 months old – you can leave them overnight or for one day at a push.
But please don’t leave your young beardie for longer than 24 hours – young bearded dragons need a lot of nourishment at this age.
Their rapidly growing bodies require the right food every day. Even skipping one meal could cause health problems.
When your juvenile becomes an adult, their metabolism will slow down.
They will no longer need quite as much food as often as they did when they were growing.
In the wild, when they can’t find food, adult beardies can regularly go without food for a few days.
An adult bearded dragon can therefore be safely left alone for up to three days maximum.
Leave The Right Kind Of Food
You can even give them two meals that day.
On the day you leave, give them worms as another batch of feeders.
You can leave worms in the enclosure without problems, unlike crickets, which should never be left with your beardie.
Crickets can bite your bearded friend and can cause pain and infection, and roaches can hide. Worms are the best food to leave in the tank when you’re not there to supervise.
Leave your beardie some fresh greens at the last minute, misting them so that they stay fresh in the heat for as long as possible.
Collard greens, dandelion greens/flowers, mustard greens and turnip greens are excellent choices.
Some people are tempted to leave freeze-dried crickets or mealworms, which might seem like a good idea, but is actually potentially dangerous for your pet.
Freeze-dried insects, if you think about it, are very dry.
They’re practically purely undigestible fiber (exoskeleton).
Therefore, your beardie will not be getting very much nutrition, and they may end up with an impacted digestive tract.
Consider Getting A Webcam
These days it’s easy to set up a webcam in your home.
A webcam can give you peace of mind while you’re away, as well as amusement – you’ll be surprised at what your beardie gets up to!
This best-seller on Amazon can even dispense treats!
What To Do When You Return
It’s important to know what to do when you get back.
Feed Your Bearded Dragon ASAP
Your beardie will be hungry, so give them a nice salad as soon as possible.
Salad will be easier on their stomachs than insects, and your beardie will want to gorge: let them have a medium-sized meal first.
Once they’ve eaten some salad, give them some feeder insects – but not too many. Give them just enough for a healthy, average meal.
If you return in the morning, you can give them two medium-sized meals that day, which they probably will be more than happy to enjoy.
Hydrate Them Quickly
Give your beardie a nice soak in a warm bath so that they can rehydrate. They will love it, and it’s very good for them!
Spend Time With Them
Your beardie is used to your presence, so they will have missed you!
Pop them on your shoulder or lap, stroke them under the chin and on their head.
Hold them gently – they have formed a bond with you, even though they don’t say it!
Leaving bearded dragons alone is possible, but you do need to be proactive in how you approach it.
You need to ensure they have access to all that they need, their habitat is optimal, and there is nothing in their environment that exposes them to risk.
Therefore, the more you can plan and prepare for your departure, the greater it should all be for your bearded dragon.
Within reason, of course.
Leaving your beardie alone is something that should only be done for a minimal period of time, in one stretch.
But so long as you are routinely returning home or getting a family member or friend to check up on them and provide care, you should be able to safely step away here and there.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.