If you get a new pet, you wanna make sure that you don´t get a little stink bomb, right? So do bearded dragons smell? And if yes, can you do something about it or do you have to just accept it?
Bearded dragons are like the most other reptiles odor-free. Their bodies literally smell like nothing. However, a bearded dragon´s feces can smell pretty badly and if you don´t clean the cage frequently it seems like the bearded dragon stinks, even though it is just the tank it is living in that stinks.
Does that really mean that bearded dragons never smell? Can you do something about the smell of their feces? What can you do to make sure that it always smells good in your house even though you have a bearded dragon?
Do Bearded Dragons Smell?
As I said, bearded dragons do not smell at all. A bearded dragon´s body produces almost no waste and bearded dragons do not sweat like we humans do. So they don´t produce any fluids that could smell badly.
Humans start to sweat if they need to cool down their body during sports or if it is too hot outside. Bearded dragons and other reptiles are completely different here.
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded, which means that their body functions rely on an external heat source. In the wild, that would be the sun and warm stones bearded dragons like to lie on.
So to raise its body temperature a bearded dragon will lie in the sun or lie on a warm stone (or both). However, a bearded dragon doesn´t sweat to regulate its body temperature when it feels that it gets too hot.
Bearded dragons have to move out of the sun and away from too hot places then. In shaded and cooler places, the bearded dragon´s body temperature will drop slowly until it needs to heat up in the sun again.
Further, bearded dragons have a mechanism that is very similar to human sweating. Since bearded dragon can´t afford to lose a lot of water in the dry woodlands of Australia, they just open their mouths to regulate their body temperature.
By opening their mouths they prevent their bodys from overheating.
So does it smell if bearded dragons open their mouths? Actually, I was never close enough to smell that, but I have never noticed any smell while my bearded dragon was basking with an open mouth.
Besides all that, bearded dragons do not shed all the time like we humans do. While human shedding (all the time) actually can produce a different smell, shedding in reptiles (once in a month or so) does not really smell. The dead skin falls of quickly and most of the times in one go.
They Don´t Mark Their Territory
Unlike a lot of mammals, bearded dragons do not mark their territory with odors. In the wild, male bearded dragons have a small territory which they defend they whole day by scaring off intruders with body language or even with actual fights.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Smell So Bad?
So how can bearded dragons smell bad when I already said above that they are odor-free? While it is correct that they are odor-free, it does not mean that they always smell like nothing.
Actually, a bearded dragon will smell like the environment it is living in and that is a very important topic.
I don´t mean that your bearded dragon will smell like roses if you put a bunch of roses in its terrarium (okay, I never actually tried). I am talking about bad smells here and those smells are produced by feces, uneaten food and old and filthy substrate.
If your bearded dragon is crawling through that old and filthy substrate the whole day, it will smell like the filthy substrate eventually. That is just normal.
While most people give their bearded dragon baths to “clean” them, I think this is the complete wrong thing to do. It is like treating symptoms, but not caring about the root of the problems.
I mean, you can bathe your bearded dragon, but normally it is not necessary to do that. I have written a complete article on that, if you want to learn more about giving bearded dragons a bath, click here.
However, instead of bathing your bearded dragon on a regular base, you should just clean its tank on a daily base.
This has three benefits:
- Your bearded dragon will not smell anymore and you will not have to give it a bath on a regular base.
- Your bearded dragon cage will not smell anymore and this also means that your house will not smell like bearded dragon cage anymore.
- You will reduce bacteria inside the cage immensely which decreases the risk of sickness in your bearded dragon.
Cleaning a bearded dragon´s tank on a daily base does not require much of your time.
In fact, I wrote an article where I answer the question if bearded dragons are a lot of work. I show you in this article how much time keeping bearded dragons consumes. It is not a lot. Click here to learn that bearded dragons are not a lot of work.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a lot of different questions people have when it comes to stinky bearded dragons. Below you find the most common questions on this topic.
Do Bearded Dragons Smell When They Shed?
No, bearded dragons do not smell while they are shedding. While the skin they get rid of is dead, it does not produce any odor.
How Bad Does Bearded Dragon Poop Smell?
Depending on what the bearded dragon ate before, a bearded dragon´s poop can smell horrible and one could compare it to the smell of human feces. However, it still smells a little bit worse than human feces.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Smell Like Poop?
Sometimes bearded dragons crawl through their own feces by accident. The dung sticks to the bearded dragon´s body and often times only a bath can help to get rid of that smell.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Smell Like Pee?
Bearded dragons that have to live in a very filthy tank can smell like dung and pee. That is because there is a lot of bacteria inside the tank which produces a bad smell. The feces, uneaten food and filthy substrate stick to the bearded dragon´s body and make it stink.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Smell Like Fish?
As long as you have not fed your bearded dragon fish, your bearded dragon most probably smells like feces which comes from a filthy tank.
If your tank is clean, maybe there is rotting salad or feces in a spot you cannot see. Try to find what produces the fishy smell and remove it.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon´s Vivarium Smell?
A bearded dragon´s vivarium should be cleaned on a regular base. The water bowls and food bowls should be cleaned with hot water daily. Uneaten food, whether it be greens or insects have to be removed on a daily base, just like dung. The substrate has to be changed completely from time to time. By doing this your vivarium will always smell nice.
Bearded dragons do not really smell bad. Their feces can smell like hell though.
That is why it is extremely important to femove the feces as soon as you see them. This will reduce the smell immensely.
Also keep in mind that you have to clean the bearded dragon cage on a daily base.
So do bearded dragons smell? No, beardies are odor-free, but their feces are not 🙂
Leave a comment if you have any questions!