Can You Hold A Bearded Dragon While Shedding?

can you hold a bearded dragon while shedding

Shedding is a natural process for all bearded dragons, where the reptile’s skin is replaced with new skin for its growth. During this time, the skin becomes more delicate and sensitive, and handling it can cause stress or even lead to the removal of the shedding skin prematurely, which may cause discomfort to the bearded dragon. Because of this, a lot of owners wonder if it’s possible to hold their beardie while it sheds. 

It’s generally not recommended to handle a beardie while it sheds. But, if you must handle your beardie, you need to make sure you do it very gently and only for necessary reasons, such as moving them to clean their residue or taking them to the vet if needed. 

Shedding In Bearded Dragons – What Is It?

Just like how we humans grow and shed our skin cells regularly, Bearded Dragons do it too, but in a more visible way. As these little creatures grow, their skin needs to stretch and accommodate their increasing size

So, they go through a natural shedding process to get rid of the old skin and make way for the new. During this time, you might notice their skin becoming dull, dry, and wrinkled before it eventually peels off. Bearded dragons eat their own shed due to being rich in fat, protein, calcium, and other nutrients.

When your beardie sheds its skin, it’s essential to provide them with comfort and security. So, when it comes to holding them during this process, you need to be very cautious. 

As you read further through this article, you will understand when you can hold your pet during shedding and when it is best to stay away and give your pet some time alone.

But, if you ever have a feeling of uncertainty or are always worried, you can always talk to your veterinarian about this process. You will get better clarity and feel much more at peace. 

What Will Happen If I Hold My Bearded Dragon While It Sheds?

We do not recommend you hold your pet while it sheds unless and until it’s an absolute emergency.  

However, if you decide to hold your pet during this time, then there are various behaviors that you can notice in your pet. These include: 

  1. Your Pet Can Get Angry 

Shedding can indeed be an uncomfortable and even painful time for your adorable beardie. When beardies are shedding and feeling a bit grumpy, they might become less patient and calm. So, handling them during this time could actually irritate them further, leading them to get angry. 

You might notice your beardie flaring their beard, hissing, or even attempting to give you a tiny nibble. This is their way of saying they need some time alone. So, during this time, it is important to be aware of their body language and respect their boundaries.

Repeatedly handling an irritated dragon during shedding might also impact the way they bonds with you over time. If you notice that your beardie is showing signs of anger or discomfort, it’s best to give them some space and time to themselves. Allow them to go through the process peacefully.

  1. Your Pet Can Get Scared

Just like how your pet can get angry at you for trying to hold them, they can also similarly get scared. They might run away from you or hide a lot. 

When you notice your dragon running away from you or seeking out hiding spots, it’s a clear sign that they just want to be left alone for a while. And that’s okay! 

Giving them their personal space during this time is very important for their well-being.

  1. Your Pet Might Get Hurt

It is important to keep in mind that when you hold your beardie while it sheds, there is a possibility that you might unintentionally hurt them

The process of shedding a beardie can be a painful experience, especially because they shed in patches. These patches can be particularly stubborn, especially around their delicate toes.

Imagine having an itchy, sore, and painful spot on your skin that just won’t go away. Handling your pet during this time might accidentally rub against these sensitive areas, causing them even more discomfort. 

  1. You Might Pull The Skin off Your Pet

Accidentally pulling off some of your bearded dragon’s shed while holding them can be one of the worst-case scenarios. It’s not only extremely painful for them, but it can also lead to various skin problems and potential infections.

A beardie goes through the process of shedding to get rid of its old skin, and if some of it is forcefully removed during handling, it can cause serious issues for its delicate skin in the future. 

Even if your pet looks like it’s handling the process just fine and doesn’t show any signs of pain or discomfort, it’s still best to handle them less during this time. 

This reduces the risk of accidentally pulling off any unshed skin and keeps them safe and happy.

How Will I Know If My Beardie Does Not Want To Be Held While Shedding?

Generally, you will notice some visible signs when it comes to figuring out if your beardie wants to be held or not while it sheds. Below are a few signs that will help you figure it out: 

  1. Sheds Stubbornly

Checking your bearded dragon’s skin is one of the easiest ways to determine whether you should hold them or give them some space.

If you notice stubborn areas of shed, it’s a clear signal that your dragon might not be feeling their best. During this time, it’s a good idea to let them have some alone time unless handling is necessary.

The great news is that this shedding phase usually lasts only a few days, especially if your dragon is healthy and well taken care of. Providing them with a balanced diet and proper lighting setup plays a significant role in their overall well-being, while they shed.

  1. Running Away

When it comes to knowing if your beardie wants to be handled or not, their behavior will speak a lot. 

If you notice your dragon running away from you as you approach them or even attempting to climb out of your hands while you’re holding them, it’s a clear sign that they’d rather have some alone time.

Beardies, like us, have their unique personalities. So, if you notice any sudden weird behavior that’s out of character for your dragon, it’s a strong sign that they might not be in the mood for being handled.

Remember, although your beardie can’t speak our language, they can communicate through their actions. And it’s important to respect and understand their signals.

  1. Getting Angry And Hiding

When your pet is going through the shedding process and feeling a bit bothered, it might show signs of anger. 

You might notice their beard flaring, hissing, or even attempting to give you a little nibble. It’s their way of expressing their discomfort during this time.

Apart from that, if your pet ends up hiding more than usual, then it is a sign they do not want to be held. 

So, the best approach is to give them the space they need. Leave them be and allow them to have both time and space to deal with the shedding process on their terms.

During Shedding, Do All Bearded Dragons Refuse To Be Held?

Just like us humans, every beardie is unique, and some of them might sail through the shedding process without any issues, while others might find it a bit more challenging.

So, the answer is not a definite “no” – not all bearded dragons dislike being held while they shed.

Now, there are a couple of factors that can make the process easier:

  • Correct lighting setup: Proper lighting, including both UVB and heat, is important for the well-being of your pet. It will only help them regulate their body temperature and even support their natural behaviors, including when it sheds.
  • Having a good diet: It is important to provide your beardie with a well-balanced and nutritious diet. This will, in turn, play a very important role in their overall health. It will even help them with the entire shedding process.


As a responsible owner, you’ll need to closely observe how your dragon handles this process and make a call accordingly. If they seem comfortable and aren’t showing any signs of distress or anger, handling them might be okay.

However, even if your bearded dragon seems to find shedding an easy and smooth process, it’s still best not to handle them too much during this time. As we discussed earlier, accidentally pulling off some of their skin that isn’t ready to shed could cause unnecessary problems.

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