What Are Bearded Dragon Fat Pads? (2023)

There are many physical signs to look for to tell if your bearded dragon is within a healthy weight. One telltale sign of an underweight or overweight lizard is sunken in or protruding fat pads. But what are fat pads, and what purposes do they serve?

Fat pads are small pockets of fat behind a bearded dragon’s eye sockets. Fat pads are essential fat stores on your dragon’s body, and on a healthy lizard, the pads should be slightly plump, rounded, and full yet not bulbous or sunken into the skull. To learn more about this unique way your dragon stores fat in its body, keep reading.

We’ll cover what you should do if your lizard’s fat pads are too full or sunken in and why having these pockets of fat is so essential to their health. dragons need their fat stores to help them survive periods of fasting or periods of low food availability. If your dragon becomes sick and stops eating, the stored energy in their fat reserves can help keep them alive until they recover and start eating again. In the wild, dragons may experience times when there is a shortage of food due to drought conditions. If a wild dragon has enough stored energy in its fat reserves, it can make it through these tough times until conditions improve and food becomes more available again.

In addition to providing energy during periods of fasting or low food availability, the fats stored in a dragon’s fat reserves are also used to help keep them warm. Dragons are ectothermic animals, meaning they rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. When the ambient temperature drops, a dragon will use its stored body heat to help keep itself warm. The energy from the stored fats is used by the lizard to help maintain its core body temperature so it doesn’t get too cold and risk becoming sluggish or immobile.

As you can see, having some padding in the form of fatty deposits behind a bearded dragon’s eye sockets is essential for their health and well-being. Now that you know how important these little lumps of fat are, you can be sure to keep an eye on your own pet lizard’s fat pads to ensure they stay plump and healthy.

What Are Bearded Dragon Fat Pads?



  • What Are Bearded Dragon Fat Pads?
  • What Should Healthy Fat Pads Look Like?
  • Other Essential Fat Stores
  • Is Your Bearded Dragon Overweight?
  • Is Your Bearded Dragon Underweight?
  • How Much Should A Bearded Dragon Weigh?

On your bearded dragon’s skull just behind their eyes are two small, squishy pockets, or pads, of fat–hence the name, “fat pads.” While these lizards store fat throughout their entire bodies, one look at these small pockets of fat is a great way to tell if your dragon is within a healthy weight, underweight, or even overweight. Your bearded dragon stores fat in several key areas, including the belly, tail, chin, and the fat pads behind their eyes.

Although too much fat in these areas is undoubtedly problematic, too little fat is just as dangerous. Both you and your lizard need a small amount of fat throughout your bodies to promote cell growth, give you both the energy required to move and digest food and protect your vital organs. So if you’re concerned about your bearded dragon’s weight, take a look at their fat pads. If they’re looking a little too chubby, it might be time to cut back on the mealworms.

What Are Bearded Dragon Fat Pads? (1)

Or, if they look a bit too skinny, you might want to add a few more crickets to their diet. Either way, maintaining a healthy weight is important for both you and your pet lizard.

See also: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Mustard Greens?

As any self-respecting reptile knows, fat is essential for regulating body temperature. Since they are cold-blooded, reptiles depend on their external environment – in your beardie’s case, a heat lamp – to stay warm and maintain a healthy body temperature. Fat pads and other crucial fat stores throughout the body help trap and distribute the heat these desert animals need to survive. So if you’re looking to keep your beardie healthy and happy, make sure to give them plenty of opportunities to bask in the sun – or under their heat lamp – and pack on those vital extra pounds.

What Should Healthy Fat Pads Look Like?

I know what you’re thinking, “How can I tell if my dragon’s fat pads are healthy?” Well, I’m here to help! First, you should know that healthy fat pads should be very slightly plump and squishy. They should never be sunken into the lizard’s triangle-shaped skull. If your dragon’s fat pads are sunken in, it could be a sign of malnourishment.

(Video) How to Tell if Your Bearded Dragon is OBESE (and Fixing It!)

On the other hand, if they are protruding, it could be a sign of obesity. However, generally a visual assessment is enough to determine if your dragon’s fat pads are healthy or not. Just be sure not to press into or poke them, as they are very sensitive. And that’s all you need to know about dragons and their fat pads!

As a pet owner, it is essential to regularly check your dragon’s body for signs of obesity or sudden weight loss. Weighing your dragon weekly will also help you to ensure they are within a healthy weight range. Observing your lizard’s fat pads will undoubtedly help you get a better idea of their physical health, but it isn’t the only indicator you should pay attention to. You should also pay attention to their energy levels and overall activity level.

If you notice your dragon becoming less active or appearing lethargic, this could be a sign that they are carrying around too much weight. Dragons are naturally active creatures, so any sudden change in their activity level could be cause for concern. If you are at all concerned about your dragon’s health, be sure to take them to see a vet.

Other Essential Fat Stores

As we briefly touched on earlier, the fat pads behind your beardie’s ears are not the only places they store fat on their bodies. Your lizard needs a small amount of fat throughout its entire body, including at the tail base, on its belly, and under its chin. Even the limbs, which are ideally lean and muscular, should house a small amount of fat.

After all, fat is necessary for muscle growth and function, so even the healthiest and strongest dragons are not simply pure muscle. Weighing your beardie often will give you an overall idea of what weight range they are in and if they need to gain or lose weight over time, but just looking at their body every day also helps! There are many visual indicators of overweight or underweight beardie aside from the condition of their fat pads.

What Are Bearded Dragon Fat Pads? (3)
(Video) Ideal Bearded Dragon

For example, an obese beardie may have a “double chin” due to excess fat deposits under the jawline. Additionally, you may be able to see their backbone and individual ribs more easily than usual if they are too thin. Of course, these are just general guidelines – every lizard is different and you know your pet best! If you have any concerns about your bearded dragon’s weight, consult with a reptile veterinarian for guidance.

See also: Why Is My Bearded Dragon So Small And Not Growing?

Is Your Bearded Dragon Overweight?

The dragon is overweight and obese. It has excess fat throughout its body, including on the wings where it often stores extra calories as well!

What Are Bearded Dragon Fat Pads? (4)

Some things to look for when visually examining your pet include:

  • A protruding belly. Your dragon’s belly should not drag along the ground as they walk.
  • Fat chest pads are commonly referred to as “beardie boobies.” You should be able to slightly feel your dragon’s ribs if you touch the chest and belly area but not see them from a distance.
  • A large, thick tail base. In severe cases of obesity, fat will be stored in the tail, which will become lumpy and heavy.
  • Excess chin/beard fat. Your lizard’s beard should be full but not have a double or triple chin appearance with saggy layers of fat.

Is Your Bearded Dragon Underweight?

Like overweight beardies, underweight lizards will also display many physical symptoms and potential health concerns. Be sure to take your pet’s weight into account when choosing what food it should eat!

What Are Bearded Dragon Fat Pads? (5)

In addition to sunken in or collapsed fat pads, you should look for these other indicators of a malnourished bearded dragon.

  • Visible ribs. It’s acceptable if you can feel your lizard’s ribs slightly when touching their belly, but they should never be fully visible.
  • Thin, disfigured tail. The tail should not be thin or bony, as they are especially susceptible to fractures.
  • Thin, weak leg bones. Your beardie’s limbs should have some squishiness to them and not be bone-thin.
  • Visible fatigue and shakiness. Underweight dragons typically display lethargic behavior, low energy, and in severe cases, will even shake uncontrollably. See a qualified exotic animal vet immediately if your lizard has become this malnourished.

How Much Should A Bearded Dragon Weigh?

Dragons are amazing creatures, and one of the joys of owning one is getting to watch them grow. However, as any responsible dragon owner knows, they also require a fair amount of care and attention. In addition to providing a healthy diet and proper enclosure, it’s also important to monitor your dragon’s weight. Dragons can vary greatly in size, and a sudden change in weight can be an indication of health problems.

What Are Bearded Dragon Fat Pads? (6)

Fortunately, weighing your dragon is easy – simply place them on a small kitchen scale. Depending on their age and breed, a juvenile dragon will weigh anywhere from 50 to 350 grams, while an adult should ideally weigh 400 to 550 grams. Males tend to be slightly larger than females overall, but regardless of gender all dragons are beautiful creatures that deserve the best possible care.


Monitoring your bearded dragon’s weight is an important part of being a responsible owner. This article has outlined some tips on how to tell if your lizard is overweight or underweight, as well as providing guidelines on what their ideal weight should be. By knowing the signs to look for, you can ensure that your dragon is getting the proper nutrition and care they need in order to live a healthy life.


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