The bearded dragon shedding process is something that all owners need to understand. Over the years, we’ve heard from countless people who’s said they’re not sure what to expect when their beardie sheds.
And that’s a problem.
As an owner, it’s your job to help support these reptiles when they go through this natural process. While they can handle most of it on their own, there are some things you can do to make it easier for them (and more comfortable).
This guide will prepare you for when your bearded dragon starts to shed. When the time comes, you’ll be able to spring into action!
Table of Contents
- How Often Do Bearded Dragons Shed?
- Will Their Behavior Change?
- How To Help Them With Through Shedding Process
- What To Do If Your Beardie Isn’t Shedding At All
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Shed?
The answer to this question actually depends on their age. You see, younger bearded dragons shed far more often than older ones.
The reason for this is growth. When these reptiles are young they’re growing at a pretty quite rate. Because of this, they’re actually outgrowing their skin! Unlike humans where our skin will essentially grow with us as we get larger, bearded dragons have skin that’s structured quite differently.
You can estimate how often a bearded dragon will shed based on general age brackets. Some will obviously shed more than others, but these numbers are pretty normal averages.
0 To 24 Weeks
Bearded dragon shedding at this age will happen quite often. This is the point in time where they’re doing the most growing, so their skin can’t keep up!
There will be a full shedding cycle pretty much once per week. Shedding in young bearded dragons looks a bit different than shedding in older ones. It doesn’t happen all over their body at once and is found in random spots all over their body.
24 To 48 Weeks
At this age, your bearded dragon will begin to shed less often. Their rate of growth is beginning to slow a bit and as a result, they won’t shed as much.
You can expect shedding to occur somewhere between twice a month at the beginning of this age range, and move to and once every other month near the end.
At this point, the rate of shedding will decrease significantly. Your bearded dragon will only shed a few times per year on average.
One And A Half Years (And Beyond)
Once your bearded dragon has hit the age of one and a half years, they’re not going to be shedding much at all. At this point, they’re fully-grown and will shed more as a “skin refresher” than anything else.
You can expect your bearded dragon to only shed 2-3 times per year once they’ve reached this age.
Will Their Behavior Change?
While there shouldn’t be any drastic changes in behavior, there are some subtle ones you’ll want to keep an eye out for. These can sometimes tell you that your bearded dragon might be shedding soon (especially if they’re at an age when it’s happening more frequently).
Their activity level might drop a bit and they may even start eating less food. Your beardie might also become more resistant to handling, even if they’re accustomed to it. This is because being touched or picked up is actually causing them discomfort.
Expert Tip: If your bearded dragon starts to shed and is making it clear that they don’t want to be picked up, leave them alone. All you’ll do is cause them unnecessary stress (and you might even get bitten).
How To Help Them With Through Shedding Process
For the most part, the bearded dragon shedding process will be handled primarily by your pet. It’s not something you’re going to be guiding them through every step of the way.
After all, it’s something this species has been doing on their own for years!
But in some situations, there might be opportunities for you to give them a hand with the process. Whether it be to make them more comfortable or help them shed a little bit easier, it’s your job as an owner to be there when they need you.
Below are some of the best ways you can help your bearded dragon shed.
Set Up Their Habitat Properly
One of the best ways you can help your bearded dragon shed is to provide them with a great enclosure and habitat setup. Giving them the ideal environment to shed is not only the most impactful method of assistance, but it also means you can be hands-off during the process (which is ideal).
For starters, make sure they plenty of natural decorations around. These are not only very important for the overall enrichment and quality of life of your bearded dragon, but they’ll also help them shed.
These objects can help them naturally get rid of any skin that’s stuck but ready to come off. It’s far better to make these objects available and let things happen naturally!
Expert Tip: It’s also important to make sure your bearded dragon gets enough calcium and has proper UVB lighting as well. These are not only essential for their general health, but they’ll help them shed too!
Don’t Pull The Skin Off
Before we get into some of the other more proactive techniques for helping your bearded dragon shed, it’s important to address this.
Whatever you do, do NOT pull the skin off!
If it looks like it’s ready to come off and is stuck, resist the temptation. It will come off when it’s ready.
This is a mistake that many inexperienced owners make when their bearded dragon starts shedding. They do it will good intentions obviously, but end up making things worse.
You can injure your beardie and cause them to get cuts or infections by trying to remove the skin yourself. It’s also going to cause your lizard a great deal of pain!
Mist Them & Their Habitat
This is something that might seem a little counterintuitive at first. However, misting your beardie a bit more than normal can actually help them shed.
While it seems like dry skin would flake off easier, the additional moisture will help make their skin come off a bit easier. It’s also going to keep them comfortable and hydrated throughout the process.
Don’t go overboard with this, but giving them a quick mist 2-4 times per day depending on how they’re doing with the shedding process is the sweet spot. Anything more will likely result in the enclosure humidity rising more than you’d like.
Give Them A Bath
Think of this as a more aggressive method of assistance than additional misting. It’s usually best to do this if there is some skin that really needs help coming off (you’ll get better at judging this over time), and other methods aren’t working.
Make sure the water is warm but not too toasty. Don’t be too hands-on with your beardie during this process. Instead, let them enjoy the water on their own.
Over time the water will help loosen up their skin and make it come off easier. Try to limit the bath time to no more than 30 minutes.
Try A Shedding Bath Formula
Shedding formulas are products that some bearded owners love, and others think are pointless. In our opinion, you can usually do fine without them.
- Rich formula of aloe vera and other emollients facilitates shedding
- Shed-Ease results in old skin easily sliding off of the bearded dragon
- Promotes the emergence of healthy skin
- Rich formula of aloe vera and other emollients
We prefer to think of them as a “why not” option if your bearded dragon is having trouble shedding, and your efforts above aren’t helping. There really isn’t a downside in using one (other than cost) so there’s no harm in trying!
All you need to do is include it in the bath water and give your bearded dragon a normal bath. The ingredients included in the mixture should help make their skin even more receptive to shedding and falling off!
What To Do If Your Beardie Isn’t Shedding At All
This is extremely uncommon, but it’s worth addressing. When we say “not shedding at all” that’s exactly what we mean.
We’re not talking about finicky skin that just needs some extra time. We’re talking about an inability for your bearded dragon to shed properly.
Assuming you’ve tried all the other methods we listed above and have an optimal habitat for them, our recommendation is to just take them to the vet. There are a number of possible causes, with health problems or insufficient nutrients being on the top of the list.
Your vet will help diagnose the problem so you can fix it. Shedding is an important process for bearded dragons to go through, so it’s your job to take it seriously.
When your bearded dragon is shedding skin it’s your job to understand what’s going on, and what to do (even if the answer is usually nothing).
Knowing how often they shed, the behavior they’ll exhibit, and how you can help are all parts of being a responsible owner. And honestly, it’s part of the fun!
Helping these lizards navigate life in an enclosure is quite rewarding. Shedding is just another part of the process.
If you have any other questions about the bearded dragon shedding process or how you can help, feel free to reach out. We’re more than happy to weigh in and help you figure out what’s going on!