If you have noticed that your bearded dragon has been acting strangely lately, you might be wondering if your bearded dragon is stressed. While it is always best for you to take your bearded dragon to the vet at the first sign of something not being quite right, there are some signs to look for to see if it’s stressed.
Bearded dragons might try to communicate the fact that they’re stressed in different ways. Some of these different ways include: it is not eating, it is not as active, the bearded dragon has grown darker in color, it is not basking in the light often, or it is acting frantically.
If you see that there has been a great change in your bearded dragon’s behavior, your first instinct may be to panic. While all of the signs we listed might not necessarily indicate stress, it is important to examine what could be wrong.
So now, we will get into more detail about those signs that might signify if your bearded dragon is stressed, what might have caused that stress, and what you as its owner can do.
Signs of Stress
As we mentioned, there are several ways that bearded dragons commonly show that they are stressed. Let’s find out what they are and what you need to keep an eye out for.
Change in appetite
One of the biggest ways that you can tell if your bearded dragon might be stressed is if there is a change in its appetite- particularly, if it rejects the food you give to it and if you find that it has not eaten at all lately.
One of the things that you can do for this is to see how your bearded dragon will respond to a food that you give it as a treat– for example, if you give your bearded dragon fruits for a treat, try cutting up some papayas or mangoes to see how your bearded dragon will respond.
Sometimes, not wanting to eat regular food could mean that your pet has simply grown bored of their daily diet and wants something new. This is why it can be important to introduce some variety into your bearded dragon’s diet.
In the instance that your bearded dragon won’t accept treats, it is then important that you check the temperature of its terrarium. You need to have different temperatures for the areas your bearded dragon will bask and cool off in.
You really want to make sure that you are using high-quality materials for this since this is vital for your pet’s health.
And if none of these solutions help, give the vet a call.
Decrease in activity
Bearded dragons do like to soak, lay around, and bask, but if you notice that your bearded dragon is not as active as it once was and that it avoids even moving at all, this could be a sign that it is feeling stressed.
The first thing you can do is make sure that the terrarium is heated enough and that you are giving your bearded dragon as much lighting as possible.
Another reason why your bearded dragon might be feeling down is that you are not providing it with the right foods or proper nutrition.
Calcium and vitamin D3 are some of the most important nutrients for a bearded dragon to get, and make sure that you offer your bearded dragon some variety in vegetables, and gut-loaded feeder insects.
Change in color
Changes in color could mean a variety of things. For one, it could be mating season, and your male bearded dragon might be trying to attract the female beardie. This is not something to worry about at all.
Another reason could be that your bearded dragon wants to shed. Keep an eye on it for a little while to see if it will start shedding.
Otherwise, if a bearded dragon feels particularly stressed, the coloring on its chin and belly will start to darken. This could also be the case if you have recently purchased the bearded dragon, causing a change in its environment.
If this is the case, wait a few days to see how the bearded dragon adjusts to its new habitat. If nothing changes, then contact your vet to see what could be happened.
Not basking in the light
Bearded dragons love to bask in the light, so if you see that yours isn’t, this could be a major sign of stress. Make sure that you check the temperature of its terrarium, because if it isn’t receiving the right temperature, then your bearded dragon might not be so keen to bask.
Make sure that you are using a good-quality thermometer when doing this.
Another thing that you could do is switch the cool side to the basking side and vice versa. Since your bearded dragon is already likely lounging around in the cool side, the change in temperature might cause your bearded dragon to go back to its regular self.
Make sure that you always stay on top of the temperature of your bearded dragon’s terrarium, because this could affect your beardie’s health.
And, if you don’t know what temperature the terrarium should be, or if you need help with setting up the lighting in general, read this article.
And finally, another sign that your bearded dragon is stressed out is that it could be clawing at the glass on its terrarium rather frantically. There are several reasons for this.
One reason your bearded dragon might be doing so is that there is a reflection, so it could think that there is another bearded dragon with it. Ideally, bearded dragons should not be kept together, especially if they are two males.
Seeing another bearded dragon can cause yours to become stressed.
Another reason why your bearded dragon might be clawing at its cage is that the temperature of the terrarium is too high.
Having too high temperatures can cause such behavior and you will also notice that your bearded dragon will be way more often in the cooler zone of the tank.
Again, it is of utmost importance that you keep an eye on the temperature of the terrarium frequently.
Or, your bearded dragon might want to get out of its cage from time to time. Make sure that your bearded dragon is getting enough exercise and doesn’t get too bored.
There are several ways for you to determine whether or not your bearded dragon is stressed, and you should treat any changes in behavior seriously.
Now, let’s look at some of the reasons why your bearded dragon might be stressed out.
Causes for Stress in Bearded Dragons
If you are suspicious that your bearded dragon is stressed, you might be wondering what could have been the causes for this stress. Let’s look at possible things that might be causing your bearded dragon to not feel its best.
As with any pet, you need to give your bearded dragon a few days to settle into its new environment. Having to get used to a completely new habitat could cause some stress for your bearded dragon, no matter its age.
Seeing, hearing, and smelling new things, as well as having tons of people crowding around its terrarium all the time could cause some problems. Give your bearded dragon a few days to get used to its new environment, and try not to overwhelm it too much.
Not having its terrarium set up correctly
If the bearded dragon’s terrarium is not set correctly- meaning the temperature might not be correct, the terrarium might not have the right lighting, and you might not have enough accessories in the terrarium for your bearded dragon to have something to do.
You have to make sure that you only use high-quality products when it comes to your bearded dragon’s terrarium, and also make sure that you have enough accessories inside for your bearded dragon to run around, hide, and having something to do.
You need to make sure that the diet you provide for your bearded dragon is adequate, and that it gets all the nutrients it needs. Depending on its age, your bearded dragon might need protein, but it needs calcium and vitamin D3 at all ages.
You need to gut load the feeder insects and make sure that you get your feeder insects from a reputable breeder; you don’t want them to have parasites or diseases that could have a negative impact on your bearded dragon’s health.
And make sure to introduce some variety, providing it with plenty of vegetables as well.
Part of keeping your bearded dragon healthy means cleaning out its terrarium frequently. For example, you might put a bowl full of water in the terrarium, which your bearded dragon will then soak in.
This feeling of calm will cause your bearded dragon to defecate, most likely. Make sure to change the water as often as possible so that your bearded dragon isn’t forced to sit in its own waste. And overall, make sure to clean any waste or food scattered throughout the terrarium.
Also, clean the terrarium, its accessories, and the glass every so often to make sure that your bearded dragon remains in a clean environment free of any possibility for infection or other problems.
Especially if your bearded dragon is new, make sure that you don’t make too much loud noise in its presence. Any animal is bound to feel stressed due to lots of noise.
If you see that your bearded dragon is afraid of you, or it feels apprehensive around you, try to not approach it too much for a few days until it grows used to you.
And make sure that you don’t speak loudly or listen to loud music or audio in the same room that the terrarium is in. Remind anyone else you might live with or who may visit your home about this, too.
Having a terrarium that is too small is bound to stress your bearded dragon out because it will not have enough room to roam around. This will cause a buildup of energy.
Make sure that you get a terrarium large enough to accommodate your bearded dragon because this will help it to feel as comfortable as possible.
Another reason for stress could simply be boredom. Are you introducing some variety in its life? Try to give your bearded dragon new foods, or give it new toys from time to time. Pay attention to your bearded dragon a lot. If you need some great beardie toys, read this article.
Once it has stopped feeling stressed due to its environment, taking it out of its terrarium and hand feeding or playing with it for a short period of time could help to not only decrease boredom but also to create a bond between you two.
And try to take your bearded dragon outside sometimes, while keeping a close eye on it so it doesn’t run away. This will not only help to decrease boredom but it will help it get all the vitamins it needs.
Other bearded dragons in its terrarium
If you have bearded dragons of different sexes, make sure that they are kept in separate enclosures to prevent stress. The process of mating is very stressful for bearded dragons.
Also, bearded dragons are very territorial animals, so having another bearded dragon in the enclosure could cause it to feel like it has to defend its territory and fight, therefore causing stress. The best way to solve this is, of course, to keep your bearded dragons in different terrariums.
Overall, if you notice any changes in your bearded dragon’s behavior, you need to contact your vet to see the best course of action. Take a few days to see what could be the problem. Remember, bearded dragons are animals too, and they need your love, attention, and care just like any other animal would.