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Do Bearded Dragons Eat Their Shed? Should you be Concerned?

Bearded dragons do all kinds of funny things

Some owners come to me and they will ask me a bunch of questions (sometimes rumors) asking if bearded dragons do this or that

One such question was “Do bearded dragons eat their shed?”

In this article, i will completely cover that and other strange behaviors you might see your bearded dragon do

Why do bearded dragons eat their shed?

I’ve caught my bearded dragon doing this a couple of times since I’ve owned him

Its a strange sight because you’re thinking “i give you plenty of food… why are you eating yourself?”

But there are a few reasons why they do this

Nutrients

Bearded dragons will eat their own shed for nutrients

Even though you’re completely covering all their nutrient needs they will still eat their own shed sometimes so don’t worry too much about it

The stuff they do eat will obviously become part of their skin

Because if evolution bearded dragons would be eating their own skin to help cover nutrient needs in case they can’t find more later

Their skin holds a lot of nutrients and its actually very taxing to grow new skin

Bearded dragons will shed often when they’re young and only a few times a year when they’re adults

They need lots of nutrients to do so and they just don;t want it to go to waste!

They do this purely for survival and its just second nature to them so again don’t worry too much

Super Tip

Bearded dragons aren’t the only reptiles that eat their own shed!

Hiding shed from predators

In the wild bearded dragons have a lot to worry about including other animals!

When a bearded dragon needs to hide from another animal that might be lurking nearby they will eat their shed in order to cover their tracks

Do bearded dragons eat their own shed

Hiding from predators is the first thing that bearded dragons are going to do in the wild

They would rather run than fight

There are many different kinds of predators that beardies have to be aware and afraid of

Covering their tracks is important for another reason being they might be close to where they are living

Sometimes bearded dragons will find a nice little hide to stay at

It will be warm and cozy there

They will want to stay there as long as possible and with that predators will eventually notice and sniff out the bearded dragon

Calcium Deficiency

Sometimes your bearded dragon will be deficient in calcium so they will consume their own shed to get more calcium into their bodies

Calcium supplement affiliate link here

Calcium is important to keep really high

Do bearded dragons eat their shed?

If a bearded dragons calcium supply is low for a long period of time it can actually develop metabolic bone disease

Calcium is crucial for the health of a bearded dragon and it needs to be kept up high with proper diet

That also means avoiding certain foods as well

If a bearded dragon has too much fruit for example it can also develop metabolic bone disease

If you’re at all worried about your bearded dragon having a calcium deficiency you should take them to the vet and see about getting their blood work done

They can tell you really quickly how healthy your bearded dragon is

Keeping calcium high is easy with caclium supplements and a good diet full of nutrients

Greens are your bearded dragons best friend for calcium and other minerals it will need

Bearded dragon diet 
can bearded dragons eat their own shed

When thinking of calcium you must also think about phosphorus

You actually want to have a low amount of phosphorus in your bearded dragon’s diet and a high amount of calcium

Phosphorus stops the absorption of calcium into the bones

Can Something bad happen if my bearded dragon eats its own shed/skin?

Nothing bad will happen

The thing you have to worry about the most is really the idea that your bearded dragon is low on calcium

Bearded dragons have been doing this for years and they will continue to do it

They’ve been hiding from predators for years and they’ve needed extra calcium for years

If they’re getting enough calcium they will most likely never need to eat their shed

Bearded dragons that are in captivity have much less to worry about compared to bearded dragons in the wild

You should almost think of bearded dragons eating their shed or skin as a last-ditch effort to get some nutrients

one thing you do have to consider is how clean your tank is

The one thing about bearded dragons eating their own shed is they are literally consuming whatever they’re touching

If you have a dirty tank they will eat that

Now to be honest they still do this in the wild so it can’t be that bad

However, you need to understand that the humidity level is going to be higher than normal so they will be around much more bacteria

Cleaning the tank monthly is a must

Bacteria buildup happens quite fast so its good to stay on top of it

Depending on the substrate as well you will be able to keep your bearded dragons tank much cleaner

my favorite substrate is ceramic tile and reptile carpet

They both are easy to clean and take very little effort to maintain

Its a lot harder to keep a tank clean when you have loose substrates like sand, gravel, wood chips, and things like that

Cleaning sand… yeah… just don’t go down that road

Loose substrate actually can be harmful to your bearded dragon if they ingest it

Bearded dragons aren’t supposed to have things like sand, gravel, and wood chips in their diet

They can actually suffer from impaction which if left untreated can be fatal to your beardie

If you keep everything clean you have nothing to worry about

A bearded dragon eating its own shed isn’t something you need to be worried about if you keep the tank clean

Do All bearded dragons eat their shed?

They will if they feel the need to eat their own shed

Most of the time they’re just eating it to cover their tracks or for nutrients

bearded dragons are hard wired to survive like all other reptiles so they will do whatever it takes to survive for as long as possible

Just remember its not really a bad thing for them to eat their own shed

What to do if i see my bearded dragon eating their own skin?

Nothing

it’s not really a big deal, to be honest. Just make sure they have enough calcium in their diet

What i do for this is for every other meal i make sure to coat their food with calcium powder

This will help them absorb enough calcium into their diet without having to worry

Summary

Bearded dragons are strange creatures in a good way

They have some strange behaviors that throw new owners for a loop like Glass surfing

All you need to do is be patient with them so you can bond with them

Some new owners get frustrated quickly and don’t know how to respond properly

Like any new animal it will take time to get to know them and for them to get to know you