Do you know the scene in Meet Joe Black when Brad Pitt walks across the street and gets hit by a car out of nowhere? Man this was a shock.
I think this kind of shock describes the feeling best when you come home from work and you want to say hi to your pet and you immediately realise that something is wrong with your friend.
Sunken eyes in a bearded dragon are relatively easy to detect, but if you are not prepared for this you get worried really badly. So if you just checked your bearded dragon and you want to know what is wrong with your dragon and what you can do right now, you came to the right place!
I want to help you, so let´s get right into things.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
While I always say that I think that it is great if people do their research before doing anything else, I don´t think that it is wise to just guess what your bearded dragon might have.
If you are registered in some kind of reptile forums, I am very sure you have seen a couple of threads where people ask stuff about their sick bearded dragons.
This can end badly really quickly. So I just want to say that, if you are still not sure what your bearded dragon might have after reading this article, just visit a vet.
Further, if your bearded dragon shows more symptoms for a disease then just sunken eyes, you shouldn´t lose any more time.
Visiting a vet and spending the money is always better than losing your reptile and feeling guilty for not going to the vet, trust me.
DEHYDRATION – THE NUMBER ONE REASON
The number one reason for sunken eyes in bearded dragons is dehydration. It is a fact that bearded dragons do not need a lot of water.
They mostly get all the water they need from food. Especially if you get your bearded dragon to eat greens you should not have any problems with dehydration. (In fact you should worry more about diarrhea then.)
However a common problem is that people offer water in food bowls to their bearded dragons. You know, in the wild bearded dragons only drink water that is moving.
For example, in the wild they drink pearls of dew dropping from a flower in the morning. Bearded dragons can not see that a wet spot in a food bowl is water they can drink.
Some of you might disagree with me now and you might say that your bearded dragon drinks from your food bowl. Well, I am sure this is true.
Bearded dragons are pretty intelligent reptiles. Your dragon probably learned that there is water in the bowl and he only shows learned behavior.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
Check if it could be that your bearded dragon really is dehydrated. Ask yourself when was the last time you see your beardie drink?
When did you offer food the last time? If there are no other symptoms then sunken eyes and wrinkly skin chances are that your bearded dragon really is just hydrated.
If that is the case the solution is easy. Simply offer your bearded dragon a bath – but not a bubble bath, please, lol. While bathing, your bearded dragon will drink a lot of water and this will last for a while, trust me.
Here is a fact: If your bearded dragon´s feces do not include a white part, your bearded dragon is probably dehydrated.
YOU GOT THE WRONG TANK SETUP
Did you know that most people get a tank setup that is completely wrong or simply not sufficient for their bearded dragons? Remember, bearded dragons come from an area that comes close to a desert.
It is really dry, there is a lot of sun which means a lot of heat and they hunt or fight off other bearded dragons in their territory the whole day.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
So just getting a glass tank, throwing some newspaper in it and adding some light isn´t the right thing here. No matter what you heard or what you saw, your dragon needs a huge tank with a setup that is close to their natural habitat.
Otherwise your bearded dragon will quickly show some symptoms that are way worse than sunken eyes. Act now if you are unsure about your setup!
Let me help you: Here is my tank setup guide! If you need help with your substrate, have a look at this substrate article. If you need help with your lighting, have a look at my lighting guide!
I know it is hard but sunken eyes in a bearded dragon could be a sign for a very bad disease. In fact it could be anything. If you do not have proper lighting it could be the start of metabolic bone disease.
If you do not have the correct substrate it could even be impaction. Often times bearded dragons have a huge belly then. It could also be an eye infection.
Your bearded dragon could also be infested with parasites. Did you know that some parasites can even infest the eyes of your dragon? I so hate parasites and now I hate them even more. Urgh!
So if there are more symptoms then just sunken eyes, it really is time to go to the vet. I can not emphasize this enough. If you really want to make sure that your bearded dragon is okay, turn off the computer, grab your bearded dragon and run to the vet.
Do you want to help other people by telling your story? Share your “sunken eyes in bearded dragon” story in the comment section below.
I need help, PLEASE.
I am trying not to be too alarmed, but my beardie Narcissa (2 months old at the most I found out today), had her regular bowel movement today but there was no urate. It also was not the dark brown that it normally is. Yesterday she couldn’t get that many crickets (only 5 or so) but I made sure to spray her often as she does NOT like a bath right now and also made sure to offer her greens (even though I know she mostly wants crickets right now). Is this ok? Do beardies sometimes not have a urate with their bowel movement or do I need to think about taking her to a vet soon?
She still seems fine….. Alert posture, does her curious head tilts when she hears things and she even follows my hand movements when she sees me talk (I do hand movements a lot though when she sees me talk, they are relaxed movements). I am just wanting to ask these questions to get a good answer and opinion, I guess?
I am waiting for my UV light still, I have her basking side to about 100 or such and her cool side mid 80s. It just worried me to come home from buying her more food and seeing no urate and a solid yet a bit slimy and slightly lighter/maybe even greener bowel movement with no urate.
I just noticed that you left a comment here. I already sent you an email on your questions. To sum it up – your bearded dragon seems to be fine.
And: Bathing isn´t necessary anyway and most people do it way too often. Spraying is totally fine.
All the best,