As a bearded dragon owner, picking up and handling your beardie is something that you’ll do a lot during its lifespan. It’s one of the first things you have to learn as a new pet owner. Luckily, these reptiles are naturally calm and mild-mannered, so it won’t take long for them to get used to being handled.
When you go to pick up your dragon, make sure you approach it slowly and from an angle where they can see you coming. You don't want to surprise it or grab it too fast. You should use both your hands and slide them under the reptile's belly. This will ensure that you support the lizard's entire body as you lift it off the ground. You can even use your forearm to support its tail. Do not squeeze the lizard and, if it starts to try and escape, set it down and let it do so. You want your beardie to feel secure and ready to be picked up. If it isn’t comfortable, just try again later.
You can help encourage a bearded dragon's comfort with being picked up by associating it with getting a treat. Once a bearded dragon gets comfortable being handled, they'll enjoy the activity. They will likely use your chest or shoulders as a perch, but make sure you are ready to catch them if they fall or get prepared to jump! Handling your bearded dragon is entirely safe, but you should wash your hands afterward.
Shedding Bearded Dragon
The last bit of information about bearded dragon care is with regards to shedding. This is something that your beardie will do every so often. You’ll know that they are shedding because you’ll find scraps of the dead skin in their enclosure and it will be visible on the reptile’s body. Shedding is necessary, but definitely your dragon’s least favorite time. So, expect them to be a little grumpy; they might not like you handling them during the weeks of their shedding cycle.
There's not a lot you can do to help your bearded dragon through this process, aside from providing them with their regular healthy diet. You may be able to find specific bearded dragon supplements or foods that help, but otherwise you really just need to be patient. Do not try and peel their shedding skin for them. This can damage the new skin coming through.
Instead, you can give your beardie a lukewarm bath for 10 to 20 minutes. While they soak, you can gently rub his skin, which will cause some dead skin to flake off and will make the shedding period a little less agitating for your pet. Also, extra moisture in a spray bottle can help. Just be sure that you dry your beardie off before returning him to his cage.
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