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Do Bearded dragons eat their shed? Is this normal? If so, is it safe? Don’t fret, we’ll be answering all your questions within this article!
Bearded dragons display behaviors that are both unique and interesting. If you are a beardie owner, then you must have witnessed your Bearded dragon doing some of the weirdest things.
As much as these behaviors may surprise you, they are completely normal in the bearded dragon world. Besides, they differentiate beardies from most members of the reptilian species!
If you are new to keeping Bearded dragons, then you must have a lot of questions about these amazing lizards.
Well, this article will make your work easier since it answers one of the common questions that most people ask about Bearded dragons.
Without further ado, do bearded dragons eat their shed?
Bearded dragons do eat their shed. In fact, this is normal behavior that should not worry you as a pet parent. Beardies eat their shed due to three main reasons; to avoid predators (especially when in the wild), due to calcium deficiency, and to recycle nutrients.
All members of the reptilian species shed their old skin from time to time, and Bearded dragons are no exception.
Beardies can shed their skin due to a number of reasons, but the main one is so that they can give their bodies enough room during growth.
Nonetheless, beardies don’t let their old skin go to waste regardless of whether they are in captivity or the wild.
Is It Safe For Bearded Dragons To Eat Their Shed?
If you spot your Bearded dragon eating its shed, you shouldn’t yank the old skin from its mouth since it cannot harm your pet. This only applies to beardies who are kept in clean enclosures.
A Bearded dragon’s skin is highly digestible, so it won’t impact the digestive system of your beardie in any way, and neither will it cause impaction.
This does not, however, mean that you should feed the shed to your Bearded dragon.
Read More: Click Here to see our favorite basking rocks for bearded dragons!
Should I Let My Bearded Dragon Eat Its Shed
The old shed may be harmless to your Bearded dragon, but there are certain situations in which a beardie should not eat its old skin.
After your pet is done sloughing, you can just leave the shed inside the enclosure. Your Bearded dragon may or may not eat it.
Nonetheless, if you feel that your pet should not eat the shed, you can consider removing it from the vivarium. It’s really up to you!
Here are some situations that may require you to prevent your Bearded dragon from eating its shed;
Bearded dragon enclosures contain excrements that can contaminate the shed, thus causing health complications.
As such, if the beardies vivarium has not been cleaned for a while, you should remove the shed from the enclosure immediately before the lizard eats it.
The Shed Can Drag Substrates Into The Beardies Mouth
Your Bearded dragon can accidentally ingest the substrates that are inside the enclosure as it eats the shed.
Most substrates can cause impaction when ingested in large amounts, so you should keep a close eye on your beardie when it is shedding.
As a beardie parent, you need to familiarize yourself with all the common signs of shedding in Bearded dragons. This will help you know when the beardie is about to drop the shed inside its enclosure.
You should also avoid loosely packed substrates since Bearded dragons can easily ingest them not only when eating their shed but food as well.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Eat Its Shed
As stated earlier, there are three main reasons why your Bearded dragon may be prompted to its shed.
#1. To Escape Predators
In the wild, Bearded dragons face many dangers since they are easy prey for larger animals.
Snakes are the main predators, but birds can also be a threat to beardies. And because it is survival for the fittest, Bearded dragons have developed new ways of surviving.
By eating their shed, Bearded dragons can easily evade predators that may be on their trail. As such, they won’t give away their location, especially when hiding from ground-dwelling predators.
Bearded dragons that are in captivity may also eat their shed if they feel that their environment is not safe. This has led many beardie owners to believe that the behavior is instinct-driven.
#2. Calcium Deficiency
Beardies can also eat their shed when they are lacking in calcium. That being said, you should not take it lightly when you notice your bearded friend eating its old skin.
Bearded dragons need calcium in different stages of growth. The mineral is essential for beardies since it aids in the formation of strong bones.
Aside from that, a diet that is rich in calcium can prevent dysecdysis, commonly referred to as incomplete shedding in Bearded dragons. Consequently, your beardie will have a hard time removing all the shed from its body.
But, that is not all; beardies that have calcium deficiency are more likely to suffer from metabolic bone disease compared to those that are eating enough calcium.
As such, your Bearded dragon should be fed green vegetables regularly since they are packed with calcium.
If you suspect that your beardie is lacking in calcium, you should take the little guy to the vet. In most cases, calcium deficiency can be corrected through the use of supplements and antibiotics.
But most importantly, ensure that your Bearded dragon is eating a balanced diet.
3. To Obtain Nutrients
Bearded dragon skin is rich in essential nutrients that can help your lizard stay healthy.
The skin contains both vitamins and proteins, and that is one of the reasons why beardies love eating their shed.
Besides, the shedding process is energy-taxing, so your Bearded dragon will be able to restore the energy that is lost.
Lastly, the shed from beardies contains keratin, which is one of the proteins that aid in skin formation.
Bearded dragons can safely eat their shed provided that the enclosure in which they are is clean.
As you have seen, the old shed can provide beardies with essential nutrients that can improve the overall health of your pet.
Additionally, the shed-eating behavior can also help you know if your Bearded dragon is lacking in calcium.