Shedding is a natural process for reptiles. The magnificent scaly skins complete their cycle and shed just when their cycle is complete. Bearded dragons shed their skin smooth and it is generally not a difficult task for them. However, a majority of the caretakers have no idea about their beardie’s shedding timings and henceforth cannot be of any assistance. A caretaker must know how often do bearded dragons shed! So that he can help his dragon out when it needs him.
The shedding cycle of bearded dragons depends on their age. As the dragon ages, the shedding process slows down and therefore does not occur often, on the other hand, young bearded dragons shed skin rather quickly, changing into new skins often. This is because the growth rate of the baby and juvenile dragons is faster and they keep outgrowing their skins, unlike human beings.
We can classify how often do bearded dragons shed based on their ages. Although some beardies will shed more while some will less according to the rate of their growth and metabolism, the generalized shedding rate remains the same and we can estimate how often a bearded dragon sheds.
The Shedding Cycle Of Bearded Dragons
- Newborn To 24 weeks
The shedding cycles are the most rapid during this period as the body keeps outgrowing the skin. The exotic reptile keeps shedding its scaly skin to grow a new one to fit its greater size. But the rapid process of growth does not let the body keep the skin for too long. And so, a bearded dragon that is 0-24 years old sheds its skin once every week.
The unique feature of the shedding during this age is that the entire body skin is not shed, in fact, the skin is shed in patches. Just like our skin peeling from harsh suntan.
- 24 To 48 weeks
The shedding cycle is not as swift as it used to be now. As the age of the dragon advances, the rate of growth slows and the body is not growing as fast as it used to. It takes time for the body to outgrow the skin the beardie is wearing. Dragons of more than 24 weeks shed twice a month, and as they grow older to 48 weeks, the shedding slows down to once a month.
- A Year Old
The shredding rate drops significantly at this age. The pace of growth almost halts and the beardie only sheds its skin a few times per year.
- One And A Half Years
A dragon is a mature adult by this age, it eats and moves less, and all the other activities including skin shedding slow down. Your mature dragon is expected to outgrow its skin twice or thrice a year only. This too is only to refresh the skin as you will observe the size of the beardie will remain the same.
- Beyond One And A Half Years
You will hardly see your beardie shedding its skin when it has become a mature adult or senior. It might shed its skin once or twice per year, but no more than that. As the body’s growth has completely halted and this type of shedding is only a refresher for the skin, and nothing more.
Do Bearded Dragons Stress When Shedding?
There are some slightly noticeable changes in the behavior of bearded dragons as they begin shedding off their skin. As a matter of fact, you might start to see changes when they are only preparing for the process to start. Shedding causes mild discomfort depending on individual beardies, and so it stresses the dragons too. You will observe that they will lose their appetite and not be in a cheerful mood.
Handling the beardie will cause it discomfort and so it will stress more if you try to hold it against its will. It is best to leave your beardie alone when it’s shedding or about to shed, as it will be stressed and might even bite you if it is having more discomfort.
How To Help Bearded Dragons Through The Shedding Process?
Yes, shedding is a natural process, but if a caretaker knows when and how often bearded dragons shed, then he can help it through the process and make the process easier and less stressful.
1. A Well-Set Enclosure
Although bearded dragons are great pets, they are territorial reptiles and feel comforted when they are surrounded by their natural habitat. For that, you must design the enclosure accordingly. You should place logs, and rocks so that the reptile feels comfortable enough to carry out the natural process of shedding. The logs help the leftover skin to pull away easily. Also, you should install the UVB light in the enclosure, so that the beardie remains healthy to shed its skin.
2. Never Pull The Skin Off Yourself
We often pull the scab off when we scratch our knees, it’s so tempting! But never do this with the skin of a beardie. Resist the temptation, when you think the skin is stuck and your pulling will take it off completely. The skin will shed when it has to, even if it’s hanging or looks like it’s peeling off. Do not touch the shedding skin. Many new and inexperienced caretakers attempt to pull the skin off and hurt their pets unknowingly. Pulling the skin manually will cause your beardie injuries or infections.
3. Increase The Humidity
Moisturized skin is easier and less painful to shed off. You can add mist two to four times a day to the enclosure and hydrate the skin of your dragon to ensure a smooth shed. Dry skin takes longer to shed and is often inconvenient for the dragon, especially if it is shedding frequently.
4. Bathe Your Bearded Dragon
As mentioned earlier, hydrated and moisturized skin sheds more easily. Then obviously the best way to make the process easier for your fellow pet is to give it a nice bath. Make a warm bath, and let your dragon enjoy it on its own for a while. Remember! Do not use your hands while the dragon bathes during its shedding process. You might peel off the skin using your palms or finger which is not the correct way and might cause injuries to the skin. Let the process happen on its own while you assist the dragon passively.
Bearded dragons often shed when they are newly born and still young. They will shed every week and then move to twice a month when they are 24 weeks old. Later, when it is 48 weeks old, it will shed once a month. When the dragon reaches adulthood, it will shed only a few times a year and then reduce its shedding frequency to once or twice a year.
As a responsible dragon owner, you must know how often your beardie sheds to assist it while it’s going through the process. You can set a suitable enclosure, add mist, give it a bath, and most importantly, let it shed on its own without touching or pulling its skin.
What to do if a bearded dragon is not shedding?
If a beardie is not shedding according to its age and you have tried adding mist and giving it a bath, then you should take your pet to a vet and get it checked. It might be possible that your dragon is just taking more than usual time to shed. Getting it checked is essential as shedding is a necessary process.
Is shedding uncomfortable for bearded dragons?
Shedding is a natural process and so caretakers should remain calm while their beardie is going through their shedding phase. It is uncomfortable for the beardies and does stress them, but you can assist them through it, by not handling them often and giving them a cozy warm bath.
Why do bearded dragons shed skin?
Beardies shed skin when they are growing their body or have had an injury. The new skin covers the grown body and so the shedding process has to keep up with the growth. Usually, the entire skin sheds when the beardie is growing, but when a part is injured only the skin damaged is replaced by a new one.
Emma is a pet enthusiast, and her way with words makes her an expressive writer. Her interests lie in healthcare and planning nutrition for various pets. She has two girls, and she’s passing her passion to them through occasional volunteer projects in the small neighborhood zoo. Emma joined our team as an enthusiast and has added more years to her experience by researching more about various creatures!