Bearded Dragon Shedding – Complete Guide

Shedding which is also known as molting, peeling, or sloughing is a natural process in which reptiles including bearded dragons cast off their old skin.

Bearded dragon shedding is a completely normal and natural process. There is no need to be alarmed.

Scientifically known as ecdysis, shedding is a complex process where a brand new epidermis (Outer Skin) is replicated underneath the old one. When the outer skin (New Skin) is ready, the bearded dragon starts releasing enzymes that help in separating the old skin from the new one.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Shed?


Bearded dragons have rough skin that’s mostly made up of keratin scales. This type of protein isn’t stretchy, so as a bearded dragon grows, its skin won’t grow with it. This means that when a dragon gets bigger, it needs to shed its skin to keep growing. It’s like how we shed skin cells all the time, but reptiles shed all at once. They shed their outer layer of skin to reveal a new, shiny layer underneath.

When bearded dragons shed, they usually flake off in various areas, not in one piece like a snake. The skin comes off in large pieces that the dragon will tear off with its mouth and then may eat it. This is normal behavior for this species. This whole process isn’t painful for the dragon and it will take care of it all by itself.

Bearded Dragon Shedding Process

Bearded dragon’s shedding is not always the same. It depends on the age and surroundings of the lizard. During each stage of life, your lizard may shed its skin at different rates and for different lengths of time.

For example, baby lizards shed differently compared to teenage lizards, who in turn have a different shedding process from adult lizards.

Signs of a Bearded Dragon Shedding

When it is time to shed, the skin becomes extremely tight. There will always be a change in skin color. It will always be dull and will eventually turn white before being shed. They may also seem a little more irritable or less active than usual. Don’t be alarmed; this is very totally normal.

How Often Do Bearded Dragons Shed?


Bearded dragon hatchlings shed their skin more frequently, nearly every week. This is because they grow rapidly, up to 1 to 3 inches per month, and their skin needs to keep up with their growth.

If your hatchling is shedding less often, it’s okay, but if they stop shedding altogether, it’s best to take them to the vet. As they grow older, they shed less frequently.

AgeShedding FrequencyWhy
(0 to 6 months)
1 to 2 weeksHatchlings outgrown their skin quickly because of their growth rate.
(6 to 18 months)
6 to 8 weeksJuveniles still growing quickly but will not outgrow their skin as often as a hatchlings.
(18 months +)
1 to 2 times a yearDue to constant wear-and-tear.

0 to 6 months: Shedding occurs almost weekly between the ages of 0 and 6 months. This is because beardies grow fairly quickly at this age. So, view it as a positive sign.

It usually only takes a day or two to complete.

6-12 months: Shedding will become less frequent between 6 and 12 months when the growth slows down. At 6 months, it’ll probably be every couple of weeks, then once every couple of months at 12 months.

After a Year: Your Bearded Dragon will shed even less frequently after 12 months.

At around 18 months: A Beardie will only shed once or twice a year after reaching the age of 18 months when bone and muscle growth is complete. 

How Long Does It Take For A Bearded Dragon To Shed?

There’s a simple rule to how long it takes. The older your bearded dragon, the longer the shed will take. Hatchlings and juveniles shed at a much higher rate. But as they get older, the process slows down.

Hatchlings shed in just 1-3 days, while juveniles can shed for a week or two. As for adults, their shed can take up to three weeks to complete. After three weeks, if there are still noticeable parts left to shed, it could mean that there is stuck shed that needs to be taken care of.

Remember, shedding is an important part of your bearded dragon’s growth and health, so be patient and provide the proper environment for a successful shed.

Bearded Dragons Behavior During Shedding Process


If your bearded dragon behaves strangely than usual during the shedding process, don’t be alarmed because this is totally normal.

Because of the shedding, the dragon may seem aggressive towards any attempt to touch or handle. This is completely normal, it’s best to give them plenty of space. This behavior can last from 2 to a couple of weeks.

Your bearded dragon may also start eating his dead skin, don’t worry as long as it is clean. The dead old skin is full of different nutrients mainly calcium. This kind of behavior can be a sign that your beardie is not getting enough nutrients in its diet.

Eating their old dead skin could also be a trait from the wild where they remove traces of their scent as a way of avoiding predators.

Excessive eye-bulging outside of shedding can be a sign of high blood pressure or atrioventricular block.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Lethargic?

When a bearded dragon sheds its skin, it’s common for them to show signs of sluggishness. This is because the process is energy-intensive, and the dragon has to work hard to remove the old skin. In order to do this, they need to rub themselves against various surfaces until the skin comes off. As a result, you may notice that your bearded dragon is less active in its enclosure a few days before and after shedding.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Irritable When Shedding?

Losing their skin is not a fun time for bearded dragons. They may feel itchy and grumpy during this process. The energy they lose during shedding can also put a lot of stress on them. It’s best to give them some space and avoid handling them during this time.

How To Help A Shedding Bearded Dragon


To give your pets the best support during shedding, it’s crucial to have the right habitat and setup. Regardless of whether they are shedding or not, maintaining good husbandry and habitat conditions is essential for their well-being.

To help them shed more comfortably, here are three things you can do:

  1. Add rough materials to their environment.
  2. Ensure that their UVB lighting is working properly.
  3. Give them additional nutrients through supplements.

1. Put Rough Materials In Their Enclosure

When your bearded dragon is shedding, you should provide rough materials in its enclosure for it to rub against. This helps the dragon get rid of dead skin.

The materials shouldn’t be too sharp, but strong enough to help with the shedding process. In the wild, bearded dragons use branches and rocks to get rid of their dead skin, so these are good materials to use.

Some safe options you can put in your bearded dragons tank include:

  • Branches.
  • Rocks.
  • Slates.
  • Substrate (e.g. reptile carpet).

2. Diet and Water

If your bearded dragon is not eating the right food, it can lead to some major health problems, not just trouble with shedding. If they do not get enough calcium in their food, they may get a condition called metabolic bone disease. To prevent this, you should give your bearded dragons a calcium supplement with vitamin D3. They need the extra calcium in all stages of their lives.

To make sure your bearded dragon is healthy, it’s important to learn all about their diet and don’t forget, staying hydrated is just as important as eating the right food.

3. Check Terrarium Set Up

To ensure a healthy shed for your bearded dragon, it is important to provide them with the right terrarium environment. This includes the correct lighting, temperature, and humidity.

For optimal light quality, use a tube-shaped UVB light and replace it every six months. Your bearded dragon should receive 12 hours of light each day to mimic their natural habitat. Additionally, they should have a 40W to 75W infrared basking bulb.

Their basking temperature should start at 95℉ to 105℉, with a cooler side around 75℉ to 80℉. Humidity levels should be maintained between 30% and 40%.

Your bearded dragon will be happy and healthy if their environment is comfortable and properly temperature-controlled. If they are brightly colored and positioned upright on the basking surface, it is a sign that they are comfortable and content.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Not Shedding?

There are many reasons why Bearded Dragon might not shed.

Many shedding issues are caused due to poor husbandry, diet, or low humidity levels:

  • A poor diet.
  • Lack of hydration.
  • Improper UVB lighting.
  • Improper environment temperature.

Difficulty in shedding is also known as dysecdysis. Dysecdysis affects 25% of pet bearded dragons.

When shedding, complications could arise. But if the temperature, humidity, substrate, and diet are right then there shouldn’t be any problem with shedding.

They have been doing this on their own without any problems for millions of years. However, it could still happen.

Bearded Dragon Stuck Shed: How To Help


Firstly, do not pick at the skin, you’re not helping them. In fact, you could be damaging the new skin underneath.

I’ve seen numerous reptiles, not only bearded dragons, suffer from damaged skin due to the owner’s interference in the shed process. This causes them discomfort and can lead to illnesses, so avoid doing it.

As compared to baby bearded dragons, adults are more susceptible to stuck shed. Old skin that is not shed properly in a timely manner can lead to restricted blood flow and cause infection. It can lead to cell death in fingers and toes.

Severe stuck shed in the tail can be more problematic.

If your beardie is experiencing a stuck shed, you can help in a few ways:

  1. Bathing.
  2. Misting.
  3. Shedding Aid.
  4. Oils.


Bearded Dragon shedding in bath

Bathing is a great first step to help with the shedding process.

You can put a large water pot in their tank which is easy for them to hop in. Or if your beardie is easy to handle, you can fetch him out of the tank and bath him.

Fill a bowl or Tupperware container halfway with lukewarm water to your bearded dragon’s eye level. Place them in the water, making sure the area where the shed is stuck is completely submerged.

Wait 15 minutes and make sure you don’t leave them unattended.

Try gently brushing the skin with a toothbrush after the bath. Adults bearded dragons shed more slowly, giving them a bath every few days is a good idea.


Alternatively, you can also mist the dragon/tank to aid the shedding, but be careful not to over-mist the tank because high humidity can also cause reparative issues.

During the shedding process, bearded dragons prefer more humid areas that is why they may tend to avoid the warmer end of the tank. This helps to some extent as hydrated dragons will shed far more efficiently.

Spray water droplets over your Beardie’s head and body gently. Mist the areas where your lizard is having difficulties shedding on a daily basis.

Misting the tank can help with shedding by raising the humidity in the tank.

This is something they also do in the wild. Naturally and instinctively they will dig burrows usually about 8 to 12 inches deep.

The humidity inside these burrows might easily exceed 80 percent. This moisture within the burrow will soften any shedding skin.

Shedding Aids and Oils

The last method that helps bearded dragons with stuck shed is through shedding aids and oils.

Shedding aids and oils are purpose-made sprays to help moisturize the stuck shed. However, this should be used as the last resort after bathing and misting.

The most common areas for stuck sheds in beardies are the fingers and tail tip. Unfortunately, a stuck shed can go unnoticed for many months leading to necrosis. This is one of the main reasons why bearded dragons lose part of their fingers or tail as they age.

Do Bearded Dragons Eat Less During the Shedding Process?


Bearded dragons often lose their appetite while going through a full-body shed. It can even stop eating altogether, but this is very rare. It really depends on the dragon. It can be different for different dragons.

If your beardie is having a partial body shed and has stopped eating, then this could be due to other factors. Its best to have it checked by a vet.

Why isn’t my Bearded Dragon Shedding Anymore?

When bearded dragons reach their full body size, they will do less frequent full-body sheds because their hormones change and their body growth declines.

You need to closely inspect your beardie because they may shed their odd body parts now and then without you knowing.

If you think your beardie has stopped shedding then this might be a health issue related to diet, habitat, humidity, or temperature.

If your bearded dragon is less than a year old and hasn’t shed for more than eight weeks, then this is a bigger cause for concern and is a sign of serious health problems. In this case, have it checked by a vet immediately.

Should I hold my bearded dragon while its shedding?

It is not recommended to hold your bearded dragon while it is shedding. Attempting to hold or handle your bearded dragon during shedding can cause stress and discomfort, and can even lead to injury. It is best to leave them alone during the shedding process. Once the shedding is complete, you can then safely handle and enjoy spending time with them.

Do bearded dragons shed when stressed?

When a bearded dragon is stressed, they may shed their skin more frequently. This is because stress can cause the lizard’s body to release hormones that can trigger shedding. It is important for their owners to provide a comfortable and stress-free environment for the lizard to prevent excessive shedding.

Filled under: Lizards

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