Is your bearded dragon biting at you?
Would you like to be prepared just in case your beardy does bite you?
It’s always good to be prepared in case something terrible happens.
As a rule, beardies are gentle and laid-back creatures unless stressed out.
These reptiles can get stressed out by many things not related to you, but they may end up taking out their stress on you with a bite.
Now you need to know what to do if a bearded dragon bites you.
If your beardie bites you, start by staying calm and not pulling your hand back abruptly, which may cause more damage. Instead, firmly support the reptile’s body and pry the jaws gently apart until you remove your hand.
Although it may never happen to you, read on for details on this topic.
Table of Contents
5 Steps To Follow If A Bearded Dragon Bites You
This section details the steps you should follow if you get bit by a bearded dragon.
Commit these to memory in case it ever happens later.
#1 Stay Calm
As always, in a tough situation, stay calm.
If you lose your cool, you and your pet may suffer severe damage.
Bearded dragon bites are rarely dangerous or even cause minor damage beyond a sore finger or small cut.
Technically, a bearded dragon’s bite can do severe damage (such as breaking finger bones), but this rarely happens unless you lose your cool and forget the next step.
Keep it calm and move on to the next steps.
#2 Don’t Pull Back
Staying calm, you’ll remember NOT to yank, shake, or pull out the hand or finger which has been bitten.
This may cause the bearded dragon to bite down harder and take off part of your finger.
#3 Support The Body
Using your free hand, support the bearded dragon’s entire body or gently place it on a table where the reptile can rest.
If the bearded dragon doesn’t feel supported (such as when held in the air), it will clamp down harder to stay secure.
Supporting the body may make it feel comfortable enough to let go or start to loosen its grip.
#4 Pull The Jaws Apart
Using your free hand (or hands), gently pry the jaws of the bearded dragon’s jaws apart.
You may be surprised at how strongly it can bite down.
Pro-tip: Use a gradual technique by grasping the jaws and increasing pressure over time until the jaws have released.
Don’t pull the jaws open in one rough motion; this may injure the bearded dragon.
#5 Treat Any Bleeding Or Other Injury
Once your finger or hand has been taken out, you need to look at the bite area and treat it for injuries.
No skin may have been broken, and if this is the case, hooray for you!
Nothing else needs to be done.
However, if the skin has broken and there’s blood, you need to take a few extra steps.
Disclaimer: We are not a medical website, so don’t take our care advice as the word of a medical professional.
This being said, we do base our recommendations on reputable sources.
Your first step should be to wash and clean the area with warm water and antibacterial hand wash/soap.
Once the area is clean, use antibiotic ointment and an adhesive bandage to cover the area.
Some may recommend using peroxide to kill bacteria, but this has also been shown to kill healthy tissue in some cases.
Warning! If you suspect a broken bone (swollen area or lumps pressing on the skin), seek medical attention.
When in doubt, check with a doctor.
Now, you’re done.
Take care not to get bitten again by checking for “mean” behavior signs in bearded dragons.
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Is A Bite From A Bearded Dragon Dangerous?
Not severely, no.
But aren’t bearded dragons venomous?
Yes, a bearded dragon’s mouth has a mild venom, but it’s not harmful to humans.
What does a bearded dragon bite feel like?
Most bearded dragon bites feel like a very sharp pinch. It’s not so bad unless you get bitten by a particularly aggressive bearded dragon. In this case, there’s a chance the skin could tear, or bones could break.
Bones breaking are most likely to occur in the finger, but this is still highly unlikely.
If your skin is cut, make sure to clean out the area to prevent infection.
If you suspect a broken bone, seek medical help.
The majority of bites, which in themselves are rare, result in not much more than a small cut.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Bite Me?
Bearded dragons bite for several reasons:
- Feeding response: If you hand-feed your beardie, it can confuse your finger for food. It’s more likely to happen if you wiggle your finger as if it were an insect. Painted nails also confuse beardies.
- Feeling threatened: Some bearded dragons are more aggressive than others. If your pet feels stressed or afraid, it may bite you as a defense mechanism.
- Pain/injury: A bearded dragon that’s usually calm may bite you if it’s in pain. Check your pet for signs of injury, such as limping or swelling.
- Territorial response: If a bearded dragon feels threatened or protective over its space, it may lash out with a bite.
- Mating behavior: During breeding season, male bearded dragons may become more aggressive and bite out of hormonal changes.
- Handling issues: If your beardie is not used to being handled or has had a bad experience with handling, it may see your hand as a potential threat and bite in fear.
- Stress response: Like many animals, bearded dragons can become stressed when facing changes in their environment, such as moving to a new enclosure or being handled by someone unfamiliar.
It’s important to understand why bearded dragons bite so you can work on preventing future nips.
Let’s find out below.
Tips to Prevent Being Bit by a Bearded Dragon
There’s no denying that bearded dragon bites hurt. If your beardie is in a mood, it can also break your skin, causing a small cut. Ouch!
So, how can you prevent your beardie from biting you?
Know the Warning Signs
The best thing bearded dragon owners can do is to know when their pet is feeling threatened or stressed.
Some behaviors to watch out for include:
- Flattening their body and puffing up their beard
- Displaying a black beard
- Opening their mouth wide in a defensive stance
If you notice any of these signs, it’s best not to try to handle your bearded dragon at that moment. Give the fierce guy some space and time to calm down first.
Tame Your Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons have big personalities. Some can be quite friendly and docile, while others may be more territorial and aggressive.
If you have a bearded dragon with an attitude, it’s best to work on taming them to prevent bites.
It involves handling your beardie regularly in short increments, using positive reinforcement techniques, and avoiding sudden movements or loud noises that could startle them.
Building a bond with your bearded dragon will help, too. Give your pet little pleasurable scrubs, use scent familiarization tactics, and bond over mealtime. There’s nothing a tasty worm can’t fix.
The more comfortable your beardie is with you, the less likely they are to bite.
If you haven’t yet built a bond with your pet, here is our guide on building bonds with bearded dragons.
Don’t Hand Feed Your Beardie
Hand-feeding your bearded dragon might seem like a good idea, but it’s also the most common reason why they accidentally bite their owners.
Avoid using your fingers as bait for treats, and instead use tongs or tweezers. If you must hand feed, wear gloves or avoid wiggling your fingers.
What Diseases Can You Get From A Bearded Dragon?
Most of the diseases bearded dragons may carry aren’t a problem for humans.
Their most common problems are related to their diet and habitat, which can’t be passed to humans.
However, the biggest concern for human-beardy interactions is the passing of salmonella.
See our post on bearded dragon salmonella here.
These lizards carry the bacteria which cause intestinal problems in humans.
This is why we don’t recommend kissing bearded dragons (as oddly cute as they may be).
As we’ve stated above, if the bite results in an open wound, make sure you wash with antibacterial soap and use an antibiotic ointment.
When handling a bearded dragon, you should wash your hands before and after to prevent sharing diseases with the pet and with you.
And for complete details on diseases, here is our post on the diseases bearded dragons can encounter themselves or spread.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Bearded Dragon Teeth Sharp?
Baby and juvenile bearded dragons start out with really sharp teeth. However, as they age into adulthood, their teeth wear down and become duller. It’s mainly because of munching on Dubia roaches and crickets.
Do baby bearded dragons bite?
Baby bearded dragons have really sharp teeth. If you provoke the little lizard, it’ll not give it a second thought before biting you.
But because these beardies are really small, the bite force isn’t enough to actually draw blood or cause a serious injury.
It’s more of an “OUCH, that thing bites!” and less of an “I need to call the paramedics.” So don’t worry too much.
What is a Bearded Dragon’s Bite Force?
A beardie’s bite force depends on its head size. The bigger the head, the bigger the bite force. Younger beardies and female beardies have smaller heads, so their bite force is less painful than that of an adult male.
Bite Me Not: Moving On from Bearded Dragon Bites
Now you know what to do if a bearded dragon bites you.
It’s not the end of the world.
Just stay calm, don’t yank it out, support the body, gently pull open its mouth, and then clean your wound.
This is unlikely to happen if you keep the beardy happy and watch for signs of stress in your pet.
Did you find the information in this article helpful?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we strive to provide informative and entertaining content about our favorite reptiles, including bearded dragons.
Don’t forget to check out our other articles on bearded dragon care and behavior.
Thank you for reading.