Bearded Dragon Stress Marks – Everything You Need To Know

Bearded dragons are calm and friendly pets. They live in peace and decently interact with their owners. If they are kept while taking care of all their natural environmental needs, i.e. temperature, humidity, space, substrate, diet, etc., they remain happy and healthy. Bearded dragons only feel stressed when they are annoyed due to any reason, or they are suffering from some health issues. To learn more about bearded dragon tank setup or bearded dragon’s diet, you can read, “The Art of Dragon Domiciles: A Comprehensive Guide to Bearded Dragon Tank Setup”, and “The Comprehensive Bearded Dragon Feeding Guide”.

Try to notice the following symptoms if you think your bearded dragon is stressed:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Not basking. 
  • Not going to the bathroom.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Not eating at all.
  • Sluggishness.
  • Lethargy.
  • Hissing.
  • Frenzied activity.
  • Mouth constantly hanging open.
  • Head bobbing.
  • Beard puffing.
  • Stress marks.
  • Glass surfing.

These behaviors or symptoms are directly or indirectly associated with stress. So, if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, your pet dragon might be stressed.

To learn more about bearded dragon behaviors and what they indicate, you can read the following article. They will help you to understand your dragon better.

One of the most common and easy-to-spot signs of stress is the bearded dragon stress marks. Bearded dragon stress marks may appear on your pet dragon’s chin, neck, or belly. You can easily observe bearded dragon stress marks if:

  • The bearded dragon is shedding
  • The new bearded dragon is still adjusting to his new home and new environment.
  • Your pet dragon is a baby dragon. Baby bearded dragons frequently show stress marks as they are growing and adapting. 

Each bearded dragon’s stressed marks are different. Your bearded dragon may show dark lines, ovals, or spots as bearded dragon stress marks. In some cases, the entire beard of your dragon may be black even if it is not expanded. Sometimes, they show bearded dragon stress marks on the dragon’s limbs in addition to his belly.

If you observe stress marks on your bearded dragon skin, don’t be alarmed. As they might be normal and don’t show any type of illness. You may observe and take notes when and why they appear. This will help you to solve the root cause of stress marks.

In case you can’t understand the reason behind the stress marks, then it is recommended to call your vet and get your dragon medical attention.

Remember that, stress marks on bearded dragons are usually temporary and caused by some little mistake done by you. So, you need to be calm and patient and try to isolate the cause and solve the problem.

Other common issues of stress marks on bearded dragons are:

  • The bearded Dragon tank’s temperature is not proper. They need specific temperatures for your tank and for the basking spot. Usually, the daytime temperature is 95-110 degrees Fahrenheit, and the nighttime temperature is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If your bearded dragon or your bearded dragon tank is too hot or too cold. Again temperature setting is not good.
  • Bearded dragons are scared due to some new décor or some new addition in their tank.
  • Bearded dragons are annoyed due to substrate or any other material present in the tank. Sometimes, they are even annoyed due to their reflection.
  • Live feeders, if left in a tank, can bite your dragon and cause a stressed bearded dragon.

So, if your bearded dragon is stressed, the first thing you need to do is to check their tank setup. This is the most common cause of bearded dragon stress or stress marks on bearded dragons.

To know more about temperature, humidity, décor, floor, tank, substrate, lighting, etc. setting in a bearded dragon’s tank, you may also read this article:

  • Moving to a new tank or new area can cause stress.
  • Loud noise can cause stress. Noise like outside traffic, dogs, other pets, yelling, TV, music, or a crying baby.
  • Vibrations and rumbling from loud noise can also bother your bearded dragon.  
  • A new pet or sharing of tank with another bearded dragon can cause stress.

This could mean any of the following:

If your pet bearded dragon is acting stressed and refuses to eat, or his appetite is low, try to reevaluate his diet. A healthy diet can be very helpful to your bearded dragon in fighting stress. Always add calcium and vitamin D3 to the bearded dragon’s diet as they need calcium for your overall well-being and vitamin D3 helps calcium in absorption in the bearded dragon’s bloodstream.

Bearded dragons in growing age and full-grown bearded dragons have different demands for diet. As already mentioned, baby or young bearded dragons need 20% greens and 80% insects whereas adult bearded dragons need 80% greens and only 20% insects. So, you need to take care of this aspect.

If you think stress is caused by the diet transition, you need to make the transition process a little bit slow. You can also sift from a temporary to an old diet to help them fight stress. Once they are stress-free, give them time to adapt to the new diet.

When it’s time for mating, adult male bearded dragons are especially known to act a little crazy. They scrabble at glass. Bob their head, run frantically back and forth and puff out their beard. Don’t worry, it will pass.

Usually, this time comes from September to March. For some dragons, it’s the time after brumation. During this time, you need to remain calm and enjoy the show of your pet dragon.

Every bearded dragon is different, some are more affectionate while others are less. Pay attention, if you notice your bearded dragon is stressed. This might be caused by improper handling, too much handling, or too little handling. Especially, when kids or strangers are handling your bearded dragon, they can irritate them or scare them.

Bearded dragons are exotic creatures. Even the friendliest bearded dragons need some alone time as they are habitual of alone time in the desert. It’s their nature. So, you need to take account of this aspect as well. Balanced and proper handling is what they want and what you need to provide them. With time, you will learn the nature of your pet dragon and adjust accordingly.

Remember that, most bearded dragons don’t want any type of handling after they eat their meal. It’s time for digestion at the basking point. So, you need to leave them alone and let them enjoy their own time.

Bearded dragons are territorial, they don’t like to share their space. Especially male bearded dragons. They even behave aggressively when some other pets or other bearded dragon share their space or in some cases even the room.

These creatures remain fine and happy when housed separately. Sharing of tank or the presence of any other pet in the room can cause stress. Sometimes, one of the submissive bearded dragons can get injured by another aggressive bearded dragon, when they both share a tank.

To know about aggressive bearded dragons’ behaviors, you can read, “4 Aggressive Bearded Dragon Behaviors to Look Out For”.

If you observe your dragon is afraid of his reflection, or he might be thinking he’s sharing the tank, or he might think of his reflection as some predator, he will be stressed. You need to wrap a background around the sides and back of the terrarium.

Like all pets, bearded dragons need your attention. If you don’t play with your dragon, don’t take him walk in the sunshine, he will be stressed.

If you have a female bearded dragon and she’s expecting, she will be in stress. Pregnancy is tough for all humans as well as animals and pets. You can take care of her, give her a proper diet and calcium supplement, and in case she’s not getting better, you can call your vet.

You know, you can check if your bearded dragon is male or female at home. Read, “Male vs Female Bearded Dragons: How to Tell Them Apart”.

If your bearded dragon is acting abnormally and you have already checked the shedding, diet, and environmental issues, your dragon might be ill or injured. Some common but serious health issues include Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), gut impaction or blockage, mouth rot, etc. If you think your dragon is injured or ill, you need to call your vet.

You know, it’s not a perfect world, and bearded dragons can even feel stressed in their natural environment. So, avoiding stress entirely in captivity is impossible.

But, you can keep your bearded dragon happy by providing a comfortable, safe, and secure home. You can do the following to minimize the stress:

If you have a new bearded dragon, you need to be very careful in handling them. They get scared due to the new home and they need time for adjustment with you. Try to slow down the process of handling. How to Handle a Bearded Dragon? Remember, always use a protective glove while handling a new or stressed dragon, he might bite you. You can read the following article to learn more about bearded dragon’s bite:

If your dragon is stressed, try to talk to him, speak softly, and hold your hand in the bearded dragon’s tank so your dragon can get used to it. Eventually, your pet dragon will become calm enough for you to handle.  

Make sure that the bearded dragon tank is set up according to their natural environment. The tank has the right temperature and humidity setting. The tank also has a good substrate as well as hiding places. Always remove unwanted objects, food, and live insects from the tank.

You need to clean the poop, clean the substrate, remove uneaten food, and remove uneaten insects from the tank.

To know more about bearded dragon poop, you can read, “Bearded Dragon Poop 101: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know”.

You need to place the tank where there is no loud noise, i.e. away from the window or the TV, etc.

Your bearded dragon needs your time and attention. You need to take him out regularly for walks as well as for playtime.

Your dragon’s overall health depends upon the environment as well as what you are feeding them. If you provide them healthy balanced calcium calcium-rich diet, they will be happy and stress-free.

If you find your bearded dragon stressed, you need to do the following immediately:

  • Cuddle with your dragon.
  • Wrap her in a warm blanket. 
  • Give your dragon a warm bath.
  • Give your dragon quite time. Pause all the noise around them.
  • If your dragon knows you, you can gently lower your hand in the tank. They will be calm by recognizing you.
  • Offer them a good treat, like their favorite fruits.
  • Resolve the cause of stress.

As there are many causes of stress and each situation demands different handling, so you need to call your vet if you are seeing signs of stress. In addition, here are some conditions when calling vet is recommended:

  • Stress marks won’t go away after shedding ends.
  • Stress marks won’t go away after a week has gone by.
  • In the case of a baby bearded dragon don’t wait for a week to pass, call your vet immediately.
  • If you can’t locate the cause of stress and you have already ruled out the tank setup, temperature, diet, etc.
  • If the stress is caused by some injury or some illness.
  • If your dragon shows signs of illness along with stress, you need to call the vet immediately.

Stress is experienced by all living creatures. Bearded dragons experience stress when they are bothered in any way. The causes of stress are versatile and each condition has its demand. You need to be observant and take care of your bearded dragon to mitigate the chances of bearded dragon stress.

I hope, now you can take care of your dragon in a more effective way. If you have questions, please feel free to Contact Us.

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