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Do Bearded dragons get depressed? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among beardie keepers. And since it’s important to know everything that is going on with your bearded buddy, it would be wise if you got a definite answer.
Besides, the fact that you are asking this question means you have noticed a change in your lizard’s behavior. Also, it could be that you are just curious.
Either way, the most important thing is that you are willing to learn something new about your pet lizard, and that is all that matters.
This piece highlights some of the basic things that you need to know about beardies and depression, so ensure that you read the whole article to get all the information that you are looking for.
To start us off, let us answer the aforementioned question.
Do Bearded Dragons Get Depressed?
Yes. The general agreement among Bearded dragon keepers is that beardies do indeed get depressed. Depression can occur in Bearded dragons due to several reasons, but the most commonly reported cause of depression is the death of another beardie in the same household.
However, there are other reasons why your Bearded dragon may get depressed, and we will discuss them later on in this article.
This may, however, prove difficult because Bearded dragons have unique personalities, so their behaviors are not constant across the board.
As such, ensure that you know your bearded friend at a personal level as this will make everything easy for you.
Aside from that, you will be in a better position to offer proper husbandry because you will know exactly what the beardie needs based on the behavior exhibited.
Plus, Bearded dragons cannot voice out their issues, so the only way you can understand your Bearded dragon is by reading their body language.
The good thing about Bearded dragons is that they often display behaviors that mirror how they are feeling at that particular moment.
Nonetheless, you need to be able to differentiate instinct-driven behaviors from emotion-driven actions.
In most cases, the former is completely normal since all animal species rely on instinct to survive, especially when they are in the wild.
As for the latter, there are scenarios where you may be required to apply necessary countermeasures.
For instance, if you notice that your Bearded dragon is exhibiting aggressive behavior or looks depressed, you should make it your goal to find out what could be causing the problem.
With that being said, here are some of the things that can cause depression in Bearded dragons.
Causes Of Depression In Bearded Dragons
1. Death Of Another Beardie In The same Household
There is no scientific explanation as to why bearded dragons get depressed when they lose members of their species.
However, most beardie keepers have reported that they noticed a sudden change in their lizard’s behavior after one of their beardies died.
As mentioned earlier, beardie behavior may vary from one lizard to another, so the behaviors observed by these pet parents are not consistent.
Moreover, Bearded dragons enjoy spending most of their time with their owners than other beardies, making it even harder to explain why they get depressed when another Bearded dragon dies.
All in all, you should still add this to your checklist when diagnosing your Bearded dragon for depression. If you are not sure of what to do, you can always take the beardie to the vet for expert advice.
2. When The Beardie Is Scared Of Other Pets
Bearded dragons can easily get depressed when they feel their environment is not safe for them. A beardie that is constantly on alert mode may spend most of their time hiding. When in captivity, Bearded dragons can be scared of cats, dogs, and other household pets.
On the bright side, not all Bearded dragons are afraid of household pets. In fact, some lizard keepers report that their beardies get along with other pets.
Strong bonds can also be formed in rare cases, so it will all depend on your Bearded dragon’s personality and how they perceive the environment that they are in.
Once you’ve noticed that your beardie is scared of other household pets, you should try as much as can to keep them away from what they consider as a threat.
Ensure that you keep the other pets away, especially when removing the Bearded dragon from the enclosure.
This will not only make them calm but also comfortable, thus preventing possible cases of depression.
3. Keeping The Bearded Dragon In An Enclosure That Is Too Small
In the wild, Bearded dragons are free spirits. They can roam about without being limited in any way.
In addition to this, they can effectively explore their environment, thereby reducing their chances of getting distressed.
Beardies can also hunt different types of prey, meaning they can eat whatever they want. Nevertheless, beardies cannot engage in the above-mentioned activities when in captivity.
It can even get worse if the Bearded dragon in question is kept in a vivarium that is too small for them. This can easily cause distress to your bearded buddy.
If no action is taken, the Bearded dragon may get depressed, especially when they are not able to move around as they would want to.
Always ensure that you buy an enclosure that is large enough for a Bearded dragon. As such, you should not keep a fully grown beardie in an enclosure that is designed for hatchlings.
You can also try to mimic the lizard’s natural environment to make them feel at home. The best way to go about this is by putting hideouts and other props inside the vivarium.
Additionally, you can put live insects and worms inside the tank once in a while, so that the lizard can feel like it’s hunting.
You should, however, avoid this if the tank has a loosely packed substrate. This is because beardies can easily gobble up substrates when they are picking the food from the surface of the enclosure.
4. Lack Of Enrichment
Bearded dragons may be solitary animals, but that does not mean that they don’t like to be stimulated.
When beardies don’t get enough stimulation, they are more likely to get depressed. This often starts with boredom, which later manifests into severe depression.
Keeping your beardie engaged is one of the best ways that you can provide enrichment. Besides, there are so many things that you can do to keep the lizard happy and entertained.
You can engage the dragon in play, take them for a walk, give them baths, have swimming sessions, etc.
Plus, there are toys that you can use when playing with your Bearded dragon. You should avoid leaving your beardie in the enclosure for long periods as this may distress and boredom.
One thing with Bearded dragons is that they like being held, so you should consider taking them out of the vivarium regularly.
You can also show your beardie affection by petting them, letting them climb onto you, hand-feeding, and doing any other activity that can make them feel safe.
In as much as Bearded dragons need to be provided with enrichment, you should know when to stop. Beardies are only social to some extent, so ensure that you give the lizard some alone time.
5. When The Bearded Dragon Is Exposed To Loud Noises
Bearded dragons are highly sensitive to sound since they have a fully functional internal hear. Hearing loud noises once in a while may not cause any serious problems.
The beardie may get startled for a few minutes, but they will feel comfortable after the noise has stopped.
Nonetheless, if the beardie is exposed to loud noises for an extended period, they are likely to get depressed.
Besides, beardies have small ears, meaning they cannot process auditory stimuli the same way we do. They can easily be overwhelmed, resulting in distress and depression when no change is made.
Again, it all comes down to your beardies personality. Some Bearded dragon keepers report that their beardies like loud music, while others claim it causes discomfort to their lizards.
As such, you need to know exactly what your pet lizard likes and doesn’t like since this will allow you to offer appropriate care to the little guy.
How To Know If Your Bearded Dragon Is Depressed
Most people believe that Bearded dragons cannot get depressed because their brains are not as developed as that of humans.
That being said, people often disregard their sentience and only focus on providing food and other basic needs that the beardie needs.
If you are an ardent Bearded dragon keeper, there must be a few things that you may have noticed about your beardie that are contrary to the popular belief highlighted above.
Moreover, most beardie parents claim that they can tell when their pet lizards are happy or sad.
Expert beardie keepers whose lizards have gone through depression have been able to identify a few common signs of depression in Bearded dragons.
Note: If your Bearded dragon exhibits the below-listed signs, it does not necessarily mean that they are suffering from depression.
There is a possibility that they may be sick or it could be a different problem. To get the correct diagnosis, you should take the lizard to the vet’s so that they can be examined.
Here are some of the two common signs that should be on the lookout for:
In Bearded dragons lethargy is characterized by a lack of energy and inability to move.
When they are happy, beardies like to move about inside the enclosure and often run around when you let them out.
Beardies that are suffering from depression may stay in one spot extensively without showing any enthusiasm.
Most beardies keepers have reported that their pet lizards became lethargic after the death of another Bearded dragon.
However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that beardies grieve, but those who have experienced this with their Bearded dragons can agree that there is a way in which beardies are affected when one of them dies.
Still, you need to remember that Bearded dragons may become lethargic during brumation, so if the beardie displays this behavior during the hibernation season, there is nothing to worry about since it is normal.
Loss of Appetite
Like humans, Bearded dragons may lose their appetite when they are depressed.
If you have been keeping Bearden dragons for a while, then you must be aware of how much they love eating live bugs.
If you notice that your lizard friend has no interest in eating, it could mean they are depressed.
Lizard keepers who have experienced this claim that their beardies stopped eating or ate minimal amounts of food after they had gone through a traumatic experience.
Loss of appetite can also come about due to other reasons that are in no way related to depression. Again, always seek expert advice from the vet if you are not sure about the cause of the problem.
Unlike lethargy, loss of appetite can result in serious health complications in beardies. It can lead to weight loss and other nutritional problems like metabolic bone disease, which is caused by calcium deficiency.
Bearded dragons who have lost their appetite may also fail to drink enough water, thereby causing dehydration. Severe cases of dehydration will, in turn, lead to death.
Bearded dragons can suffer from depression, so you should see to it that your pet lizard stays in the right conditions at all times.
Additionally, you should be observant since this is the only way that you can learn more about your beardies behavior.
As you have seen, bearded dragons may engage in certain behaviors when they are depressed. Always be on the lookout for the two signs that we have covered above.
Nonetheless, the above-listed factors may not be a sure sign that your beardie is depressed since they can exhibit the same behaviors when they are sick or during brumation.
The best that you can do is to take the Bearded dragon to the vet as this will make our work easier and may just save the little guy’s life.