Have you ever wondered do bearded dragons bite? For many people that are unfamiliar with this wonderful breed of reptile, the question of whether this lizard is capable of biting anybody is usually at the foremost of their mind.
It may have something to do with having the word dragon in their title; after all, almost every fictional dragon we have read about has shown aggressive tendencies!
Perhaps you are considering buying a bearded dragon for the first time, or you already own one and are unsure of its suitability around visitors, especially children.
The question do they bite is therefore a reasonable one.
The answer is not as simple though. Yes, some bearded dragons can, and indeed do, bite, but it is most certainly not in their nature to do so, and almost every incident has a plausible explanation behind it.
THE NATURE OF BEARDED DRAGONS
After that little revelation, it may come as a surprise to know that the bearded dragon species is one of the mildest mannered, placid natured and docile member of the reptile family!
It is this relaxed and laid-back characteristic which makes them one of the easier of reptiles to handle, and which is why they are typically a great choice for beginners and younger owners.
So, if it’s not in their nature to bite, then why exactly do bearded dragons bite?
REASONS WHY A BEARDED DRAGON MAY BITE
Food: This is usually one of the more common reasons why owners receive a bite from their bearded dragon.
This tends to happen when you have the scent of food on your hands. If you forget to wash this scent away before placing your hands inside the dragon’s home, this reptile’s acute senses are alerted and they may reach out for your hand using their mouth without realising!
In a similar way, some owners have reported not quite moving their hand away in time when feeding their bearded dragon, and they have been bit, albeit unintentionally, in the process.
If your bearded dragon feels threatened, then it goes without saying that he or she will resort to lashing out at the nearest human.
This is their defence mechanism and a warning that they aren’t happy with the current situation. You may end up with a bite, just to let you know they are on high alert.
They may also simply be scared and not know how else to react to such an emotion. This is usually a familiar scenario to those bearded dragons who have been rehomed and find it stressful adapting to a new environment, as well as to their new human!
Rough handling can also lead to a person being bit by a bearded dragon. This is especially true for somebody with no experience of the breed.
With no prior handling experience, some people often make the mistake of picking a bearded dragon up incorrectly, hurting the reptile in the process.
Unfortunately, this is also true of children who may become over excited and, without meaning to, pick the dragon up awkwardly, causing it to bite the handler to show its discomfort with the action.
HOW DO I PREVENT MY BEARDED DRAGON FROM BITING?
If the bite results from a food incident, it is easy to rectify the situation and take more time and care when next feeding the dragon.
In terms of mishandling your dragon, that too can also be easily solved by encouraging the right technique and educating any visitors on how to pick up a dragon.
However, with a reptile that feels threatened, it will need more time and dedication from the owner to make the dragon feel comfortable, and ultimately safe. This can only come from repeated contact which is gradually built up over time. If you want to know how to tame your dragon quickly, have a look at this article!
BEARDED DRAGONS CAN MAKE MISTAKES TOO!
It is worth noting that many owners of bearded dragons, who have been on the receiving end of a bite during feeding time, are reported as saying that once the dragon realises what they are doing, they are very quick to stop!
It is almost as though the bearded dragon knows what they have just done is wrong, and they instantly regret their actions!
DOES A BEARDED DRAGON BITE HURT?
For obvious reasons, an adult bite will hurt slightly more than a juvenile bearded dragon bite.
However, most owners who have been bit do admit that it is the shock of being bit, more than the actual bite itself, that they find the worst part!
The bite of a bearded dragon is likened to a small stinging sensation, rather than that of a full-blown bite that you may get from a cat or dog, for example!
WHAT BEARDED DRAGON BITE TREATMENT SHOULD I USE?
If you do receive a bite from a bearded dragon, don’t panic. It is relatively simple to treat. Clean the area immediately with an antiseptic wipe.
This is especially important, even if the skin hasn’t broken, as bearded dragons are bacteria carriers and anyone who touches them should always wash their hands as good practice afterwards.
An antiseptic wipe should be enough to clean the affected area, thus preventing any potential infections. If the bite has managed to pierce the skin, you can apply a plaster afterwards, but ensure the area is kept continually clean until fully healed.
BEARDED DRAGONS DESERVE TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT
The more human contact you can offer your bearded dragon, the more happy and friendly it will become. Bearded dragons like human contact; if it is the right kind of contact!
A bearded dragon bite is usually not a huge cause for alarm; rather a chance to calm down and reassess the situation. Never punish your dragon for biting. Instead, learn from your mistake and make a concentrated effort to never repeat it!
Always remember though, that most owners will never experience a bearded dragon bite throughout their entire ownership of this magnificent reptile!
Have you ever been bitten by your bearded dragon? Let´s talk about it in the comment section below!