Bearded dragons often fall off their owners’ hands. Veterinarians suggest they’re animated creatures, so they may even jump from things out of sheer curiosity! But how resilient are they to falling?
Bearded dragons are semi-arboreal reptiles. Short-distance falls usually don’t cause any issues. However, the risk of injury depends on their age, prior health issues, and the circumstances of the fall. Common injury symptoms include reduced mobility, appetite loss, lethargy, bruises, broken bones, and swelling.
If your beardie falls on the floor, it’s essential to learn how to handle it if it appears injured. If your pet behaves as usual, you should keep an eye on it over the next few days to rule out any complications. Keep reading to learn more about the risks and symptoms of fall-related trauma.
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Do This After Your Bearded Dragon Fell
We want to start our discussion with some handling instructions, just in case you already suspect an injury and need immediate recommendations on how to handle your beardie.
If your reptile doesn’t show immediate signs of trauma, you can jump to the next part of the article, where we discuss what may happen if your reptile falls and what symptoms you should look out for.
If you suspect an injury (check for symptoms below), follow these instructions before getting to a vet:
- Limit handling your pet to the minimum.
- If you have to lift your beardie, you should be as gentle as possible while handling it.
- Ensure to wash your hands before handling your beardie to avoid any infections if there are visible bruises or bleeding.
- Your pet’s entire body should be supported by your hand. It’s extremely important to support its hind body parts fully. Otherwise, they may pull down on the injury.
- If you notice any visible injuries to any of your beardie’s body parts (including legs or tail), do not grab them. If your beardie seems paralyzed, try to squeeze your pet’s toe gently. If you notice any movement, this means the nerves aren’t damaged. But treatment may still be required.
- Remove any branches or rocks from the tank to limit your beardie’s movements.
- Place a divider inside the tank. This will also reduce mobility.
- Schedule an urgent appointment with a veterinarian.
- It is recommended to take your beardie to the vet in its own tank. It should be kept as secure as possible in its cage.
Check out our article on what to do if you think your beardie has a broken bone.
What Happens If Bearded Dragons Fall?
Naturally, baby bearded dragons are more susceptible to injuries caused by falling.
Adults are typically more resilient, but this depends on whether they have any health conditions that can make the impact more serious – metabolic bone disease, for example.
If your bearded dragon suffers from MBD, a fall significantly increases the risk of injury.
As such, whether your beardie will get hurt or not upon falling depends on its age and health issues, the height of the fall, what it fell on, and how it landed on the surface.
How Resilient Are Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons are, as mentioned, semi-arboreal creatures. In the wild, they are used to climbing shrubs and fallen tree trunks, so they’re more resilient than we think.
On the other hand, their lifespan in the wild is also much shorter than in captivity – they rarely live more than eight years in their natural habitat. As pets, however, bearded dragons can have a lifespan of up to 15 years!
Did you know that the oldest pet bearded dragon on record was almost 19 years old?
Therefore, as resilient as they might be, bearded dragons do much better in captivity because they have someone to take care of them.
So if your beardie fell on the floor, you shouldn’t rely on the fact that they may survive in the wild if they fall off shrubs or rocks.
Even if they may sometimes resort to their natural defense technique of puffing up while falling, this may not prevent them from being injured.
You should check your bearded dragon’s body thoroughly to ensure it didn’t get hurt. Ensure that its behavior doesn’t reveal any signs of distress.
There’s no need to worry if you don’t know what exactly you should keep an eye out for – we’ve included everything in this article, so keep reading!
How Far Can Bearded Dragons Fall Without Getting Hurt?
You can’t really tell how far bearded dragons can fall without getting hurt. This primarily depends on your beardie’s health, what it lands on, and how it lands.
Some may not suffer any injuries if they fall from 2-3-foot heights, while others may get hurt if falling from less than one foot high.
Some beardie owners even reported that their reptile fell from 5-foot tall surfaces and was completely fine, but this doesn’t guarantee your pet’s experience will be the same.
As such, the consequences of a fall are unique to each reptile, and aren’t influenced only by the fall distance.
How Do I Tell If My Bearded Dragon Is Injured?
First, you may notice that your beardie looks a bit stunned. This is a normal reaction. It doesn’t necessarily indicate that it’s hurt.
You should look for changes in your beardie’s behavior after the fall. If your pet returns to its normal routine – moving around, eating, pooping, and being alert – the fall was most likely mild, and your reptile is fine. However, if you want to make sure everything is alright, you can schedule a vet appointment.
If you notice anything weird in its behavior, there may be something that causes your beardie discomfort. Here are some things you should check.
What Did Your Beardie Land On?
The first thing you should check is the surface your bearded dragon fell on. Was it a wooden floor or maybe a carpet? The softer the landing surface, the lesser the risk of injuries.
However, this doesn’t necessarily exclude injuries. Bearded dragons with prior health issues may get hurt even if they fall on soft surfaces.
How Did Your Beardie Land?
Did your beardie land on its stomach? Or maybe it hit the floor with its back? Did it hit something while falling? Did it hit its head?
If your beardie fell on its stomach, there’s a risk of internal bleeding. If it fell on its back or hit its head, it might’ve suffered a spinal injury, be it a break or swelling, or a concussion. Moreover, a pet owner reported that their bearded dragon had a seizure after falling and hitting his head.
Whichever it is, it might cause unbearable pain for your reptile. Here are some symptoms you should look out for if you suspect an injury:
- Your beardie shows signs of pain and distress. These may include hissing or vocalizing if touched.
- Your beardie is lethargic and shows evidence of altered mental status.
- Your beardie cannot move or is reluctant to move any of its legs.
- Your beardie is vomiting.
- Your beardie’s tail darkens.
- Your beardie’s beard turns black.
- There are noticeable signs of bruising or swelling.
- Your beardie’s belly is swollen, and the reptile has difficulty eating, drinking, or breathing.
- Your beardie is bleeding from the mouth.
- Your bearded dragon’s poop contains blood – this points to internal bleeding.
- Your beardie seems weak.
- Your beardie starts shaking.
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your reptile within a few days or right after the fall, you should take it to a veterinarian. It might just be a soft tissue injury that requires pain medication. But some of these symptoms can also indicate more severe injuries.
You should never underestimate any signs of distress in your bearded dragon, especially if they appear after a fall.
Your veterinarian will examine your reptile to assess how severe the injury is. This may include a physical examination, as well as X-rays, ultrasound exams, and blood tests.
How to Prevent Your Bearded Dragon from Falling?
While you cannot always prevent your beardie from falling, the best you can do is learn how to handle it and keep an eye on it while it’s walking around the house.
Here are some dos and don’ts concerning bearded dragon handling and taming.
|Give your beardie around two weeks to adjust to its surroundings before handling it.||Don’t grab your reptile with quick movements.|
|While handling, support all your beardie’s feet, as well as its belly. Use gentle moves to pet it.||Don’t rub against your beardie’s scales or pull at the loose skin while it’s shedding.|
|Use both your hands to support your reptile. This will help prevent it from escaping.||Try not to move around the house while handling your beardie. It may get too excited and jump!|
Some bearded dragons are relaxed while being handled. Others, however, may get too excited that they’re out of their tank!
Many reptile owners reported that their beardies jumped from their shoulders, table, or couch. So if you let your pet roam freely through the house, make sure to always keep an eye on it and never place it on things they can fall off/jump from.
You can also use a harness leash if you take your reptile for a walk around the house or through your garden.
Check out this video to learn more about how to handle your bearded dragon.