Bearded Dragon Care
Do Bearded Dragons Bite?
Yes bearded dragons can bite. A bite can break the skin and cause bruising. But your bearded dragon will usually let you know it isn’t happy before it bites you by hissing, puffing, displaying its beard or even trying to run away before resorting to biting.
If you see signs that your beardie isn’t comfortable and is giving the impression it may bite, leave it to calm down first. Consider how to refocus its attention before touching it. There are some tips for helping your bearded dragon to become more friendly in the article on taming.
If you do ever get bitten by your Bearded Dragon, go to your doctor even if the wound is minor. Any broken skin no matter how small from an animal bite should receive medical attention immediately.
Body Condition Scoring
The same body condition scoring used for mammals, is also applied to reptiles. Scale ranges from 1 (emaciated) to 5 (excellent condition) or 9 (grossly obese). To assess a reptile for body score palpate the tail, pelvic muscles and fat bodies (Gibbons, 2009).
Is your bearded dragon fat or skinny? See more in the post Is my Bearded Dragon fat.
Wild male bearded dragons control territories, this does not change in captivity. The males will protect their territory from other males. Contact will result in fighting.
Females hold smaller territories within the males territory.
Fecal samples for parasite testing
As more and more online services become available, vets have competition for parasite testing. While this does appear to be quite attractive, it is not necessarily effective and could lead to incorrect results.
Tests are best performed on stools less than 24 hours old to minimize development or destruction of parasites which will inhibit testing. Samples kept between 4 to 8°c will reduce the development or destruction of some parasites, however others, i.e., flagellates are best kept alive at room temperature.
A teaspoon sized sample is sufficient from two or more stools as evidence of parasites can be intermittently shed and may not be apparent in a single stool. Seal the sample in a zip lock bag or sample. If obtaining a sample is not possible prior to visiting the vets, the vets will be able to extract a sample.
- Wolf, D., Vrhovec, M. G., Failing, K., Rossier, C., Hermosilla, C., and Pantchev, N. (2014) Diagnosis of gastrointestinal parasites in reptiles: comparison of two coprological methods Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 56:44.
- Gibbons, P. (2009) Critical Care Nutrition and Fluid Therapy in Reptiles.
- Wilkinson, S. L. (2015) Reptile Wellness Management. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice Vol 18 (2) May 2015 pp 281-304. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cvex.2015.01.001