Original Image: By Ltshears (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Bearded Dragon Shedding Process
You may be wondering what’s happening if you see your Bearded Dragon one day looking a dull grayish/white. He may be cranky, listless, or not eating. Don’t worry, it’s the bearded dragon shedding process taking place. It’s also known as ‘molting’ and all reptiles go through it.
We might be cranky too if our skin was sloughing off. It’s not a vanity thing, but I imagine it might be itchy? I don’t know. My dragon, Shirley, won’t share her experience with me in so many words, but she does seem to go through something less-than-pleasant during her shedding days.
Shirley tries to rub her loose skin off by scratching, rubbing against the log or rock in her tank, or on furniture or carpet.
How often does the bearded dragon shedding process occur?
Young lizards shed more often than older ones because they have a faster growth rate, so where a juvenile might shed every 3-4 weeks, up until they’re a year old, an adult might only shed once, maybe twice a year.
Dragons usually don’t shed their skin all at once either, not like a snake would. Shirley’s last bout was just her head and thighs. At the moment, she’s shedding under her chin and belly. The bearded dragon shedding process can happen over several days, to several weeks, stretching the whole darn thing over a few months.
Once your dragon has finished shedding, you’ll notice the skin has brighter and more vibrant colors. My Shirley comes out of a shed with the most beautiful orange/pink skin. It’s an unusual color, I think. This is a new skin, as she has outgrown the old.
Aside from shedding representing growth spurts, especially in older dragons, it may also be brought on by certain conditions of diet and nutrition, habitat, health, breeding, brumation, stress, seasonal, temperature & humidity. There are a lot of great books to read about taking care of Bearded Dragons.
Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms: What Should I Do?
What can I do to help?
Well, I always want to help her out and speed up this miserable process by peeling off her old skin for her. You know, like people do with sunburned skin that’s sloughing off. Resist the temptation, though. You can damage the new skin if it’s peeled off too early. If the dragon is not ready to shed, and you peel off loose skin, the skin underneath will be damp. That’s not a good thing. This leaves it open to bacteria and mites if there are any around.
The biggest concern with peeling off the skin before it’s ready to come off naturally is damaging the skin underneath, which can lead to infection and problems with shedding the next time.
Let dragon nature take its own course.
Bearded Dragon Care Sheet: Caring for Your Pet Dragon
You could, however, help by misting your dragon every couple of days with a spray bottle of water. High humidity can easily cause respiratory infections in dragons, so use the misting method with caution.
The safest way is to give it a really good soaking in a tub of warm water (no soap, please) — maybe 10-15 minutes or so– not too hot! Make the water deep enough that they can swim in it, but shallow enough that they can stand in it.
Monitor your dragon at all times. Don’t leave it there by itself! Dry him off completely before putting him back in his cage. We don’t want bacteria growth due to moisture.
Some dragons love the water and can’t wait to get in. Shirley, on the other hand, doesn’t like her baths at all and tries to get out right away. To each their own! While I have her in there, though, I use an old toothbrush to ‘comb’ her. She seems to like that — maybe it feels like a massage or that I’m petting her. What it does is it helps to soften the old, loose skin and help the speed up the process.
What if the old skin hasn’t shed? (aka Improper Shedding)
Sometimes it can happen that old skin isn’t shedding, especially on the tail, toes, nails, and spikes. This happens more often in juveniles. That old skin can restrict blood flow to the extremities as it shrinks and dries, making them susceptible to necrosis of the tissue. This can potentially cause tail rot, ending up in the loss of a toe or end of a tail.
First, check to make sure the temperature and humidity in your tank are correct. Is there a good UVB source? Is your dragon getting the proper nutrition?
If your dragon loves the water, provide a shallow dish of water they can soak in at their own discretion. (They’ll probably poop in it too, so change the water every day or whenever necessary.) Water is the best way to help in the shedding process.
Video Source: Pogopogona.com
Bearded Dragon Shedding Process : What to Expect, #reptiles, #BeardedDragons Click To Tweet
A QUESTION FOR YOU:
Has your Bearded Dragon gone through a shed?
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32 thoughts on “Bearded Dragon Shedding Process : What to Expect”
Is it okay to put a water bowl in the tank with my juvenile bearded dragon.
My beardie has not shedded yet Quinn is still weeks old.
Hi! My 7 year old thought she would help our beardie peel and she pulled a piece of shed off Lulus leg. A couple weeks later she decided to tell me she did this upon me noticing a black scab where she peel Lulus shedded skin. Will this black scan go away? Should i be more concerned?
Oh my goodness, Thank you!! Reading this has given me hope!! I have been sooo worried about my baby beardie!! I bought him 2 weeks ago from the pet store and he was beautiful, kinda tiger stripe looking! Now he is 8 1/2 inches long. My son and I have named him Elliott (From Pete’s Dragon) and if he ends up being a girl, we will change it to Ellie 🙂 The first week went great, then this week, he has turned grey has not been eating as well and I have been sooo worried that I was doing something wrong! I have been giving him “swim baths” and trying to get him to eat, but he just won’t!! Should I still be putting the crickets in there in case he decides he wants some or should I not be putting any in there for now?? I keep kale in there for him all the time. Also, how often should I do the baths? Thank you sooo much for your help!!!
Hi! Just found your page, and love it! I had to “relieve” my grandson of his dragon. We had zero info on the care of them, so your page has been invaluable to us. We have just noticed a slow down in Thomas’s eating, and were concerned about his health. Your article on shedding certainly made us feel better! The poor thing was getting ONLY kale and water! Living in his own feces, never taken out of his way too small living quarters, NO heat lamp!! OMG! Within 2 days the guy was visibly better, happier, and has put on weight now. I made arrangements for my best friend to take him for her younger children, who are responsible. We now regret him leaving us (in 2 more months), as we have fallen in love with him! We are older and trying to simplify our responsibilities. But we’ll be able to visit him. Thank you again for this great, informative page!!
Mary, I’m thrilled about your message and the good news it brings to that poor (but now very lucky) bearded dragon. I’m so glad you took over. If you need more information, have a look over my other Bearded Dragon articles about the care of them, etc. Depending on what part of the globe you live on, if your weather is expected to turn cooler now you may want to pay attention to, “Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms, What should I do?” All the best, and thank you. 🙂
Hello I just got my new bearded dragon and the was shed on her back that was not on her only holding on by a thread her belly shed also came off what should I do it was only an mistake i already gave her a bath thank you and have a great day
Sienarw, she’ll be fine. Just let her shed naturally, in her own time. Thanks for stopping by.
HEY I HAVE HAD MY BABY BEARDIE FOR ABOUT A MONTH NOW IT STARTED SHEDDING I’LL SAY ABOUT A WEEK &A HALF FROM ME GETTING IT IT PROBABLY ATE 2 OR 3DAYS INTO THE SHEDDING PROCESS BUT IT WON’T EAT I DOMT KNOW HOW LONG THIS SHEDDING PROCESS SHOULD LAST OR HOW PONG 2WAIT 2SEE IF IT WILL EAT I DON’T WANT 2WAIT TIL IT’S 2LATE BUT IT STILL IS SHEDDING AROUND THE LEG AREAS
So enjoying your blog! I have a bearded dragon that is three years old now……her name is Frankie…….my grandson named her before we realized she was not a male. We have been through numerous shedding and
she is about 18″ long now and seems to be growing rounder nicely ….I am wondering if she is through growing. I have been looking for a larger home for her….her “apartment” is 18 x 36 x 24….and I really am searching for a 48″….I can’t seem to interest Frankie in greens or fruits…..she eats some if I really hold off on the crickets….and worms. I have tried numerous bearded
dragon foods at Petco….but no interest….any suggestions?
Hi Jeanne. Frankie (cute name for a girl) has most likely grown to her full length, but she will continue to grow some. Every time she sheds will be a sign that that’s still happening. My Shirley is 4 years old and 19″ long now, which is about average for a female. Franking not wanting to eat greens or fruit? Welcome to the club. I used to practically starve Shirley, waiting for her to cave in, but in the end, I was the one to give in. Now she’s not even interested in crickets anymore. Sheesh. So sorry, I have no practical advice for you there. The general ‘role’ is to hold off like we’ve done, but they’re stubborn. Good luck, and all the best to you and yours.
I have adopted a 2 year old beardie, Charlie, as an education animal for my library (I’m the Children’s Librarian.) Charlie came to us refusing to eat anything but super worms, dubia roaches and I was told he liked strawberries. I’ve been able to get him to eat shredded carrots and kale. We didn’t have success with apples, but I keep trying new things. This week I brought cucumbers but he hasn’t even tasted them yet. I know he had eating troubles early on so I’m glad to get anything in him. He’s terribly spoiled, I love him like I do my kids and house cats. He also seems to eat better and poop more regularly when I am able to get him outside to walk and play for 15 to 20 minutes a day.
hey. so my bearded dragon finally shed in early November. now that December has come around she’s started shedding again, its been a little over 2 weeks since the final parts of her last shed came off. is this something I should be worried about? she’s just had her first birthday at the very end of November.
before she shed I had taken her to the vet and got a few issues sorted out. as soon as she had fully recovered she began to shed.
my mother suggested that it may just be her growing so quickly now that she is well again. any advice would be helpful on this.
I have had my bearded dragon for a under 6 months. she was 5 months when I got her. I have not seen her shed yet. should I be worried? she has shown no signs of beginning the process and hasn’t grown much since I got her but she eats regularly and everything else is normal. can anyone tell me if I’m missing something that may be a problem? she is my first beard and its been a constant worry since I’ve got her that I’m doing something wrong.
Kat, no need to worry about your Bearded Dragon not shedding yet. She’s still young. As she grows, she’ll start to shed as she outgrows her skin. She might even be close to a one-year-old before she starts to shed. It seems like you’re taking good care of her and if she’s eating regularly and everything else seems normal, then sit back, relax, and enjoy your little dragon. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Awesome tips Jeanne!! My baby beardie is shedding. I have not been misting as this increases humidity in cage and possible respiratory infection as you have mentioned. I leave a very small water bowl in cage, rinsed (cleaned) and refilled everyday as he may want to drink. I am pretty sure he is a male but hard to tell. Measured beardie and is about 6 inches in length from head to tail. He has a very strong appetite and basks a lot. I also have noticed he is very active and scratching at the glass. Is this normal when they are shedding? :O
Hi Samantha! It sounds like you’re taking very good care of your Beardie. I’m curious. Does he drink from the water bowl? Mine won’t. I have to give her water to drink from an eye-dropper. When I first got Shirley, she was 5 inches long and now she’s almost 19 inches long! (3 years old) Scratching at the glass is normal at any time. It means he wants to come out and visit. I let Shirley run around the house when it’s warm and there aren’t people around to stomp on her. She ends up running to the patio doors and sitting in the sun there, or looking out a window. Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it.
Thank you. I am trying my best. I love animals <3 He is my first beardie I have owned so far. Hopefully to get more in the future 😀 Whats interesting is when i first got him from the pet store and showed him the water bowl, just took my finger and swirled around he was actually fascinated by it and now i think he put his face in the bowl kinda got his nose wet , like when humans get water up their nose, he was like oh no.. so now i dont see him do it or maybe he does when i am not looking. Giving him the warm baths frequently has really helped his shedding move quickly.
Here’s a photo of him doing the incredible hulk move, it was really neat and awesome to see him expand his body.
It seems the more i take him out of the cage he is getting used to me and now he relaxes and sits on my shoulder. He is really cute and colorful now after the shed 🙂
why does it shed
Joe, all reptiles shed their skin to accommodate for new growth. Thanks for visiting Animal Bliss! 🙂
Is it normal for my dragon to turn black during the sheading process
Black? or just dark. They do appear darker during the shedding process. The new skin will be much brighter. Thanks for asking.
My dragon is sheading but does not seem to bother her eating so far
Some dragons do eat less during the shedding process. No need to worry unless she is losing weight or appears sick.
Hi I have a juvenile dragon I think it is a girl was supposed to be a boy I noticed that she is sheading it seems to be coming off by itself she is so loving and love’s to snuggle which leads to her name sunggles. I am new to this I got her for Christmas.i feed her mostly greens and some fruit. Crickets and super worms every now and then. Her coler is a lot better and seems to be healthier since I started to do this. How can I tell when she becomes a adult by her size?
Rodney, congratulations on your new Bearded Dragon. Her shedding skin should come off by itself. Do not try to pull it off. It might not be ready and you can damage her scales or allow bacteria to set in. I’m glad to hear you are feeding her lots of greens and some fruit, however, the majority of her meal should be protein, as in crickets and worms, so feed her the crickets more often. Once dragons are about a year a and a half, or 2 years old, they are considered to be adults. Thanks for visiting Animal Bliss! 🙂
Hey I just got my new baby bearded dragon December 28 and I just started to notice that at the tip of his mouth is turning a blackish grey is that normal because it’s my first time owning a bearded dragon
Congratulations on getting your first bearded dragon. That’s fun. I would have to see a photo to really have an opinion about this. I’m assuming the rest of his body looks okay? Keep a close eye on that and see a Vet if it looks like it’s getting worse. It may be some sort of fungus. Thanks for visiting Animal Bliss.
Thank you so much for the information, I’m new to bearded dragons and just got one she is six months old and in the shedding process she just seems listless doesn’t want to eat and I was just wondering if that was normal?
Hello Kay. Congratulation on getting a bearded dragon. Yes, it’s normal for a dragon to hold back on food a bit when shedding. They’re pretty miserable, as you can imagine if your skin was getting ready to flake 🙂 And, if she’s pretty new to your household, that could be why too. Just as long as she looks healthy. Keep giving her water to keep her well-hydrated. What did you name her? Cheers!
Great post 🙂
Thank you for including my picture of Amelius! She’s all grown up now and is shedding her face at the moment. She looks like a ghost :p
Hey, Chloe! I’m glad you stopped by. I thank you for the opportunity to use Amelius’ photo. How old is she now?