Since bearded dragons are not very common (like dogs, cats, or some other pets), most people are unfamiliar with bearded dragons. “Do bearded dragons bite?” is one of the most frequently asked questions by the new reptile fanciers looking to adopt a bearded dragon. If you are also one of such new beardie fanciers, you may also be wondering, “what happens if a bearded dragon bites me?” “Does bearded dragon’s bite hurt?” “What to do if I get bitten by my bearded dragon?” “How to treat beaded dragon bite?” etc.
So this post is focused on helping potential beardie owners who are concerned about beardie’s bite.
Do Bearded Dragons Bite?
YES, bearded dragons can bite, but beardies are generally very gentle, docile, and calm, and biting is not part of their normal behavior. In fact, most beardie owners never experienced a beardie bite. If we compare bearded dragons with dogs and cats, your chances of getting bitten intentionally by your dog or cat are much higher than scratched by your bearded friend.
What Happens If A Bearded Dragon Bites Me? / Are Bearded Dragons Venomous?
Now you know that bearded dragons are calm and docile creatures and rarely bite intentionally, but they can definitely bite due to specific reasons. So naturally, your next question will be what can happen to me if I get bitten by my bearded dragon, “Are bearded dragons venomous like snakes,” etc.
Again I would like to assure you that bearded dragons are not venomous. Some research shows that beardies may transfer a fractional quantity of poison when they bite; however, the amount is so small that it can’t harm humans. In fact, you can be more harmed by the salmonella bacteria that are found in the bearded dragon’s feces and on its skin. A beardies bite will only cause slight to severe pain, inflammation, and bleeding depending on how hard he bit you. However, it’s crucial to remember that since beardies also transfer salmonella and some other bacteria, the small wound due to the bite can worsen very quickly if not treated properly.
Does Bearded Dragon’s Bite Hurt?
Yes, a bearded dragon’s bite hurts like the bite of any other organism. However, the intensity of pain caused by a beardie’s bite is nothing compared to the bite of a dog or a cat. In addition, whatever pain bearded dragon bite causes also depends on their age and size.
Although baby or juvenile bearded dragons have sharp teeth but size of the teeth is small, and they don’t have enough power behind the bite, so generally, baby or juvenile beardie’s bites don’t hurt. In fact, most of the time, they can’t even break the skin.
As far as bites from adult bearded dragons are concerned, though their teeth are not as sharp as the teeth of young beardies, their teeth are larger, and their bite is more powerful. Their bite can be painful and cause bleeding and inflammation at the bite area.
Reasons Why Do Bearded Dragons Bite?
Now let’s look into why a docile pet might bite you.
Discomfort & Stress
An uncomfortable environment and stress (due to any reason) are the most common factors that can make your bearded friend bite you. Generally, beardies get disturbed when you make some changes in the enclosure or change their habitat. Other stress factors include improper lighting, wrong temperature inside the tank, and the presence of large pets (like cats, dogs, etc.) around the enclosure.
If you hand feed your bearded friend, it is possible that your bearded dragon may bite your fingers accidentally. This especially happens when your bearded friend is very hungry and gets excited when he sees the food. In addition, if you touched the beardie’s feed just before handling him, your fingers will smell like feed, so the bearded dragon can misinterpret your fingers as food or insects.
Since bearded dragons are tiny creatures, they can get hurt very quickly if you don’t know how to handle them properly. In fact, learning to handle a bearded dragon is as vital as learning their feeding and habitat requirements. If you approach your bearded friend from behind or above, hold too tightly, poke or pinch him and don’t provide him with enough space, he can get hurt easily. So naturally, a bearded dragon is more likely to bite you in response to poor handling.
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Such bearded dragons that are habituated to handling by humans from childhood generally become familiar with the new owners quickly and tend to be calmer during the handling. On the other hand, bearded dragons are not used to handling, can’t understand that your intentions are not to harm them. So when you approach them or bring your hand forward to pick them up, they feel threatened and become aggressive or scared; in both cases, they will bite.
Therefore it’s always advised by reptile experts to buy a beardie only from a reputable and qualified breeder who knows the importance of socializing bearded dragons from day one and knows how to handle them properly.
What To Do? If A Bearded Dragon Bites You
Let’s assume that you are the one person out of thousands who gets bitten by a bearded dragon. How should you proceed to minimize the risk of your bearded dragon’s bite?
1.The first step is to remain calm and remember that a beardie’s bite can’t harm you more than slight inflammation, pain, and minor bleeding. On the other hand, if you get scared and lose your cool, you will forget to proceed to the next step, and both you and your pet will have to bear more serious consequences.
2. Don’t shake, yank or pull outyour bitten finger or hand. If you do that, it will make your beardie grip harder and sever some part of your finger or hand.Keeping your hand from pulling back in response to a sudden or unexpected bite is possible only if you keep yourself cool and calm.
3. Support the bearded dragon’s body with your free hand, and don’t allow it to hang. Because once a beardie feels supported and comfortable, he is more likely to loosen its grip.
4. Try to pull the jaws apart with your free hand slowly. Once your bitten hand is free, slowly release your grip on jaws allowing them to close slowly.
5. Now your hand is free, treat the wound according to the condition of the wound. Apply any antiseptic available in the house. Since the wound can worsen quickly due to the presence of salmonella bacteria, it’s better to consult a physician.
Take Home Message
Though bearded dragons can bite, they rarely bite. Since they are tiny creatures, their bite is not powerful enough to cause any serious harm. Even then, if you get bitten by your bearded friend, you can follow the simple steps mentioned above to avoid further damage to your hand and your pet.