• Beardie Bliss

What Might Stress Bearded Dragons?

Updated: Aug 16, 2021



What might stress Bearded Dragons? Great question! Let's jump in:

Here are some of the top factors that may stress your dragon:


  • Fighting with cage mates (ie. other bearded dragons in the tank) Always be cautious when placing multiple dragons together or with other creatures. Supervise their interactions before leaving them unattended to prevent fighting.

  • Excessive handling

  • Boredom

  • Parasites

  • Incorrect or unhealthy diet

  • A dirty tank

  • A small tank


Here are some top signs your Beardie is stressed:


  • Sluggish, decreased movement

  • Clawing at the walls of the terrarium

  • Not basking for long periods of time

  • Darker coloring that does not result in shedding after several days

  • It is typical for a bearded dragon's color to darken before shedding. However, if the shedding does not occur within several days, it may be stress-induced.

  • Dark marks on beardie's belly or chin (stress marks)



Every dragon can get stressed sometimes, but if you understand the reason for their behavioral change and mood change then you can calm them down efficiently and get them back to normal quickly. Here, we shall cover detailed reasons as to why bearded dragons may get stressed.



Top Reasons Why Dragons Feel Stressed


Bearded dragons can feel stressed for different reasons and it could be difficult to understand the issue for their problem. Here, we have listed many reasons for you to go through. You can check them by correlating your dragon's behavior with the reasons and find the reason that is relevant and is causing them stress.



So, why do dragons feel stressed? Here are some reasons that can stress bearded dragons-


  • Lack of Entertainment

  • Enclosure Issues

  • Food

  • Environment

  • Other Dragons

  • Sound

  • Other House Pets

  • Disease

  • Injury

  • New Home


Now we shall look at these reasons in detail to determine the cause of the dragon's stress.



Enjoyment


Your bearded dragons must be engaged and happy. You should handle them every day and give them regular baths. They should have something to explore in their enclosure. If your beardie is bored, it can get stressed. You can buy toys for your beardie to keep it entertained if you cannot spend a lot of time with him or her. Your beardie will love engaging his or her mind.



Enclosure


Every detail in your bearded dragon's enclosure must fulfill a specific need. If the temperature is too low then the dragon can feel sluggish and miserable. If it is too high it can feel jittery or it can feel baked. The humidity also must be in the ideal range. If the humidity or the temperature bounces between settings too much then your dragon will feel too anxious. Monitor your hygrometers and thermometers to ensure you have created a nice environment for your pet.



The enclosure must have ample space for your beardie. Baby beardies do not require a lot of space but they will eventually grow. The cages that work for juvenile dragons do not work for adult lizards. One dragon needs at least a 75-gallon enclosure. If you try and accommodate too many beardies in a small space, they will get stressed. Different cage sizes are advised for different dragons based on their size and age. Baby dragons can live happily in a cage of 20 to 40 gallons whereas a juvenile dragon needs a 50 to 75-gallon enclosure and an adult dragon will need a 75 to 120-gallon cage.



You can change the habitat's decor as you wish, but if you rearrange the accessories every week then your beardie may get stressed. Beardies must know where the food bowl is, where they can hide and where the basking point is. Dragons prefer a routine that makes them feel secure and safe. You can change the enclosure every three-four months without causing them stress.



Food


Dragons are not picky when it comes to food but you must still cater to their taste. If you only offer them vegetables that they dislike, they may get stressed and stop eating. You must also observe any crickets that they may have forgotten to eat. If these insects remain in the tank, they could start harassing and biting your beardie which will cause them further stress.



Environment


A safe enclosure is a must but if you do not care about the room your dragon lives in then that can also cause them stress. The cage must have lights but if your room also has bright lights then it can be stressful for the beardie. You cannot turn lights on and off constantly near the tank since that can be stressful for the beardie. You must maintain the entire room that you house your beardie in. You must be careful as to how many people interact with your beardie and tap on their glass. If too many people tap on the cage then your beardie can feel anxious and stressed.



Other Dragons


Bearded dragons are loner reptiles and hence if there are many beardies in the same habitat, it can cause everyone stress. You must not house 2 or even more dragons in the same cage as it can affect their health and cause them stress. If you have to house many dragons together, you should make sure it is a temporary situation and you should separate them as quickly as you can. If you house multiple dragons together then you will notice one beardie will be dominant and will occupy the basking area most of the time and will consume most of the food as well. This will lead to other dragons being underfed and not getting enough basking time which is a necessity.



Sometimes, even if two dragons are in separate habitats but are placed next to each other, that can also cause them stress. If the dragons can see each other, they will showcase territorial behavior over time which will cause them stress. You must be careful if you are housing multiple beardies in the same room and if you can, then each dragon must have their own room or should be placed in a way that they cannot see each other.



Sound


Bearded dragons have amazing hearing. They can sense your feet through vibrations and if there is too much noise in their vicinity then that can cause them stress. You must place the tank in a peaceful environment otherwise high sounds can cause your beardie to feel stressed. Even noises from TV or loud music can scare your dragon and cause them stress. Most dragons are not used to loud sounds and hence any sound can scare them if they are not used to it. You must carefully think about the room you place your dragon in and how noisy or peaceful it is.



Injury


Sometimes different injuries can cause dragons to feel stressed. Injuries will make them feel pain and discomfort and hence cause them stress. It can be difficult to spot injuries on dragons and hence in some cases, small indicators may be the only way to notice something is wrong. You should not press or attempt to move your beardie's limbs since that can cause them more pain. You should monitor their behavior and if there is anything different in how they walk or their posture, then you should visit the vet. If you feel there is an injury on your dragon then you must take them to a doctor instead of trying to treat them yourself.



Other House Pets


Other dragons can cause stress to your pet, but other pets like dogs and cats can cause them stress too. Bearded dragons will consider a bigger animal their predator and hence if they are not used to your dog or cat, they will feel threatened and scared whenever the bigger animal will be near them. Sometimes, your dragon may be comfortable with your pet only to suddenly start feeling stressed due to them. If your dog is usually calm near your beardie then it may be okay eventually but if your dog barks near your beardie then that can cause them to stress and panic and be scared of the dog. You should monitor your beardie when other pets are near them and if they hide whenever your dog or cat enters the room then that could be a telltale sign that your beardie is scared and stressed.



New Home


If you buy a new bearded dragon, then they are bound to be stressed because they are being introduced to a new home. It is a huge deal for a beardie to accept a new habitat and it will take some time to evaluate and get to know their environment. Your beardie will take time to look around its new surrounding and tank and get comfortable with you and your pets. It will take some time for the beardie to accept that your existing pets are not predators. A new home can be stressful for dragons and hence it can cause them to feel stressed for a little period of time. Usually, a new beardie will settle down post one week as long as you do not disturb it and let him or her get comfortable in its new home on his or her own. You may be tempted to handle your beardie but you must not overhandle them and make sure the habitat mimics their wild habitat as closely as you can.



If you are caring, your beardie will settle quickly and fall in love with his or her new home quickly but you must give them space and time.



Illness


Just like an injury, dragons can feel stress if they fall sick. There are various illnesses that dragons can suffer from both mentally and physically. A sick bearded dragon will usually showcase one or more characteristics that will showcase a disease is present.



Remember, this is not medical advice. If you are concerned about your dragon's health, consult with a licensed veterinarian.

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