Do Bearded Dragons Like to Be Held: Tips and Tricks in Handling Your Bearded Dragon

Yes, most bearded dragons like to be held. However, bearded dragons have unique personalities, and each individual may have different preferences when handling them. Some bearded dragons enjoy being held and even seek out human interaction, while others may become stressed or uncomfortable with too much handling.

Bearded dragons are relatively docile and can tolerate handling if done correctly. It’s essential to approach them slowly and gently, using supportive hand placement and avoiding sudden movements or loud noises. Regular, gentle handling can help to socialize bearded dragons and make them more comfortable with human interaction.

However, it’s also essential to respect the individual preferences of each bearded dragon and be mindful of signs of stress, such as hissing, puffing up, or trying to escape. If a bearded dragon shows signs of stress, it’s best to give them some space and allow them to retreat to its enclosure.

General Bearded Dragon Handling Tips

Wash Your Hands Before and After

It’s essential to wash your hands before and after handling a bearded dragon to minimize the risk of spreading harmful bacteria or other microorganisms to the animal or from the animal to yourself. 

Before handling a bearded dragon, it’s essential to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. This helps remove dirt or bacteria on your hands and reduces the risk of introducing harmful pathogens to the animal. Wearing gloves when handling a bearded dragon can also help protect your hands from bites, scratches, and the transfer of germs.

After handling a bearded dragon, it’s essential to rewash your hands to remove any bacteria or other microorganisms that may have been present on the animal’s skin or in its feces. This helps reduce the risk of spreading any potential illnesses or infections to yourself or other people or animals you may come into contact with.

Don’t Disturb Their Sleep

Like many other animals, bearded dragons need regular rest and sleep to maintain their health and well-being. Disturbing their sleep to handle them can cause stress and lead to other adverse health outcomes. Disturbing bearded dragons during their sleep can cause them to become agitated or disoriented, which may lead to behavior like biting or scratching. 

Additionally, they need to be allowed to get enough sleep. In that case, it can negatively impact their physical health, as sleep is essential for muscle repair and growth, immune system function, and digestion. To ensure that your bearded dragon stays healthy and happy, it’s best to avoid disturbing their sleep as much as possible. 

You must provide your bearded dragon with a quiet and calm environment to rest in and avoid unnecessary handling or interactions when sleeping or resting. If you need to interact with your bearded dragon during these times, it’s best to do so gently and quietly without disturbing them too much.

Put Them Back Under Their Basking Lamp

Bearded dragons are ectothermic animals, relying on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. They require a specific range of temperatures to maintain their bodily functions, and access to a basking lamp is crucial for them to thermoregulate appropriately.

When handling a bearded dragon, it’s essential to make sure that you keep them in their basking area for a short time. This is because they may start to cool down too much, leading to adverse health outcomes like sluggishness, poor digestion, and a weakened immune system.

After handling your bearded dragon, it’s a good idea to return them to their basking area as quickly as possible so that they can warm up and resume their normal activities. This will help them maintain their health and well-being over the long term and prevent any adverse effects from extended cooling periods. A proper heat source can also help your bearded dragon digest their food correctly and stay hydrated.

Visits With Young Children Should Be Supervised

Visits with young children should be supervised for bearded dragon handling because young children may not understand how to handle the dragon properly and may accidentally harm them. Bearded dragons have delicate bones that can easily be broken if handled too roughly or dropped. 

Additionally, young children may not be able to recognize signs that the bearded dragon is stressed or uncomfortable, which can further increase the risk of injury or harm. Therefore, an adult needs to supervise any interactions between young children and bearded dragons to ensure the safety and well-being of both the child and the animal.

Also, bearded dragons should be supervised when with children to prevent biting. While bearded dragons are generally docile and friendly, they can become stressed or frightened in certain situations, which may cause them to bite. In addition, children may not understand how to approach or handle a bearded dragon properly, which can increase the risk of being bitten. 

What to Do if Your Bearded Dragon Does Not Like Being Held

If your bearded dragon does not like to be held, respecting its boundaries and not forcing it to be handled is essential. Some bearded dragons may take time to get used to being handled, while others may only enjoy it sometimes. Here are some tips to make the handling experience more comfortable for your bearded dragon:

  • Start slow: Begin by placing your hand in the enclosure and letting your bearded dragon come to you. Allow it to explore your hand on its terms.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your bearded dragon with treats or verbal praise when it approaches you or allows you to pick it up.
  • Create a safe environment: Be sure to handle your bearded dragon in a quiet, calm space where it feels secure.
  • Support their body: Bearded dragons are delicate creatures, so they must support their entire body when handling them.
  • Stop if they become stressed: If your bearded dragon becomes stressed or agitated, stop handling it immediately and give it some space.

Remember that every bearded dragon is unique, and some may prefer to avoid being handled. As long as your bearded dragon is healthy and happy, it is okay if it doesn’t enjoy being held.