Due to the positioning of their eyes, bearded dragons have horrible depth perception. This ocular issue can cause your bearded dragon to misread situations and fall off of a high platform. That said, this information begs the following question.
Can bearded dragons survive a fall? Yes. Depending on the distance in which they fell from, bearded dragons can survive a fall from certain heights.
As a responsible pet owner, you should take every possible precaution to ensure the safety and security of your pet. That being said, accidents do happen.
What to Do If Your Bearded Dragon Falls
If your bearded dragon happens to fall, there are several things you need to do to ensure he/she is safe and not injured.
The first and most important step to take is to remain calm. If your beardie falls and you begin to lose control, it will only cause your bearded dragon more stress. This stress can lead to irrational behavior and possibly cause your bearded dragon to attack you due to stress. It is important to remain calm to ensure you can react properly.
The natural habitat of bearded dragons often consists of large rocks, hills, boulders, and other objects that they could fall from. Because of this, bearded dragons are a lot more resilient than one would imagine.
For such a small creature, bearded dragons can endure a lot. In the wild, bearded dragons do not have a caretaker such as yourself to look after them. That being said, if your bearded dragon happens to take a tumble, it is important to assess the situation. Take into consideration how far your bearded dragon fell and what, if anything, they collided with.
If your bearded dragon only fell from a few inches, for example from your hand to a table top, there is no need to panic. This distance is not nearly enough to hurt your pet. They may appear to be a bit stunned or shocked, however that disorientation should be very brief.
There is no set distance a bearded dragon can withstand falling from, however generally speaking, any fall from an excess of 1 foot or more could be cause for concern.
Some bearded dragons are prone to Metabolic Bone Disease, which can cause even mild fractures to become much more dangerous. This disease is caused by low levels of Calcium and Vitamin D. If your bearded dragon happens to suffer from this disease, it is imperative that you take any fall or injury very seriously.
Some symptoms of Metabolic Bone Disease include: muscle twitching, deformities of the jaw, spine, limbs, or tail, swollen legs, and fragile bones. This disease is common among bearded dragons so if you suspect your beardie may have this illness, please consult a professional.
How to Tell If Your Bearded Dragon Is Hurt
Sometimes, if your bearded dragon’s injury goes unchecked or unnoticed, their injuries can lead to severe illnesses such as pneumonia, and even death. Because of this, it is imperative you know how to tell if your beardie is injured.
Oftentimes, the most obvious injury to identify after your bearded dragon has taken a tumble is a broken limb. If your bearded dragon has broken or fractured a limb, they will likely be reluctant to use it or have some kind of limp. You may also be able to see some swelling located near the suspected fracture. Tail fractures can be identified similarly.
There are some more serious and sometimes deadly injuries that are not as easy to identify. Sometimes after falling from a significant height, bearded dragons can suffer from internal bleeding or organ ruptures. These injuries may take some time to develop, however, they can be identified by swelling of the abdomen, refusal to eat or drink, difficulty breathing, and bleeding from the mouth.
These injuries can be life threatening and if you suspect your dragon has fractured a limb or has some kind of internal bleeding, please seek help from an exotic wildlife professional.
If your bearded dragon does fall from a dangerous height and does not seem to immediately exhibit any symptoms, be sure to monitor their actions for several hours to ensure that no symptoms end up developing. Long-term effects from untreated injuries can be: anorexia, dehydration, and sudden death.
How to Prevent Your Bearded Dragon From Falling
The first and most important way to prevent your bearded dragon from falling is to ensure you are handling him/her properly. There are many do’s and don’ts to handling bearded dragons. While each beardie will have their preference, there are a few key points that are essential to holding any bearded dragon.
If your bearded dragon is a full grown adult, be sure to pick him/her up with two hands and move slowly. Any fast movements may startle your beardie. It is important to make sure their belly is supported at all times and their tail is able to rest comfortably on something. This is a comfortable position for an adult bearded dragon.
Baby bearded dragons are handled similarly, except in addition to supporting their belly, you also need to make sure their chin and head are supported. Because they are smaller, it is possible to handle baby bearded dragons with only one hand, however it is not something I would recommend.
Because they are younger, they are more likely to act sporadically and handing them with two hands can help you gauge their actions a bit better and prevent them from taking a tumble off of your hand.
For both adult and baby bearded dragons, be sure not to hold onto their tail or limbs, do not grab them suddenly, and never apply excess pressure. It is also important to support your beardie’s back end. If their tail or back end is not supported, they can begin to throw their tail in a circle and will be very uncomfortable.
Any of these actions can lead to your bearded dragon feeling threatened and thus will increase the likelihood of them jumping away from you and injuring themselves. Other indications on discomfort include: head bobbing, gaping mouth, black beard, flattened body, and inflated beard.
Bearded dragons are known to move unexpectedly and be very unpredictable, because of this, be sure to remain vigilant when handling your bearded dragon. Make sure to alway have an eye on your bearded dragon, and again, do not make any sudden movements.
A bearded dragon shows its anger by making his chin black and puffy, If your bearded dragon begins to exhibit these signs, be sure to put him/her on a steady, low surface to prevent any injury, and try to calm him/her down.
There are many ways to calm a beardie down, the most effective way I have found is to stroke their head. Soft, gentle stroked down the top of their head is a very easy way to get your bearded dragon back to the base of their tail. I would also suggest lowering the lighting in the room and returning them to their enclosure if your bearded dragon is continuing to feel uneasy.
The best way to insure your bearded dragon will not fall is simply to not place them on any high structure. Bearded dragons often have a basic concept of their altitude, however, there is always a chance your bearded dragon will gauge the height incorrectly.
It is strongly encouraged never to walk around with your bearded dragon as that movement can cause them to experience stress and, again, increase the likelihood of them jumping away from you.
It is also important to never leave them unattended while they are out of their enclosure. If you make the decision to have your beardie out of their enclosure, it is your responsibility to ensure their safety.
They are naturally curious creatures and will stop at nothing to explore every corner of the room they are left unattended in. Because bearded dragons like to climb and explore, leaving your bearded dragon unsupervised can lead to them getting themselves in a very dangerous situation.
If you must place your bearded dragon on a high surface at any point, always make sure to place a blanket or pillow, or both, on the floor around the area. This will soften the impact should your bearded dragon fall.
If you feel the need to carry your bearded dragon as you walk, it is a good decision to have your dragon wear a harness. This harness will provide your bearded dragon with added security while they are up on your shoulder or head.
Generally speaking, it is never a good idea to have your bearded dragon at any significant height. While they will likely survive a fall from various heights, it is always possible that their fragile bodies will not be able to withstand the impact.
This impact could result in serious injury and even death. In order to avoid these serious consequences, be sure to handle your bearded dragon properly, and always keep an eye on your beloved creature.