Everything gets stressed, and has its way of letting that stress show. Maybe you have thought about why bearded dragons get stressed when they shed.
Maybe you wonder what signs to look out for that would tell you your bearded dragon is a bit too tense while shedding. And how exactly do you make sure they are comfortable and safe during this process?
And why exactly would they get stressed about shedding? Here are a few answers.
Although they are quite calm, and cool animals, bearded dragons may get a little frustrated when shedding. Don’t blame them. You would be a little frustrated too if taking off your clothes was as uncomfortable as shedding is for them.
Sometimes, it even pains them to shed, so it is pretty understandable that they would not be in the best mood. It makes them anxious, and irritable.
Just because they are used to the process does not mean they will be in the best mood. They just need their time alone. They may not want to be held, or bothered as they go through this process, but once it’s done, they’ll be back to normal.
No two bearded dragons are the same, but there are a few signs to look out for that’ll tell you if your beardie is stressed.
For one, it is a very good chance they will not want to be handled or touched at all. As mentioned above, they can be irritable while shedding, so they wouldn’t want anyone disrupting the process.
Your hands can also add irritation and further hurt them as they are most likely in pain already. So, just let them take care of their business. Watch them, and make sure they are alright, but don’t invade their personal space too much.
Change in Routines
Another thing to look out for: appetite, or lack thereof. Some beardies have a smaller appetite while shedding too because they are too anxious, or are having a difficult time during the process.
This isn’t the case for all beardies, but if yours is eating less (or not at all), that’s a good sign they are stressed out. Nothing to be worried about, they can handle it. By the time it is over, they will be chowing down like normal.
The third thing to look out for: their sleep schedule/how much they sleep. They may not necessarily be stressed, but if they are sleeping all the time, this could possibly be a sign of stress.
They will have less energy, or ability to be as active as they were before. When they are sloughing (shedding) they tend to sleep a little more, but it can tell you that they are not really having a good time.
And finally, watch out for their stress marks, and spots. Like, a human getting more pimples when they are stressed out over life, a beardie develops marks/spots.
They are typically on their belly, and are clear signs that the beardie is stressed out. They are usually in darker colors than the rest of that area. Check the belly, neck, and spikes.
So, the title asked why they get stress marks when shedding and the answer is: because they are going through a lot with their body changes. They are a bit irritable, and are trying to complete their shedding. Nothing to be worried about.
Note: Just like when they are stressed out for other reasons, they may puff out their beards. Make sure they are shedding, so that you have the cause for this reaction.
So remember when I said that holding your bearded dragon may stress them out even more, and they may not want you to touch them? Well, there’s the answer.
But, it is not a bad thing. It just means they do not need much help here, and it may upset the process.
All you have to do is make sure their enclosure is all set, and they have food if they want it. They know how to handle themselves in this case.
They are smart, and good with their bodies. They know the process, and it does not need help as it just comes off naturally.
I know it is pretty interesting, and anyone would want to see it up close and personal. And I know you may be worried about them, and want to make sure their skin is coming off correctly.
But honestly, you would just be adding time to the process, and irritation to the beardie. So, let them be your big beardie and handle it themself.
Do not intervene unless needed.
Important tip: Never pull their skin. It will hurt your bearded dragon, and can cause them to get infections!
I know you want to help them out, but peeling is not the way to go. But, don’t worry, we will get to ways you can help them out if you want/need to.
You will want to make sure your little beardie is safe and comfortable, right? Not to worry, here are ways to help make sure they are good to go:
- Make sure their habitat is good and perfect for them. Think nature decor! Think bearded dragon! There are great examples online to make sure their environment emulates nature. They need good UVB lighting too.
- Give them some space. At the end of the day, it will be handled by them, they are quite used to shedding by now. And regardless, it is such a natural thing that they don’t even have much to do. Do everything in your power to make sure your grump beardie does not get grumpier. Sometimes, space is good.
- Yes you should keep your hands away from them, but you can mist them more. That’ll help them be more moisturized, and moisture helps skin come off in this case (funny, I know). Try giving them a quick spritz 2 times a day.
- While you are at it, mist their habitat too! So, mist the habitat and their little bodies, and they will be all set.
- This is not something that needs to be done usually, but it may help you out if needed. Some bearded dragon owners love giving their little beardies baths, or they like using shedding bath formulas. This is completely up to you, but they are not always necessary. Most times people only use these options when the shedding is taking longer than it should, or just really needs help coming off. This is pretty uncommon, but something to pay attention to. You will get to know your bearded dragon’s process in time, and can just examine them (with your hands to yourself) for some time.
Note: Neither option (if you are only doing so to help hard skin come off) will harm your bearded dragon. Just make sure it is necessary because getting touched may come with a grumpier bearded dragon.
You could just stick to keeping your hands away from them, making sure their environment matches the cool nature aesthetic, and possibly adding some misting.
Note: if you are worrying about your pet bearded dragon not shedding at all, keep an eye on them.