f you own a bearded dragon, you may have noticed that your pet sheds their skin from time to time. But how often does this happen? Is it normal for them to shed their skin frequently? In this blog post, we’ll explore the answer to these questions and more, so you can understand what’s going on with your beloved pet! We’ll also discuss how to help them through the shedding process and what signs to look out for if something is wrong. So keep reading to find out everything you need to know about your bearded dragon’s shedding habits!
During their first six months, Beardies shed their skin usually once a week. Between the ages of six months and twelve months, Bearded Dragons‘ shedding may slow down from once per week to about twice a month. As they get older, they shed less because they don’t need to develop anymore.
This article will describe Bearded Dragon shedding, so you understand what to expect.
What Is Bearding Dragon Shedding?
The process of getting rid of old skin cells and replacing them with new ones is called “shedding.” Approximately once every two weeks, this takes place in reptiles. When a beardie loses its skin, it does not often experience discomfort or suffering. But if your pet gets too frustrated during this time, he might feel some pain.
If you observe that your beardie is behaving especially lethargic or exhausted, you must take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet can look at your bearded dragons and tell if they need medical care.
Why Do Beardies Shed Their Skin?
Bearded dragons undergo shedding because their skin is rigid and lacks elasticity. As they develop, their skin must be shed. Bearded dragons, like other reptiles, experience ecdysis, Greek for “put off” or shedding. Small, hard plates called scales or scutes cover the epidermis, the top layer of a reptile’s skin. These scales defend the animal from potential predators as well as the environment.
Proteins called alpha and beta keratin is used to construct the scales. The process of shedding begins at this point when the new scales begin to develop, and the old, scaled skin begins to shed off.
The shedding process might vary greatly from species to species. For example, snakes usually shed their skin all at once, leaving behind a copy of themselves. On the other hand, bearded dragons shed in distinct areas with flakes of varied sizes. In the wild, shedding also aids in the elimination of parasites like ticks and mites.
The majority of beardies will be able to successfully shed their skin without any problems. However, it is still suggested that you keep a careful check on them as they go through this. It’ll also ensure that all of their skin has been lost. Your bearded dragon might develop health problems, such as tail rot if it repeatedly sheds its skin in an inadequate manner.
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Shed ad different ages?
Changes in hormones cause shedding, and it is different for each beardie. Compared to adult dragons, young dragons less than a year old shed their skin much more often. This is because bearded dragon babies grow up so fast.
Similarly, young dragons often shed their skin many times throughout the first year of their lives. Until they’re over a year old, they shed every 6-8 weeks. As a result, as they reach maturity, when the rate of their overall body growth begins to slow down, the rate at which they shed their skin also begins to decrease.
The shedding process is usually triggered by specific situations or behaviors in bearded dragons that have reached adulthood. Beardies that have reached adulthood may shed their skins many times throughout the course of a single year, but more often than not, they will do so in fragments.
How Do Bearded Dragons Shed?
Bearded dragons go through a number of developmental phases before reaching their adult form when they shed. In the beginning, the juvenile bearded dragon will begin to develop hair on his neck and face. After these hairs develop, the bearded dragon’s whiskers will lengthen.
The thickness of these whiskers increases until they reach their entire length. At this stage in life, the beardie has developed into an adult. The bearded dragon will continue to mature into a full-sized adult throughout this stage of development.
After three years, it becomes sexually mature. After reaching sexual maturity, the bearded dragon will no longer undergo any further development.
What are Signs of Bearded Dragon Shedding?
If you own a bearded dragon and are curious about why it is shedding, the following are some potential reasons:
Your bearded dragon might also be shedding because its diet has changed. It’s possible that your bearded dragon can develop stomach issues if you make too many abrupt changes to its food.
When your bearded dragon is sick, it may lose weight faster than it normally would.
Your bearded dragon may lose its skin more regularly due to the excessive blood loss it has experienced.
Bearded dragons that are older tend to lose their skin more frequently than younger bearded dragons because their bodies develop fewer follicles.
Stress can sometimes lead animals to lose their appetite, which might result in their putting on additional weight. This could make your bearded dragon look thinner than usual.
Certain parasites, such as mites, may also cause excessive shedding.
The hormone estrogen is involved in the process of controlling the growth of facial hair. If your bearded dragon is afflicted with a hormonal imbalance, it is possible that he may struggle to generate an adequate amount of testosterone. This deficiency in testosterone causes an increase in the amount of shedding.
An animal’s body that has reached sexual maturity will create fewer sperm and egg cells as a result. The result of this is that the males become sterile, and the females stop ovulating, which causes the loss of their skin.
It is normal for male bearded dragons to shed their shedding scales during the mating season. On the other hand, not every species displays this behavior.
In order to mate with a female bearded dragon, a male bearded dragon must first complete the shedding process.
Most Common Shedding Period For Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons can either partially or completely shed their skin, giving them the flexibility to do so. Bearded dragons that only shed in parts will do so at their own pace. Some may lose their tails first, while others will lose them last. At first, it’s up to them entirely, and each one will be unique.
Bearded dragons that are still juveniles will shed their skin more frequently than adults that have reached full maturity. The only reason for this is that they are still getting bigger. Because the top layer of their skin is so thin and fragile, their bodies grow too large for their skin because the top layer is so delicate.
Beardies lose their skin once a month during the first five months of their existence if given the right conditions. Individuals exposed to improper environmental circumstances may shed more or less than they should.
Bearded dragons will lose all of their skin once or twice a year when fully grown. They don’t shed as much as young dragons since their size isn’t changing as quickly. They may even do a partial shedding once every several months each year, seemingly unfazed by the procedure.
All reptiles go through a phase called brumation, similar to hibernation and occur throughout winter. Bearded dragons tend to lose their skin extremely quickly once the brumation stage has ended, which is something that happens very frequently. Beardies do not need to shed their skin when they are brumating since they fall into a state of inactivity during this time. During this time, it will eat less and preserve energy. However, soon after that, they might not have shed their coat for three or even four months, which means that the next shed will be long overdue. In the first several weeks after brumating, they may do this.
How to Help Your Bearded Dragon With Its Shedding?
If you wish to make sure that your bearded dragon is as comfortable as possible while he is recovering from its shedding, use the following strategies:
- Give him a sunny location to bask. To ensure that your bearded dragon receives adequate amounts of sunlight, you should keep it close to a window.
- Provide proper ventilation. Take precautions to prevent your beardie from being overheated.
- Ensure that it has access to clean air. You shouldn’t keep your bearded dragon inside for extended periods.
- Avoid overfeeding. Animals that are fed excessively will have diarrhea, which will result in loose feces. There are a lot of bacteria in these stools, which could make your beardie sick.
- Clean up the poop often. If you come across any feces, remove them as soon as possible.
- Resist the use of strong chemicals. There are several cleaning chemicals that should not be used around reptiles. Instead, make use of natural cleaning solutions.
- Your bearded dragon should never be given raw meat to eat. Reptiles can get very sick from eating raw meat. Always ensure that your pet’s food is correctly prepared.
- You must never force your bearded dragon to eat. Give him the option to choose whether or not he wants to consume anything.
- You should only give it food once a day. Instead, you might want to try feeding them twice daily.
- Keep a tight eye on your bearded dragon at all times. If you see anything odd, call your vet.
How Does Your Bearded Dragon Act Differently When It Sheds?
While there shouldn’t be any major shifts in behaviour, there are a few unusual ones that you should keep an eye out for. These may suggest your beardie will shed (especially if they’re older).
Their activity level could slow down, and they might even start eating less food. Even if your beardie is used to being handled, they may become less willing to do so. This is because they experience discomfort whenever they are handled or gripped.
When Can You Hold A Bearded Dragon While Shedding?
When our loved ones are going through hard times or aren’t feeling well, it’s only natural that we want to be with them. In the same vein, because we are aware that the process of shedding may be difficult, painful, and inconvenient for our bearded dragons, every beardie owner wants to cuddle and pat his or her bearded dragon in order to express their love for their pet and ensure that it is comfortable. During the shedding process, the most helpful thing you can do for your buddy is to give him space and try to avoid cuddling him as much as possible. But there are instances when you have to hold your bearded dragons.
- During an emergency
- Misting & bathing
- While Providing Skin massage
- For feeding them
- To clean the enclosure
Even if you can hold your beardie in the above situations, be gentle and hold it for as short a time as possible.
What To Consider When Holding A bearded Dragon While Shedding?
- When handling a bearded dragon, the most important thing to remember is to be gentle and not hold him too tightly. This is because the areas of the body where the skin is just being shed are painful, and those areas may also be slightly inflamed. This is especially important when the bearded dragon is shedding.
- Do not hold or handle your bearded buddy for an extended period. Long-term handling can upset a bearded dragon, causing him to hiss and huff, indicating he wishes to be left alone. Additionally, it will become terrified of you and make every effort to avoid you in the future. It will make handling much more challenging, particularly when handling must be avoided.
- If your bearded dragon displays hostility or aggressiveness against you, it may attempt to avoid you, run away, or hide; when you visit its habitat, you should never attempt to handle him.
- The last and most important thing is to be careful not to pull off its skin. Many inexperienced pet owners mistakenly believe they may assist their bearded buddy in shedding its skin. Continuing to do this will just make his suffering worse, and it might lead to other difficulties. Since it’s a natural occurrence, the best thing to do is nothing and allow it to happen on its own.
Do Bearded Dragons Change Colour When They Shed?
Bearded dragons usually lose their skin many times within the course of a single year. This can take place either immediately before they molt or instantly after they have completed the process. In most cases, a bearded dragon will lighten in colour throughout shedding. This is because the new skin is thinner and more permeable than the old skin.
Do Bearded Dragons Eat the Skin That They Shed?
Bearded dragons have a unique manner of shedding. This behavior is utilized to ward off potential predators, obtain calcium, and recycle nutrients. The shed skin of a bearded dragon may be found all over the area once the dragon has shed it. This can occur everywhere, such as on land, in water, or even in the branches of trees.
In fact, old skin is full of nutrients. Some of these nutrients help the bearded dragon grow new skin, while others help it digest its food. In addition, the dragon disperses its old skin to protect itself from being trodden on or consumed by its enemies.
What to Do if the Bearded Dragon Isn’t Eating When Shedding?
Bearded dragon owners have dealt with this problem many times. In fact, many reptile species get unhappy before or during shedding. Because of this, they might stop eating, try hiding, or become less active. In most cases, this only lasts for a few days. It is almost always the cause of shedding, whether it is already taking place or is about to start. Examine your bearded dragon in great detail, of course. And if no shedding occurs, set up a visit with a veterinarian as soon as possible.
It may be more challenging for a bearded dragon that is still young or a baby to stop eating. In any case, they don’t shed much within their first year because of their disposition and belief that they need to eat to get bigger. If it does occur, it will only last for one or two days.
Why Is the Bearded Dragon Not Losing Its Shed?
You shouldn’t be too concerned about an adult pet. They will shed their skin at the appropriate time if you provide sufficient UV illumination, the appropriate heat gradient, adequate hydration, and nutritious food.
If your pet is this age and hasn’t shed any skin, you might want to take them to the doctor. Your bearded dragon won’t be able to go through this procedure without appropriate heat, light, moisture, vitamins, and food. Although everything appears in order, you should still schedule a visit with your veterinarian.