Have you just added a bearded dragon to your family? Are you still trying to figure out what exactly they need to be happy and healthy? If so, you’ll find many things that you need to do to ensure they stay comfortable. One of these things is being affectionate toward them by handling them.
Bearded dragons are reptiles who surprisingly enjoy being handled. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you do so to ensure both you and your pet stay safe.
This article will explore more about how to properly hold a bearded dragon and some other important tips when handling them. To find out more, keep reading.
Do Bearded Dragons Like Being Handled?
Yes, bearded dragons often enjoy being handled. Despite their intimidating looks, they are very affectionate creatures. They tend to be very calm and patient with their owners if you handle them correctly.
Keep in mind though that this really depends on the personality of your pet. Some bearded dragons might like to be handled more than others. Because of this, it’s important to handle your pet depending on their preferences. This will help to avoid putting stress on them.
How to Handle Your Bearded Dragon
Some people might think that to handle a bearded dragon they just have to pick them up. While this is true, it’s not as simple as just lifting them up. Below are some important methods to keep in mind when you handle your bearded dragon.
Move Slowly Toward Them
The first step to handling your bearded dragon is to be slow. Rather than make sudden movements, move slowly near them. This way, they’ll be able to watch you and see that you aren’t a threat. Otherwise, you might scare them and they could become violent toward you because they are trying to protect themselves.
Slide Your Hand Under Their Stomach
After moving slowly toward them, gently slide your hand under their stomach. This will help you to support your pet and prevent them from slipping out of your hands.
However, if you plan to lift your baby bearded dragon up, you’ll need to give them a little extra support. You can do this by keeping one of your fingers under their chin. This will give them better support and allow them to cling to your finger.
Let Their Tail Rest on Your Forearm
The tail of your pet is one of the heaviest parts of them. Because of this, it’s important you provide it with plenty of support. You can do this by letting it rest on your forearm.
These are some of the handling tips you need to need to use to make sure both you and your pet stay safe.
Other Handling Tips to Keep in Mind
Below are a few other tips to keep in mind when handling your pet.
Always Wash Your Hands
When you’re done handling your pet, always make sure to wash your hands. This is because sometimes bearded dragons can carry bacteria. If you end up touching your mouth or other body parts, this bacteria will spread. Because of this, make sure to rinse your hands off carefully with antibacterial soap.
Watch Their Claws
If your bearded dragon is feeling nervous or is done with being handled, they might scratch your skin. They do this as a way to try to escape from the situation that is bothering them. Because their claws can be extremely sharp, they might scratch your skin or even cause cuts. If this happens, make sure to quickly disinfect the area to prevent infections.
Be Especially Careful with New or Baby Bearded Dragons
If you have a baby bearded dragon or have just bought one, you need to start out carefully with handling them. This is because they are still getting used to you and to the idea of being carried around. To help prevent stressing them, or accidentally causing injuries, only handle them for a few minutes. You can also use a blanket they can hide in as a way to help make them feel more secure.
Let Them Run Off if They Want
Some pet owners might try to hold on to their pet if they wiggle or try to get away from being handled. While they might try to do this, let them go. Don’t try to hold on to them. This is because it limits their movement which could end up causing them to get hurt. Eventually, it could not only cause them to have injuries but make them skeptical of future handlings.
Some might also try to run off because they are still getting used to you. It’s best to be patient with them rather than forcing them. If you force them, they could end up with high stress levels and even become violent toward you.
Never Place Them on High Objects
Bearded dragons like to roam around. Because of this, they might end up getting into some tricky situations if you don’t watch them. This is especially so if you place them on a high object, like a table. They could end up falling off of it which could end up being fatal. To help prevent this, never place them on high items and always keep an eye on them.
Put them in a Carrying Case if You Plan to Take Them Out
Some pet owners might try to carry their bearded dragon to various destinations, such as the vet. For instance, you might not keep them in a cage while in a car, so they might try to hide under a seat. This could end up making it difficult to get them out. Because of this, it’s best to not handle them when in these situations but rather use a special bearded dragon cage.
Keep an Eye Out for Defensive Behavior
Pet owners should also make sure to look out for defensive behavior. This includes things such as an open mouth, a puffing up of your pet’s “beard”, a slight hissing sound, and their tail whipping around. All of these are a sign that your pet is uncomfortable. You should immediately put them back into their tank to help them calm down. Otherwise, you both might end up hurting each other accidentally.
Pick them Up Often
The only way your pet will get used to you picking them up is if you do it regularly. While you shouldn’t stress them by doing so, try to make a habit of it. This way, they’ll start to learn what you’re doing. Eventually, they will become more comfortable with you carrying them around.
Food Options to Give Your Bearded Dragon
One of the best ways to help get your bearded dragon used to being handled is to bribe them with food. Below are some food options you could give to your pet.
Crickets are a very beneficial protein to give your bearded dragon. They will not only help to keep them healthy, but are very tasty to them as well.
Leafy greens, like spinach, carrot tops, and radicchio, are a great choice to give your pet. They’re not only high in numerous vitamins, but help to keep their bones healthy as well. However, you want to be careful when giving them certain leafy greens, like Swiss chard. This is because it might contain high levels of phosphorus which could be harmful to their health.
This sweet fruit is a favorite for many bearded dragons. While you should peel and cut them up beforehand, apples are safe to give to your pet regularly.
You can give your bearded dragon raw sweet potato. Make sure to peel it and ideally shred it up before you give this vegetable to your pet. You could also cook the sweet potato and mash it up. This way, they will be able to easily digest it.
Blueberries are a great treat to give to your pet. They ideally should be fresh as fresh berries will contain more antioxidants and nutrients in them.
Bell peppers are a popular vegetable for bearded dragons. They not only provide them with plenty of vitamins and minerals but hydrate your pet as well. Bearded dragons can eat all bell pepper colors, but tend to enjoy the red ones the best.
Make sure to wash off all of your fruits and vegetables before giving them to your pet. Otherwise, they might end up consuming dirt and possible chemicals that coat the fruit or vegetable which could be harmful to their health.
Bearded dragons surprisingly enjoy being handled by their owners. They also tend to be very affectionate. However, there are certain methods you need to follow to ensure you handle your pet correctly. This includes making sure to be gentle with them and giving them plenty of support when you hold them. If you’re on the search to ensure that you safely handle your bearded dragon, definitely be sure to keep the information mentioned above in mind.