Shedding which is also known as molting, peeling or sloughing is a natural process in all reptiles whereby lizards including bearded dragons cast off their old skin and replace it with a new one.
How often do bearded dragons shed? Young bearded dragons shed more often than older ones. Because they have a faster growth rate. Thus, where a juvenile might shed every 3-4 weeks, up until they’re a year old. An adult might only shed once, maybe twice a year.
The following information will be discussing bearded dragons shedding:
- the scientific definition of shedding
- how often bearded dragons shed their skin
- how often bearded dragons shedding last
- bearded dragons behavior during shedding process
- how you can help bearded dragons during shedding
- how long it takes bearded dragons to completely shed
- why your bearded dragon stops shedding
- influence of maturity on bearded dragons shedding
- duration of bearded dragons shedding
- change in appearance of bearded dragons during shedding
- bearded dragons eating their shed
- closing summary on bedded dragons shedding
Scientific Definition of Shedding
Scientifically known as ecdysis, shedding is a complex process whereby a brand new epidermis is replicated underneath the old one. When the outer skin (New Skin) is ready, the bearded dragon starts to release enzymes that help in separating the old skin from the new one.
Therefore, unlike the snakes that leave a complete cast behind, bearded dragons cast off their skin in various pieces.
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Shed Their Skin?
Shedding is linked to hormonal changes, and it varies for each bearded dragon. The frequency of shedding is much higher in baby dragons that are less than a year old as compared to adult dragons. This is because baby bearded dragons grow very quickly.
Likewise, baby dragons may cast off their skin several times in their first year. They will usually shed their skins every 6-8 weeks right until they are over a year old.
Therefore, as they reach adulthood, where their body growth slows down, the frequency of shedding skin also slows down.
Generally, in adult bearded dragons, certain conditions and behavior may trigger the shedding, e.g.,
- stress, age
- humidity, and
Sometimes, adult bearded dragons shed their skins a few times in a year, but most times, they will shed their skin in various pieces.
Bearded Dragons Behavior During Shedding Process
If your bearded dragon behaves strangely than usual during the shedding process, just don’t panic, as this is totally normal.
Because of the shedding, the bearded dragon may seem aggressive towards any attempt to handle or pick them up. This is completely normal, and its best to give them plenty of space and let him to it. Thus, this behavior can last from 2 to a couple of weeks.
How can I help my Bearded Dragon During the Shedding?
Firstly, do not pick at the skin, you’re not helping them at all. In fact, you really could be damaging the new skin underneath.
During the bearded dragon shedding process, they prefer more humid areas, that is why they may tend to avoid the warmer end of the tank.
Thus, you can put a large water pot in their tank which is easy for them to hop in. Or if your bearded dragon is easy to handle, you can fetch him out of the tank and bath him.
Alternatively, you can also mist the dragon/tank to aid the shedding. But be careful not to over-mist the tank because very high humidity can also cause reparative issues.
How Long Does It Take for Your Bearded Dragons to Completely Shed Their Skin?
Normally, a full body skin shed will take somewhere around 2 to 3 weeks for adult bearded dragons. But it can actually happen a lot quicker in baby bearded dragons.
However, partial shedding will happen much quicker as compared to full body shedding. Typically, a partial shedding will take only about a week to complete, but sometimes it can also take a little over one week.
Do Bearded Dragons Eat Less During the Shedding Process?
Bearded dragons usually lose their appetite while going through a full body shed. It can even stop eating altogether, but this is really very rare. It depends on the bearded dragon. It can be different for different bearded dragons.
If your bearded dragon is having a partial body shed and has stopped eating, then this could be due to other factors.
Why is my Bearded Dragon not Shedding Anymore?
When dragons reach their full body size, they will do less frequent full-body sheds. This is because their hormones changes and their body growth declines. Therefore, you need to closely inspect your bearded dragon. Because they may shed their odd body parts now and then without you knowing.
If you think your bearded dragon has stopped shedding then this might be a health issue related to
- humidity or
Therefore, if your bearded dragon is less than a year old and hasn’t shed for more than eight weeks, then this is a bigger cause for concern. And it is a sign of serious health problems
Once Bearded Dragons Mature They Shed In Patches
After dragons slow down in growth, the shedding process changes slightly. Adult bearded dragons usually shed in random patches throughout the year. A leg here, and a tail there.
Thus, there is no schedule or pattern for a mature dragon’s shedding, so don’t bother trying to pin down the when and where. Therefore, keep note, adults do go through full-body sheds on occasion.
Bearded Dragon Shedding Do Take from a Few Days to a Few Weeks
Depending on the animal, the shed, and the ambient conditions, the cycle can take from three days to three weeks under normal circumstances.
However, always pay attention to how long your bearded dragon has been in shed. A shed that takes longer than three weeks could actually indicate underlying issues or maybe stuck.
Bearded Dragons May Lose Appetite Before and During Shed
If your bearded dragon suddenly loses appetite, but you haven’t noticed any signs of illness, keep watch for a coming shed. During the shedding process, bearded dragons feel well miserable.
Thus, growing a new skin while the old one detaches itself is as pleasant as it sounds. It’s not uncommon for bearded dragons to eat less or refuse food altogether. Therefore, continue to offer them meals and try not to worry.
Bearded Dragons May Become Lethargic Before and During Shed
As with my last note, your miserable bearded dragon is likely to want a time of rest during shed. Bearded dragon shedding behavior usually consists of exhaustion and irritability. Hence, you might consider keeping interactions to a minimum until they perk up again.
Change in Appearance of Shedding Bearded Dragons
Before a shed becomes obvious, a dragon’s skin can turn darker and duller. To an unsuspecting owner, this may be seen as illness.
However, this change in appearance will slowly progress just until patches of grey, loose scales announce shedding time. Thus, if you’re worried about your dragon’s appearance, wait a few days to see if it’s simply time for a shed.
Therefore, after everything is over, your little friend will look brighter than ever!
Eye Bulging? No Problem!
Eye bulging has been a source of panic for many bearded dragon keepers in the time past. Basically, if you walk in to see your bearded dragon’s eyes looking like they’re about to pop out of their sockets, stay calm, this is normal.
Bearded dragons use eye bulging to stretch the skin around their eyes. Therefore, helping to loosen shed in the tricky area.
Do not Tug a Piece of Shed Off Your Bearded Dragon
If a piece is dangling there, it won’t hurt to just knock if off. However, shed that isn’t ready to come off yet is likely to be attached to the sensitive skin underneath. Thus, it’s easy to imagine why yanking it off could result in injury.
Therefore, if you pick at a section of shed and meet resistance of any kind, leave it alone! Another note: if you lift a part of the shed, and you find it to be soft and moist underneath, once again, it’s best not to pull off your dragon’s shed, no matter how tempting.
My Dragon Eats its Shed…is this Bad?
Sometimes a bearded dragon may eat their shed which is basically a feral instinct that reptiles do in the wild just to prevent predators from finding them.
However, while the skin itself isn’t bad, what is stuck to the skin may be including
- fecal matter
- rotting food particles etc.
Therefore, it is best to remove any dead skin lying around the enclosure.
Closing Summary of Bearded Dragons Shedding
Increase hydration through their food
Hydration is very vital during the shedding cycle. Thus, feeding your bearded dragon a little lettuce will actually become beneficial. Also, avoid feeding them lettuce due to its low nutritional value.
Try hydrating your Bearded Dragon with baths
This can be an excellent way to soothe your bearded dragon. As well as give them an opportunity to rehydrate through drinking the bathing water.
Thus, place your bearded dragon in the bath 1 – 2 times per day for 10 – 15 minutes. However, if your bearded dragon hates the bath, then pencil it in for every other day.
Do not pull of shedding skin of your Bearded Dragon
The new skin underneath is still forming, so that means the scales may not be fully formed. And the nerve endings may not have completely separated, making it painful for your bearded dragon if you start peeling off the skin.
Thus, fight the urge to pick that loose bit of skin that’s been there all day long, let it come off once it’s ready.