Are bearded dragons dangerous?
Snakes and spiders usually come to mind when people think about dangerous pets.
But bearded dragons aren’t exactly incapable of inflicting harm when absolutely necessary.
Are Bearded Dragons Dangerous?
Bearded dragons are the best choice for new lizard owners because they’re almost always calm and docile. Dragons will let you get away with a lot when handling them. But when provoked they can begin to act aggressively and might bite you, which can cause minor injuries.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Bite?
A bearded dragon is only going to bite you violently on rare occasions once you’ve gotten used to each other. It’s important to know why a bearded dragon is biting you in the first place. Here are the main reasons why you might feel a little nip on your fingers over the years:
- Feeling threatened
- Hunger pangs
- Zero socializing
- Being annoyed
- Bad ex owners
Feeling threatened – Imagine you’re outside minding your own business and something comes down from the sky to take you away to certain death. Bearded dragons are naturally suspicious of anything coming down from above because in the wild it’s how they would be killed.
You need to be careful when you’re reaching into the tank for your bearded dragon. It won’t take long before you learn how to pick your dragon up in a non-threatening way and it won’t feel scared.
Mishandling – Mishandling your bearded dragon is the main reason you’ll be bitten in the beginning. If you don’t want your dragon to be dangerous learn how to do it properly. Here is an absolutely basic explanation of the proper way to pick up a bearded dragon.
Come in slowly from the front or sides so they know you’re approaching. Scoop them up around the midsection. Make sure it’s loose enough that they don’t feel uncomfortable, but firm enough that they can’t jump out of your hand.
Now we’ll touch on a few things you can’t do if you don’t want to mishandle your bearded dragon:
- Don’t pick them up by their tail
- Don’t pick them up by their limbs
- Don’t pinch at their skin
- Don’t squeeze their body
It’s common sense when you think about it. Just use your hand to support them under their belly and everything will be fine. If you can use two hands it’s even more comfortable for them, but I can understand why it might be hard to get them out of the vivarium that way.
Please Note: You need to be very careful about your friends and family members picking up your bearded dragon. Younger kids are obviously going to be the worst offenders, but anyone with zero knowledge of handling bearded dragons could hurt them and get bitten.
Hunger pangs – When bearded dragons bite you unexpectedly it could be because they’re hungry. It’s not for the same reasons a dog might give you a hint when they want food. If you use your fingers to feed your bearded dragon they might think you’re trying to feed them.
Depending on what you’ve touched they might smell food on your fingers. Or maybe they’re just in a grumpy mood because their belly is rumbling. Either way, it’s always a good idea to remember how much you’ve fed them in case you have forgotten.
Over-Excitement – Dragons can bite your fingers when they’re overcome with excitement. When your dragon is hyper you’ll probably just get bitten by mistake. Is there anything you can do to stop this from happening on a regular basis?
No, why wouldn’t you want your bearded dragon to be excited? It means they’re in a good mood. But you can be careful about putting your hands anywhere near them before gauging what kind of mood they’re in.
Zero socializing – You are a giant and dangerous monster to a bearded dragon who isn’t used to humans. Unless your dragon has socialized with other humans on a regular basis it could be scared of you. So don’t just jump in with your hands right away or you will terrify it.
Is it possible to pick up a bearded dragon straight away?
Sure, but it’s stressful. Some people like to wait weeks before picking up their baby bearded dragon after bringing them home. This gives the dragon a chance to get used to their surroundings. You’ll know if the dragon feels okay about the situation because they won’t try to bite you.
Being annoyed – Occasionally bearded dragons might give you a little bite because you’re annoying them. If you pick them up when they don’t want to be held you might feel a quick pinch. When you keep irritating them over and over again they’re going to say:
Please leave me alone!
Except they can’t speak so you’ll get a non-verbal warning instead. Due to the fact bearded dragons are so submissive and peaceful it takes a lot for them to be really annoyed with you. Learn to read their body language and you’ll know when it’s time to ease up a bit.
Bad ex owners – If your bearded dragon had a previous owner they might have been subject to serious mistreatment. From the moment you bring your bearded dragon home you’re going to have problems. Luckily bearded dragons recognize their owners in a few ways:
And eventually they’ll learn to trust you. Or to be more specific, they’ll learn to appreciate you’re the person who feeds them every day.
Does A Bearded Dragon Bite Hurt?
One of the reasons bearded dragons can’t be classed as too dangerous is because their bites don’t really hurt. Most bearded dragon bites won’t cause you any pain even though they have sharp and serrated teeth. Here are some reasons why certain bites hurt less than others:
- Baby bearded dragons are small
- Dragons will nip more than snap
Of course, when a large adult bearded dragon bites you because they feel threatened it can draw blood and you’ll want to scream.
Are Bearded Dragon Bites Dangerous?
Apart from bloody fingers is there anything else you need to worry about? Scientists have finally discovered bearded dragons produce and secrete venom. Thankfully, bearded dragon venom isn’t poisonous. The most it’s going to do is cause you a few minor side effects.
For example, you might notice some minor swelling although once you’ve been bitten it’s something you will see anyway. Venom from bearded dragons is actually found in a few medications these days, so you might even be taking some without knowing it.
Do Bearded Dragons Carry Diseases?
Now we’re moving into territory where bearded dragons can be a little dangerous to humans and other pets you keep at home. Bearded dragons can carry salmonella and other harmful bacteria, so you could end up with bowel infections and other diseases if you’re unlucky.
Remember a bearded dragon doesn’t even have to bite you to pass along these diseases. Bacteria and other horrible parasites can live on a bearded dragon’s body, which makes transmission a possibility. Here is a quick list of those most vulnerable to bearded dragon diseases:
- Sick people
- Young animals
- Pregnant women
It’s basically anyone with a weak immune system because it will be harder for them to fight off infections. The average person isn’t going to get sick as long as they follow best practices when caring for a bearded dragon. Let’s talk about a few things you should definitely do:
- Clean tank regularly
- Wash your hands
- Avoid certain places
- No kissing
- Stool samples
Clean tank regularly – You should clean your bearded dragon tank once a month, but poop should be scooped out on a daily basis. When you’re taking out the poop remove any uneaten food too. Bearded dragons enjoy walking through their poop and could get covered in bacteria.
Wash your hands – As soon as you’ve finished playing with your bearded dragon go into the bathroom and wash your hands with soap. Disinfect them before you start touching yourself on the face. If other people handle your bearded dragon, remind them to clean up too.
Avoid certain places – Do you have any specific places where you like to play with your bearded dragon? Don’t let them climb on your pillow if you’re in the bedroom. Plus they shouldn’t be anywhere near surfaces in the kitchen because you’ll place food there at some point.
No kissing – Does your bearded dragon like kisses? Well you need to cut out those salmonella smooches immediately because you shouldn’t kiss a bearded dragon. Don’t worry, they don’t know it’s a sign of affection. It’s best if you try to keep them away from your face entirely.
Stool samples – Some cautious bearded dragon owners might decide to send stool samples to their vet on occasion. They’ll be able to tell you whether or not your bearded dragon has parasites. It’s best to catch things early and treat them in case your dragon gets very sick.
Are Bearded Dragons Dangerous?
So bearded dragons are one of the least dangerous pets in the world. Even though they bite there are ways to reduce the number of times it happens and the severity of the bites. And although they can carry diseases it’s easy to stay safe as long as you follow a few guidelines.