Are Bearded Dragons Poisonous or Venomous?

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Poison is one of the most common defense mechanisms found in small amphibians or reptiles. Usually, reptiles are not the best examples of poisonous species, especially when compared to amphibians like the poison dart frog that predatory animals actively avoid in the wild. Reptiles such as bearded dragons utilize a different kind of toxin and delivery, making them more venomous than poisonous.

Bearded dragons are not poisonous; they are instead venomous. There are eight species of beardies, each with a pair of venom glands rooted in the upper jaw. Except for the pogona barbata (eastern bearded dragon) which has two pairs in both the upper and lower jaw. Although the exact utilization of the venom glands is not finalized, the venom itself is administered via saliva unlike the fang method used by other reptiles.

In this article, I’ll discuss the nature of bearded dragons, their venom, and just how disastrous it is to their prey. Let’s get into it.

What Is The Difference Between Venom And Poison?

When an animal is considered poisonous, it is fully saturated with enough toxins to cause damage to any living organism that consumes it or comes into physical contact with it. On the other hand, a venomous organism can be consumed without detrimental consequences but can inject poison (venom) into other organisms as a form of defense.

Take for instance the puffer fish; upon contact with this animal, the predator’s neural pathways immediately become unable to transfer signals and are paralyzed. Venomous animals like the bearded dragon and the black mamba snake have glands that produce venom to administer the toxin when they attack their opponent or prey. Still, it does not cause damage when they are eaten by other animals.

If birds and wild cats feed on bearded dragons without risking their lives, it shows that they are not poisonous at all.

are bearded dragons venomous

Are Bearded Dragons Venomous? Much Deeper Analysis

Bearded dragons have haemotoxic venom that may damage the muscular, circulatory, and nervous systems once delivered. This instantly destabilizes the cells in or around the bitten area.

If a bearded dragon bites you, the consequence will be much milder because of the concentration and intensity of the venom relative to your body size. Instead, you’ll feel an uncomfortable stinging that will fade away in a day or two. On the other hand, regular prey like bugs or other small animals of similar size could immediately become paralyzed from getting bitten.

4 Things To Do When Your Venomous Bearded Dragon Bites You

If you have been bitten by your beardie, there’s no need to panic. Below are four steps to soften or help the situation:

1. Separate Your Beardie From The Lock Of Pain

When bearded dragons bite, they hold onto their prey for roughly thirty seconds before letting go. If you have just been bitten by your beardie, safely detach the dragon from its grip to prevent further injuries. Gently press down on the sides of the dragon’s mouth to open its jaws and release its grip on you.

Remember to remain calm; bearded dragons are docile but can be vigorous with their prey or opponent. If you try to pull your hand out of its grip forcefully, you may trigger the beardie to shake, twist, or turn, inflicting further wounds on your skin.

2. Massage The Bitten Area With Ice

Ice helps reduce the swelling and pain caused by the venom in your beardie’s saliva. If your bearded dragon leaves puncture marks after a bite, apply ice to the bitten area to relieve the stinging. Usually, it doesn’t get worse than a few scratches and tiny puncture marks when beardies bite. This is because, to begin with, your pet lacks actual teeth. So relax, it’s no big deal.

3. Visit A Doctor If Infected

It’s highly unlikely, but if the bite area becomes infected, see your doctor immediately before it escalates. At the doctor’s, you’d be given painkillers and antibiotics to manage the infection efficiently.

4. Earn Your Beardie’s Trust

Your bearded dragon should not be biting you out of the blue for no reason. If it shows this level of aggression, it means that it is defending itself and feels threatened by the situation you may have put it in. To win your beardie’s trust, you need to be patient and calm. Give your pet space and time to fully acclimate to you so that it doesn’t lash out and bite you when it feels threatened.

reasons why bearded dragon bites

Why Does My Bearded Dragon Bite Me?

Beardies are pretty calm creatures, so if they are lashing out and biting you at every chance, there is surely something wrong. It could be due to improper temperature, humidity, and UVB light, or you may have pets running around frightening your beardie and causing it to be on edge. Perhaps you are roughly picking it up instead of handling it with care. Any of these issues may cause your pet to bite you out of frustration and exhaustion.

Do Bearded Dragon Bites Hurt?

Beardie bites do hurt but not much. All you’re getting from the action is a pretty strong pinch that should heal within the next two days. The pain can be described as a sharp and fading sensation that could cause itchiness as it heals. The bearded dragon’s venom plays a major part in causing the injury to swell and look more serious than it is.

The Conclusion

It’s a common misconception that bearded dragons do not have venom and only have thick saliva to help them capture prey properly. However, this is false; they do have venom and although their venom is not destructive, it’s still effective in taking down small prey and teaching pesky hands good lessons. It helps keep them safe from danger and aids in hunting for food effectively. Way to go, beardies!

Photo of author


EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Reptiles, renowned for his dedication to bearded dragons. As a passionate reptile enthusiast, Medi has developed a solid background in caring for these lovely creatures. He gained extensive knowledge about their diet, behavior, and how to create environments that mimic their natural habitat

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