Bearded dragon bites can be a concern for new and potential owners, and we completely understand why. For many, this is the first time considering a lizard or reptile as a pet, and they want to know what to expect. Bearded dragons are not like other pets, and many people are unfamiliar with them.
In this guide, we will answer all your questions about bearded dragon bites. You will discover that, yes, they do bite, and we will explain why. Additionally, we will address any concerns you may have about these bites, and help you understand if they are anything to worry about.
Do Bearded Dragons Bite?
Yes, it is true that bearded dragons can bite, but it doesn’t happen very often. If you notice your bearded dragon biting you often, it might indicate something is wrong.
Compared to the claw marks from a cat’s intentional scratch, a bearded dragon bite is quite rare. So, if you’re worried about being bitten, rest assured that it’s not a common occurrence.
Typically, bearded dragons are not aggressive and aren’t going to bite you, you’d have to really push them to get them to attack you, so you’d probably deserve it.
Bearded dragon is normally a docile lizard and rarely aggressive towards us humans unless we go out our way to provoke them, most often they’d rather run away. Aggression is normally reserved for hunting food or against other dragons, so you are perfectly safe to handle them.
You may think that they’re going to bite you and they’ll certainly give you all the signals that they intend to do so, such as open their mouth and try to look intimidating, but every time I’ve still been able to pick them up, they just make a bit of fuss.
I have heard of people being bitten by their beardies on the ear lobe but again this is likely to be down to confusement more than anything else.
Are Bearded Dragons Venomous?
Remember that their bite is not poisonous, and you’re likely to get a bigger wound from them scratching you. Just be sure to wash afterward as you would after handling them anyway.
Bearded dragons produce a mild venom that is similar in nature to the venom produced by rattlesnakes but because of its very low dosage, it’s not dangerous to humans. As a bearded dragon owner, you are in more danger of getting infected by the salmonella bacteria than the bite.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Bite?
Bearded dragons never bite randomly; instead, they usually have a reason, which may be anything from stress to hunger. Understanding the causes of bites can help you understand any messages your bearded dragon may be trying to convey. This will allow you to address its demands in more depth and make adjustments for good maintenance.
Hunger is the most common reaon for bearded dragon bit. The biting is likely to happen out of confusement, when they perceive something like food, such as your finger.
This is quite common because they see your hand always feeding them they get to make that association between your hand and food, frequent holding and non-feeding interaction should help. This isn’t limited to this type of lizard, I have a chameleon and a friend’s monitor that do exactly the same thing.
The precursor to the beardies wanting to bite your finger is them almost sticking their tongue out and looking ready to pounce. They’ll hesitate because they’re not quite sure, if you’re holding an insect then there’s no hesitation. Sometimes they don’t quite get it right and they’ll nip your finger in the process, but it’s never a full bite.
2. Self Defense
If your bearded dragon feels threatened for any reason, its self-defense instincts will kick in and it will attempt to bite the threat to defend itself. This frequently occurs if your beardie is not yet completely accustomed to handling. This can be avoided by regularly handling your bearded dragon and getting to know it.
Avoid approaching your beardie from above as they will perceive you as a threat. Because in the wild most of their predators (birds) come from above. Since the majority of tanks have a screen top, it is best to grab your beardie from the front or side. Before attempting to grab it, you should also let it know that you are in the tank.
If you hear your beardie hiss or see its beard puffed up – these are generally a sign of aggression. So, its best to let them calm down first before trying to handle them.
The presence of another male beardie or a reflection on the glass walls of its enclosure also cause it to feel territorial and threatened. Bearded dragons are territorial creatures and will often fight its own reflection if they see it. Make sure to choose a enclosure with no reflections. If you have a glass tank, you can avoid this by placing a background at the back.
Bearded dragons can experience a burst of energy that some owners refer to as the “zoomies.” This often happens during feeding time but can also occur in other situations. It’s a common misconception that these creatures are always docile and slow-moving.
However, this phenomenon is not the same as other pets’ zoomies where they may run wildly around. Instead, it can be seen in more subtle ways such as increased activity and attentiveness to external stimuli.
When bearded dragons are highly excited, they may bite. This is not due to malicious intent but rather a result of being overstimulated. To avoid this, it’s best to handle and feed them in a calm and gentle manner to keep them content.
4. Discomfort and Stress
Biting can also be a sign of stress, discomfort, or unease, which can be caused by a variety of factors. Any abrupt changes in their habitat might stress out bearded dragons, making them more likely to bite.
It’s advisable to wait until they have been accustomed to their new surroundings once more if you have changed their enclosure because this can make them feel a little uneasy. This typically occurs when you first bring your bearded dragon home or when you upgrade their enclosure.
Other pets in your home may also make dragons feel anxious. During mealtimes or when it is stimulated by something new or intriguing in its environment, overly exiting beardies (similar to dogs experiencing zoomies) may bite.
5. They Aren’t Used To People Yet
When a bearded dragon is young, everything is brand new and unfamiliar to them. Their enclosure, the environment, and even you are all things they need to learn to trust over time.
It’s important to understand that this lack of trust can make them quite jumpy and nervous, which increases the likelihood of biting. So, take it slow and steady when introducing your bearded dragon to new experiences and people.
Avoid handling them excessively, especially right after you bring them home. Give them some time to settle in and get used to their surroundings.
If someone else wants to pick up your bearded dragon, proceed with caution and watch for any signs that they may be uncomfortable or agitated. If you notice anything concerning, it’s best to hold off on handling them until they feel more at ease.
6. Improper Handling
Handling bearded dragons improperly can lead to them squirming out of your grasp or even biting you. These creatures may also puff themselves up or turn their beard black if they feel uncomfortable.
Some actions that could trigger a bearded dragon to bite you include:
- Holding them too tightly
- Poking or prodding them
- Pinching them accidentally
- Refusing to give them space when they want it.
To avoid such unpleasant situations, work your way up gradually when handling your bearded dragon. This approach will make your pet more comfortable with you, while also improving your handling skills. Over time, you’ll learn how to pick them up in a way that’s comfortable for them and recognize when they want to be put down.
Just like humans, the mood of your bearded dragon can vary from time to time. Sometimes they’ll be happy to be handled, while other times they won’t. By being mindful of their behavior and reactions, you can keep your lizard content and prevent any bites.
Do Bearded Dragon Bites Hurt?
Many people who are considering owning a bearded dragon may wonder if getting bitten by one would be a painful. The truth is that the severity of the bite can vary depending on the situation. Some online sources claim that it can be excruciating, while others insist that it doesn’t hurt at all.
So, what to believe?
In reality, the pain level is generally minimal even in the worst case scenario, akin to a brief pinch or sting.
Although these lizards do have sharp little teeth, the bite is usually not too bad.
Additionally, the age of your bearded dragon can affect the severity of the bite. Younger dragons have less force behind their bites, which is reassuring if you’re bringing a new baby home.
It’s also important to consider the nature of the bite. Accidentally getting nipped while handling your pet is a very different experience from being bitten out of anger or aggression.
At the end of the day, though, there’s no need to be afraid of getting bitten by a bearded dragon. With some care and attention, you can minimize the risk of bites, and even if it does happen, the pain is generally very mild.
What To Do If Get Bitten by a Bearded Dragon?
Reflex reactions are difficult to avoid so, the best course of action is to avoid being bitten altogether because, in addition to the bite, there is a risk of harming your bearded dragon. As long as you treat the wound promptly, the bite won’t pose any danger to you, but a fall or any other damage brought on by a sudden reaction could be harmful to your beardie.
If you are bitten, there’s not much pressure in their jaws, the best thing to do is to make sure that your beardie is supported because if you lift your hand in exclamation, remember they’ll still be attached, and then start to wiggle making it worse. Simply remain calm, support them and using a free hand prise the jaws apart.
How To Treat a Bearded Dragon Bite
Clean the wound or scratch with soap and water. To aid in the treatment, you can also apply an antiseptic like betadine or an antibiotic like Neosporin. Their bites won’t be too severe or deep, but you should constantly keep them clean and apply a wound cream to prevent infection. Get the wound examined if you see swelling in the biting area.
How To Avoid Getting Bitten by Bearded Dragons
Since they are exotic creatures, events like abrupt movements can set off their innate instincts, making them feel threatened and prompting them to engage in self-defense.
Avoid approaching from above as this resembles a predatory bird in the wild. Make sure your bearded dragon sees you coming and move slowly. When lifting it up from the top of its enclosure, try to approach it from the front, back, or side. Being patient is essential for proper handling; wait until your beardie feels at ease in your presence before doing anything else.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to handle your bearded dragon while seated on the ground or in a location where it won’t be at risk of falling from a considerable height if it wriggles or tries to flee. This is also an excellent safety measure in case you get bitten when handling it and release the animal out of shock.
When your bearded dragon feels at ease around you, carefully scoop it up while giving adequate support to its belly and tail.
Bearded dragons bite but not without any reason. Usually they bite because they are hungry, stressed out or threatened. Their bite is not dangerous to humans. Your beardie will never bite you if you keep them happy, health and calm.