Yes, bearded dragons eat their sheds. It is not uncommon for bearded dragons to eat their shed skin. Many reptiles, including bearded dragons, will do this naturally. Shedding is a normal process for reptiles, and it helps them to grow and regenerate new skin. Eating the shed skin provides bearded dragons with important nutrients, including protein and calcium, which can be reabsorbed into their bodies.
Reasons Why Bearded Dragons May Eat Their Shed
Bearded dragons can benefit from eating their shed skin as it contains several important nutrients that can be reabsorbed into their bodies. Shed skin is rich in protein, essential for growth, development, and maintaining muscle mass. Additionally, shed skin contains keratin, a protein that is an important component of skin, nails, and hair. By reabsorbing keratin, bearded dragons can help maintain the health and integrity of their skin.
Shed skin also contains calcium, which is important for bone health and development. Bearded dragons need adequate calcium to prevent metabolic bone disease, a common health issue in captive reptiles. By eating their shed skin, bearded dragons can reabsorb calcium and other important minerals, helping to maintain strong bones and prevent health problems.
In the wild, bearded dragons may eat their shed skin instinctually to avoid leaving a scent trail that could attract predators. By eating their shed skin, they can minimize their visibility and avoid drawing attention to themselves. This is a natural behavior that has evolved as a survival mechanism.
Bearded dragons may still exhibit this instinctual behavior in captivity, even though they are not in the wild. Some experts believe this behavior is triggered by the stress of shedding or changes in their environment, such as introducing a new enclosure or the presence of other animals. Eating their shed skin can provide comfort and security for bearded dragons, helping them cope with the stress of these changes.
Bearded dragons may eat their shed skin for cleanliness reasons. Shed skin can accumulate in their enclosure and create an unsanitary living environment, but by eating it, bearded dragons can help keep their enclosure clean. Eating their shed skin can also reduce the amount of debris that needs to be cleaned up in their enclosure.
However, it’s important to note that eating shed skin alone is not enough to maintain a clean and healthy living environment for bearded dragons. Owners must also ensure that their enclosure is regularly cleaned and maintained to prevent the buildup of feces, uneaten food, and other waste that can cause health problems for bearded dragons.
Additionally, it’s important to ensure that bearded dragons have access to clean water for drinking and soaking, which can help promote good hygiene and prevent skin problems. Regular baths or soaking in shallow water can also help to remove any excess shed skin and keep bearded dragons clean and healthy.
Bearded dragons may eat their shed skin due to stress or anxiety. Shedding can be stressful for bearded dragons, as it requires a lot of energy and can leave them feeling vulnerable to predators. Eating their shed skin may provide comfort and security for bearded dragons, helping reduce their stress levels.
Based on my experience, their environment or routine changes can cause bearded dragons stress. For example, moving to a new enclosure, being introduced to new animals, or changing diet can all be stressful for bearded dragons and may lead to increased shedding or eating of shed skin, according to PetCO.
Tips to Prevent Bearded Dragons from Eating Their Shed
While it may seem strange, bearded dragons have a few good reasons for eating their shed. However, it would help if you prevent this behavior as a responsible pet owner. Here are some ways to help prevent your bearded dragon from eating its shed:
- Ensure a healthy diet: Providing your bearded dragon with a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables and insects can help prevent it from needing to eat its shed.
- Calcium supplementation: Bearded dragons require calcium to strengthen bones and prevent incomplete shedding. Ensure your pet gets enough calcium through a supplement or a diet rich in calcium.
- Proper humidity: Maintaining proper humidity levels in your pet’s habitat can help facilitate shedding and prevent it from becoming stuck to the skin, which may lead to eating the shed.
- Bathing: Giving your bearded dragon a short bath followed by a gentle rub with a soft cloth can help remove any remaining shed and reduce the urge to eat it.
- Provide a shedding box: A shedding box filled with damp sphagnum moss or paper towels can provide a suitable environment for shedding and reduce the need for your pet to eat its shed.
- Regularly clean the enclosure: Regular cleaning can help prevent the buildup of debris, feces, and uneaten food that can cause stress and health issues for bearded dragons.
- Monitor your bearded dragon’s behavior: Regularly monitoring your bearded dragon’s behavior and activity levels can help you identify any changes that may indicate stress or health issues. If you notice any abnormal behaviors, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to ensure they are healthy and receiving proper care.
These tips can help prevent your bearded dragon from eating its shed and ensure its health and well-being.