what upsets a beardie

What Upsets a Bearded Dragon? [And What to Do About It]

Several things can upset a bearded dragon, including being handled too roughly, feeling threatened by humans or other animals, changes in their environment, inadequate diet or nutrition, illness, and improper temperatures or lighting in their enclosure. Bearded dragons are sensitive to stress and may become upset or anxious if they do not have a secure and comfortable environment.

Signs of a distressed or upset bearded dragon may include changes in behavior, lack of appetite, lethargy, or excessive hiding. Providing a proper diet, appropriate environmental conditions, and gentle handling can help keep bearded dragons healthy and content.

Environmental Stressors

Bearded dragons require a carefully managed environment in order to stay healthy and happy. It is essential that keepers understand the top environmental stressors for bearded dragons in order to provide them with a proper environment.

Temperature Variations

Bearded dragons need an ambient temperature of 78-85°F and a basking spot temperature of 95-105°F. If the temperature drops too low, they can become lethargic, lose appetite, and become susceptible to infection. If it gets too high, they can suffer from heat stroke and die quickly.

Too Much Humidity

Bearded dragons are desert animals and need low humidity to survive. Too much humidity can cause respiratory infections, cause skin irritation and shed problems, as well as other health issues. It is important to use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels and ensure that the enclosure remains at 30-40% humidity.

Poor Lighting

Proper lighting is essential for bearded dragons as it helps them produce vitamin D3 and absorb calcium for healthy bones and muscles. Without proper lighting the bearded dragon may develop metabolic bone disease which can be fatal if left untreated. UVB lighting should be used at all times during the day to keep your bearded dragon healthy and thriving.

Poor Hygiene

Bearded dragons require regular cleaning of their habitat to maintain proper hygiene and health. This includes changing out the substrate on a regular basis and spot-cleaning droppings and uneaten food regularly. Poor hygiene can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria which can cause illnesses in your dragon, as well as an unpleasant odor in the habitat.

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Poorly Ventilated Enclosures

Bearded dragons need plenty of fresh air to remain healthy. Poorly ventilated enclosures can cause respiratory issues and other health problems. To ensure good ventilation, make sure there is at least one large opening in the enclosure to allow airflow.

Dietary Stressors

Dietary stressors can cause serious health problems in bearded dragons and should be avoided. Here are the top mistake owners make when it comes to a bearded dragons diet:

Unhealthy Foods

Bearded dragons should only eat foods that are appropriate for their species. Unhealthy foods such as chocolate, candy, and processed meats can cause serious health problems in bearded dragons. These foods provide little nutrition and can lead to obesity or other nutritional deficiencies.

Too Much Calcium

Calcium is essential for bearded dragons, but it is important not to give them too much. Excess calcium can cause kidney stones or other health issues. Be sure to feed your dragon a balanced diet that includes calcium-rich vegetables and fruits as well as supplements if necessary.

Low-Quality Insects

Bearded dragons should be fed high-quality insects such as crickets or mealworms that are raised on a nutritious diet. Low-quality insects may contain parasites or other contaminants that can make your dragon ill. It is important to buy insects from a reputable supplier and store them correctly to ensure they are safe for your dragon to eat.


Bearded dragons do not need unlimited food and can easily become overweight. Overfeeding can lead to serious health issues such as obesity, metabolic bone disease, and liver dysfunction. It is important to feed your bearded dragon the correct amount of food each day and avoid overfeeding.

Lack of Variety in Food

Bearded dragons need variety in their diet to ensure they get all the nutrients they need. Feeding your bearded dragon the same food every day can lead to boredom and lack of nutrition. It is important to provide a variety of foods such as insects, vegetables, fruits, and other supplements so your bearded dragon receives all the vitamins and minerals it needs for optimal health.

Physical Stressors

Bearded dragons are prone to physical stressors. These stressors can affect the health and wellbeing of these lovable reptiles and should be taken into consideration when caring for them. Here are the top physical stressors for bearded dragons.

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Lack of Exercise

Bearded dragons need regular exercise in order to stay healthy and active. If they are not given enough opportunity to move around and explore, their bodies will not develop properly, leading to health issues down the line.

Make sure that your dragon has plenty of space to move around and explore in order to keep them physically fit.

Improper Handling

Bearded dragons can become easily stressed from being handled too much or too little. It’s important to start slowly when introducing them to handling; give them time to get used to you before attempting more complex interactions such as feeding or exercising.

Do not to handle your bearded dragon when they’re feeling stressed or scared as this could lead to anxiety or aggression.

Psychological Stressors

Bearded dragons, like all animals, can experience psychological stress. Let’s take a look at the most common psychological stressors for bearded dragons.

Lack of Proper Stimulation

One of the most common psychological stressors for bearded dragons is a lack of proper stimulation.

Without proper stimulation, bearded dragons can become bored and listless. This can lead to a decrease in appetite, which can have a negative effect on their overall health. To ensure that bearded dragons receive adequate stimulation, owners should provide them with interactive toys, varied environments, and regular handling.

Social Isolation

One of the most common psychological stressors for bearded dragons is social isolation. While they may be solitary animals in the wild, they still need companionship and interaction with their owners and other animals, such as other reptiles. Without proper socialization, bearded dragons may become stressed or even depressed.

Unfamiliar Environments

Bearded dragons are also sensitive to unfamiliar environments and changes in their surroundings.

If a bearded dragon is moved to a new home or brought into a new environment, it may experience anxiety due to unfamiliar sights and sounds.

To reduce this anxiety, it is important to introduce them slowly to new environments and ensure that they are comfortable before introducing any changes.

Signs Your Bearded Dragon Is Upset

It can sometimes be hard to tell when your bearded dragon is upset or in distress. Knowing the signs that a bearded dragon is upset can help you prevent and respond to potential health issues. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

Change in Appetite

One of the most common signs of an unhappy bearded dragon is a change in their appetite. If they suddenly stop eating or start eating less than they normally do, it could be a sign that they are feeling stressed or upset. Try to identify any potential causes of distress and address them accordingly.

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Unusual Behavior’s

Another way to tell if your bearded dragon is distressed is to watch for any unusual behavior’s. This may include signs of aggression such as biting, hissing, tail-wagging, or puffing up their beard. It can also include more subdued behavior’s like burying themselves under the substrate or hiding in dark areas of their enclosure.

Low Energy Levels

The third indicator of distress in your bearded dragon is a decrease in their energy levels. If they seem less active than usual and not interested in exploring their environment, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

Change in Coloration

When upset, bearded dragons may turn a darker shade of brown or black. It is also possible for them to become very pale if they’re feeling threatened or unhappy.

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What You’ve Learned

  • Bearded dragons can be upset by several things, including improper temperatures or lighting, inadequate diet, changes in environment, and illness, which can cause behavioral changes, lack of appetite, lethargy, or excessive hiding.
  • Bearded dragons require a carefully managed environment that takes into account the top environmental stressors, such as temperature variations, humidity, lighting, hygiene, and ventilation, to maintain their health and happiness.
  • Dietary stressors that bearded dragons should avoid include unhealthy foods, too much calcium, low-quality insects, overfeeding, and lack of variety in food.
  • Bearded dragons are prone to physical stressors, such as lack of exercise and improper handling, which can lead to health problems.
  • Psychological stressors for bearded dragons include lack of proper stimulation, which can cause boredom, a decrease in appetite, and an overall negative effect on their health. Providing interactive toys, varied environments, and regular handling can help alleviate this stress.