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Today we’re going to learn how to calm a bearded dragon in just five easy steps! These tips will help you identify the issue and outline the best ways to calm your bearded dragon.
Part of being a bearded dragon parent is understating your pet’s behavior. And like humans, bearded dragons can experience stress when exposed to unfavorable conditions. Stressed beardies are more likely to become aggressive towards other bearded dragons and their owners.
In most cases, bearded dragons lose their cool when there is a stressor in the environment that they are in. Stress can negatively impact your bearded dragon’s health, so it should be avoided.
Signs of Stress in Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are expressive creatures, so you will always know when something is off with your pet. However, most reptile keepers often misread or ignore signs of stress in beardies. Doing so may predispose your bearded dragon to a wide range of health complications that require antibiotics.
Here are the common signs of stress that you should look out for in bearded dragons:
1. Glass Surfing
Glass surfing refers to a scenario in which a captive bearded dragon frantically tries to climb the sides of its enclosure. This behavior is common in beardies who have just been introduced into a new environment. Bearded dragons often engage in glass surfing behavior when they are not comfortable inside the enclosure.
2. Head Bobbing
Head bobbing is yet another common behavior in stressed bearded dragons. A beardie may move its head up and down repeatedly when reacting to a stressor in its environment. Nonetheless, bearded dragons can also bob their heads to show dominance.
3. Tail Twitching
Bearded dragons may twitch their tails when they are handled improperly. It is often a sign of discomfort. To avoid this, ensure that you get your bearded dragon to trust you before handling them.
Beardies can hiss when they feel threatened or irritated. Hissing is a defensive tactic in bearded dragons, so ensure that you check on your pet when you hear them hissing. This behavior can be accompanied by a puffed-up body and an open mouth.
5. Dark Coloration on and around the Beard
When stressed, a bearded dragon can darken its beard. This occurs temporarily, so the beard will revert to its original color once the stressor is removed. Dark spots may also appear on the bearded dragon’s belly and other parts of the body.
6. Loss of Appetite
If your bearded dragon has suddenly lost interest in eating, it could be that they are stressed. A stressed beardie will spend most of its time assessing its environment for possible threats.
You should, however, keep in mind that a lack of appetite in beardies can be a sign of other health complications. If you are not sure about what could be affecting your beardie, you should take them to a veterinarian.
How to Calm a Bearded Dragon – Top 5 Proven Methods
Now that you know the signs of stress, you need to learn how to calm a bearded dragon. The tips listed below can come in handy in different scenarios when dealing with an agitated beardie.
1. Reduce Sensory Overload
Bearded dragons can get overwhelmed by stimuli. As such, if your bearded dragon is exposed to loud noise, they are likely to experience stress. Too much light in a bearded dragon’s environment can also cause irritation, resulting in severe stress.
To counter this, you should consider minimizing noise in the beardie’s surroundings. The best way to go about this is by covering the bearded dragon’s enclosure. You should also install a reliable lighting system in the enclosure to avoid causing discomfort to the beardie.
2. Bathe Your Beardie
Giving your beardie a warm bath is also another effective way that can help you calm them down. Ensure that you use lukewarm water when bathing your bearded dragon. The water should be 85°F to 90 °F.
For safety purposes, you should never leave your pet bearded dragon unsupervised during baths. Bathing a bearded dragon regularly can prevent impaction which is also a common cause of stress.
As you bathe your beardie, you can gently rub all parts of its body to make it relax. Warm baths can also stimulate your beardie, thus lightening their mood.
3. Get the Bearded Dragon Used To Your Scent
Beardies have an acute sense of smell. Most bearded dragon keepers claim that their pets know them by scent. If your beardie is used to your scent, they will be less likely to experience stress when you are around. This will also create trust between you and your bearded dragon.
You can earn your beardie’s trust through regular interaction. Also, you can put a piece of your clothing inside their terrarium to get them used to your scent.
4. Don’t Cohabitate Your Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are solitary reptiles. This means they prefer spending most of their time alone. Housing multiple bearded dragons in the same terrarium can cause stress among those in the colony. Moreover, adult bearded dragons are likely to bully young beardies.
This rule particularly applies to male bearded dragons since they are more likely to get aggressive. Sexually mature males may engage in bloody duels during the breeding season. With that being said, bearded dragons should be housed in separate enclosures.
5. Reduce Handling
If you suspect your bearded dragon is agitated, you should consider leaving them alone for a while. Handling a stressed bearded dragon can result in other problems. For starters, it can make them aggressive so they may lash out in anger.
Additionally, beardies that are in a state of stress may experience extreme fear when they are handled. This can greatly impact the beardie’s immune system. Consequently, the bearded dragon will be more susceptible to diseases.
Calming a Bearded Dragon Made Easy
If you notice that your bearded dragon is agitated, you can calm them down using the tips that we have discussed. You should start by identifying possible stressors in the bearded dragon’s environment. That way, you will be able to apply the most effective strategy.
As a pet parent, you should make it your priority to keep your bearded dragon stress-free at all times. This not only keeps them calm but will also boost their overall health and wellbeing.