how often do bearded dragons shed

Bearded Dragon Shedding: Frequency And Care Tips

Owning a bearded dragon is a delightful experience, but it comes with responsibilities. One critical aspect of their care is understanding their shedding process. Knowing how often your bearded dragon sheds and how to support them through it can ensure they stay healthy and happy. 

Bearded dragons shed at different frequencies depending on their age and growth rate. Hatchlings shed every few weeks due to their rapid growth, while juveniles shed about once a month. As they mature, the frequency decreases, with adult bearded dragons shedding a few times a year

Ensuring you recognize the signs and provide proper care during each shedding phase is essential for your dragon’s well-being. With the right attention, you can keep your bearded dragon comfortable and thriving through every shed.

Comprehending Bearded Dragon Shedding

how often do bearded dragons shed

What is shedding?

Shedding, also known as ecdysis, is a natural process where bearded dragons shed their old skin to accommodate growth and remove parasites.

Why do bearded dragons shed?

Bearded dragons shed to grow and maintain healthy skin. This process is crucial for their overall well-being.

The biological process of shedding

Shedding involves the outer layer of skin separating from the new skin underneath, which eventually peels away.

Shedding Frequency

Understanding the frequency of your bearded dragon’s shedding is essential for their health and care. Shedding frequency can vary widely based on several factors. Let’s explore these factors and typical timelines for different life stages.

Factors Affecting Shedding Frequency

Younger bearded dragons shed more frequently as they grow rapidly. Hatchlings may shed every few weeks due to their fast growth rates, whereas adults shed less often.

Growth Rate:
Faster-growing dragons will shed more often. If your dragon is experiencing a growth spurt, you may notice an increase in shedding frequency.

A healthy dragon sheds regularly. Illness or malnutrition can disrupt the shedding cycle, leading to incomplete or problematic sheds.

Environmental Conditions:
Proper lighting, temperature, and humidity are essential. Inadequate environmental conditions can cause irregular shedding patterns and other health issues.

Typical Shedding Timeline for Different Life Stages

Hatchlings shed every few weeks. Their rapid growth necessitates frequent shedding to accommodate their increasing size.

Juveniles typically shed every month or so. As they continue to grow, but at a slightly slower pace than hatchlings, their shedding frequency decreases slightly.

Adults shed a few times a year. Once a bearded dragon reaches adulthood, their growth rate slows significantly, resulting in less frequent shedding.

By understanding these factors and typical timelines, you can better monitor and support your bearded dragon’s shedding process, ensuring they remain healthy and comfortable throughout each shedding cycle.

Signs Your Bearded Dragon is About to Shed

how often do bearded dragons shed

Recognizing the signs that your bearded dragon is about to shed can help you provide the necessary care and environment to support them through this process. Here are some key physical and behavioral indicators to look for:

Physical Indicators

Dull or Opaque Skin:
Their skin loses its usual vibrant color. As shedding approaches, the skin may appear dull, dry, or opaque, indicating that new skin is forming underneath.

Reduced Appetite:
They might eat less during this period. It’s common for bearded dragons to show less interest in food when they are about to shed.

Behavioral Changes:
Increased irritability or lethargy. Your bearded dragon might become more irritable or seem more tired than usual as they prepare to shed.

Pre-shedding Behavior

Increased Rubbing Against Objects:
They rub to help loosen the old skin. You might notice your dragon rubbing its body against rough surfaces, rocks, or branches to aid the shedding process.

Hiding More Often:
Seeking privacy during this vulnerable time. Bearded dragons often hide more frequently when they are about to shed, seeking a safe and private space to go through the shedding process.

By understanding these signs and behaviors, you can better prepare for your bearded dragon’s shedding cycle, ensuring they have a comfortable and supportive environment.

The Shedding Process

Understanding the stages of the shedding process is crucial for providing the best care for your bearded dragon. Shedding occurs in distinct phases, each with its signs and duration.

Stages of Shedding

Pre-shed Phase:
Skin becomes dull and appetite decreases. During this initial phase, your dragon’s skin will start to appear dull and lose its usual vibrant color. You may also notice a decrease in their appetite as they prepare for shedding.

Active Shedding Phase:
Skin begins to peel away. In this phase, the old skin will start to loosen and peel away from the body. This can happen in patches and may take a few days to complete.

Post-shed Phase:
Fresh, new skin is revealed. Once the old skin has completely shed, you will see fresh, vibrant new skin. Your bearded dragon’s appetite and behavior should return to normal.

Duration of Each Stage

Each stage can last a few days to a week, depending on the individual dragon. The exact duration can vary based on factors such as the dragon’s age, health, and environmental conditions.

By understanding these stages and their durations, you can better support your bearded dragon through the shedding process, ensuring they stay healthy and comfortable.

Caring for Your Bearded Dragon During Shedding

1. Maintaining proper humidity levels
Proper humidity helps loosen the skin. Use a hygrometer to monitor and adjust as needed.

2. Providing a shedding box or moist hide
A humid hide can aid in the shedding process.

3. Ensuring proper hydration
Keep your dragon well-hydrated by offering fresh water and misting their enclosure.

4. Safe handling practices
Handle your dragon gently to avoid disturbing the shedding skin.

5. Avoiding shedding complications
Ensure their habitat is clean and free of rough surfaces that could cause injury.

Common Shedding Problems and Solutions

how often do bearded dragons shed

Incomplete shed (retained shed)

  • Causes: Low humidity, poor hydration, or illness.
  • Prevention: Maintain optimal environmental conditions.
  • Treatment: Soak in warm water and gently assist with a damp cloth.

Skin infections

  • Symptoms: Red, inflamed, or crusty skin.
  • Treatment options: Consult a vet for appropriate treatments.


  • Signs: Sunken eyes, lethargy, wrinkled skin.
  • Remedies: Increase water intake through misting and bathing.

Enhancing the Shedding Process

To support your bearded dragon during the shedding process, you can take several proactive steps. These practices will help ensure a smoother and more comfortable shedding experience.

Bathing Your Bearded Dragon

Frequency and Method:
Bathe 2-3 times a week during shedding. Regular baths help keep your bearded dragon hydrated and can assist in loosening the old skin. Use lukewarm water and ensure the bath is shallow enough for your dragon to stand in comfortably.

Benefits of Bathing:
Helps loosen the skin and keeps your dragon clean. Bathing not only aids in the shedding process but also helps maintain overall cleanliness and hydration, which are crucial during this period.

Providing a Balanced Diet

Nutritional Needs During Shedding:
Offer a variety of insects and leafy greens. A balanced diet rich in nutrients supports healthy skin and shedding. Ensure your dragon receives a mix of protein from insects and vitamins from fresh greens.

Calcium and multivitamin supplements support healthy shedding. Supplements are particularly important during shedding to prevent deficiencies that could complicate the process. Dust their food with calcium and provide multivitamins as recommended.

Using Shedding Aids

Safe Products:
Shedding sprays can help; choose reptile-safe options. Shedding aids, like reptile-safe shedding sprays, can moisturize the skin and assist in the shedding process. Always opt for products specifically designed for reptiles.

Natural Alternatives:
Coconut oil can be applied sparingly to stubborn areas. For tough-to-shed spots, a small amount of coconut oil can help soften the skin. Apply it gently to avoid any irritation.

By incorporating these practices, you can significantly enhance your bearded dragon’s shedding process, making it smoother and more comfortable for them. Ensuring proper care during shedding not only benefits their health but also strengthens the bond you share with your pet.

When to Seek Veterinary Help

how often do bearded dragons shed

While most shedding cycles are normal and uneventful, there are times when your bearded dragon may need professional veterinary assistance. Knowing when to seek help is crucial for the health and well-being of your pet.

Signs of Severe Shedding Issues

Persistent Retained Shed:
If your dragon has areas of skin that remain after shedding, especially around the toes, tail, and eyes, this could lead to circulation problems and infections.

Skin Infections or Open Wounds:
Look for signs of redness, swelling, or open sores. Infections can develop if shedding issues are not addressed promptly.

Identifying Underlying Health Problems

Unusual Lethargy:
A significant decrease in activity levels could indicate an underlying health issue. While some lethargy is normal during shedding, prolonged inactivity is a cause for concern.

Significant Weight Loss:
If your dragon is losing weight rapidly, this could be a sign of a more serious health problem. Monitor their weight regularly and consult a vet if you notice drastic changes.

Professional Treatments and Interventions

Your vet can provide specialized care and treatments for severe cases.
Veterinarians have the expertise and tools to deal with complicated shedding issues. They can prescribe medications, recommend dietary changes, and provide treatments that can alleviate your dragon’s shedding problems.

By recognizing these signs and seeking timely veterinary help, you can prevent minor issues from becoming serious health problems, ensuring your bearded dragon remains healthy and comfortable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the shedding process take?
Typically a few days to a week, depending on the dragon’s health and environment.

Is it normal for a bearded dragon to shed frequently?
Yes, especially in younger dragons. Adults shed less frequently but regularly.

Can I help my bearded dragon peel off the shed skin?
It’s best to let them shed naturally. Only assist with a damp cloth if necessary.

What should I do if my bearded dragon refuses to eat during shedding?
A reduced appetite is normal, but ensure they stay hydrated and offer food regularly.

How can I improve my bearded dragon’s shedding environment?
Maintain proper humidity, provide a shedding hide, and ensure a balanced diet.

Read More: Bearded Dragon Growth: What To Expect As They Age