Got An Aggressive Bearded Dragon? Here Is What You Do
It has been a while, maybe a day, maybe two days but now you know the time has come. It is time to make a living sacrifice to the mighty dragon running around in a glass tank. You are going to feed the dragon a couple of ... crickets, but suddenly it is not possible for you to get near the territory of your mighty, wingless dragon. What happened? Yesterday everything was fine and now you can´t even look at him without freaking your beardie out.
Seriously, if you have some problems with an aggressive bearded dragon no matter if it was calm all the time or if it was aggressive right from the beginning, this can be a real pain. In this article I am going to show you why it is important that your bearded dragon is calm, why your bearded dragon might be aggressive and what to do about it.
Why It Is Important That Your Bearded Dragon Is Calm
There are some reptile owners who say that you should not touch your bearded dragon at all. You should just leave it in the tank living a normal life like a wild bearded dragon. They think that bearded dragons should remain skittish and sometimes aggressive if you get too close to their territory. Especially in Europe people think this is the way a reptile should be kept at home.
To be honest, I think that as long as the bearded dragon is healthy and happy, you should keep them the way you want. Wether it be wild or calm. However there are a couple of good reason to help your bearded dragon to get comfortable with your presence.
Your Bearded Dragon Could Get Hurt
Is your bearded dragon freaking out whenever you walk into the room? That could be very dangerous for the little dragon. Some reptiles run through their cage with full speed and what do you think how they stop most of the time? They run against the glass of your tank! The result is an injured snout which could lead to various infections. Have you ever seen a bearded dragon with mouth rot?
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Visiting A Vet Is Much Easier
This is very important. There might come the time when your bearded dragon really needs help from a vet because it is very sick. If your bearded dragon is not tamed you will stress him out when trying to catch him to bring him to the vet. This way your bearded dragon´s condition could get even worse.
A Lot More Things Are Possible For Your Dragon
Bearded dragons do get bored, even most people do not know this or do not believe it. If you have an aggressive bearded dragon you can do nothing with him. So your bearded dragon has to sit in his tank his whole life and eventually die. I think that is awful and I am sure you do so too.
You can have a lot of fun with your dragon an it can actually be good for a dragon. For example: have you ever taken a walk with your bearded dragon? Get a bearded dragon leash and let your bearded dragon enjoy the natural sun outside!
There is even more stuff you can do with your dragon if it is not aggressive anymore! Have a look at these 10 things you can do with a bearded dragon!
Why Your Bearded Dragon Might Be Aggressive
Even if your bearded dragon is shy, it does not mean it has to be aggressive as well. Most bearded dragons are pretty curious about everything that happens around them. Here are a couple of reasons your your dragon wants to kill you! (Not really, but yeah)
Got a New Bearded Dragon? Or a New Tank?
If you just got your bearded dragon and it is totally aggressive don´t worry about it. Most of the time beardies get calm over time. Your dragon just has to get used to the new home. Think about it, how would you feel after such a trip? Your bearded dragon just came from the pet shop or you ordered it online. This is a hell of a journey for such a little guy. So being aggressive should be okay for a while.
Same goes for a new environment for your bearded dragon. If you just got a new tank with a lot of awesome decor, new plants and everything, chances are that your bearded dragon absolutely hates it.
Did You Hurt Your Dragon?
Believe me, no one points with their finger at you and screams "dragon abuser". Sometimes it just happens. You want to get your bearded dragon out of the cage, you grab it, your beardie wants to get away and you hurt it accidentally. It doesn´t have to be wounded, just the pain is enough for your bearded dragon to hate you for a while. (As you see, bearded dragons only know three emotions: silent love, hate and food.)
Give your beardie a couple of days. Everything will be fine when your dragon trusts you again.
Bearded Dragons only know three emotions: silent love, hate and food. #beardeddragon
You Got The Wrong Tank
If you got the wrong tank setup it can happen that your bearded dragon gets aggressive. For example if you have a too small tank your dragon easily feels under pressure when you get near the tank. What to do now? Fleeing or attacking? Since your beardie can´t flee, because of the too small tank, he will bite you. Or at least he will try. Need help with setting up a tank? Click here!
When Puberty Hits...
All the mothers now go: ohhh yeah, now I get it! Well, it is hard to believe but even beardies have this. If your dragon is around 7 months old, prepare for a sometimes weird behaviour. Give your bearded dragon some time. It will get better, trust me.
Do You Have More Than One Bearded Dragon?
It is a popular misunderstanding that you can keep more than one bearded dragon in one cage. Bearded dragons are loners and most of the time they hate roommates of their species. Sometimes it is possible to keep a male with a female in one tank, but this isn´t always the case. If your bearded dragon suddenly becomes aggressive to another bearded dragon, most probably it is because one of these two reasons: there are two males in your tank, even though you thought you have one female and one male. (Male bearded dragons can disguise as females. Read more here!) Or your tank is simply too small for two beardies. BTW: In case you keep two beardies for several years and you think they are male and female, but they never laid eggs... surprise, surprise, most probably you got two males.
Your Bearded Dragon Is Exhausted
For whatever reason, your bearded dragon is exhausted. Let´s say you got a female, she just laid eggs and buried all the eggs. Now she is is tired as hell and she does not wants to see anybody. This can be a reason for aggression. It is just a normal defence mechanism. She will be the friendly, little dragon she was by tomorrow, but for now - beware of the dragon! (Same goes for sick bearded dragons!)
You Handfeed Your Bearded Dragon!
If you do this and suddenly your bearded dragon bites your hand even though you do not offer any food at the moment your bearded dragon is not really aggressive. Your dragon associates your hand with food and sometimes it happens that you get bitten! Tweezers like these will help you!
What You Should Do Now
First of all you have to find out why your bearded dragon is aggressive. Has it always been this way? Is this a new behaviour? Above I gave you a couple of reasons, if not all the reasons for an aggressive behaviour. Find out what the reason is and act accordingly. For example, get a new tank or separate your two bearded dragons.
You should never punish your bearded dragon ever if you want to have a calm bearded dragon. Your dragon will only learn that it can´t trust you because you are dangerous. So always stay calm and show your dragon that you are not a threat. Sometimes you just have to wait. I know this is hard, but it is what it is.
Why Wearing Gloves Is Not a Good Idea
Unfortunately, wearing gloves does not help to gain your bearded dragon´s trust. Experience has shown that bearded dragons hate big gloves and freak out even more if you wear them. However you should get this.
Get Some Tweezers - Now!
Tweezers actually help you to get a relaxed bearded dragon. Your dragon does associate you with food, but it does not associate your hand with food. This is a big help as your bearded dragon won´t bite your hand by accident anymore. Further you minimze the risk of getting bitten with long tweezers and you can still show your dragon that you are not a threat.
Bearded Dragon Aggression Survival Kit
Even though I do not recommend gloves, your highest goal should be to remain calm even if your dragon bites you. Of course this is easier with gloves, so if you need them, I recommend the gloves below.
Tame Your Dragon Easily!
If you want to know how to tame your bearded dragon easily, have a look at my taming guide here. I show you how you can tame your dragon in just a few simple steps!
Do you want to share any bearded dragon bite survival stories with us? Go ahead and enter your story in the comment section below!
About the Author
Hey! I am Pierre. I own bearded dragons and many other reptiles for a very long time. I know from experience that it can be very hard to find the right information about a specific reptile, since there is so much misinformation out there.That´s why I created this website. To help other people to have the best time with their reptiles.