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Reptiles/Central Bearded Dragon behaviour


QUESTION: I have a central bearded dragon, I got him about 3 weeks ago and he is about 3 months old. He is really placid to handle and enjoys being held and walked around the house. We took him away with us on the weekend (was hot) and he was fine, I still handled
him. He is eating and everything is normal except last night I went to get him out of his enclosure and he hissed at me, I left him for the night to settle and went to get him out this morning and he did the same thing but also went to bite me. I put gloves
on and picked him up and he just relaxed. This is really weird as he is usually really placid and lazy in the mornings and at night. I just don't know what to do.

ANSWER: Hello Jessica,

How is the weather out there in Victoria?  
Do you have any pictures of your central dragon?  

That is very odd he recently started hissing at you & trying to bite.  How are you picking him up, from over head or scooping him up from underneath?
Could he have hurt himself in any way & just be irritable?
What type of lighting are you using & what are the temperatures?  

When he tries to bite, try getting some greens or a piece of fruit & place in his mouth to see if he will stop trying to bite.  Maybe he will associate your hand with something good, like a treat, etc.

If you stop picking him up though, then he will think that he scared you off.  Keep trying & at night, try wrapping him up in a blanket & place him on your chest to let him go to sleep.  That should help him relax also.

Let me know how that goes.


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QUESTION: Thank you for your reply Tracie. He seems to be ok now he hasn't tried again. I pick him up underneath. I think I might of startled him? I'm not sure. I have a uv light in his tank which runs along the back and also a red heat lamp which is over as rock. It's quite hot today I think the thermostat is set just below 30 degrees because it's heating up quick.

Thank you for the advice. I had him sleeping on my chest last night while I was reading in bed and he happily went to sleep. I had him out again this morning and he seemed to be fine.

So I'm not sure if he might of just been grumpy or something. He has been eating his greens, pallets and I fed him crickets yesterday and he chased them so he seems to be ok with all that.


ANSWER: Hello Jess!

He is so cute.  
I think you may have just scared him perhaps since his behavior was just out of the blue type of response for him.  
Which brand of tube UVB do you use, Arcadia D3 12%?  I know it is a little limited in what you can get in Australia.  
I recommend getting a bright white light mounted directly beside the UVB instead of a red bulb as colored lights are not quite bright enough to protect eyes with UVB use.  
That is great he loved going to sleep in a blankie on your chest.  Normally they love that.  
He is eating his greens also?  Wonderful.  The younger ones are a little harder to get started with on the greens.  What type of greens does he eat?
It sounds like he loves his crickets, too.  Let me know how he does today also.  Hopefully that was just a one time occurrence.   Do you use black or field type of crickets?


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QUESTION: Hi Tracie :)

Umm I'm not entirely sure as it came with the enclosure and is still working really well. I will look into getting a white one  as I have already been told this but I can't afford it at the moment.

Yeah he is eating small amounts of his greens sometimes I hand feed them to him he goes on and off them. I've been giving him lettuce, baby spinach and he also eats butternut pumpkin and carrot.

I think the crickets are field type, I went to get some today I have to go to the next town over as the one I live in doesn't stock live food. They where out of crickets so I had to get woodies so hopefully he will eat them. He like his pellets to.

He seems to be going alright he enjoyed sitting on my shoulder yesterday morning as I walked around the house. I've been giving him warm baths which he seems to enjoy as well.

Thank you so much for your replies :)


Hello Jess,

That is cool he will take greens from you.  Most do tend to like the butternut squash.  If you can find mustard or collard greens those are great also!
The field crickets are great but the woodies should be fine also.  Has he ever had woodies before?  

That is great he likes his baths, too.  
You should check on the tube bulb at the base to see the brand.  There are so many bad brands that don't emit much UVB though which was why I was inquiring.  
I am sure it is hard to find white basking lights there in Australia.  Have they banned regular light bulbs there?  



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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