Are Bearded Dragons Venomous: Reasons Beardies May Bite and How to Properly Handle Them

No, bearded dragons are not venomous. While bearded dragons have teeth, they are not venomous and do not threaten humans. However, handling them carefully and washing your hands after handling them is essential, as they can carry Salmonella bacteria, which can cause illness in humans. 

Bearded dragons are popular pets known for their friendly and docile temperament but may bite due to improper handling. Biting is unusual for this creature, though a bite might cause temporary swelling. 

Reasons a Bearded Dragon May Bite

Being Handled Roughly

Bearded dragons can bite when mishandled, which may be due to their sensitive nature. This behavior may be seen as a defensive response to discomfort, such as being held too tightly, poked, or flipped upside down. Biting is how they defend themselves from what they perceive as a potential threat or danger.

When a bearded dragon is handled roughly, it may feel scared or uncomfortable. This can make them feel stressed and defensive, which may cause them to lash out and bite. Similarly, if a bearded dragon is picked up too quickly or in a way that feels unsafe, it may respond with a bite.

Handling bearded dragons gently and carefully is essential to avoid causing them stress or discomfort. You should also ensure they feel secure and supported when you pick them up, as this will help them feel more comfortable and less likely to bite. If you are unsure how to handle a bearded dragon safely, it is best to consult a veterinarian or an experienced reptile handler.

Startling Them

Bearded dragons may bite when startled because they perceive the sudden movement or noise as a potential threat or danger. As prey animals, bearded dragons are wired to react quickly to potential environmental dangers. If they feel threatened, they may respond with a fight or flight response, including biting.

Additionally, bearded dragons are instinctive to protect their territory and may feel threatened if someone or something enters their space unexpectedly. If a bearded dragon feels its territory is being invaded, it may respond with a defensive bite.

To avoid startling your bearded dragon, it is essential to approach them calmly and avoid sudden movements or loud noises. You should also give your bearded dragon plenty of space and avoid crowding them or entering their territory abruptly. 

If you startle your bearded dragon and they respond with a bite, it is essential to remain calm and avoid reacting with sudden movements or loud noises, as this can worsen the situation.

By Mistake

Bearded dragons may bite by mistake if they are attempting to grab onto something for support or balance and accidentally bite a finger instead. This can happen when a bearded dragon climbs onto your hand or arm and tries to find a secure grip.

It is important to note that while a bearded dragon’s bite may be painful, it is usually not severe and does not pose a significant health risk to humans. However, if a bearded dragon bites you, cleaning the wound thoroughly and monitoring it for signs of infection is essential.

Handling them gently and carefully is essential to minimize the risk of a bearded dragon biting you by mistake. It would be best to avoid quick movements or sudden gestures that could startle them and cause them to bite. Additionally, it would help if you never attempted to grab or restrain a bearded dragon by the tail, as this can cause them to feel threatened and may lead to them biting.

How to Know When a Bearded Dragon Might Get Aggressive

Bearded dragons typically exhibit warning signs before they become aggressive. Some common signs that a bearded dragon may become aggressive include:

  • Flattening its body: When a bearded dragon feels threatened, it may flatten its body and puff out its beard to appear larger and more intimidating.
  • Hissing: Bearded dragons may hiss when they feel threatened or uncomfortable. This is a warning sign that they may become aggressive if the perceived threat continues.
  • Tail twitching: A bearded dragon’s tail twitching rapidly may indicate they are agitated. This can sign that they may become aggressive if the perceived threat continues.
  • Black bearding: Bearded dragons may turn their beard black when they feel threatened or stressed. This is a warning sign that they may become aggressive if the perceived threat continues.
  • Head bobbing: Bearded dragons may bob their heads up and down to establish dominance or warn potential threats to back off.

If you notice any warning signs in your bearded dragon, it is essential to give them space and avoid handling them until they have calmed down. It is also essential to identify the source of the perceived threat and remove it if possible to prevent further aggression. For example, if your bearded dragon continues to exhibit aggressive behavior, it may be necessary to seek the advice of a veterinarian or reptile behavior specialist.

How to Handle a Bearded Dragon Safely

Be Gentle and Respectful

Treating bearded dragons with care and respect is essential, as with any living creature. They are intelligent animals that can feel pain, fear, and stress and deserve to be handled gently and respectfully. Handling a bearded dragon too roughly can cause them to feel stressed, frightened, and uncomfortable. This can lead to injury or illness and behavioral problems such as aggression and avoidance.

When handled gently and carefully, a bearded dragon can help build trust and confidence between the animal and its handler. This can lead to a stronger bond and a more positive relationship overall. 

Improper handling can lead to health problems: Bearded dragons are delicate creatures that require proper care and handling to stay healthy. Rough handling or improper restraint can lead to injuries such as broken bones, internal damage, and respiratory problems.

Don’t Startle the Animal

To avoid startling a bearded dragon, you should approach them slowly and calmly: Bearded dragons are sensitive creatures, easily startled by sudden movements or loud noises. When approaching your bearded dragon, it is essential to move slowly and calmly to avoid alarming them.

When approaching your bearded dragon, ensure they can see you coming. Avoid approaching them from behind or suddenly appearing in their line of sight. Speaking softly to your bearded dragon can help to soothe and calm them. This can be especially helpful if they are feeling anxious or stressed.

Sudden movements can startle bearded dragons and cause them to become agitated or frightened. When handling your bearded dragon, move slowly and avoid sudden jerky movements. They may need some time to adjust to their environment before they feel comfortable being handled. If your bearded dragon seems skittish or nervous, try giving them time to explore their surroundings before attempting to handle them.

It is also essential to learn their body language. Bearded dragons can communicate their mood through their body language. Reading their body language can help you understand when they feel stressed or uncomfortable and avoid startling them.