Are you worried about your bearded dragon being stressed? Are you wondering if bearded dragons can die from stress? A stressed bearded dragon can be majorly stressful for you too, especially if you aren’t sure what’s wrong or what to do. Stress can cause a lot of different issues in your beardie, from a loss of appetite to respiratory infections and even more severe health problems.
Even if you’re bearded dragon is healthy and happy now, it’s a good idea to learn the signs of stress and understand how to keep them from getting to that point. In this blog post, we will discuss the signs of stress in bearded dragons and some tips on how to help reduce their anxiety.
Can Bearded Dragons Die From Stress?
Stress is a serious issue for bearded dragons. So serious that a bearded dragon can in fact die from stress. Stress can cause a variety of health problems for your beardie, including dehydration, poor appetite, decreased activity levels, and even lead death.
If a bearded dragon is exposed to too much stress, it can lead to a weakened immune system, which leads to all other serious health issues. If your noticing some issues with your beardie, stress is one of the possible causes and should probably be considered.
What Causes Bearded Dragons to Get Stressed?
Stress is usually caused by a variety of environmental issues that are normally easy for a bearded dragon owner to fix. Here are some possible reasons your beardie might be getting stressed.
Incorrect environmental temperatures
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals, which means they are unable to regulate their body temperature on their own and rely on their environment to help them maintain an ideal temperature. The wrong temperatures in their enclosure can cause major stress. Bearded dragons need temperatures ranging from 80-90F during the day, and 65-75F at night.
Read about how long bearded dragons can go without heat.
Bearded dragons should be housed alone, and not kept with other reptiles. Overcrowding can lead to increased stress levels in bearded dragons because it can limit their ability to find food, hide, and thermoregulate (regulate their own temperature). When there is not enough space, your bearded may be unable to find a place to hide and feel safe, which can lead to increased levels of stress. Small tanks and too many objects inside the tank are common issues.
Read about what tank size your bearded dragon should have.
Bearded dragons should be fed a variety of insects, greens, and fruits. Poor nutrition can lead to a lot of health problems in bearded dragons. Some of the health problems caused by a poor diet are metabolic bone disease, calcium deficiency, and other nutritional deficiencies.
Lack of hiding spots
Bearded dragons need places to hide and feel secure, things like rocks, hides, and logs. They are solitary animals and prefer to have their own space. When they are in captivity they can become stressed out when they do not have hiding places where they can feel safe. Your bearded dragon when will get stressed when it feels vulnerable and exposed.
Too much handling
Bearded dragons should only be handled when necessary, and it’s important to respect their need for space. They are naturally timid and shy animals, and too much handling can be stressful for them. It can disrupt their normal routines and lead to physical and mental stress. Too much handling can also cause them to become overly defensive and aggressive, which can be dangerous for both the dragon and the pet owners.
Lack of appropriate UVB lighting
Bearded dragons need UVB lights to absorb calcium and synthesize vitamin D. It’s essential for a bearded dragon’s health, growth, and well-being.
Poorly maintained enclosure
Poorly maintained enclosures can stress out a bearded dragon because the environment is not suitable for their needs. Bearded dragons need a clean, dry enclosure with regular cleaning and maintenance. Remember, in the wild they have the option to move to a new home if they need to. In captivity, it’s the owner’s responsibility to make sure their enclosure is the perfect home for them because it’s the only home they have.
Bearded dragons, like other animals, can be sensitive to loud noises. The sudden loud noises can cause the dragon to become stressed or scared, and ongoing loud noises can lead to health issues like dehydration or anorexia. Loud noises can also cause a lack of appetite because it may become too stressed to eat.
Poor air flow
Bearded dragons need proper air flow and ventilation in their enclosure. Poor air flow can stress out a bearded dragon because it can cause them to overheat and become uncomfortable. Poor air flow also reduces the oxygen levels in the air, which can be detrimental to the dragon’s health. Additionally, low air flow can cause humidity to build up, which can cause respiratory issues in the dragon.
Lack of enrichment
Bearded dragons require a certain amount of environmental enrichment in order to remain healthy and stress-free. Without enrichment, like access to climbing branches, hiding spots, and other objects to explore and interact with, bearded dragons may become bored, stressed, and even aggressive. Without enough mental and physical stimulation, bearded dragons may also become lethargic, develop compulsive behaviors, and suffer from poor overall health.
Relocation stress is common in bearded dragons because they are naturally solitary animals who prefer to stay in one place. When they are moved to new environments, they can become overwhelmed and scared, leading to stress-related behaviors like decreased appetite, lethargy, and increased aggression.
Relocation stress is especially common when you bring a new bearded dragon home. They will need time to get used to their surroundings so it’s important that you give them everything they need, including attention but not too much attention.
Bearded Dragons Signs of Stress
- Hiding or avoiding people and other animals
- Refusal to eat or drink
- Listlessness or lack of energy
- Black beard or darker coloration on the beard
- Loose substrate
- Excessive scratching or rubbing against objects
- Puffing out its beard
- Tension or tightness in the muscles
- Rapid or labored breathing
- Unusual vocalizations or hissing
- Increased aggression or biting
How to Calm a Stressed Bearded Dragon
It’s important to properly care for a bearded dragon, including providing it with the correct habitat, diet, and environment, to ensure that it stays healthy and stress-free long-term. If you can see some of the common signs that your bearded dragon is stressed out, you can try some of these things to calm it down:
- Give your beardie a warm bath and wrap it in a warm soft towel after its bath.
- Reduce the noise around your beardie as much as possible to give it some quiet time.
- Turn off the bright light in the bearded dragon’s enclosure for a few minutes while you’re keeping the room quiet. Don’t leave the lights off too long since your beardie needs them for temperature regulation.
- If your bearded dragon is both familiar and comfortable with you, you might find that just giving it some attention and letting it smell that you’re there will calm it down.
- Offer your bearded dragon its favorite treat for a distraction. This might help it relax a little.
There’s no way to avoid stress completely, even if you take really good care of your bearded dragon. Things will happen that scare or startle them, but ongoing stressors like those mentioned above can be prevented by giving them the proper home and care. If your bearded dragon is stressed on a regular basis and you can’t resolve it with the information in the blog post, you should get veterinary care for your beardie. Usually, it will be easy to figure out the source of stress, but don’t wait too long! If you are unsure ask for help.