What causes bearded dragons to bite?
- hunger: a hungry bearded dragon is a bitey bearded dragon
- fear: scared or threatened dragons will bite
- being wild: wild bearded dragons, since they aren’t used to being handled and are well, wild animals, will bite
- male bearded dragons will bite females during mating
Starting at three weeks of age, baby and juvenile bearded dragons will often bite if there isn’t enough food to go around. At this age, they should be fed approximately two or three times per day and/or separated to their own enclosures. In breeding facilities where large batches of dragons are kept together, tail and limb biting will occur more often – more hungry dragons means more potential for bites.
Adults that bite
Much like with the young dragons, adults will bite if they aren’t fed enough or fed properly. A dragon that’s about to bite you will provide ample warning so you can get your hand out of the danger zone – watch for it to lunge at your fingers or hand with its tongue out. How do you prevent this? Feed your dragon what it needs and/or feed more substantial foodstuffs. If you’re feeding a couple of servings of insects per day interspersed with greens, fruits and vegetables, you should be fine. If you are still having problems, there’s an issue with the type of foods you’re feeding, or the amounts.
If your male dragons are biting your females during mating rituals and assorted mating behaviour, this is fine, it’s normal. These bites will show up on the beard and around the neck and head.
Fear: the other bite meat.
A frantically-waving bearded dragon, a dragon that’s hissing and displaying an opened mouth, or a dragon that’s flattening its body is displaying behaviour that tells you one very important thing: this dragon is scared and might bite you. Aggressive dragons’ behaviour may be lessened by handling them more often, but this is not a guarantee.
Are bearded dragon bites common?
No, but they do happen, as you read above. Does it hurt? Yes. Bearded dragon jaws are meant to crush hard insects like crickets, so a human finger is nothing – and they can draw blood.
Treating a dragon bite
Flush the wound under a tap for five minutes and let it bleed during this time – this will help flush out any nasties. Apply pressure after this period of time and disinfect, then be sure to consult a doctor.
As long as you keep your dragon fed and recognize the signs of fear, you have nothing to worry about!
It’s very important to remember that, if a dragon bites you, it is most likely your fault. You either didn’t recognize that your dragon was feeling threatened, or you haven’t been feeding it properly, or you just didn’t notice that the dragon was coming at you with its tongue out. Don’t be angry at your dragon – it’s responding the only way that it knows how. After all, it can’t tell you what’s on its mind, it’s up to you to watch for the signs.
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