Bearded Dragon Care

Bearded Dragon Shedding Behavior: Complete List + How to Help

Bearded dragons have a lot of intriguing behaviors, one of which is when they rub their faces against yours. But what exactly are they doing?

When a bearded dragon is rubbing its face on you, that means it is starting to shed its skin. It is normal behavior that occurs primarily during the first 6 months of their lives. While they are developing, they shed for growth and also to replace any damaged skin.

The rest of this article will cover if the rubbing is normal behavior, what it means in detail, and if you should let it rub its face on yours.

Rubbing Is Normal Behavior

Rubbing is perfectly normal behavior from a bearded dragon. This is a primary sign that it is shedding its skin. Shedding is normal and happens naturally, so you do not need to worry about taking it to the vet. In fact, people talk about this behavior in forums all the time.

However, if the dragon rubs enough that its skin starts to turn red and raw, take it to the vet right away. This could cause infections and become very uncomfortable for your pet. To look out for this, make sure to keep an eye on what color the dragon’s skin is at all times.

What Rubbing Means

As mentioned before, when a bearded dragon is rubbing its face on yours, that means it’s shedding. This means it’s going to grow, and it will also replace any damaged skin. Shedding is imperative to a bearded dragon’s growth cycle, so you should monitor the process closely.

Your pet will rub itself against you and other surfaces to ease the shedding. However, you can also do a few things to help. For starters, you can buy a cheap shedding aid from your local pet store. This aid will help remove any dry skin present on your little critter.

Another thing you can do is give your pet a bath. Make sure the water is warm but not hot. To further aid the shedding, you can get a toothbrush and softly rub the skin to help make your bearded dragon more comfortable.

If your pet is having a difficult time removing the skin and those options don’t work, try cotton balls. Get a few cotton balls and make them warm, not hot, and slowly rub it on the skin. You can learn more about a bearded dragon’s shedding behavior here.

Why You Shouldn’t Let It Rub Your Face

As cute as your dragon may look while rubbing your face, you shouldn’t actually let it rub you. Letting it rub other surfaces is okay, but rubbing you may be dangerous. 

For starters, their claws are sharp. If they’re on your face, they may accidentally cut your skin or worse: permanently damage your eyes. Make sure their claws are not near your face to avoid injury.

Another reason is your bearded dragon may be carrying an illness such as salmonella, and mouth contact with your pet can spread it. Since they’re rubbing on your face, this makes the infection rate high. It’s not worth the risk, so let them rub on another surface instead.

Although it’s sweet behavior, if you want to be on the safe side it’s best not to let them rub their face on you.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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