All living creatures shed whether that is scale, exoskeleton or the outer layer of skin, including human beings although our process is far more subtle and usually goes unnoticed. Reptiles, however, are far more noticeable when they shed their outer scales, scientifically this is called ecdysis, usually referred to as shedding. Reptiles shed throughout their lives and breaded dragons are no strangers to this process, shedding due to growth or damaged skin.
There is no set shedding schedule for bearded dragons, though younger bearded dragons will shed more often than adults due to them growing at a rapid rate. It is best to expect your growing bearded dragon will shed every few weeks until they are grown and once grown it is usually every few months. Although adult bearded dragons can experience a full body shed, they tend to shed more in patches. If your bearded dragon is healthy and has no problems whilst shedding, there is nothing to worry about during the shedding process.
Your bearded dragon may lose its appetite before a shed, this can also happen during the shedding process, so can highlight that a shed is about to begin but continue to offer them food. It is possible they will become lethargic, hide away and can become dull in colour or a pale/white shade pre-shed. It is worth making sure to check your pet, if they are exhibiting these signs and not shedding, then it may be time to take them for a vet check-up. If it is shedding, your bearded dragon may become irritable during this time, so it may be best to let them get on with it.
DON’T pull or tug at a piece of shed, even if it is dangling, there is sensitive skin underneath and can be painful and damaging to your bearded dragon.
Shed can become stuck and this can be dangerous for your bearded dragon. Incomplete sheds can cause restrictions to their blood flow, creating small infections that can cause bigger problems and, in extreme cases, when left untreated even death.
DO help them by misting your bearded dragon frequently or you can give them a soak in a warm bath to help them with the shedding process – gently rub the area when the skin has softened but be mindful not to tug or pull.
DO make sure you have a good setup that can help them to dislodge or loosen any shedding. Branches, logs, slate and rocks can all be helpful in this area. Make sure your UVB, heat and light gradient is all setup and working correctly as well.
You can buy shedding aids if you believe your pet is struggling with the shedding process, though most of the time misting and bathing is sufficient to help the shedding.