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Bearded Dragon Shedding : Everything You Need To Know

Why Do Bearded Dragons Shed

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If you’ve never seen a bearded dragon shedding before, it can be a little alarming at first. Like other reptiles, they shed their skin relatively often and it can be a whole process for them to get it off in the right way that’s safe and comfortable. There are even ways for you to help them with their shed if it is difficult to get through, but you should also proceed with a little bit of caution so you don’t help them with removal too soon.

You may be wondering why bearded dragons shed in the first place, and how to help them through it. It isn’t as scary as it may seem but it does need to be dealt with carefully to prevent injury. So why do they do it?

Let’s talk about that.

Why Do They Shed?

Quite like how humans shed dead skin cells every day, beardies and other reptiles begin to outgrow their layer of skin as they get older and bigger. This is why young bearded dragon will shed far more often than adults because they are constantly growing and their skin layer has to keep up with that growth. It’s similar to how some teenagers may get stretch marks as they grow from adolescence because their skin is trying to keep up with their growth spurt.

For the first twenty-four weeks of a bearded dragon life, you’ll find them shedding around every week. This won’t be an entire body shed, but more in sporadic places on the body that are growing faster than others. For the next twenty-four weeks, you’ll find that your beardie is shedding about twice a month or just singularly every month.

Their growth has slowed by this point so they won’t be shedding nearly as often. By the time they hit a year old they should only be shedding a handful of times a year after that point. This is less due to growth and more just due to the fact that skin cells die over time so they’ll need to replenish a layer every once in a while.

How to Tell They Are Shedding

It won’t be entirely obvious at first, but your beardie may start to exhibit little behaviors that will tip you off they may be shedding a layer of skin. If they usually like being handled, you may find they are more resistant or aggressive towards the idea as their skin may be itchy and sensitive. They may not move around as much during this time because it is uncomfortable for them, but soon enough you’ll start seeing the little papery bits of shed that begin peeling off from the body.

They don’t typically need a lot of help to get through their shedding time, so it is best for you to mostly avoid bothering them. They have been handling this on their own as a species forever, so they don’t need a lot of help getting it done. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to help though. Here’s a cool time lapse video! Skip through it and see what the full process looks like!

How to Make Shedding Easier For Them

There are a few tricks you can employ to help your bearded dragon through the shedding process without bothering them too much. These can be especially helpful if your beardie’s shedding is a little thicker and more difficult to get to fall off.

Misting

While you already mist your dragon occasionally to help with their hydration, you may want to do it more frequently while they’re in shedding mode. This will help hydrate the skin a little and make it easier for those big flakes of skin to peel off when they need to. It can also be a little itchy for your beardie during this time and having some hydration can help relieve a little of that discomfort.

Baths

Similar to how misting your bearded dragon may help them with softening and loosening up the skin, a warm bath is another great option. Giving them about a half-hour to play around in some shallow warm water in the sink or tub is great for helping release more of their dead skin. If there are pieces that are nearly off, you can help gently to remove them, but do not try to tug or pull off any shed that is still fully attached.

Once a bearded dragon is fully shedding, you should bathe them every other day to try and encourage the skin to come off completely.

Shedding Aid

There are products on the market to help with getting a stubborn shed to fall off. These products will help to moisturize the skin and are added to bathwater to help get everything off completely. There are some products that can be misted directly onto the skin, but either way, these are hydrating products that will promote shedding.

Usually, you can get by with just misting or bathing but if the skin is incredibly stubborn you can use a shedding aid to help get the rest of it off. Ask your local pet store or your vet for good recommendations for shedding aids. Check out this popular solution on Amazon.

Do Not Pull

Your beardie’s skin is so sensitive and it should be treated with the utmost care. You are allowed to gently remove any of the skin that is nearly off but do not pull or peel off their skin. This can cause lasting damage to their scales and put them in pain, so please be cautious and do not tug on their skin.

Let it come off naturally. If you pull you risk injuring them and making them distrust you or feel uneasy around you. You want your beardie to feel safe and comfortable so just let their shed come off as naturally as you can and only help get pieces unstuck if they are almost off.

What Else?

A lot of bearded dragons will utilize their substrate, rocks, or branches that are in their terrariums to help remove shed that is bothering them. They will rub against it to loosen up skin that is already flaking off so having these things in their habitat will help. You will also need to ensure that they are getting the right amount of heat, light, vitamins, and minerals.

A proper diet and the proper hydration and light to the skin will help them have an easier time shedding. If their shed is stuck and not coming off correctly that can be a sign that they aren’t getting sufficient enough nutrients or hydration. It may also be recommended to up their humidity at the time so that it can help keep their skin moist.

If it is too dry in their terrarium, their already dry skin will have difficulty coming off. Keep up with the misting, bathing, and try to keep them fed and watered as best you can. They may be resistant to eating if they are feeling uncomfortable or itchy, but just make sure to offer them food at their normal feeding time just in case.

You’ll want to check around the eyes, on the belly, and their beards to make sure there isn’t any stuck shed. Once they’ve shed completely, you’ll want to clean up the mess to try and make their habitat comfortable for them again. They can shed a lot of skin so it is important to get it out of areas where they will sleep or just get comfortable as it can be irritating to the fresh skin.

Shedding time is honestly such a good opportunity for you to pamper your beardie and show them you love them in those little ways. Bath time especially can be such a nice time to bond with your beardie. They like to play in the water and it feels good on their skin when they are shedding as it soothes the itch and helps with the sensitivity of fresh skin.

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do bearded dragons shed

Jonathan Beal

Honestly, if my apartment didn't allow dogs I never would have had the chance to see how cool Beardies were. Me and my little guy are best buds! I've done a lot of research over time, so I figured I'd just share some info to help others on their bearded dragon journeys.

Important:  BeardedDragonGuidance.com is for informational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always consult a veterinarian for bearded dragon concerns.

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