Do Bearded Dragons Bite? Why it Happens and How to Treat it


Bearded dragons are among the most adorable animals and pets. They are always calm around humans and rarely aggressive. Additionally, bearded dragons feature a unique appearance and docile temperament. 


The beautiful appearance and docile nature of the bearded dragons make them excellent pets for most people.

The question “do bearded dragons bite” is common among pet owners, especially the reptile enthusiasts. The answer is YES; bearded dragons bite.


Most people ask this question because of the bearded dragon’s look and unique temperament. Furthermore, this question always pops up when people consider purchasing bearded dragons. They always want to know what they are getting into.


Here are the common reasons why your beardie may bite you and what to do when you get bitten.


 Why Do Bearded Dragons Bite?

There are multiple reasons that may make your bearded dragon bite you. Knowing the situations that may lead your bearded friend to bite you in advance may allow you to avoid them.

Before bearded dragons bite you, they will drop a lot of hints that you should watch out for. Some of the common signs that a bearded dragon will show before biting you include:

  • Changing their color to a darker tone
  • Hissing at you
  • Fluffing

Since most people tend not to understand bearded dragons, we have taken the initiative to provide more details.

Here are the reasons that may make your bearded dragon bite you:


They are hungry


The least exciting and the most obvious reason your bearded friend may bite you is that they are hungry. These adorable reptiles do get hungry quite often. Additionally, when it is time for a meal, bearded dragons do get pretty darn excited, just like any pet. 


When you are feeding your bearded dragon, it may accidentally nip you. The accidental nip may happen due to a number of reasons.


First, the most common reason is that your bearded friend may accidentally bite you when hand-feeding them. The reason for this because they may be famished and then get excited at seeing food.


The second reason is that your hand may smell tasty, especially after touching your bearded friends’ food. Generally, bearded dragons have a strong sense to smell. When bearded dragons are starving, they may not be able to tell the difference between food and your fingers hence the biting. 



They are too excited


Bearded dragons usually tend to get too excited, especially around feeding time. Your bearded friend has their version of “zoomies” like the ones you see on the other pets. This is something that most of their new owners may not realize.


This act is quite rare for beardies, and they will show it in different ways. However, you will not see them running all over the place like other pets. You will see them being happier and becoming more responsive to any outside stimulation.


Though it is uncommon, there is a higher chance that your bearded dragon may bite you when they are fired up and ready to go. The act is not malicious, but it will still be a bite.


 They feel unsafe


In the wild, bearded dragons are prey animals. They are tasty food for multiple predators ranging from birds to ground-dwelling animals. Therefore, there are situations that may make your bearded friend feel threatened and unsafe. They may need to defend themselves. Their best defense mechanism is to bite. 


Bearded dragons are highly self-conscious of their surroundings. It will take some time for them to adjust to being handled. Therefore, they may bite your finger if you try to pick them up.

See also  What Do Bearded Dragons Hate?


You may have other pets in your home, such as dogs and cats. They may sniff around your bearded dragons’ enclosure. This may make it feel unsafe and threatened.


It will bite your finger if you try handling it after seeing other pets sniffing around.


Further, a change of scenery such as a new habitat or when you make changes in their enclosure may make your bearded dragon feel unsafe and threatened.


The interference with their comfort zone will make them bite anything that gets next to them, including your finger.


If you surprise your bearded dragon from above, it may feel threatened since birds attack from above. This may make it bite as it tries to defend itself.


You are doing something they do not like


You may be doing various things that may make your bearded friend get irritated and then bite you.


When you prod, squeeze and place them in a cramped area, they may easily get ticked off. Additionally, if you hold your bearded dragon in a manner that they do not like, there is a chance that they might bite you.


When you do something that they do not like, your bearded friend is likely to give you a warning by trying to squirm out first. Then it will be followed by their beard black or puffing themselves up. Should you not get the message and continue holding them in an improper manner, they will bite you so that you get the message.


Apart from prodding, squeezing, and improper handling, bearded dragons do not like getting pinched, even if it is accidental. This may lead to a bite. When you refuse to put your bearded dragon down, especially when it wants space, it will likely bite you.


Bearded dragons do not like being picked by their tails or limbs. When you do this, they might bite you.


Therefore, you should try working your way up gradually when it comes to handling bearded dragons. This will help you improve your beardie handling skills while also making your pet comfortable.


They are not used to you or people yet


Socialization is a must if you want to keep a bearded dragon as a pet in your home. When you bring in the bearded dragon from the pet store, everything will be new to it. This may lead it getting freaked out and biting. 


When bearded dragons grow up being handled by humans, they tend to be more docile than those that are not handled.

For this reason, most breeders handle bearded dragons when they are babies and juveniles. 


When bearded dragons are not used to receiving attention from humans, they will always react poorly to you when you try reaching them. This is because they may consider you a threat leading to them becoming aggressive and biting you. 


 Mating season


 There are certain times of the year that your bearded friend may feel the need to mate. During these times, your bearded friend may have some irrational behaviors that you may not be accustomed to, such as biting. 


Bearded dragons especially, the males are quite territorial. They may become more territorial during the mating season and not want to be held. If you try holding them, they may likely bite you. 


Therefore, it is advisable to give your bearded friend some space and not bother them totally for their hormones to cool down. Giving them space will reduce the biting chances.


Getting territorial during mating season for male beardies is a way to prove to the females that they are dominant hence it can be very ego-based. You may see your bearded friend gaping or opening their mouths during the mating season to give out an aggressive appearance. 


The reptilian instinct [1] may get a better hold of your bearded dragon during the mating season.



Do Bearded Dragon Bites Hurt?


Understanding the teeth situation of bearded dragons can be quite challenging until you own one. Additionally, there are those that have a bearded dragon, and they are not quite sure if the bite hurts or not. 


The answer to whether bearded dragon bites hurt is situational, and it depends on the nature of the bite. Your bearded friend may bite you accidentally, especially when it confuses your finger with food. The accidental bite may not hurt as much as the intentional bite.

See also  What Do I Do If My Bearded Dragon Bites Me?


The intentional bite may be because it feels threatened. When threatened, your bearded dragons will bite to defend itself, and this may hurt.


Moreover, the bearded dragons’ bite hurting also depends on their age. Generally, when a bearded baby dragon bites you, it may not hurt. This is because their jaws do not have much power to make an impact on your skin. 


A bearded dragon may have sharp teeth at the baby or juvenile stage, but its bite strength may be weak. Therefore the bite may not hurt that much, whether accidental or intentional.


The bite from fully grown or adult beardies is quite different. They may have strong biting power on their jaws, but their row of tiny and sharp teeth may be duller. The dullness in the adult bearded dragon row tiny sharp teeth is brought by chewing vegetables and other types of food.


Despite adult bearded dragons having duller teeth, they have strong jaws and strong biting power. Therefore, it is likely to break your skin when they bite, and it may hurt a bit. 


In this situation, the bite depends on whether it is accidental or intentional. It may not hurt that much in an accidental bite since when it realizes that it is your finger, it may release without much impact. 


When you surprise them, they will feel threatened, and their reptilian instinct will come into place. This may lead to the bearded dragon biting to defend itself, and it may hurt very much.


 What Happens If A Bearded Dragon Bites You?


When a bearded dragon bites, you should do the following:


Stay calm


In most situations, staying calm is very important in tough situations. Staying calm will help in preventing you and your pet from suffering any severe damage. 


Since bearded dragon bites are rarely dangerous, you should not lose your cool.


Do not pull back


Staying calm involves not pulling, yanking, or shaking the finger or hand that your bearded friend bites. If you shake, yank or pull, it may lead to the bearded dragon biting harder and even taking off that part of your finger.


Support its body


You should support your bearded dragon’s entire body using your other free hand. Additionally, you can hold your bearded friend and place it on the table where it can rest.

When you do not support your bearded friend when it bites you, it may clamp down your finger harder to get stability and stay secure. Offering support to their body will make them feel comfortable and then start loosening their grip.


Pull the jaws apart


You then proceed by gently prying the jaws of your bearded friend apart using your free hand. It would be best if you did not pull your finger at once since it may injure your bearded friend. 

Therefore, you should use a gradual technique by grasping your bearded dragons’ jaws and increasing pressure over time. It would be best if you did this until the jaws have been released.


 Treat any bleeding or any other injury


You should check the bite area for any injuries. Then proceed by washing the area using antibacterial soap or detergents like peroxide to kill bacteria. Should your finger be broken, you should seek medical attention.


 How to Treat a Bearded Dragon Bite


As stated above, there are multiple reasons that can lead to a bearded dragon biting you. 

Should your bearded dragon bite you, you should know that their toxins do not affect humans. Therefore you may be safe.


Your skin could be torn, or your bones break depending on where you are bitten. An intentional and robust bite from an adult bearded dragon may break your finger.

Should the bite tear up your skin, you should ensure that the area is cleaned out to prevent any infections.


Most of the conditions affecting bearded dragons are not related to humans. Therefore it is quite unlikely for you to get infected by the bites.

See also  Why do bearded dragons poop in their food bowl? (This might surprise you!)

However, you may be at risk of getting salmonella. Bearded dragons carry this bacteria in their skin and mouth. This may cause intestinal problems for you. 


Therefore, should you be bitten and the bite tears your skin, you should wash the open wound with antibacterial soap and then take or apply antibiotic ointment.


If your skin is torn and you have taken more than five years without receiving a tetanus shot, you should visit your physician to get a booster. If your finger is broken, you should seek treatment.


Generally, you are advised to wash your hands before and after handling your bearded dragon. This is to prevent sharing any disease between you and this adorable reptile.



How to Prevent Future Bites


 Proper handling of your bearded friend is essential in preventing any bites in the future. Your beardie’s comfort and calmness should be on your mind each time you handle it. 


Bearded dragons are exotic creatures, and therefore any sudden movements may trigger their instinct. This will lead to them going into self-defense mode once they feel threatened hence biting. 



When you want to pick your bearded friend from its enclosure, you should calmly approach from the front or side to prevent being bitten.


Patience is also essential. Before proceeding to anything else, you should allow your bearded friend to get comfortable with you. Once it is comfortable with you, you should scoop your beardie from its enclosure while providing good support to its tail and belly. This will avoid any potential bites. 


It would be best if you also feed your bearded dragon daily to prevent them from getting hungry. Prior to feeding or handling your bearded friend, you should wash your hands to eliminate the smell of food on your fingers.


You should also avoid handling your bearded friend once it starts showing any defensive signs.




What Does a Bearded Dragon Bite Feel Like?


Bearded dragons do have teeth. They may use to teeth to bite either intentionally or accidentally. A bite from a bearded dragon feels like a strong pinch. The strong pinch may or may not tear your skin or cause bruising. A shock bite from a bearded dragon may hurt more than the actual bite itself.


 Is A Bearded Dragon’s Bit Poisonous?


 No, the bit from a bearded dragon is not poisonous. Even though they secret a mild venom when biting, the bite is harmless to humans. You might have slight swelling from a bearded dragon bite.


Additionally, you may bleed profusely or have a salmonella infection from a bearded dragon’s bite. This is always unlikely.




Bearded dragons are amazing reptiles. They are friendly and calm animals by nature. They are less likely to bite you without any proper cause. 


Additionally, it is true that your bearded friend may bite you. However, the bite is not poisonous; hence there is nothing to concern you. 


Should the bite be appropriately treated, it poses no real health risks. Besides, the bites from beardies and generally painless.


Bearded dragon bites can be intentional or accidental. Whichever the type of the bite is, there is a real cause. Therefore, the next time you are handling your bearded friend, you should avoid repeating the same mistake.


Your bearded friend may bite you after giving you warnings in most situations. Therefore, you should check for the warning signs if you have a bearded dragon in your home to minimize the possibility of getting bitten.


Prior information is essential in many ways in contemporary society. With the above information, you will not have a hard time trying to prevent your bearded dragon from biting you. 


With a proper feeding schedule, washing your hands, approaching and handling your bearded dragon in a proper manner, and giving it time to settle and get comfortable with you, you will probably form a long-lasting friendly relationship that will not involve biting in any circumstance.



[1] reptilian instinct