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Bearded Dragon Bite: How Much It Hurts + How To Stop It

do bearded dragons bite?

Perhaps you are considering getting a bearded dragon for yourself or as a pet for your kids, and you are wondering how much their bite can hurt. Or maybe a bearded dragon has already bitten you, and you want to know what to do and how to prevent it from happening again. 

Bearded dragons rarely bite and do not have the strength or the will to do any real harm if they bite you. In most cases, you will get a sore hand or finger for a few minutes. However, you need to take care of the wound if the bite was hard enough to draw blood. 

Furthermore, there are some things you can do if you want to prevent this behavior from happening again. Keep reading to find out why bearded dragons bite, what to do if they bite you, how to treat the wound (if any), and how to avoid getting bitten.

Do Bearded Dragons Bite?

Yes, in the wild, two or more bearded dragons can bite when fighting for their territory or to show dominance. Males also bite females during courtship. 

Do Bearded Dragons Have Teeth?

Do Bearded Dragons Have Teeth?

Bearded dragons do have teeth. Baby beardies have very sharp teeth, but as they grow older, their teeth start getting duller due to constant gnawing on food

What Is The Bite Force Of A Bearded Dragon?

The bite force of bearded dragons depends on the reptile’s head size. The greater their head size, the stronger their bite force.

Since males are larger than females, their bite force is stronger. 

The same applies to the bite force of baby and juvenile bearded dragons when compared to the bite force of adult bearded dragons. 

In a study conducted by Jones, MEH, Pistevos, JCA, Cooper, N, et al. and published in the Journal of Experimental Zoology it was determined that the bite force of juvenile and adult bearded dragons ranged from 5.59 to 98.73 Newtons (1,26 to 22,2 pounds-force), depending on the body size of the animal. 

So, what does this mean?

It means that although bearded dragons have an impressive bite force when compared to their body size, the fact is that they won’t be able to really hurt you -other than your feelings- if they decide to bite you.

Do Baby Bearded Dragons Bite?

As we mentioned before, baby bearded dragons have really sharp teeth, and they won’t hesitate to use them to bite if provoked. 

However, keep in mind that due to the size of baby beardies, their bite force is not as strong, so it is doubtful that they will be able even to break the skin.

Do Bearded Dragons Bite Humans

Although it does not happen frequently, bearded dragons can indeed bite humans.

These reptiles are known to be very docile and non-aggressive towards their owner or any other person who knows how to handle them, so when they do bite is usually by accident.

However, if a small child or inexperienced person mishandles them, or if they are feeling annoyed and you keep bothering them, they can purposefully bite as a defense mechanism.

Here are a couple of videos that can show you how a bearded dragon ends up biting a person:

Why Do Bearded Dragons Bite Humans?

Most bearded dragon bites happen accidentally when you are hand-feeding them and they miscalculate where their food is and end up biting your finger instead. In other cases, they may just simply mistake your fingers for food.

However, there are some circumstances in which your beardie may feel threatened and bite you on purpose, these include:

Keeping More Than One Male In A Tank

As stated before, males are highly aggressive if they see another male in the enclosure. 

Never put two male bearded dragons together, and if you have more than one male, make sure to keep them in separate enclosures and out of each other’s eyesight.

They can See Themselves On Reflective Surfaces

Bearded dragons can get confused if they look at themselves reflected on a shiny surface (including the glass of the tank) and may think that another bearded dragon is in the enclosure.

They will become aggressive and try to defend their territory from the “intruder” and can bite you accidentally if you try to interact with them.

Unknown Environments

New or over-stimulating environments can cause your bearded dragon to become stressed. 

When introducing your beardie to a new environment, give your pet some time to get used to it before trying to play with it or feed it.

The same happens when making changes or adding new stuff to your beardie’s enclosure. Make one change at a time and give your pet plenty of time to get used to it before making another change. 

Presence Of Predators Nearby

Do bites from bearded dragons hurt?

If your beardie notices the presence of another animal nearby, he or she may become alert and go into self-defense mode. 

Even if the other animal is not in the enclosure, your bearded dragon may get stressed only by looking at it. 

This can include cats, dogs, birds, or any other animal your beardie may feel is a possible threat. 

So, if you try to interact with your beardie during this time, they can lash out at you and bite you to defend themselves.  

Not Used To Being Handled

Bearded dragons can bite if they feel threatened, and they may see you as a potential threat if they are not used to being constantly handled.

This happens more frequently in the case of young bearded dragons or even adults that were not socialized and used to being handled by humans before. 

They Are Hungry

As sometimes happens with humans, bearded dragons can also become “hangry” and get overly excited when you feed them.

In this scenario, they may accidentally bite you when trying to eat as fast as possible.

So, if you notice your beardie is too eager to eat when you feed them, maybe you will need to consider adjusting their feeding and handling schedule. 

They Are Annoyed

can bearded dragons bite off a finger?

Your beardie may feel annoyed after interacting with you for a while, especially if you or someone else has been poking them or petting them excessively. 

A bite may be the way for your bearded dragon to say “enough”.

Make sure to be aware of your pet’s body language so you can avoid this situation. 

But, if you find your beardie is frequently getting annoyed without an apparent cause, you should take him or her to the vet to rule out any medical condition. 

Does A Bearded Dragon Bite Hurt?

If an adult bearded dragon bites you it may be momentarily painful, especially if they were able to break your skin.

However, most bites are more surprising than they are painful. 

If a baby beardie bites you, it is unlikely that you will feel any pain whatsoever. 

What Kind Of Damage Can A Beardie’s Bite Do To A Human?

A bearded dragon can’t really do much damage when biting a human. A serious injury resulting from a beardie’s bite would be very rare.

In most cases, after a bearded dragon bites you, you will have a sore hand or finger for a few minutes. On some occasions, a beardie can also break your skin when they bite you. 

What Does A Bearded Dragon Bite Look Like

Here is an images that can show you what a bearded dragon’s bite looks like:

Can A Bearded Dragon Bite Off A Finger

A bearded dragon’s jaws are not strong enough to fracture a finger bone, let alone to completely bite your finger off. 

An experimental study of hand injuries conducted in 2012 found that an average of 1,485 Newtons of force was required just to break a human finger. That is a lot more than the bite force of a bearded dragon, which is just 5.59 to 98.73 Newtons.

So, rest assured, your beardie is not going to be able to bite off one of your fingers if they bite you.

Are Bearded Dragons Venomous?

You may be surprised to find out that bearded dragons do have venom glands. But don’t worry! These glands are vestigial, meaning they don’t longer serve a purpose.

Most bearded dragons have only one pair of venomous glands; but one species, the Eastern bearded dragon (Pogona barbata) has two pairs of venomous glands that produce a very mild venom, which is not even strong enough to kill a mouse and may cause only minor swelling in humans. 

Therefore, you have nothing to fear if you or someone you know gets bitten by a bearded dragon, as these reptiles are considered to be non-venomous.

Can You Get Sick from a Bearded Dragon Bite?

Although it would be very rare, you could get sick from a bearded dragon’s bite if it was strong enough to draw blood, especially if you didn’t take appropriate care of the wound.

In that case, you could get a secondary bacterial infection of the wound. Tetanus is also a cause for concern, as it happens with most animal bites. 

That said, a bearded dragon’s bite will not result in sickness most of the time. 

What To Do If You Have Got Bitten?

what does a bearded dragon bite look like

It is good to always be prepared for anything that might happen, so, if your bearded dragon hasn’t bitten you yet, you may want to know what to do if it happens someday. 

If you get bitten by your bearded dragon, try not to panic. In most cases, beardies quickly let go of your finger or hand once they realize what happened. 

If your beardie does not let go, then you can place the animal on a stable surface and gently but firmly try to pry open its mouth. Using your free hand, grasp the bearded dragon’s jaws and start applying gradual pressure until it releases you.

Do not make any sudden movements as this can cause your pet to close its jaws even harder. 

Never pull back or try to shake off your bearded dragon. You can hurt your pet while doing so. 

Once you are able to get free, check for any injuries your beardie might’ve caused you, and then check for any injuries on your pet.

In summary, these are the steps you should follow if you get bitten by your bearded dragon:

  1. Keep your cool
  2. Do not pull back, yank, or shake your bearded dragon
  3. Place your beardie on a table or any safe surface
  4. Gently and slowly try to pry open the beardie’s jaws
  5. Check for any injuries on you or your pet

How To Treat A Bearded Dragon’s Bite Wound

It has happened. Your bearded dragon bit you. So, now you are wondering how to treat your wound.

Well, the first thing you have to check is if your bearded dragon’s bite was hard enough to break your skin. 

If your skin was not broken, then you may enjoy a sore finger or hand for a few minutes and that’s it. You don’t need to do anything else. 

But, if your skin was broken, then you need to take care of the wound.

How do you do that? Well, lucky for you, we have a step-by-step guide that can help you know how to act in that situation:

  1. Rinse the wound with lukewarm water
  2. Wash the area with soap
  3. Dry the wound with gauze or a clean towel
  4. Apply an antiseptic solution to the wound
  5. You can also apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent any infection
  6. Although it is not always necessary, you can put a band-aid on the wound if you feel like it
  7. In case of swelling, you can put some ice on the affected area
  8. Take any over-the-counter painkiller if the bite still hurts after a couple of minutes

Now you are done! There is nothing else you need to do to treat a bearded dragon’s bite at home. 

That said, you need to keep an eye on any complications that may arise. Seek medical treatment if you notice any of the following:

  • The wound does not stop bleeding
  • The wound looks very deep
  • You have constant and increasing pain that does not go away even after taking painkillers
  • The wound gets hot, red, and tender to touch
  • You start having discharge from the wound

Also, make sure you are up-to-date with your tetanus immunization schedule. Otherwise, go get a tetanus shot at your local hospital or clinic.

How To Avoid Getting Bitten By Your Bearded Dragon?

what does a bearded dragon bite feel like

First and foremost, never expose your pet to stressful situations, and do not make sudden movements around it. Bearded dragons don’t like jump scares, loud noises, or surprises and may end up biting you if they feel uncomfortable.

Do not keep other pets around your bearded dragon, especially not cats or dogs, as this can stress them out and put them in self-defense mode. 

When introducing your beardie to a new environment, let them adjust and become familiar with their surroundings before trying to pet them or feed them. Remember to always keep your pet on a stable surface so they feel they have a safe grip.

If you notice your bearded dragon is overexcited for food, you can try using tweezers or tongs to feed him or her, this way you can avoid accidental bites. Here are some good options you can try:

If you are still unsure about handling your bearded dragon, or if you already know your pet is going to inevitably become stressed and may bite you, you can try wearing a pair of protective gloves like these as a precaution to avoid getting bitten. 

How To Train Your Bearded Dragon Not To Bite

You can teach your beardie not to bite and be more friendly around humans, but be aware that this will require loads of patience and consistency on your part. 

Here is a list of things you can do to train your beardie not to bite:

  • Offer food and treats to your beardie from your hand, that way they will associate you with positive experiences.
  • Take your pet out of the enclosure regularly so he or she can get used to being around you.
  • Handle your bearded dragon often. Be mindful of their body language and leave them alone if you see they are getting annoyed (puffing, hissing, beard turning black).

It might take some time, but eventually, your bearded dragon should become more social and friendly around humans.

Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team