All reptiles shed their skin as they grow and bearded dragons are no exception! Here’s what you will have to expect when it comes time for your dragon to start shedding.
What does ‘shedding’ mean?
As reptiles grow, they get rid of the first layer of skin and replace it with a new, fresh layer. In snakes, this old skin comes off in one big piece, but in bearded dragons it comes off in chunks. Dragons younger than a year will shed more frequently than adults because of how quickly they grow in that time.
The signs of shedding!
When your dragon starts shedding, its temperament will undergo a drastic change; it may appear annoyed, become really reclusive and even seem just darned cranky. Shedding’s an uncomfortable experience for dragons and causes them lots of stress and frustration.
2. Scratching and Bulging
In their effort to loosen up the shedding skin, your dragons will rub up against any available rough surface – including other dragons – and their eyes may occasionally bulge from their heads. This is completely normal and there’s no need to freak out!
Dragons’ colors become lighter, even muted and dull, days before shedding starts. Again, this is normal and no cause for alarm.
What to expect
Dragons only tend to shed one body part at a time and usually in large patches, so they’ll wind up looking rather rough while the process is going on. Meanwhile, when a youngster becomes an adult, it will go through a massive shed that coincides with the maturing of its reproductive organs.
Much like with humans, puberty for dragons is a very cranky, grouchy and unpleasant time.
What can I do to help?
There are several little things that you can do to help your bearded dragon finish shedding faster and, therefore, ease the stress that this process causes.
Your beardie will appreciate more frequent baths during shedding time, with a little bit of brushie-brushie time from a soft toothbrush. When the bath is over, rub a little mineral oil into your beardie’s skin to help soften up trouble areas.
2. Extra misting
Lightly mist your beardie and its vivarium with lukewarm water to help increase humidity and keep your beardie hydrated. This will also help loosen up the shedding skin and provide some relief from the irritation that the dragon’s feeling from this process.
3. Cut down on handling.
Since your beardie will be stressed right the hell out while it’s shedding, don’t handle it the way you usually would. Take a hands-off policy outside of bathing until shedding is complete – this might save you some heartache in the long run, and save your dragon the extra stress.
4. Add some rubbing surfaces to the vivarium.
Your dragon will be rubbing itself against everything it possibly can, so help it out by adding some rough rocks and branches that they can rub up against. Unfortunately, your other dragons don’t make great rubbing surfaces, especially not if they’re shedding at the same time.
Don’t try to peel the shedding skin off your dragon! It can damage the new skin underneath. When the new skin is ready to be revealed, the old skin will come off, you definitely don’t need to interfere.