Bearded dragons are some of the calmest and most wonderful reptiles to have for new and experienced pet owners alike, but there are some things that can make a bearded dragon scared.
The good news is that you can work with your bearded dragon to make it more acclimatized to people and help reduce its anxiety and fear. If you’re willing to work with an afraid bearded dragon, you can be rewarded with a loving reptile that loves to get belly scratches or be picked up.
Bearded dragons become scared because they think they’re in a dangerous situation. Your bearded dragon might not recognize that you are the person that brings food everyday and it might see you as a potential predator. This is why your bearded dragon acts defensive when you’re around.
You can help make your bearded dragon less afraid by getting it slowly accustomed to being around people.
This includes gently stroking the side of the bearded dragon and picking it up for short periods of time. Here’s what you need to know about why your bearded dragon is afraid and what you can do to help it.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Scared?
Bearded dragons are some of the most loving and fun reptiles you can have around, but they can also be very skittish and easily scared.
There are few things that can make a bearded dragon scared and these can include changes in their cage, being afraid of predators, as well as stress. Let’s unpack a few of the big reasons why your bearded dragon might be a little skittish around new people.
One of the biggest reasons that your bearded dragon is scared is that it thinks it’s under attack. When you go to pick up your bearded dragon, you should think about things from the perspective of your new pet lizard.
You don’t want to be swooping overhead like a large predatory bird when you could be gently picking up the lizard in a way that supports its body weight. You also don’t want to be too loud or fast-moving, especially not while the lizard is just getting used to its new home.
Speaking of new homes, your bearded dragon might be scared because you recently changed something about its environment. This could be bringing your bearded dragon home from the pet store or redecorating its enclosure.
Any change will cause a spike in anxiety in your bearded dragon and this will make it more afraid than it usually is when it’s around people. Your bearded dragon is acting afraid as a self-defense mechanism because these changes take some time getting used to.
How Do You Know If Your Bearded Dragon Is Scared?
If you’ve ever been around bearded dragons for a long period of time, you can easily tell when a bearded dragon becomes scared. Bearded dragons will puff up the scales around their necks into a large and imposing beard of pointy scales when they get afraid.
Bearded dragons will also hold their mouths open as a way to try and scare off predators. If your bearded dragon is really afraid, they can even try to run away from people or it might bite or scratch them to try and escape.
Did you know that bearded dragons have a third eye? There is a rudimentary eye on the top of your bearded dragon’s head that it uses to sense minute changes in the light above it.
One of the theories for the existence of this third eye suggests that bearded dragons use this to detect the shadow of birds flying overhead. If your hand swoops in above your bearded dragon to pick it up, it’s going to assume a defensive posture and try to run away because it thinks you’re a predatory bird.
Your bearded dragon could also puff up the beard of scales around its neck in order to try and scare off a predator. If you ever see that defensive posture and a bearded dragon, you know that it’s stressed out and afraid.
Bearded dragons typically don’t bite people, but if they’re cornered or picked up and held too tightly, they might start biting and scratching as a last-ditch effort to escape something that they think is a predator.
How Do I Stop My Bearded Dragon From Being Scared?
One of the ways that you can stop your bearded dragon from being so scared is by slowly acclimating it to the new changes in its environment that have been making it so afraid. It’s all about making your bearded dragon comfortable with its new home as well as the new people in it’s life.
Over time, your bearded dragon is going to start to associate the people around it with food which will make it a much happier reptile overall. Here’s how you can stop your bearded dragon from being scared.
The first thing you can do is to not try to pick up and hold your bearded dragon right away. This is especially true for younger bearded dragons that haven’t been socialized around people yet.
You can start off by just leaving your hand in the bearded dragon’s enclosure, and then gently stroking the side of the bearded dragon, and then work your way up to picking up the bearded dragon and holding it for short periods of time. It’s all about working with the reptile slowly to get used to you.
You can also improve your bearded dragon’s cage to give it area or it can unwind. Everybody needs to get away for a while every now and then and this includes bearded dragons.
You should have some places in its enclosure where it can hide from the other people and pets that it lives with. This will allow your bearded dragon to have a sense of security in its enclosure and feel like it has some options should it get too anxious around new people.
There are a lot of environmental factors that can make a bearded dragon scared. These can include changes in its environment, new people, and not having enough places to hide inside its enclosure. You can make your bearded dragon more comfortable around people by slowly getting it used to being handled by humans. This involves gently picking up your bearded dragon and holding it for short periods of time until it gets comfortable being around people.