Although bearded dragons cannot tell us what’s wrong, they do exhibit tell-tale signs for many ailments.
It’s up to us as their owner to be able to read these signs to figure out what might be wrong. Of course, any time your pet begins demonstrating strange behavior you should take them to a qualified reptile veterinarian as soon as possible.
Here are six signs of stress for a bearded dragon.
Loss of Appetite
If your bearded dragon suddenly stops eating any food you offer it, that could be a sign of stress.
If the beardie still doesn’t take to those foods, then you may need to check the temperatures in the terrarium.
Make sure you have a basking area that is at least 90 to 110°F, depending on its age. Use a high quality temperature and humidity gauge to ensure proper basking and cool zone temperatures. This isn’t something you want to guess at!
If the temperatures check out to be adequate you may need to contact your veterinarian.
Lower Activity Levels
If your bearded dragon seems sluggish, and does not appear to be as active as it once was it could be a sign of stress.
Again, check to make sure you are providing adequate heat and full-spectrum lighting. A diet that consists of improper nutrition could also be the culprit.
A bearded dragon can sometimes appear to be a bit darker in color. This could be a typical sign of some stress, but it could also signify that it is getting ready to shed.
Wait a few days and see if it is starting to shed. If shedding does not occur, then make an appointment with your veterinarian for an exam.
Not Basking Enough
Sometimes when a bearded dragon is stressed it may not bask for several days. A bearded dragon not receiving the proper basking temperatures will not stay in good health for very long. Once again, use a good thermometer to observe the temperatures.
Try switching the cooler side of the terrarium with the basking side. This may force the beardie to be in the basking area, which could help to perk it up a bit.
Frantically Clawing at the Sides of the Terrarium
You may notice your bearded dragon frantically clawing at the glass on the side of the terrarium. This is usually due to the beardie seeing his reflection in the glass and thinking there is another bearded dragon in the area. This constant scratching can cause it to become stressed and jumpy.
You can help reduce this by placing a terrarium or aquarium background, on the sides and back of the terrarium.
It could also be a sign that the temperatures in the terrarium are too high. The higher temperatures could increase its activity levels. Check the temperatures and reduce them if needed.
Scratching at the glass could also simply mean your pet wants to get out and exercise some.
When bearded dragons become very stressed, dark markings can appear on its belly and chin. These marks are a sure indication of stress. It can be very common to bearded dragons that you have recently acquired.
The stress marks may go away in a few days once it has become accustomed to its new home. Check to make sure you are offering food, water, and that the temperatures are correct within the habitat.