Handling is a big reason why bearded dragons are so popular. Dragons, for the most part, are docile reptiles that will tolerate being held fairly well. Some even seem to enjoy it.
Their docility and great personality make the bearded dragon a pet that ranks up there with the cat and dog. Even so, there are some things that you need to know about bearded dragon handling.
There can also be bearded dragons that don’t follow the norm. Some dragons can be aggressive and resist handling. In cases like there there are a couple things you try to tame down your dragon.
Just like people, or any other animal, bearded dragons have different personalities. Not all “rule of thumb” guidelines may apply to your situation. Bearded dragons for the most part are docile and friendly, but there are some exceptions.
Some dragons can be aggressive and resist hand taming. If you happen to have one of these dragons, don’t worry there are some things that you can do to try and tame them down. Even so, there are some dragons that just won’t be tamed.
How to Pick Up a Bearded Dragon
This really is a simple procedure. The first thing you’ll want to do is be confident in picking them up. Do not be scared or overreact to what your dragon will do.
Don’t let anyone attempt handling your dragon if they are even remotely afraid. They will overreact to a situation and either scare your dragon or drop them out of fear.
When you go to pick your dragon up, you’ll want to scoop them up from under the body with your hand. In doing this support as much of the body as you can. If legs are left unsupported, your dragon may become uncomfortable and start flailing around.
Move smoothly and with confidence, jerky movements can scare your dragon. Once you have your dragon safely in your hand you can lift them up.
It is also a good idea to come in from the side when attempting to hold your dragon and not from the top. Coming in from the top might cause your dragon to feel threatened.
Once lifted up, some dragon owners will put their dragons on their shoulders. If you do this be sure to know your dragon’s personality. Some will sit calmly there, while others might attempt to jump off.
Hatchlings and sub-adults will need a little more caution bearded dragon handling. Scoop them up in your hand gently, it won’t be a problem supporting them since they are smaller.
Younger dragons are more active than older ones, so be prepared for them to take off at the smallest disturbance. However, just like all dragons, some are calmer than others.
It’s also a good idea not to handle them for long periods of time, because hatchlings are more prone to getting stressed. Frequent bearded dragon handling (for short periods of time), though, will help it grow into a tame adult.
Bearded Dragon Handling
There are some good things to know about bearded dragon handling even before you pick up your pet. Even though bearded dragons are not delicate, they do need to be handled with some care.
Never lift dragons by their tail, even though they are not prone to dropping off like some other lizards, they can lose them with rough handling. A tail won’t be regenerated.
Make sure there is not a lot of commotion around when attempting to handle your dragon. This may startle your dragon and cause it to try and escape from your hand. They will even leap out of your hand if they feel it necessary.
Bearded dragons do not tolerate rough play very well. They may either become scared or feel threatened by it. Also, be careful taking your dragon out of their enclosure around other pets such as cats or dogs. Your bearded dragon can become a meal very quickly.
Most dragons will be relaxed after they get used to being held. Even so, be sure to provide a calm and stress free environment for them when attempting bearded dragon handling.
All bearded dragons, whether calm or aggressive, can be startled or scared. If they feel threatened, they might react by biting you. Even the cutest kitten will bite if it feels threatened.
If you are careful and know your dragons personality you should not have any problems at all with this.
Bearded Dragon Taming
Most dragons will not be too hard to tame. For calmer dragons, frequent handling usually will do the trick. There are aggressive dragons, however, that won’t tame too easily. Hopefully you don’t end up with one of these, but if you do, don’t give up on it.
The first thing is, don’t be intimidated. You’ll need to handle them briefly every day despite their warnings against it. You’ll want to pick them like any other dragon, but move a little quicker and hold them firmly with both hands.
Be careful not to hold to firmly, and crush your dragon. When they calm down, you can pet them a little.
You’ll have to be persistant in doing this. Some dragons will tame down in a few weeks while others will take a while longer. There are even some that you won’t be able to tame, but these are very rare. It is also best not to breed aggressive dragons.
For extremely aggressive dragons, I have heard of people having success handling their dragons after the lights go off in their enclosure.
At this time the dragon is slowing down and getting ready to sleep, and won’t be as resistant to handling. Try doing this for a while and see if your dragon becomes more open to handling. Be persistent. Some dragons will not break easily.
Safe Hygiene Practices
It is extremely important to wash your hands immediately after handling your dragon or any cage fixture. Bearded dragons carry numerous microorganisms that can transfer to our skin. If they come in contact with your eye or mouth you can become infected.
Most of the time these are not serious. However, they can be more serious, for children, the elderly, and people with immune deficiency problems.
As I said earlier, wash your hands immediately after handling your dragon or cage accessories. Do not allow your dragon on areas where you prepare food, and never eat or drink while holding your dragon or cleaning their cage. Also, don’t wash cage items with your regular dishes.
If you follow these guidelines, you shouldn’t have any problems at all with this. I have never experienced any problems with this so far.
Bearded dragon handling is one the best parts of owning a dragon. Bearded dragons are amazing animals. For the most part, they are friendly, docile and very personable.
The fact that you can interact with them, is one of the main reasons why they are so popular. With a little bit of practice you’ll be able to perform bearded dragon handling with no problems at all.
After awhile your dragon will become fairly tame, especially as they get older. Being able to hold your dragon is one of the biggest reasons why I love owning one.
I hope that you have fun and success in this area, it will help make you fall in love with bearded dragons if you haven’t already.