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Bearded Dragons


This section is about how to handle a young baby bearded dragon(under roughly 4 months) and not a juvenile dragon capable of inflicting a nasty bite.


Bearded dragons are not instinctively tame and easy to handle. Their natural instinct is to protect themselves by acting aggressively, running away, puffing themselves up, or trying to bite when you attempt to handle them. This is a natural and healthy self-defense tactic. However, it is possible to tame a bearded dragon over time. You will need to always be gentle and calm with your bearded dragon and remember that it could take a lot of time to build up the trust needed to make it totally tame.


Picking up your dragon

Keep in mind that a bearded dragon will have powerful jaws designed for crushing tough food as it gets older. The bearded dragon will probably try to bite you, so keep its head between your fingers so it can’t turn to bite you.

While an adult bearded dragon's jaws are capable of biting down to the bone of a finger, keep in mind that bearded dragons are not inherently aggressive animals. They would rather be left alone in peace than attack. When picking up your dragon do the following:

  1. Be calm when approaching the bearded dragon. Talk in a low gentle voice. When you attempt to capture it, bring your hand in from the side, not from the top. A top hand approach will usually scare the dragon, as this is like a predator swooping over its head.

  2. There is no doubt that the dragon will attempt to run from you when you are trying to catch it, no matter what you do. Once you are close and committed to the task of picking it, up a quick grasp is my recommendation (Many will disagree but this works for me when implemented with future steps.) Chasing your dragon around the enclosure will only stress it out, at this point most give up and the dragon wins, this becomes a learned behavior making it progressively harder each time you try to handle it.

  3. Once you have your baby in your hands be sure to have both front and back legs supported.

Be persistent when holding the bearded dragon. 

You need to get your dragon used to handling, so gently holding onto it while it squirms is part of the process. Basically don’t let your bearded dragon escape when you are holding it. Ideally, you shouldn't let your bearded dragon down until it has stopped squirming. When you hold it, try stroking its head and talking softly to it.

  • If it tries to bite you while first holding, let it, but don't let it stop. By holding your finger in its mouth gently for approximately 45 seconds to a minute you are teaching it that its bite is not scaring you away.

  • Pull your finger out and if it still wants to bite you, repeat the above step. Your beardy will now tend to calm down a little.

  • At this point if it shows no interest in biting consider loosening your grip slightly as a reward.

  • Hold your beardy for around 5 minutes then place back into its enclosure.

Continue the above steps daily gradually increasing the time you are handling it.

Be gentle when setting the bearded dragon down.

This is important to remember, even if it is squirming while you do. Do not drop it back into the cage. Rather put your hand on the cage bottom and let it go on the ground.

  • Make all your moves deliberate and calm, even when you are trying to catch your dragon.

Be patient.

The taming process will take time. You need to get your bearded dragon used to you and you will also need to learn its habits and preferences.

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