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 a bearded dragon 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.
5 Steps To Follow If A Bearded Dragon Bites You
This section details the steps you should follow if a bearded dragon bites you.
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.
Their toxin does not affect humans.
Depending on where you’re bitten, 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 Is My Bearded Dragon Biting Me?
Your bearded dragon is likely biting you because it feels threatened.
This could be because it’s not used to being in captivity, or it’s stressed from any other number of sources.
The best thing you, as an owner, can do is to bond with the bearded dragon and watch for these warning behaviors:
- Black skin
- Puffing beard
- Gaping mouth
If you haven’t yet built a bond with your pet, here is our guide on building bonds with bearded dragons.
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.
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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 bite.
This is unlikely to happen if you keep the beardy happy and watch for signs of stress in your pet.