Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him: Water, Eat, Diet, and More

Bearded dragons (Pogona) are a genus of reptiles that includes eight lizard species. Their name refers to their shiny scaled coat, which includes a ‘beard’ of spikes under their chin that expands depending on their mood. An animal’s habitat is the environment in which it prefers to live. For instance, do they prefer warm or cold environments? What about places that are damp or dry? A polar bear and a camel could not coexist in the same environment. Similarly, the bearded dragon requires a specific environment in order to survive and thrive. Bearded dragons live in warm, dry environments. So, you can see them across most parts of Australia. Deserts, subtropical woodlands, savannas, and shrublands are examples. Because their blood is cold, they require a warm environment to survive. In this article, we are talking about ‘Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him’ topic.

Bearded dragons seek warmth from the sun and burrow underground to avoid extreme heat and predators. Despite their natural habitat of vast outdoor spaces, bearded dragons can be kept as pets as long as their enclosure is low in humidity and has the proper type of light. The lizard’s well-known beard is essential for communication with other animals. If you’ve a bearded dragon as a pet, here’s some information on how to create a safe bearded dragon habitat. It is critical to understand the bearded dragon’s preferred environment as well as what they prefer to eat. Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him anymore? While it varies from dragon to dragon, it is usually due to a lack of trust in the relationship. So, keep reading to know more about it.

Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him: How can i do it

  • Wash your hands first. Washing your hands before handling a bearded dragon reduces the possibility of passing germs or illnesses to the dragon. You should also consider wearing gloves, which will protect your hands from the dragon’s rough skin.
  • Slowly approach the lizard until you can touch it. It is critical that your actions around the beardie are deliberate and calm. If the beardie is stressed, it will be difficult to hold. If the bearded dragon is in a cage or enclosure, slowly reach in, but do not reach from above; bearded dragons have sensory nerves on top of their heads that will interpret your reach as an attack. Please do not disturb the bearded dragon while it is eating. Backing a beardie into a corner will make it feel threatened. If you poke the lizard with your finger, it may mistake it for a worm and chomp.
  • Gently stroke the bearded dragon. This will allow the dragon to become accustomed to and comfortable with your hand. The bearded dragon is calm enough to pick up after blinking or closing its eyes. A beardie’s chin turns black when he is angry or stressed, and if he is extremely angry, his chin turns black and puffs up. If you see this, back off because the beardie is not in the right frame of mind to be picked up. Again, don’t approach your bearded dragon from above, as holding your hand above their head or eyes will set off their predatory instincts.

Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him and drink water

Bearded dragons open their mouths, raise their chins, and puff out their beards to appear larger when threatened. They sometimes combine this move with a hiss to appear even more frightening. Bearded dragons make wonderful pets, but they can be difficult to drink from. That’s because they don’t usually associate standing water with being able to quench their thirst. They can, however, learn to drink from water bowls if you demonstrate that the water is drinkable. In the cage, place a water bowl. A water bowl can be purchased from a pet store or made at home. Bearded dragons enjoy taking baths in their water bowls, so make sure it’s big enough for that. The sides of the water bowl should be low enough for the bearded dragon to enter and exit the water dish.

If you’re making your own bowl, a plastic container from a frozen dinner is the perfect size. Pour the juice into the bowl. Once the bowl is full of water, add something that will entice the dragon to drink from it. Natural fruit juices, such as apple or pear juice, are excellent choices. Just enough juice to flavour and flavour the water. Ensure that the juice is 100% juice with no added sugars or artificial ingredients. If the dragon doesn’t seem to like your first choice, you can try different juices. Repeat this procedure until your dragon drinks. The sweet smell of the juice should attract the dragon to the water bowl. If it doesn’t, try adding a little more juice to boost the smell.

More Details

Replace the water and juice on a regular basis, as dragons may defecate in the water even if they haven’t drunk from it. If the dragon hasn’t drank from the water dish after cleaning it, replace it with a juice and water mixture. You should use water instead of juice and water mixture. When the dragon realises that it can quench its thirst with the bowl, it will know where to go when it is thirsty. You can now only fill the bowl with water from now on.

Keep an eye on your dragon to ensure it is indeed drinking. Bearded dragons do not require a lot of water, so it may be difficult to catch them drinking. A bearded dragon’s water dish must be cleaned daily because they frequently defecate in their bowls.

Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him and poop

Amount of Food

One of the main reasons a bearded dragon may skip a poop or two could be due to the amount of food they consume. A baby bearded dragon should eat at least 3-5 times per day to ensure proper growth. A juvenile’s needs are slightly lower, so they eat twice a day. When your dragon reaches adulthood, you’ll notice that it only eats once a day. If your bearded dragon isn’t eating as much as it should for its age, it could be due to stress. Because of the stress and lack of food, your dragon may miss necessary bowel movements. The temperature in their tank, humidity, and even the size of the tank itself can all cause stress for your dragon and cause them to avoid feedings.


Overeating can have the same effect on your bearded dragon as a lack of food. It is your responsibility as the owner to ensure that your dragon consumes a well-balanced diet. If you don’t, they may experience constipation, vomiting, and, in some cases, paralysis. An overabundance of insects and worms is frequently the root cause of an overweight bearded dragon. To ensure your pet gets the best of both worlds, introduce them to greens and salad options at a young age.

Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him Solution

Proper diet, including the right size bugs, good hydration, and activity all contribute to your bearded dragon pooping schedule. Unfortunately, constipation and impaction will occur from time to time. A nice, warm bath is one of the best ways to help your dragon defecate when they are having problems. The key to using baths is to prevent your dragon from becoming accustomed to them. If they do, your dragon may decide to hold its bowels in the hopes of receiving that bath. Then, if the bath does not help, a few drops of olive or sunflower oil may. If not, purees like apple, pumpkin, and banana may be what your dragon needs to poop again. If you’ve tried everything and still haven’t succeeded, it’s time to take your scaly friend to the vet.

Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him and open his eyes

The physical condition of your bearded dragon is an important part of keeping your lizard healthy. Many illnesses have physical manifestations, and recognising these manifestations early on will aid in the proper diagnosis and treatment of your beardie. The most common illnesses and injuries involve the tail or the head, and problems in these areas are more visible. So, what exactly does it mean when your bearded dragon refuses to open its eyes?

Read Also: Should I turn my geckos heat lamp off at night

Dehydration, corneal damage, bright lighting, illness, and vitamin deficiency are the most common causes of a bearded dragon’s inability to open its eyes. These causes, fortunately, are easily treated and preventable with a proper diet, a clean environment, and regular vet visits. It is not uncommon for reptiles to have vision issues. It is critical to seek veterinary care if you notice any problems with your bearded dragon’s eyes in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. While most eye problems are not inherently dangerous to your beardie, they may be symptoms of other, more serious health problems. This section will look at the most common reasons for a bearded dragon’s eyes not opening. These are some of the causes:

  • The lighting in the enclosure is too bright.
  • Metabolic bone disease, upper respiratory infections, stuck shed, or mite infestation are all examples of illnesses.
  • Vitamin deficiency, particularly vitamin A deficiency.


It is a common cause of a bearded dragon not opening its eyes, which is a problem because beardies do not drink water from a bowl. Bearded dragons in the wild learn to recognise moving water from creeks or rivers, so they lose interest in still water in captivity. Lethargy, constipation, and sticky saliva are also symptoms of dehydration.

Sharp Objects

Sharp objects in a bearded dragon’s enclosure or aggressive behaviour from another beardie can cause damage to its eyes. A loose substrate, particularly if it contains sand, is another cause of corneal damage. These tiny sand particles can easily get into your lizard’s eyes and prevent it from opening them. Bite wounds from another beardie or a stray cricket can cause eye injury, infection, or swelling, preventing your lizard from opening its eyes. There are reptile drops that can help dislodge particles from your beardie’s eyes, but you must be extremely cautious not to cause further harm. Tap water should never be used to rinse your lizard’s eyes because it is not sterile and may cause an eye infection.

Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him and not growing

Age Length in inches
0-1 month 3″ – 4″ inches
2 months 5″ – 9″ inches
3 months 8″ – 11″ inches
4 months 9″ – 12″ inches
5 months 11″ – 16″ inches
6 months 11″ – 18″ inches
8 months 13″ – 20″ inches
12 months 16″ – 22″ inches

We’ll go over the main reasons your bearded dragon might be small in this section.

Lack Of UV Lighting

Bearded dragons originated in the Australian desert and have evolved to require UV rays from the sun. Bearded dragons will not grow properly if they do not receive what they require. UVB from the sun (or special bulbs in captivity) aids the bearded dragon’s absorption of nutrients from this food. Its growth may be slowed if these nutrients are not available. A dedicated and specialised UVB light should be used for bearded dragons. This light should be turned on for 12 hours per day. Turn off the light at night and in the morning. If this is too difficult to remember, invest in a switch timer.


In nature, a bearded dragon will not grow if it does not get enough food. This state of malnutrition is detrimental to their growth for a variety of reasons. Younger bearded dragons should be fed frequently, up to 3-5 times per day, whereas adult bearded dragons should be fed five days per week. If the cause is malnourishment, your pet will refuse to eat and will appear skinny or bony.

Cage Size

Bearded dragons are energetic reptiles. They require a lot of room to move and grow. A bearded dragon, like a goldfish, will grow to fit the size of the aquarium and will not outgrow it. Its growth rate will naturally slow. While a 5′′ lizard may appear small in a 50-gallon tank, a fully grown one will easily fill it. It’s up to you to decide what size you want, but you’ll need at least a 50-gallon tank. A 75 or 100 gallon tank may be preferable for larger beardies.

Poor Diet Plan

Bearded dragons’ dietary requirements vary depending on their age. Younger children require more protein, while older children require more greens. In addition, they require calcium. It is common for beardies to become calcium deficient in captivity. This calcium is also necessary for bearded dragons to grow and reach their full size. With feeding, and especially with smaller feeder insects like crickets, younger bearded dragons will not have a lot of natural calcium.

Low Temperature

The Australian desert is scorching, and bearded dragons thrive there. Beardies, as cold-blooded desert creatures, require high temperatures for a variety of reasons. The higher temperatures assist them in storing energy. It can even aid digestion. However, you may be unaware that heat aids in growth. If the temperature is too low, your bearded dragon will be unable to grow to full size. Check the temperature and maintain it at 110° Fahrenheit (43° C) for babies and 105° Fahrenheit (41° C) for adults in the basking spot.

Bearded Dragon Varieties

Another reason your bearded dragon is small could be that it belongs to a different species or type. You wouldn’t have gotten one of the lesser-known species if you bought your pet from a breeder or pet store, but a different morph is always possible. Morph is a term used to describe a specialised type of species. Selective breeding is used to achieve this typing.

Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him and move his back leg

Impaction is one of the most common causes of death in bearded dragons. In the event of a major impaction, the animal will be immobile, with one or both back legs appearing paralysed. If the impaction is located further down the digestive tract, the front legs may become paralysed as well. A lower impaction that only affects the back legs can spread until it affects the front legs as well. A bearded dragon’s digestive tract is blocked by a solid or semi-solid mass when impaction occurs.

Why won’t my bearded dragon let me hold him Impaction Causes

Surprisingly, some of the things that can contribute to this serious condition may not appear dangerous, but they can be lethal to a bearded dragon’s delicate digestive tract:


If a bearded dragon consumes food that is too large to pass through their digestive tract, it will become stuck and act as a roadblock for anything behind it. The best way to avoid this is to feed items that are no larger than the space between the bearded dragon’s eyes. Some foods may not be too large for the digestive tract, but they may be difficult to digest, such as:

big crickets, Mealworms, Superworms.

Bad Temperatures

Bearded Dragons require a specific temperature in their living environment in order to thrive and be healthy. Remember that the surface on which a bearded dragon basks (after eating) should be kept between 100 and 115 degrees in order for them to digest their food properly. An impaction can occur if a bearded dragon is fed a difficult-to-digest food and is not provided with the proper temperatures to digest that food.

Bearded Dragons will eat anything they come across in their cage. Many substrates can be hazardous. Certain materials have been reported to cause impaction. Calci-Sand, any type of pellet, and several dried plant-based substrates are among the materials known to pose a high risk. Many companies that make materials used as reptile cage substrates claim that their products are completely digestible. However, before putting your trust in a substrate, do some research to see what results other experienced reptile owners have had with these products, as they have used them firsthand.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get my bearded dragon to let me pick him up?

You can begin to pick up and handle the baby once it is comfortable with your petting. Place your hand slowly around its midsection, lightly grasping the baby bearded dragon. Begin slowly lifting the bearded dragon from its habitat once you have a firm but gentle grip on it.

Do some bearded dragons not like to be held?

A black beard can be restored to buttery yellow in 15 minutes of carrying her around on my shoulder. However, I know other beardies who despise attention or are completely uninterested in it. Some beardies adore it, while others despise it. A tame beardie tolerates handling and frequently seeks it out.

How long does it take to form a relationship with a bearded dragon?

According to many new owner reports, it can take up to three or four months for the bearded dragon to settle in. With time, the beardie will come to trust you and enjoy your petting. They can be alone for several days or even weeks. Every day, we recommend paying close attention.

What not to do with bearded dragons?

Don’t keep your bearded dragon out of its habitat for an extended period of time. Even if they like you, they may not enjoy being handled. It’s important to remember that people aren’t just picking them up in the wild. They may not be upset, but they would most likely prefer to return to their natural habitat.

How can you tell if your bearded dragon dislikes you?

When your Bearded Dragon shows no signs of aggression and only affection, you can be certain that it is happy and likes you. Beardies have a tendency to project their emotions, so an angry dragon will bite, bobble their head, puff out their beard, and hiss at you.

How can I make my bearded dragon like me?

  • Have some patience. You can’t expect your Bearded Dragon to enjoy your company right away, and while this does happen occasionally, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t.
  • Maintain consistency.
  • Slow down and be gentle.
  • Don’t be scared.
  • Give them a perfect diet.
  • Try hand feeding.