Bearded dragons have unique characteristics that you don’t see in other pets. They are not known for being aggressive to humans. But there are a handful of occasions when beardies could become aggressive all of a sudden.
So why does a bearded dragon aggressive all of a sudden?
A bearded dragon can become aggressive all of a sudden due to several reasons. Some of the triggering factors are inappropriate lighting, environmental changes, shedding, and when they are feeling threatened.
These factors could potentially cause a sudden change in beardies’ behavior. In this post, let me share with you how to fix when your beardies suddenly get aggressive.
But before that, let me talk about each of the triggering factors a little bit. I hope this helps you figure out and make a wise decision for your bearded dragons.
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Table of Contents
Reasons Why a Bearded Dragon Becomes Aggressive All of a Sudden
The following reasons are just a few. There could be more triggering factors than the identified ones. All the factors included in this post are based on my experience with my own bearded dragons. Your beardies may be different and might also have different causes of behavioral changes.
1. Inappropriate Lighting
Lighting is crucial for beardies. It is a very important part of their health in general. Thus, putting inappropriate lighting can have a significant effect on their health and behavior.
One of the examples of why a bearded dragon gets aggressive all of a sudden is when you’re using a coil UVB. It is known to cause several problems in bearded dragons including becoming aggressive.
UVB can hurt beardies’ eyes and could in fact cause blindness. If this is the case, you can turn off the coil UVB. Your bearded dragon is better off without a UVB than exposing them in a coil one.
Change the lighting. The best lighting that I tried for my beardies is the Reptisun 10.0 tube (click here to check Reptisun on Amazon). Replace the coil UVB with this one. Make sure that your beardie can get within 6-8 inches of it.
- A UVB 10.0 Reptile Fluorescent Tube means that 10% of the tubes output is UVB
- This UVB is necessary for your reptiles synthesis of vitamin D3, which is essential for the effective metabolism of dietary calcium in its bones and blood
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After changing the lighting, just see if the beardies’ behavior changes. If he/she tames, the problem was the lighting.
Another good idea is to add a hide in the tank. You can use half-back logs. It is good enough to serve as beardies’ place to feel comfortable and safe.
2. Changes in the Environment
I did not know this before so I used to change the setup occasionally to make my bearded dragon comfortable. To my surprise, one of my bearded dragons gets really aggressive all of a sudden. I did not even have a clue at that time.
I brought my beardie to the vet and found no health issues. The vet then asked me what could possibly cause the grouchy behavior. I could not remember anything that possibly triggers him. But I mentioned that I previously cleaned up my beardies’ tank. The vet suspected that the changes I made in the tank would have caused the sudden aggression.
Environmental changes come in many forms. It could be the relocation or transferring to another place to live. Or simply placing the tank in another place of the house. These could potentially cause stress and behavioral issues in beardies.
Shedding is a natural phenomenon in bearded dragons throughout their life span. They shed as they grow or when there is damaged skin.
However, this natural process can have an impact on beardies’ behavior. In fact, it is one of the reasons why a bearded dragon can get aggressive all of a sudden.
4. When Bearded Dragon Feels Threatened
Although bearded dragons are not known to attack humans, they can be very aggressive when feel threatened. This happens when they see other beardies near them. Sometimes, even a stranger can get them aggressive.
The owner can sometimes cause aggression in beardies. I remember when I grew a mustache when I was out for vacation. When I got home, I was surprised when my beardies get really aggressive when he saw me approaching him.
It was funny but taught me a lesson. Bearded dragons are pretty observant of their surroundings and the people who pet them.
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5 Ways to Handle an Aggressive Bearded Dragon
Knowing the potential causes of aggression in bearded dragons is very important. But the more important to learn if you are a new bearded dragon owner is how to handle your aggressive beardie.
But before sharing with you the ways on how to handle an aggressive bearded dragon, I just want to give a quick reminder here. The first thing you need to bear in mind is that an aggressive beardie can hurt. He/she can damage your finger or hand by biting.
To avoid it, I recommend that you wait until your beardie calms down. However, for some beardies, it takes a few days or weeks. If you need to take some action to fix the problem, make sure to use protective materials to keep you safe from bites. A towel can do the job but you must be very careful.
During the whole time, when your bearded dragon is aggressive, it is important to take everything written. Record the following:
- Everything that happens around your beardie at that time
- The scent that may have been present (if there is any)
- Strangers or visitors in the house
- Presence of other bearded dragons or other pets
These are example factors that could cause your beardie aggression. The next thing you can do is to record the aggression signs that the reptile shows.
- Is his beard blackening from the back to the tail?
- Is he puffing and makes himself look bigger?
- Is he bobbing his head?
These signs are very important to prevent them get aggressive in the future. I suggest that you study your note and try to see some patterns that will help you predict the aggressiveness of your reptile.
Now as promised, here are the five steps to manage an aggressive bearded dragon:
1. Give him a stuffed toy
As mentioned, you should not immediately handle an aggressive bearded dragon. You need to wait until he calms down. But there are beardies that tend to be aggressive for a long period of time.
To help him calm down faster, you can give a stuffed toy or a microwavable bean bag warmer. This will help your beardie diverts his energy into something else.
2. Cover reflective surfaces
As mentioned, bearded dragons can get aggressive when they see their own reflection. They mistakenly interpret it as other bearded dragons which in turn make them feel threatened. If there is a reflective surface in his tank, I recommend that you cover it.
3. Move other beardies’ tank further
Bearded dragons don’t like to see other beardies around. This is because they are solitary animals. The presence of other bearded dragons could trigger aggression in them.
4. Reduce the lighting period
Male bearded dragons tend to be more aggressive during a breeding season. Reducing the lighting period would trick the beardie to think it is not the right time to mate.
5. Do not touch an aggressive bearded dragon
Well, I have mentioned this in the beginning but I want to reiterate it. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to wait until the reptile calms down. While waiting, just observe the behaviors of your beardie and write them down. This will help you avoid from making your bearded dragons aggressive again.
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Final Thoughts on why Does A Bearded Dragon Aggressive All of a Sudden
There are many reasons why bearded dragons can get aggressive suddenly. Those factors may involve inappropriate lighting equipment, environmental changes, shedding, and they feel threatened by other pets or people.
When this happens, it is very important to take down notes about their behaviors. Using your notes, you will be able to see patterns that will help you avoid your beardie get aggressive in the future.
I hope this helps. Thank you very much for reading.