It is difficult to say whether or not bearded dragons can experience emotional struggles. But I believe that bearded dragons could experience emotional turmoil.
So, do bearded dragons get depressed?
Yes, bearded dragons can get depressed. And like humans, bearded dragons could be severely affected by depression. Some of the beardies die from it.
If you are not an expert in bearded dragons’ behavior, you might not know what exactly happened to your pet. But the experienced vet can tell whether your beardie is depressed or not.
It happened to my bearded dragon before. He became depressed after his friend (another bearded dragon) died. I was not sure what was happening at that time. But the vet figured it out.
Unfortunately, his medical treatment was too late. As a result, he died a few days later. The depression took its toll.
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How do you know if your bearded dragon is depressed?
This is a very crucial question. The reality is that detecting emotional problems in bearded dragons is challenging.
Unlike humans, beardies do not say or divulge their feelings through common behaviors associated with sadness. They have their way of showing it though. Your job is to understand the signs of emotional problems in your reptile.
There are some signs of depression that you can watch out for in your bearded dragons.
Signs of depression in bearded dragons
I have a caveat though. All the “signs” I have listed below are based solely on my personal experience with my previous beardies. I strongly believe that beardies have different ways of showing their emotional pain.
Therefore, I am not saying that these signs are the exact ones. If you notice some of the things included in the list, I suggest that you bring your reptile to a vet.
Nonetheless, I still want to share with you the possible signs of depression in bearded dragons.
1. Bearded dragon is not moving
The first thing I noticed with my beardie when he was suffering from depression was that he was not moving for many days (I guess more than a week). I thought he was in brumation but it was not the time.
Ever since his friend died, he seemed to isolate himself and never roam. I was clueless because I did not think that reptiles have bereavement period too (although I was not sure if it was a bereavement).
I checked the temperature and everything else to make sure that he was getting what he needs. And everything was perfect and functional.
He remained in one location until I brought him to the vet. Only then I learned that he was depressed and it was at a severe stage.
2. Bearded dragon is not eating
Another sign that I observed was the loss of my beardie’s appetite. After the other beardie died, he started to eat less and less and seemed to have little interest in salad and insects. And one day, he did not eat at all.
Again, the loss of appetite in bearded dragons is normal when they are in brumation. But since he was not brumating at that time, it was something else. My biggest fault was that I did not bring my beardie to a vet immediately.
The hardest lesson I learned from this painful experience is that never take for granted any sign of irregularities in beardies’ behavior. It could get worse.
3. Discolored belly
The third thing I noticed was the blackening of my beardie’s belly. Normally, the healthy bearded dragon has a white belly. But mine gradually blackened. I was clueless at that time. I thought it was just the natural color that happens to beardies as they age.
Again, everything was too late for my reptile. The vet quickly gave him the necessary medication but it did not help the reptile to recover.
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Final Thoughts on Do Bearded Dragons Get Depressed
It is difficult to say that reptiles like bearded dragons experience the same emotional problems as humans do. The reason why depression may indeed experience depression is due to the diagnosis of a reptile vet.
But I believe that bearded dragons can get depressed due to several reasons. The case of my beardie mentioned in this post is somewhat due to the loss of his friend.
However, please remember that many things can make your beardie depressed. The most common one is the presence of other bearded dragons.
Beardies are solitary animals. This means that they love to be alone. If you house them together, they will feel uncomfortable and feel stressed.
The second possible cause of depression is location change or simple changes in their environment. Beardies will find it annoying when they are relocated. Such transfer of place could potentially cause them stress which could also develop into depression if not treated immediately.
Normally, it takes weeks before the bearded dragons get accustomed to their new environment.
The third possible cause of depression is improper lighting or temperature in their habitat. Know that beardies need a certain temperature in different parts of their tanks.
For instance, the basking area should be kept at 88-100°F or 31-38°C. This temperature should be monitored throughout the night. This is just an example of caring beardies and keep them healthy.
I hope you get something important from this post. Thank you for reading.
Can bearded dragon feel sadness?
Yes, bearded dragons can feel sadness only in a different way. Unlike other pets, bearded dragons show their emotions differently. Some will like to cuddle up with their owners when they are afraid or stressed.
How do I know if my beardie is happy?
A happy bearded dragon usually is calm and does not try to defend itself. He is relaxed when pet.
Do bearded dragons enjoy human contact?
Yes, bearded dragons enjoy human contact. However, a newly acquired beardie may not find it comfortable with their new owner. But later on, they will become accustomed to it. It just takes time before they feel comfortable with human contact.