When you bring a new bearded dragon home, he is less likely to feel comfortable, relaxed, and calm in the first few days. Newly adopted beardies may take a few days to get accustomed to the new habitat and owner. So chances are your newly adapted bearded dragon may show anger, aggression, or stress signs. Not only newly adopted beardies, but sometimes a beardie who has been with you for a long time can get upset and become angry, aggressive, or stressed due to specific reasons (that we have discussed later in this article).
Naturally, no beardie owner wants his bearded pet to stay in this state of anger, stress, or aggression for long because it can badly affect the beardie’s health.
After reading the above lines, don’t feel alone if you are wondering, “how can you calm down an angry bearded dragon?” Yes, you can calm down your angry bearded dragon by taking simple steps discussed later in the guide. However, before knowing these steps to calm down your angry bearded dragon, it’s crucial that you are able to comprehend and interpret body signs that beardies express when they are angry, agitated, or stressed. The earlier you notice, the sooner you can help your bearded friend.
Signs Of An Angry Bearded Dragon
Though bearded dragons can’t make sounds like other pets (i.e., dogs, cats, birds, etc.) to express their emotions, they can show various signs to make you know that they are upset, angry, or stressed. A list of such signs is given below; however, it’s important to note that these signs do not always indicate that they’re angry. Sometimes these signs are not indicative of anger but rather just expressions of stress, disturbance, and uncomfortable habitat. The signs are:
- Tail Twitching
- Puffing Up
- Black Beard
- Glass Surfing
- Holding Their Mouth Open
- Fast Head Bobbing
How Do You Calm Down An Angry Bearded Dragon? (Reasons For Anger)
Obviously, the solution to any problem lies in its cause, and eliminating the cause is the permanent solution. So, let’s discuss different causes that can make your bearded dragon angry and how you can handle it.
Improper Or Too Much Handling
Generally, beardies like cuddling, petting, and spending time with their owners out of their enclosures. However, every bearded dragon is not the same; some may be more social and like to spend more time outside than others. In addition, timing and the way you handle him are also important. Beardies like to bask immediately after eating food (as it’s necessary for their digestion). So they will feel disturbed if you take them out after feeding. Since bearded dragons are small and solitary creatures, if you don’t handle them properly, they can get hurt very easily, or if you approach them quickly (and from above), they can get afraid.
So it’s crucial to know your beardie’s personality and if your bearded dragon doesn’t like to be handled too much, handle it only when necessary. In addition, you must learn the proper way to handle a bearded dragon and never take them out immediately after feeding them.
Something Wrong With Their Habitat
Bearded dragons feel happy and comfortable in a habitat that mimics their natural habitat. They need tree branches, rocks to bask, hides, cold spots, a regular lighting schedule, etc. In addition, you need to maintain a continuous temperature gradient inside the enclosure, with the temperature ranging from 95 0F to 100 0F at the basking spot and 75 0F to 80 0F at the cooler side. The humidity inside the tank must be between 35 % to 40%. You can expect your bearded friend to become angry or stressed if anything in his vivarium is missing or the temperature or humidity value deviates from the recommended levels.
So you must ensure that the habitat is as close to its wild environment as possible and heat source, lights, and thermometers are working correctly.
Sudden Change In Their Habitat
Instinctively, bearded dragons don’t like any change in their habitat once they get accustomed to it. Even a minor change (like changing the water bowl) can make your bearded dragon disturbed or angry. Even if you just shift the vivarium to another room, the change in surroundings can cause stress to your bearded friend, despite being in the same enclosure.
Though you can do nothing to subside such type of anger, but the good point is that it will go away within a few days, and your beardie will calm down as soon as he becomes accustomed to new settings (whether inside or outside their enclosure). However, the point to keep in mind is that you never make unnecessary changes inside the beardie’s enclosure and never change its location.
Other Animal In Their Tank
Since bearded dragons are solitary animals who don’t like to share their place with any other animal (even with other bearded dragons). So if you force them to share the same enclosure, they will continuously fight for food, a basking place, and to establish their dominance (due to their territorial instinct). Under such circumstances, both bearded dragons will be under stress and show signs of anger or aggression due to the continuous threat of being bitten by other beardie.
So the best strategy is to keep every bearded dragon in a separate enclosure and make sure that no other animal or house lizard gets access to their enclosures.
As bearded dragons (male or female) reach their adult age, they become a bit more aggressive and territorial due to the hormonal variations occurring in the body. They undergo this phase every time their breeding season arrives.
Being aggressive or exhibiting annoying behavior during mating season is natural, so all you can do is not disturb your bearded friend, provide feed in time, ensure that everything inside their tank is correct and wait. Beardie will calm down soon as this hormonal shuffle lasts only a few days.
Related article How Do You Take Care Of A Pregnant Bearded Dragon?
Your Beardie Is Shedding
Though shedding is a natural process and all bearded dragons undergo this phase, it is a bit uncomfortable, irritating, and sometimes painful for some bearded dragons. So most beardies are angry and agitated when they are shedding.
You can help them by leaving them alone, not handling them until necessary, and providing them with a good diet. Increasing the humidity inside their cabin and giving them warm baths will also help them get rid of stuck skin. However, while giving a bath, be extra careful that you don’t pull off the skin as it will cause pain to your beardie leading to further anger.
Related article Should I hold my bearded dragon while shedding?
Other Animals Around Their Vivarium
If your bearded dragon can see other pets (especially larger pets like dogs, cats, etc.) in the house, they can quickly get afraid of them due to their small size. They will especially take a dog or cat approaching their tank as a predator or intruder and show aggressive behavior as a defensive gesture.
So to avoid continuous discomfort due to larger pets, it’s recommended to place your bearded dragon’s enclosure in a room where other pets can’t easily access it, and bearded dragons can’t see them.
Your Beardie Is Sick Or Injured
You may have experienced that sometimes everything inside the tank is correct, and nothing is bothering your bearded dragon from outside; still, your beardie expresses signs of anger or try to bite you when you enter your hand into their enclosure. This happens because your bearded dragon may suffer from hidden pain, disease, or injury. So you must contact a vet immediately to sort out the issue.