Bearded dragon shedding is a completely normal and natural process. There is no need to be alarmed.
Bearded Dragon Shedding?
Shedding which is also known as molting, peeling or sloughing is a natural process in all reptiles where lizards including bearded dragons cast off their old skin.
Scientific Definition of Shedding
Scientifically known as ecdysis, shedding is a complex process where a brand new epidermis (Outer Skin) is replicated underneath the old one. When the outer skin (New Skin) is ready, the bearded dragon starts releasing enzymes that help in separating the old skin from the new one. Unlike the snakes that leaves a complete cast behind, bearded dragons cast off their skin in various pieces.
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Shed Their Skin?
Shedding is linked to hormonal changes, and it varies for each dragon. The frequency of shedding is higher in baby bearded dragons that are less than a year old as compared to adult dragons. This is because baby dragons grow very quickly. Baby dragons may cast off their skin several times in their first year. They will usually shed their skins every 6-8 weeks until they are over a year old. As they reach adulthood, where their body growth slows down, the frequency of shedding skin also slows down.
In adult bearded dragons, the shedding may be triggered due to certain conditions and behaviour, e.g., Diet, Lighting, Brumation, Stress, Age, Breeding, Humidity, and Temperature. Sometimes, adult bearded dragons shed their skins a few times in a year, but most often they will shed their skin in various pieces.
Bearded Dragons Behavior During Shedding Process
If your bearded dragon behaves strangely than usual during the shedding process, Don’t be alarmed this is totally normal.
Because of the shedding, the bearded dragon may seem aggressive towards any attempt to touch or pick them up. This is completely normal, its best to give them plenty of space and let him to it. This behavior can last from 2 to a couple of weeks.
Your bearded dragon may also start eating his dead skin, don’t worry as long as it is clean. The dead old skin is full different nutrients mainly calcium. This kind of behavior can be a sign that your beardie is not getting enough nutrients in his/her diet.
Eating their old dead skin could also be a trait from the wild where they remove traces of their scent as a way of avoiding predators.
How Can I Help My Beardie During the Shedding?
Firstly, do not pick at the skin, you’re not helping them. In fact, you could be damaging the new skin underneath.
During the bearded dragon shedding process, bearded dragons prefer more humid areas that is why they may tend to avoid the warmer end of the tank. You can put a large water pot in their tank which is easy for them to hop in. Or if your beardie is easy to handle, you can fetch him out of the tank and bath him.
Alternatively, you can also mist the dragon/tank to aid the shedding, but be careful not to over-mist the tank because high humidity can also cause reparative issues.
How Long Does It Take for Bearded Dragons to Completely Shed Their Skin?
Normally, a full body skin shed will take somewhere from 2 to 3 weeks for adult bearded dragons. But it can happen a lot quicker in baby bearded dragons.
Partial shedding will happen much quicker as compared to full body shedding. Typically, a partial shedding will take only a week to complete, but sometimes it can also take a little over one week.
Do Bearded Dragons Eat Less During the Shedding Process?
Bearded dragons often lose their appetite while going through a full body shed. It can even stop eating altogether, but this is very rare. It really depends on the dragon. It can be different for different dragons.
If your beardie is having a partial body shed and has stopped eating, then this could be due to other factors.
Why Isn’t My Bearded Dragon Shedding Anymore?
When bearded dragons reach their full body size, they will do less frequent full-body sheds because their hormones changes and their body growth declines. You need to closely inspect your beardie because they may shed their odd body parts now and then without you knowing.
If you think your beardie has stopped shedding then this might be a health issue related to diet, habitat, humidity or temperature.
If your bearded dragon is less than a year old and hasn’t shed for more than eight weeks, then this is a bigger cause for concern and is a sign of serious health problems.