Bearded Dragon Stuck Shed: Everything You Need To Know

Bearded dragons will eventually grow and age. That’s when they need to shed to give way to their new skin. Shedding is a natural occurrence in reptiles and bearded dragons are not exempted.

They must shed their old skin and it can be odd at first but don’t worry because it’s a natural occurrence that you can’t stop from happening.

What is Bearded Dragon Stuck Shed?

The skin of a bearded dragon is rough and they are made up of keratin protein. It’s not elastic like human skin so they need to shed as they grow since it will not stretch. Their skin cannot accommodate their growth unless they shed the old skin and have a new one.

As the bearded dragon grows, their skin will stay the same size. Shedding will enable them to continue to grow. Bearded dragons shed their outer coats.

Once the process is done, it will reveal a layer of new skin that looks shiny. It serves as their new skin for the meantime until they shed again.

When bearded dragons shed, it will start with flaking in different areas. Snakes that shed their skin all at once but bearded dragons don’t.

When their skin comes off, they will tear them with their mouths. Beardies will eat the skin which is a unique characteristic of these reptiles.

Why Bearded Dragons Shed?

Bearded dragons shed their skin to accommodate their growth. They have to replace their old skin since it can’t be stretched. When the bearded dragon’s age is from 0 to 6 months old, shedding can happen every week.

Shedding means that your bearded dragon is growing so it’s a good sign.

The skin of bearded dragons is made of keratin protein which is not elastic like human skin. They shed for them to continue growing.

Depending on the bearded dragon’s age, the shedding process may vary. Young beardies shed more often since they are still growing fast during this stage.

During 6 to 12 months, beardies shed more often to their rapid growth. Their shedding will be less frequent as they age.

It can be every few weeks for 6-month-old beardies. But as they reach 12 months old, the shedding will only happen every few months. During this age, they will shed less frequently.

When the bearded dragon reaches 18 months old, their growth is almost done. The beardie will still shed a few times within the year.

Bearded dragons may damage their skin due to their environment. They will shed the old layer of their skin to replace it with new and fresh skin.

How Can I Help My Bearded Dragon with a Stuck Shed?

Never pull the stuck shed from your bearded dragon. You can help your beardie by removing the damaged skin without pulling the unshed skin. If you do this, it can damage the new layer of the bearded dragon’s skin. The best thing to do is to put your pet in a warm bath to aid with shedding.

It can be tempting to pull the stuck shed on your beardie. But it can cause them injury and it can be painful for bearded dragons. As a beardie owner, it’s important to know their normal shedding process.

It may take a few days or even last for a couple of weeks. Hatchlings often shed to compensate for their growth speed.

During their early stage, bearded dragons shed every week. As they become older and reach 6 to 12 months, the shedding process will slow down and become a few times in a month.

When the bearded dragon becomes an adult, it will shed every few months. Gray skin may come out as patches rather than shedding it all at once.

When your beardie is ready to shed, you will notice that its skin will look tight. It may turn white before the shedding occurs. Another sign is that bearded dragons may lose their appetite. It can also look lethargic before shedding.

This process can be painful for beardies sometimes. They rather stop moving to avoid feeling pain.

Try not to handle your beardie during the shedding process. It can cause them pain if you put pressure on their skin. The bearded dragon’s eyes may also look bulging. If you notice that, don’t worry since it’s normal.

They have to do this to help them loosen the skin around their head. It will make shedding easier for them when it’s time to lose old skin.

How Do I Know if My Bearded Dragon’s Shed is Stuck?

A stuck shed or also known as Dysecydsis happens when the shedding is abnormal. It can occur when there’s an issue shedding their outer skin layer.

Learning why it occurs can help you to find out what’s the problem and help your beardie. It’s best to diagnose the issue before it gets serious.

The bearded dragon may experience shed stuck on the eyes, top of the head, belly, feet, and tail. If the skin is shriveling up at the tips of its tail, that means that the beardie is having a stuck shed.

It looks like the area may be losing circulation as well. Dry and dull skin means that there’s a problem with the shedding process.

In the wild, bearded dragons don’t usually experience any problems when shedding. It’s crucial to copy their natural habitat in captivity.

They need to have proper heat, light, substrate, and hydration. If the enclosure is dirty, the bearded dragon will develop skin infections. Make sure that the enclosure is always clean to avoid this.

The basking area should help them to digest their food and absorb the nutrients from the food they eat. Add proper lighting that can provide the bearded dragon UVB rays.

Aside from that, bearded dragons need to have a substrate. Without the substrate, the beardie will likely develop a stuck shed so they need to have it.

Bearded dragons are also required to have rough spots inside the enclosure. They have to rub against it so it will help them to shed. Without the rough spots, the beardie will stop shedding.

The temperature and humidity should always be at the right levels. If it’s not right, the beardie may develop a stuck shed. The right diet is also necessary to avoid this issue.

If the bearded dragon has vitamin B or calcium deficiency, it will cause a stuck shed. They need to have all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. It can affect their normal processes such as shedding.

Provide multivitamin supplements for your beardie to have the essential vitamins and minerals. Dust their food with supplements at least 3 to 4 times weekly to get the right dosage.

Can You Pull a Bearded Dragon’s Shed Off?

No, you should never pull your bearded dragons’ stuck shed. Don’t help them to physically remove their skin while shedding. It’s best to give the beardie a warm bath instead.

That will help them to remove the stuck shed without injuries. Bathing the beardie a few times weekly and massaging the stuck shed with a toothbrush will help a lot. If not, consult a veterinarian to help your beardie.

How Do You Remove a Stuck Shed?

The stuck shed may occur from time to time with bearded dragons. There are some ways to help your bearded dragon so don’t worry.

Simply bathing the reptile 3 to 4 times a week will help. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently stroke the beardie’s body and the affected area.

Another way to help your beardie’s stuck shed is by massaging aloe vera or cocoa butter on the rough shed. After that, keep the beardie away from the basking light to avoid burning itself.

If the stuck shed seems to lead to infection or tail rot, add some betadine in the bath and soak your pet.

Do Bearded Dragons Get Grumpy When Shedding?

Yes, bearded dragons can get grumpy when shedding. If your pet seems to behave this way, don’t worry since it’s normal.

If you attempt to touch or hold your beardie, it may display aggression. The shedding process can make the bearded dragon aggressive. Don’t touch your pet during this process and give it some space.

You may notice that the bearded dragon starts to eat their dead skin. Don’t be alarmed since it’s one of their natural behaviors.

Their old skin is full of nutrients and calcium. Eating old skin is also a normal trait to avoid predators back in the wild. It will get rid of their scent so that other animals will not be able to track them easily.

Can You Help a Shedding Bearded Dragon?

As the bearded dragon grows, it’s normal for them to go through the shedding process. It often occurs with baby bearded dragons.

That’s when they are growing at a fast rate and need to shed their skin more than the adults. There’s no exact time when the bearded dragon starts shedding.

The shedding process happens depending on the reptile’s growth and age. Adult beardies don’t shed as much as young beardies.

They are growing as fast as the young reptiles. Shedding may begin when the color of the bearded dragon’s skin darkens and becomes dull.

The bearded dragon’s behavior may also change such as it losing its appetite or becoming aggressive.

When your beardie suddenly becomes grumpy, don’t worry. It’s a common occurrence since reptiles don’t like to be held during this time. The shedding process may take some time but you can help your beardie to speed it up.

How Can I Help My Reptile Shed?

1. Frequent Misting

The best way to help your bearded dragon with the shedding process is to mist it frequently. It’s recommended to mist your reptile multiple times a day.

This will help your beardie’s skin to stay hydrated and moisturized. When you notice that the beardie is about to shed, increase the frequency of misting. It will soften the skin and make it easier for the beardie to shed.

2. Warm Baths

Giving your beardie warm baths can help their skin to loosen and help with shedding. A bathroom sink will be perfect for a baby bearded dragon’s bath.

Fill the sink with warm water and let it soak and play in the water for 15 to 30 minutes. It will soften their skin and make shedding easier for them.

When the beardie starts shedding, give it a bath once every other day to aid with the process.

3. Try a Shedding Aid

If your bearded dragon seems to be having a hard time when shedding, try using a shedding aid.

There are different shedding aids available and they can moisturize their skin. It also promotes new healthy skin for bearded dragons. The shedding aid should be added to their bathwater.

It can help the bearded dragon to shed after soaking it for about 20 minutes. There is another shedding aid available that can be sprayed to the beardie’s skin.

It can be used to mist the beardie multiple times a day. Frequent misting can help with shedding. Shedding aids can be a good way to help your reptile to shed properly.

4. Don’t Peel the Skin Off

When the bearded dragon starts shedding, don’t peel off the skin. Allow the beardies skin to peel off on its own. Doing that before the skin is ready can cause injury to the beardie’s skin.

That can bleed and lead to infection. Use other ways to soften the bearded dragon’s skin and allow it to shed.

Bearded Dragon Shedding

How Often Do Bearded Dragons Shed?

Bearded dragons shed their skins every few weeks at 6 months old. When they turn 12 months old, the shedding will happen once every few months.

After that, the bearded dragon will be shedding less. At 18 months, their muscle and bone growth is done. Adult beardies will only shed a few times a year.

As the bearded dragons grow, they will shed every 2 to 4 weeks. But once they reach adulthood, bearded dragons will not shed as much.

The beardie may shed after a month or it may sometimes take three months before it sheds again. It should not cause any issues for them as long as the beardie is healthy and shed properly.

Age and Shedding Frequency

AgeShedding Frequency
Hatchling (0-6 months)Every 1 to 2 weeks
Juveniles (6-12 months)2 times a month
Adults (12-18 months)4 times a year
Adults (18+ months) 2 times a year
This Table Shows The Age and Shedding Frequency of Bearded Dragons

Interested in learning more about it, check this full guide (How Often Do Bearded Dragons SHED?)

Is Shedding Painful for Bearded Dragons?

Dysecdysis or stuck shed is when a bearded dragon is not shedding or they may also experience incomplete shedding.

It can cause restriction to the blood flow which can result in infection, loss of limbs, and in severe cases, death. The toes and tail are the commonly affected area when it happens.

You can help your beardie to shed by frequent misting and providing rough rocks or logs. They can use them to rub themselves to aid with shedding.

The easiest and best way to remove a stuck shed is by letting your beardie soak in a warm bath. When the skin softens, you can gently rub or brush the area with a soft-bristle toothbrush. 

The bearded dragon’s old skin should loosen and detach eventually. But if the stuck shed is still there, it will be prone to infection.

Consult the vet right away to help your beardie. Shedding is caused by growth, diet, hormonal changes, and humidity. The beardie will shed multiple times naturally since it’s their normal process.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Eating His Shedded Skin?

In the wild, bearded dragons will eat their shedded skin to avoid predators from finding them. Another reason why they do this is to absorb the nutrients from their old skin.

In some cases, this instinct can still occur in captivity. Don’t worry if you see your bearded dragon eating its shedded skin.

Some people suggest that bearded dragons eat their sheds if they are lacking nutrients. It will help to compensate for their calcium deficiency and lack of vital nutrients from their diet.

But the sheds can be contaminated by their fecal wastes. The shed itself is harmless for beardies but if it’s not clean, get rid of it and feed your pet instead.

Should I Bathe My Bearded Dragon When Shedding?

Yes, if you want to help your beardie with the shedding process, bathing is a good idea. Warm baths can help their old skin to come off easily.

If you decide to give warm baths to your beardie, make sure that it’s not too deep. Add lukewarm water and let your beardie soak for at least 15 minutes and do this 3 to 4 times weekly.

Sometimes, a stuck shed may occur so use a soft bristle toothbrush to massage the affected area. Brush it gently while the beardie is soaked in the warm water.

It will help to loosen the skin and come off naturally. Don’t peel the beardie’s old skin since it can cause infection if it’s not yet ready.

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