Bearded Dragon Shedding 101

Bearded dragons are gaining popularity among pets due to several reasons. They are social, docile, and easy to care for pets. Like all lizards, bearded dragons also shed their skin regularly. But,

This article will guide you and answer all your questions.

  • A baby bearded dragon sheds every 1-2 weeks.
  • A Juvenile bearded dragon sheds every 4-6 weeks.
  • An adult bearded dragon sheds every few months.

Bearded dragons shed their skin when they outgrow it or when the skin is damaged.

Bearded dragons are habitant of desert and they have keratinized scales for skin. These scales are not stretchable/ elastic, which means they have to remove completely old skin when they grow big or when the skin is damaged. This is called shedding or “Ecdysis”.

Bearded Dragon’s skin doesn’t grow, it remains the same size regardless of how big they get. That’s why they undergo shedding or ecdysis.

Humans lose cells and grow new skin every day, while bearded dragons do it at once. Shedding is a normal process and it shows that your bearded dragon is healthy and growing big.

As already mentioned, bearded dragons also undergo shedding when their skin does not serve the purpose due to some injury. If existing skin has scrapes, scuffs, and damage bearded dragons will shed the current skin to form a new one.

Here are some facts about bearded dragons’ skin:

  • The bearded dragon’s skin is protective and waterproof.
  • It’s inelastic and can’t grow with a bearded dragon’s age/ size.
  • Skin is an organic matter and it dies with time. This is the reason adult bearded dragons also go for shedding even if they don’t grow in size.
  • Old skin is high in nutrients, especially calcium, and many bearded dragons eat their old skin. But if a bearded dragon is not eating it by itself, you should not force him.
  • Bearded dragons only shed when new skin has grown beneath their old skin. So, you need not to worry about them.
  • Bearded dragon skin is vital in absorbing UVB light and converting it into Vitamin D. It indirectly helps in calcium absorption.
  • The new skin is always more colorful and fresh.

Bearded dragons shed when they outgrow the skin. Since baby bearded dragons are growing fast, so they shed the most. The estimated shedding schedule is as follows: 

  • 0-6 months – sheds weekly.
  • 6-12 months – sheds every other week.
  • 12 months – sheds every other month.
  • 18 months – sheds once or twice a year. 

The shedding process is also different for baby, juvenile, and adult bearded dragons.

The Baby and Juvenile bearded dragon shed their entire skin at once. The adult bearded dragons usually shed patches of skin in different areas of the body.

The shedding period is also different for babies and adult bearded dragons.

  • The baby and juvenile bearded dragon shed quickly, they take a couple of days.
  • Adult bearded dragons take longer time. They may take up to two weeks.

There are several signs that your bearded dragon is about to shed. Knowing these signs and symptoms is necessary as many of these signs are similar to the signs of other diseases.

Many symptoms of shedding are similar to signs of other diseases and stress.

The common symptoms that your bearded dragon is about to shed are as under:

  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Itching
  • Irritability
  • Scratching or rubbing against things
  • Black beard 
  • Doesn’t want to be handled – Avoids you.
  • Skin scales look faded in color – Milky white
  • Small patches of skin are beginning to flake off

Shedding is a natural process and bearded dragons don’t need any external assistance to undergo shedding. In the wild, they undergo shedding all by themselves. But you can help them to undergo this uncomfortable step easily.

Naturally, bearded dragons can undergo shedding all by themselves.

Following are the things you can do to help your bearded dragon to undergo shedding easily: 

A warm bath can help the shedding. When you observe the small patches of skin are beginning to flake off, you can give them warm baths. Gently brush their skin in a circular motion to remove the skin flakes. As bearded dragon skin is waterproof, so warm bath is only important to remove the flakes of skin that are already dead and to relax your bearded dragon. Don’t forcibly remove the skin by pulling it.

While shedding, bearded dragons need some materials to rub off their skin. In this way, they can shed their skin more quickly and effortlessly. Place a rock, branch, or any other material with which they can rub themselves.

Calcium is very necessary in the shedding process. The overall well-being of bearded dragons depends on calcium intake. While shedding you need to provide them calcium supplements along with Vitamin D3 or other multivitamins. A deficiency of calcium can cause many problems including Metabolic Bone Disease or MBD.

In shedding, bearded dragons need proper UVB light which helps them to digest the food and calcium. You need to check the tank for proper lighting and heating setup. Also, check the UVB blub, and change it if it is 6 months old. Poor lighting and heating can cause calcium deficiency which can further cause many health issues for your bearded dragon.

Never pull off the old skin of bearded dragons. It can cause infection, can damage new skin, and can cause other health issues. You need to be very gentle as the process is already very uncomfortable for them.

During shedding, bearded dragon’s skin becomes very sensitive and they don’t like handling. Leave them alone and give them peace to undergo this process, or they will bite you.

Take care of your bearded dragon while they shed. Give them a healthy, calcium-rich diet, and keep them in a tank that has proper lighting, heating, and humidity setup. Feed them calcium supplements regularly. Keep an eye on them so that you can know if they are facing any trouble. In case of any abnormal behavior, call the vet.

All these tips are for dragons who are healthy and naturally undergoing this process. If you observe anything abnormal, call the vet immediately.

Issues like discomfort or appetite loss are normal during shedding and many bearded dragons shed without any other issues.

However, there are two rare in which you need to take your bearded dragon to the vet:

Not shedding with age or growth is a serious problem that can be caused by environmental or nutritional factors.

Your dragon’s dead skin might rarely stuck, even if he tries to remove it. You need to carefully give him warm baths and brush the skin in a circular motion. This might remove the stuck skin.

Stuck skin can constrict blood flow and in severe cases, your bearded dragon can lose toes or a limb. One of the symptoms of this problem is discoloration near the skin that is stuck.

Shedding is not a comfortable experience for your bearded dragon. You need to give time to your bearded dragon to get through this process all by himself, naturally. All you can do is to help him to undergo this process easily.

Anyway, it is also a sign that your dragon is growing and he’s healthy. Take care of your dragon and if you have any questions, feel free to Contact Us.

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