It can be pretty shocking to see that your bearded dragon suddenly starts shaking and doesn´t really stop doing that for days. If you feel that you always take good care of your bearded dragon, of course the first thing you will ask yourself is, why is my bearded dragon shaking?
A shaking bearded dragon usually suffers from a calcium deficiency, lack of vitamin B or sometimes even from vitamin poisoning. Bearded Dragons that suffer from metabolic bone disease also shake and have coordination problems.
So what does this mean for you? How can you test if your bearded dragon has any of the problems above? Do you know how to supplement correctly? Do you have the right lighting? This article will help you with that.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Shaking?
Shaking in bearded dragon should not be taken lightly, because it always shows that there is something wrong with the bearded dragon. A healthy bearded dragon would never shake all of a sudden and continue to do that for hours or even days.
Shaking most of the times shows that there is something wrong with the supplementation. Bearded dragon needs certain vitamins and minerals and if you do not provide that, your bearded dragon will get sick.
Calcium for bearded dragons is vital. A bearded dragons that does not get enough calcium will get sick, there is no way around that. Bearded dragons need calcium for healthy bones and growth for example.
If a bearded dragon does not get enough calcium its bones will get soft and if the bearded dragon suffers from calcium deficiency over a long period of time, the bearded dragon will have deformed bones.
If you think to yourself now that you already dust the feeder insects with a calcium supplement, you probably still not offer enough calcium. Whenever you feed your bearded dragon you simply must use the calcium supplement.
Besides that, you also need to offer calcium in a bowl. This is not very common, but one of the few ways to make sure that your bearded dragon gets enough calcium whenever it feels that it needs it.
Yes, bearded dragons feel that they need minerals and to balance those minerals they eat dirt in the wild. The problem with that is, that most people do not even use normal substrate anymore. Most people use newspaper or reptile carpet as “substrate” even though that does not fulfill a bearded dragon´s needs.
However, even if you would use a normal substrate like sand or even soil, your bearded dragon would not get the right minerals by eating the substrate. After a while your bearded dragon would only get impacted.
Actually, this happens to a lot of bearded dragon owners.
However, there is a simple way to make sure that your bearded dragon gets enough calcium and does not eat substrate. Simply offer sepia bone in a separate bowl inside the terrarium. Sepia is great and you can crumble it into little pieces.
The sepia bone I use is mostly used for birds or turtles, but that doesn´t matter. You can get the sepia bone here.
So even if you sometimes forget to dust the feeder insects with calcium, your bearded dragon always has the possibility to get enough of it.
Further you can then use other substrates than newspaper or reptile carpet. Bearded dragons are natural diggers and need some dirt to dig. I have written an article on an amazing substrate for bearded dragons – read this article here.
The bearded dragon in the video below is shaking because of lack of calcium in its diet.
You Do Not Have The Right Lighting
This goes hand in hand with calcium deficiency. If your bearded dragon gets enough calcium, but your lighting is not correct, your bearded dragon will not be able to process the calcium in its body and the bones still will become soft and your bearded dragon will start to shake.
As you know, bearded dragons love the sun and they need it to survive. A bearded dragon without light and warmth is a dead bearded dragon.
You need a light bulb that produces heat and you need a UVB light bulb.
Without the heat, your beardie is not able to get its body on temperature since they are cold blooded. Without heat your bearded dragon is not able to function properly. It can´t really move, hunt or digest. If you need to know what temperature bearded dragons need and which heat bulbs are the best, read this article.
You Must Have A Good UVB Bulb
Besides a heat bulb you also need a UVB bulb. Bearded dragons need uvb to produce vitamin D. They need vitamin D to process the calcium. You can supplement as much calcium as you want, without the right UVB output your bearded dragon will still get sick and it will start shaking eventually.
The problem with UVB bulbs is that there are only a few bulbs that are really good and have a sufficient UVB output.
The good news is that there is one light bulb that is absolutely awesome. I have created an entire article on lighting for bearded dragons and I also talk about that UVB bulb in that article. Read this article on beardie lighting here.
Further you should not forget that over time the UVB output in such bulbs is not as high as in the beginning. That´s why you should at least switch that UVB bulb every year, but I even recommend to switch it every six months to really make sure that your beardie stays healthy.
Your Bearded Dragon Is Suffering From Metabolic Bone Disease
Shaking in bearded dragons is often times the first symptom of metabolic bone disease. Bearded dragons that suffer from this horrible disease start to shake, have coordination problems and eventually will be deformed.
That´s what I talked about above.
However, if you do not act quick enough, this disease will become so bad that your bearded dragon will be deformed and will most probably never stop shaking again. A lot of bearded dragons and other reptiles die from this.
So definitely make sure that you always provide enough calcium and that you have the right lighting. If you need some more information on this, read my metabolic bone disease guide.
Lack Of Vitamins Or Vitamin Poisoning
Vitamin supplements can be pretty bad and they can be the reason why your bearded dragon is shaking.
You could have added to much of the vitamin supplement you are using and now your bearded dragon is poisoned. Or your bearded dragon does not get enough vitamins. Most of the times, lack of vitamin B is the reason for shaking in bearded dragons.
If you want to use vitamin supplements you should use a multivitamin supplement. Most supplements should only be used once a week, but that depends on your bearded dragon´s age on it´s weight and on your feeding.
I recommend to talk to your vet about vitamin supplementation. They can tell you what amount of powder you should use.
Are You Gut Loading?
Gut loading means, feeding the crickets or hoppers you are going to feed your bearded dragon healthy food. By doing this the live food will become more healthy for your bearded dragon since the insects carry all the good vitamins from the healthy food.
Feed those insects salad, fruits and vegetables to make sure that your bearded dragon gets a healthy meal.
Feeder insects that are not gut loaded do not really provide any vitamins or good minerals. That´s why it is so important to do this. If you need some additional information on bearded dragon diet, read this article on beardie diet.
Is Your Bearded Dragon Refusing To Eat Greens?
I do not have to tell you that vegetables, salad and other greens provide a great amount of vitamins. Normally adult bearded dragons should eat more greens than insects.
The problem is that most bearded dragon owners feed their bearded dragons completely wrong, because there is so much misinformation on this topic. After a bearded dragon was fed incorrectly for a long time, it will refuse to eat greens.
I have written an ebook on this topic. It will explain what is wrong with your bearded dragon and how you will get your bearded dragon to eat greens within the next 7 days. You can get this ebook here.
While the things I have outlined above are most of the times the causes for shaking in bearded dragons, it could also be that your bearded dragon is suffering from a disease or from parasites.
Diseases and parasites can make your bearded dragon very weak and this can be a reason for shaking. That´s why you should always take your bearded dragon to the vet when seeing this behavior.
If your bearded dragon is bobbing its head in a certain rhythm, you are lucky. This is not a disease or lack of minerals, it is a sign of dominance. However, that is whole different topic. Read about head bobbing here.
As you now know, a shaking bearded dragon is a sick bearded dragon. Luckily you can do something about it and if you catch this behavior early, there is a great chance that your bearded dragon will recover quickly.
I always recommend to take your bearded dragon to your vet. That should be the first thing you do before anything else. This way you can easily find out what your bearded dragon really has and act accordingly instead of just trying everything.
I hope that this article answered your question – Why is my bearded dragon shaking? – but if you have any questions, simply leave a message in the comment section below.