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Why Your Bearded Dragon Is Walking On Its Wrists!

When it comes to keeping reptiles as pets, bearded dragons have long been one of the most popular options amongst corn snakes, leopard geckos, and ball pythons.

Due to the huge popularity of bearded dragons, we commonly see people reaching out and asking for advice with a wide range of common health problems with bearded dragons walking on their wrists being one of them.

The most common and often most serious reason that a bearded dragon will walk on its wrists is due to metabolic bone disease (MBD) that is often due to a lack of calcium in their diet.

If you catch MBD early enough, your bearded dragon can often recover but the longer MBD is left to develop, the less likely that it is for your bearded dragon to make a full recovery.

Some breeding lines of bearded dragons are thought to have a higher chance of MBD developing too so many bearded dragon owners choose to dust their pet’s food with a reptile calcium supplement even if their bearded dragon is not walking on its wrists or showing other signs of MBD to help reduce the chance of it developing.

In some cases though, MBD can still develop due to other reasons with MBD, unfortunately, becoming a more common problem with the species.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Walking On Its Wrists?

The most common reason that your bearded dragon will walk on its wrists is due to metabolic bone disease making their wrists too weak to keep their feet in the regular position.

Less common causes of a bearded dragon walking on its wrists include injuries to your bearded dragon’s feet and a heat pad being set too hot resulting in burns to your bearded dragon’s feet.

We have a dedicated article going over what to do if your bearded dragon has a broken toe as well as an article going over why putting heating pads on the side of the tank is becoming more common.

If you do suspect that either of these may be why your bearded dragon is walking around on its wrists rather than on its feet, we would highly recommend that you read those articles instead.

For the rest of this article, we are going to be focusing in on metabolic bone disease due to it being the more common reason that your pet bearded dragon will be walking around on its wrists rather than its feet.

If you want professional confirmation though, you are able to book a quick video call with a veterinarian to have them assess your bearded dragon with those video calls often being quicker and cheaper than a trip to your local veterinarian’s office.

What Are The Signs Of MBD In Bearded Dragons?

In addition to your bearded dragon walking on its wrists and walking wobbly, other signs of metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons include swelling of the face, mouth, and back legs along with lethargy and trembling limbs.

In more serious cases of metabolic bone disease, you may also see muscle twitching, deformities, and an inability to a regular posture when standing still.

Although a bearded dragon walking on its wrists is one of the more obvious signs of metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons, it is not one of the first things to watch out for.

You will often notice your bearded dragon walking wobbly before it starts to walk on its wrists with the wobbles being due to both pain and the inability to keep its feet in their intended position.

The other additional symptoms of metabolic bone disease start to show as the problem develops and the more symptoms that develop and start showing, the harder it will be for your bearded dragon to make a full recovery.

Once your bearded dragon gets to a stage where it is unable to hold a regular posture with its spine then it is doubtful that it will ever be able to make a full recovery.

How Do You Reverse A MBD Bearded Dragon?

Depending on the severity of the metabolic bone disease in your bearded dragon, it can be difficult to fully reverse the condition.

A mild case of MBD can often be reversed by dusting the food of your bearded dragon with a calcium and vitamin d3suppliment. The more serious the condition becomes, the more likely your bearded dragon will require vitamin d3 injections and the less likely is it to recover.

This is why it is so important that you start to treat for MDB as soon as you noticed the symptoms as well as why standard supplementation with a reptile calcium supplement is becoming increasingly common within the bearded dragon keeping community.

Prevention is always better than cure and more and more bearded dragon owners are switching over to this philosophy when it comes to preventing MDB in their pets.

If your bearded dragon does have advanced metabolic bone disease then a vet may be required.

Their recommendations could include various calcium supplements, rehydration fluids, a wider nutritional supplement, or injectable vitamin d3 with injections of calcitonin also being used in some very bad cases where metabolic bone disease is at a very advanced stage.


That brings our article going over why your bearded dragon is walking on its wrists as well as how you can try to treat the problem and in come cases prevent it with your other bearded dragons. Metabolic bone disease is the most common reason why your bearded dragon is walking on its wrists and it is only becoming more common due to breeding lines with defects being bred over and over to meed the demand for beared dragons right now so you should always look for signs in your pets moving forward.