Skin shedding, or ecdysis, is the process where Bearded dragons lose their outer skin as the result of growing. The shedding process is mainly dependent on the size and growth rate of Bearded dragons and is seen more frequently in babies and juveniles.
For reptiles, shedding the outer parts of their skins are normal. Initially, the skin will turn white to grey after which pieces will start to become loose and peel off. Skin shedding is a physiological process where the old skin is removed to give way for a newer, usually larger one. Normally, Bearded dragons will shed their skin in multiple pieces.
Normal Bearded dragon skin shedding time and frequency
Bearded dragon can shed partially (e.g. only the legs or tail) or completely (e.g. the entire body). On average, younger Bearded dragons will shed more often. Up to an age of about 6 months, Bearded dragons may shed completely about once a month (e.g. about six times). Adult Bearded dragons will go through a complete shed as seldom as once or twice a year, but may have partial sheds every couple of months.
Like most lizards, Bearded dragons are rather leisurely about shedding their skins. Normal skin shedding will take place in patches. It is often normal for Bearded dragons not to eat, or eat less during this period. During this time, Bearded dragons might also show an increase in biting and soaking behaviours. The shedding process, from turning colour to the end, should not take more than a couple of days.
Some Bearded dragon keepers resort to strategic methods in order to aid in the shedding process. These methods are mainly aimed at temporarily increasing the environmental humidity during the shedding process. These methods include misting, adding larger water dishes and/or adding a moist substrate to the enclosure. Also see safe and effective ways to help a shedding Bearded dragon for more information.
In order to monitor shedding patterns in Bearded dragons, it is always a good idea to keep a record of the frequency and start and finish dates.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Shed?
Bearded dragons are fascinating creatures and their shedding is a part of life. But why exactly do they shed? The answer is simple – their skin cannot grow! All too often people assume that this means the dragon’s size remains the same, but that isn’t true.
Bearded dragons need to shed in order to replace the skin cells that have died due to its inelastic nature.
Let’s delve deeper into the science behind it. First of all, a bearded dragon’s skin is waterproof and protective which serves as armor for them. They also derive nutritional value from it as old skin contains high amounts of calcium which they might eat up during shedding time.
A newly grown layer of skin cells does a fantastic job in aiding them to absorb calcium through UVB light that gets converted into Vitamin D by new skin which proves to be much more efficient than old ones since this conversion rate increases manifolds.
This helps keep their health in check and get access to the required nutrients for good growth. Also, the new layer of skin makes them look vibrant with lots of lovely colors contrasting greatly with dull-looking old ones!
How often do Bearded Dragons molt their skin?
Bearded dragons are most active during the first year of their lives, so it’s not surprising that they also shed their skin the most often at that time too. Depending on the age of your bearded dragon, how often your furry friend sheds its skin can be quite different.
- At the hatchling stage (which is 0 to 6 months), your beardie will likely shed almost every week due to its rapid growth rate. This is completely normal and a sign your pet is healthy and growing properly. The skin of bearded dragons consists of a keratin-based protein which makes it quite rigid, and this means it won’t stretch as your pet grows bigger, hence why shedding occurs.
- During the juvenile stage (6 – 12 months), shedding frequency should become less frequent as your beardie slows in its growth rate, and you may expect it to shed around once a month or every other month. When they reach the sub-adult stage (12 – 18 months) they may molt only every few months and by adulthood (at least 18 months) they should only shed two to three times a year with possible partial sheds happening every couple of months for refreshers.
- For young, sub-adult bearded dragons (12 to 18 months old), expect to see shedding every few months. This is mainly due to the growth process. Your dragon may grow an extra inch or two and an additional 50 grams of weight during this period.
- Once they reach adulthood (18+ months old), shedding will slow down significantly since the growth has ceased. At this point, expect a shed only two to three times a year with partial sheds occurring in between those complete sheds that help refresh their skin.
What is the duration of a Bearded Dragon’s shedding cycle?
Bearded dragons go through molting which is based on their age, and it is a vital part of their life. Young dragons tend to molt in a much shorter period of time – typically within one to three days for babies, and one to two weeks for juvenile dragons.
On the other hand, adult bearded dragons may need up to three weeks for the entire shedding process.
It’s important to note that in order for a beardie to start its next shedding session, they must have finished the previous one fully. Also, if only parts of your dragon’s body are being shed (such as their claws or tail), it could take up to week or so before they’re through with it.
Signs of incomplete shedding might lead to dangerous infections or necrosis – so keeping track of the length and frequency of beardies’ shedding can help you spot any potential issues early on.
If additional help is needed during shedding, try soaking your pet in warm water (for 10-15 min) and see if this helps speed up the molting process.
However, if after several days there are still signs of stuck shed, don’t hesitate calling a vet for further diagnosis and treatment.
Signs of Bearded Dragon Shedding
One of the signs that your Bearded Dragon might be shedding soon is a change in behavior. Even though it is normal for Bearded Dragons to show signs of stress or anxiety at times, you should look out for any unusual or subtle changes in your reptile’s activities.
Lightened or Pale Skin Color
Bearded dragons may experience a lightened or pale skin color before molting. This is usually an indication that the old, dry and gray skin patches are beginning to detach from the body.
- In contrast to the old skin, the new skin provided after molting is glossy with vibrant colors. Your bearded dragon’s color may return back to normal when their new skin has grown in.
- It is important to keep an eye out for this sign, as it can be an early indicator that your beardie is about to molt.
Loss of Appetite
Bearded dragons may experience a decrease in appetite, particularly during times of shedding.When your beardie starts the process of shedding their skin, they may not have an appetite right before or even after.
- It’s natural for them to try and eat their shed skin in order to take back some nutrients they’ve lost during this time.
- However, you should still check to make sure their old skin is clean and uncontaminated before letting your pet eat it as dirty or contaminated shed skins can cause health issues. If it’s too much for you handle, simply remove and discard the hide.
- No matter if your dragon seems uninterested in food or not, you should still offer food options regularly in case they find an appetite again. Be sure your beardie has access to nutritious food at all times so that they can regain any nutrients lost during the shedding period.
Eye bulging is a normal part of the shedding process for beardies. It can be startling at first, but don’t worry!
- Bulging the eyes during shedding can make it easier to remove the skin and decrease the odds of an incomplete shed due to stretching and loosening the skin around the face.
- During brumation, your reptile’s eyes may seem cloudy. This is perfectly normal and should pass with time. Just keep watch for any problems.
Bearded dragons often become lethargic right before and during the molting process. This isn’t surprising—molting is an incredibly taxing experience that can take a lot out of your dragon, leaving it feeling tired and drained.
- You’ll be able to tell when your dragon starts shedding since it will become a bit restless, rubbing its body against surfaces or using its legs to peel off the old skin.
- Each of these actions takes energy, so it’s important to keep an eye on just how much energy your beardie has in the days preceding and following the shed.
- Lethargy should naturally dissipate after a few days if all goes well during the molting process.
What steps can you take to help your bearded dragon during its shedding process?
Bearded dragons, like all reptiles, have a natural shedding process that they go through. You don’t need to do anything to help them with it, but there are a few things you can do to make the process smoother and less uncomfortable for your pet.
First of all, never pull on their skin as some parts may be stuck and not quite ready to come off yet.
Removing it too forcefully could hurt your dragon, so be careful when taking it off.
Offering a warm bath can help too; brushing their scales in circles helps lubricate the skin and the bath water will provide extra moisture if the skin is already cracking, but if their skin is waterproof then this won’t help much.
Additionally, during their shedding period, it’s best to limit handling since your bearded dragon might become agitated or irritable and even bite you!
To ensure they’re comfortable while they molt, provide some rough surfaces in the terrarium such as logs or rocks so they can rub up against them; just make sure that nothing is overly sharp and could hurt them.
Finally, BE sure your bearded dragon has an appropriate diet with proper tank setup – both of these contribute to an easier shedding experience overall!
Below are some more tips for Bearded Dragons that will help with their shedding:
Ensure an appropriate environment for your pet reptile.
If you want to provide the best habitat possible for your beloved beardie, then it’s important to ensure that you have the correct tank setup. This should include a variety of different textures and surfaces within their tank so they can rub against them to help remove loose pieces of skin.
It’s important to make sure that the surfaces are strong but not sharp enough to cause any kind of damage to your beardie. Just like in their natural habitat, bearded dragons use rocks and branches for shedding purposes, as well as adding enrichment to their environment.
Provide your beardie with rocks, branches, and decor in their tank – it will help them keep their skin healthy and look great!
Take careful note of what your reptile eats and drinks.
Proper diet and hydration are key for your reptile’s health and shedding process. A balanced diet can provide essential nutrients, however, lack of them can cause molting problems.
Bearded dragons in particular need lots of calcium and vitamin D3 to prevent metabolic bone diseases as well as ensure their shedding goes smoothly.
So consider adding both a calcium supplement with vitamin D3 to their diet, such a supplement can be beneficial from the inside and support the shedding process.
Moreover, make sure you supply enough fresh water to your bearded dragon at all times for proper hydration so that the molting process is easier. It is important to remember that even though beardies are desert-dwellers, they still require plenty of water for survival!
Establishing Optimal Temperature and Humidity Levels
The best way to keep your bearded dragon happy and comfortable is to create an ideal environment in his tank. This means following strict guidelines regarding lighting, humidity, and temperature.
First off, you’ll need to set up the correct UVB light that mimics sunlight as found in their natural habitat. Secondly, you’ll also need a reliable heat source.
Finally, maintain the optimum level of humidity between 30-40%. To make sure these ideal conditions are maintained accurately, you can use dual thermometer and hygrometer for monitoring these parameters within the bearded dragon’s enclosure.
By creating the perfect environment for your beardie, you can ensure that he stays healthy and enjoys a stress-free shedding process.
Give your reptile and its habitat regular mistings.
Misting your reptile’s environment is a great way to help them with shedding their skin. A simple spray of cool, fresh water can provide the additional moisture your pet needs for their skin to flake and peel faster. Not only that, but it can also keep them hydrated and comfortable as they shed.
But be careful not to overdo it; too much misting will increase the humidity in the tank and that won’t be good for your pet. So, if you decide to go that route, make sure to only mist twice a day and keep the humidity levels in their home between 30% and 40%.
That way, your reptile pal will shed successfully and easily!
My Dragon Eats its Shed…is this Bad?
If your bearded dragon is eating its shed, this could be cause for concern. Eating their shed is a feral instinct that reptiles have in the wild, so it’s normal behavior.
However, what may not be normal is what’s stuck to the skin – such as fecal matter, parasites, and rotting food particles – which can all be potentially harmful to your pet. Therefore, it is best practice to remove any dead skin lying around their enclosure so they can’t eat it.
Overall, while it isn’t necessarily bad for a bearded dragon to eat its own shed, it’s important to take precautionary measures and take into account the potential hazards mentioned above.
Will Their Behavior Change when Shedding?
If your bearded dragon is getting ready to shed their skin, you may notice subtle changes in its behavior. These can be a good indication that they are about to start the shedding process.
Your bearded dragon might seem less active and eat less food than usual. They might also become more resistant to handling, even if you’re used to touching them frequently. This is because it actually causes them discomfort during the shedding process.
Be on the lookout for these subtle signs so that you can tell if your bearded dragon is about to shed and provide extra care for them during this time!
Bearded dragon shedding problems
Problems might occur when the shedding process takes too long, seems to be too frequent or does not happen frequently enough. By keeping records of shedding patterns in Bearded dragons, shedding problems can often be easily identified.
A prolonged shedding process can be an indication that mites or an infection are present, or that the environmental humidity is too low. Because sloughed skin does not come off as one piece, prolonged shedding can often be seen as patches of skin that remain in certain places – typically around the tail, legs, feet/toes, around the eyes and around the spikes. Retained skin can cause constrictions or layers of shedding skin can start to build up. Constricting skin causes a tourniquet effect reducing blood flow to the affected areas.
Apart from preventing shedding problems (see earlier), there are also methods to aid in the removal of problematic pieces of skin. See safe and effective ways to help a shedding Bearded dragon for more information.
When a Bearded dragon is not shedding as frequently as expected (i.e. about once a month for babies and juveniles and a couple of times per year for adults), it is often an indication that the growth rate is too slow. A healthy Bearded dragon should almost always be willing to eat. The body should be stocky and should be without visible wrinkles. Also see eating behaviour in Bearded dragons and signs of a healthy Bearded dragon for more information. Feeding correctly and feeding the correct food can also help in maintaining the correct growth rate in Bearded dragons.
When it seems like a Bearded dragon is almost always in shed (i.e. there are very little days where there are no pieces of skin visible), potential problems include skin infections and too high humidities. Mite infections and Yellow fungus disease are often the reason for skin infections.
Why isn’t my Bearded Dragon shedding its skin?
If your Bearded Dragon isn’t shedding properly and on time, there are a few things you should consider. Poor husbandry, malnutrition, and low humidity levels can all lead to shedding irregularities.
For example, if your Bearded Dragon does not have a good diet or is dehydrated, this could be causing them difficulty in shedding – also known as dysecdysis which affects up to 25% of pet Bearded Dragons.
Underlying health issues such as parasites, tumors, ulcers, and blisters can also be at the root of the problem.
Additionally, skin infections from not keeping their enclosure clean can contribute to dysecdysis.
Prematurely stopping to shed is another issue and it may be because they do not have enough rough surfaces to rub up against to remove the skin that needs to come off.
The key thing when helping with a stuck shed is patience – never pull or rip off pieces of skin as it can cause injury and pain underneath because some pieces may still be connected. Allow natural shedding to take its course instead
How to Handle a Beardie That Refuses to Shed its Skin
If you notice that your bearded dragon isn’t shedding at all, this is definitely something to be taken seriously. It’s highly uncommon, but the steps you take to address it are important.
The first step is to make sure that your bearded dragon has an optimal habitat as well as adequate nutrition- this is essential for any pet reptile. If those two things haven’t solved the issue, then it may be a medical problem and thus a visit to the vet is in order.
The vet will help you diagnose the problem so you can get them back on track with their shedding- it’s crucial for their health and wellbeing! Don’t despair though, there are solutions and with the right treatment, your beardie will regain its ability to shed properly once again.
Shedding Aids and Oils
Shedding aids and oils are designed to help remove stuck sheds from bearded dragons. These sprays are specifically formulated to help moisten the stuck sheds so they can come off easily, without causing any pain or discomfort.
Areas that tend to be difficult when it comes to shedding are the fingers and tail tip.
It’s important that these areas be monitored frequently, as stuck shed can go unnoticed for many months and can lead to necrosis which may cause some loss of the fingers or tail in extreme cases.
If you notice a stuck shed, it’s best to try misting your pet or giving them a warm bath before you resort to using shedding aids and oils. However, if none of those methods work, then shedding aids and oils are your last resort for getting rid of those pesky stuck sheds!
When Your Bearded Dragon is Shedding Too Much
If your adult bearded dragon is excessively shedding, it could be a sign of a health issue and should be checked out by an experienced veterinarian. Such problems can include skin irritation, fungus, or pests.
Can you hold a bearded dragon while they are shedding?
Yes, it is possible to handle a bearded dragon while they are shedding their skin.
However, it’s important to remember that your beardie needs ample time and energy to shed their skin properly, so handle them only when absolutely necessary during this time.
Holding a beardie while they’re shedding could be uncomfortable for them and even lead to a painful injury if done improperly.
Additionally, excessive handling while they’re shedding can be very stressful and take up too much of their energy reserves. So, unless it’s absolutely necessary, the best practice is to minimize handling during this stage.
Is shedding uncomfortable for bearded dragons?
Not only does this have an effect on the bearded dragon’s day-to-day activities, but it can be emotionally draining for them as well. Even if the shedding isn’t causing them physical pain, the discomfort of being itchy and listless can still make them feel exhausted and frustrated with their situation.
Do bearded dragons get stressed when shedding?
Once the shedding starts you may notice them becoming more unsettled, angrier than usual, and generally not wanting to be held or handled.
It’s important to remember that although this is normal behavior for your beardie while they are shedding, it will pass as soon as they are done. After their shed is complete they should start acting purely normal again with no longterm stress caused by the process.
Do beardies eat less when shedding?
It’s during this time that your beardie may eat less or stop eating completely. Molting and growing new skin is a complicated process, so it’s understandable when your pet isn’t interested in food right before or during the process.
Still, it’s important to keep offering fresh and nutritious meals to your bearded dragon – sooner or later their appetite will return!
What If My Baby Bearded Dragon Isn’t Shedding?
If your baby bearded dragon isn’t shedding, don’t panic. It’s normal for them to shed without you realizing it, especially if they eat their own shed skin. If you think that your beardie isn’t shedding enough though, there could be an underlying issue like parasites, digestive issues, or another illness.
In any case, proper care is very important in helping your baby bearded dragon successfully shed its skin. That includes giving them frequent baths and providing a balanced diet of both bugs and salad. Proper nutrition can make all the difference when it comes to shedding. Also, if they do have an illness causing them difficulty in shedding, there are reptile antibiotics you can give them safely.
Does My Baby Bearded Dragon Have Scale Rot?
It is possible for baby bearded dragons to get scale rot. As the name implies, this condition causes the scales of your pet to rot and die. It’s usually caused by high levels of humidity, bacteria, and wet bedding, so it’s important that these factors are monitored closely in order to keep your bearded dragon healthy.
Signs that your baby bearded dragon might have scale rot include flaky skin, discolored scales, blisters, lethargy, loss of appetite, and lack of basking.
If not treated promptly, scale rot can cause additional problems and can be deadly.
Most owners shouldn’t need to worry too much about scale rot as long as they’re taking proper care of their bearded dragon. However, if you do suspect that your baby has gotten sick with this ailment it’s advised that you seek professional help right away.
Shedding is a natural, healthy process for your bearded dragon, and keeping an eye on its shedding schedule helps you understand both what to expect when it comes time to shed, and when the best time is to reach out for help if something goes wrong.
With the understanding that this process can vary from dragon to dragon, with regular and appropriate care you can ensure that your bearded dragon stays healthy and happy.