Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

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Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby Lizmum77 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:38 am

Can anyone help me understand the behavior of why my little guy closes 1 eye when I hold him? I also go to pick him up and he runs away in his viv & opens its mouth sometimes? I did some googling and apparently the eye closing situations means he doesn't like to be held is that true? He has been with us for a week. Is he just still adjusting to everything?
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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby ComicBookMama » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:56 pm

Lizmum77 wrote:Can anyone help me understand the behavior of why my little guy closes 1 eye when I hold him? I also go to pick him up and he runs away in his viv & opens its mouth sometimes? I did some googling and apparently the eye closing situations means he doesn't like to be held is that true? He has been with us for a week. Is he just still adjusting to everything?


It might be a longer bout of relocation stress, so yes, he might still be adjusting. The fact that he runs and gapes at you would indicate that he's frightened; are you trying to come at him from the side or the top? (I have a screen lid and no front doors, so it's hard for me to come at mine from the side - but reaching to pick up from above does make them very skittish.) How old is your juvie? With Figment, I started out keeping the handling very short and positive - just a minute or so, then putting him back down again, and gradually increasing the amount of time he was held over a number of weeks. Not sure what the closing of one eye means, though... :?
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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby Lizmum77 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:48 pm

ComicBookMama wrote:
Lizmum77 wrote:Can anyone help me understand the behavior of why my little guy closes 1 eye when I hold him? I also go to pick him up and he runs away in his viv & opens its mouth sometimes? I did some googling and apparently the eye closing situations means he doesn't like to be held is that true? He has been with us for a week. Is he just still adjusting to everything?


It might be a longer bout of relocation stress, so yes, he might still be adjusting. The fact that he runs and gapes at you would indicate that he's frightened; are you trying to come at him from the side or the top? (I have a screen lid and no front doors, so it's hard for me to come at mine from the side - but reaching to pick up from above does make them very skittish.) How old is your juvie? With Figment, I started out keeping the handling very short and positive - just a minute or so, then putting him back down again, and gradually increasing the amount of time he was held over a number of weeks. Not sure what the closing of one eye means, though... :?


Thanks for replying! We have screen doors on the front if the Viv. I did come from the side but he did notice me opening the door to grab him from the side and he ran and turned to my hand and opened his mouth. Is there a way to calm him down? Do I just close the door and then wait for another day? & he won't be scared forever right?😣 oh & I'm not sure how old he is, we forgot to ask when we got him, but he is a baby if that makes sense! (Still don't know his gender because he's that small) haha!
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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby claudiusx » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:55 pm

Moved by Moderator from General to Behavior
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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby claudiusx » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:56 pm

This might help :)

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=143145

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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby ComicBookMama » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:43 pm

Lizmum77 wrote:Thanks for replying! We have screen doors on the front if the Viv. I did come from the side but he did notice me opening the door to grab him from the side and he ran and turned to my hand and opened his mouth. Is there a way to calm him down? Do I just close the door and then wait for another day? & he won't be scared forever right?😣 oh & I'm not sure how old he is, we forgot to ask when we got him, but he is a baby if that makes sense! (Still don't know his gender because he's that small) haha!


Maybe give him a bit more time to settle in? It's hard to say, because they're all individuals - some take about a week to settle in, some take longer. It's good that you can come and him from the side and below; that will definitely make things easier. As for age, if you got him from a pet store, he's probably very young, more a baby than a juvie... about how long is he, tip to tip?

No, he won't be scared forever, but you're right that you need to start hand taming once he's settled in. Start by hand-feeding him some treat worms, like waxworms or BSFL, or even bits of greens to get him to understand that your hand isn't the big, scary thing he thinks it is... remember, a beardie's instincts don't jive with being picked up and handled. If something picks them up in nature, they're dinner! As a result, pretty much all babies go through the "ohmygodthey'regonnaeatme" phase where they're super skittish. You also don't want him to learn that he can "scare" you away by gaping, though, so in a week or so, or after he's readily taking food from your fingers, just start lifting him up in his hab, holding him for a moment, then putting him down. Gradually build up to taking him outside his hab. And remember - baby beardies often think they can fly, so keep him near the ground so if he takes one of those leaps he can't hurt himself!

Good luck! :)
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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby Lizmum77 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:34 pm

ComicBookMama wrote:
Lizmum77 wrote:Thanks for replying! We have screen doors on the front if the Viv. I did come from the side but he did notice me opening the door to grab him from the side and he ran and turned to my hand and opened his mouth. Is there a way to calm him down? Do I just close the door and then wait for another day? & he won't be scared forever right?😣 oh & I'm not sure how old he is, we forgot to ask when we got him, but he is a baby if that makes sense! (Still don't know his gender because he's that small) haha!


Maybe give him a bit more time to settle in? It's hard to say, because they're all individuals - some take about a week to settle in, some take longer. It's good that you can come and him from the side and below; that will definitely make things easier. As for age, if you got him from a pet store, he's probably very young, more a baby than a juvie... about how long is he, tip to tip?

No, he won't be scared forever, but you're right that you need to start hand taming once he's settled in. Start by hand-feeding him some treat worms, like waxworms or BSFL, or even bits of greens to get him to understand that your hand isn't the big, scary thing he thinks it is... remember, a beardie's instincts don't jive with being picked up and handled. If something picks them up in nature, they're dinner! As a result, pretty much all babies go through the "ohmygodthey'regonnaeatme" phase where they're super skittish. You also don't want him to learn that he can "scare" you away by gaping, though, so in a week or so, or after he's readily taking food from your fingers, just start lifting him up in his hab, holding him for a moment, then putting him down. Gradually build up to taking him outside his hab. And remember - baby beardies often think they can fly, so keep him near the ground so if he takes one of those leaps he can't hurt himself!

Good luck! :)


Thank you so much, yeah he is a baby juvi, I'm not sure I haven't actually measured him but will add a picture in a minute! We have tried feeding him by hand but he just wont take it. I guess he is still settling in? We purchased a little cave for him to go in & he slept in it all night which is good! [Click image to enlarge]
That's our baby! :D
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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby ComicBookMama » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:36 am

Aww, he’s so sweet! And yes, he’s just a baby... give him a bit more time and keep trying to hand-feed him... maybe open-palm with the worms on it rather than with fingers going close to his face, if that makes any sense? He’s going to settle and come around eventually! And definitely read that post claudiusx put up - it’s fascinating!
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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby Lizmum77 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:57 pm

ComicBookMama wrote:Aww, he’s so sweet! And yes, he’s just a baby... give him a bit more time and keep trying to hand-feed him... maybe open-palm with the worms on it rather than with fingers going close to his face, if that makes any sense? He’s going to settle and come around eventually! And definitely read that post claudiusx put up - it’s fascinating!


He seemed a bit better today so slow progress!! I'll try the open palm tonight when I feed him and see if that works! I did read that post too! It is interesting. Thank you so much for your awesome info too! Make me feel a bit better😊
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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby Lizmum77 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:16 pm

ComicBookMama wrote:Aww, he’s so sweet! And yes, he’s just a baby... give him a bit more time and keep trying to hand-feed him... maybe open-palm with the worms on it rather than with fingers going close to his face, if that makes any sense? He’s going to settle and come around eventually! And definitely read that post claudiusx put up - it’s fascinating!


Another Question, Is the way he's standing ok? As in he is getting use to me putting my hand in his enclosure etc? because still whenever i put my hand in he still opens his mouth. ( I don't expect him to just change over night dont worry) But just wanted to know if it's improving by his stance if that makes sense? [Click image to enlarge]
[Click image to enlarge]
(If you can see the pic)
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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby ComicBookMama » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:26 am

He’s definitely hiding behind his rock; try to lay your hand in front of him but a few inches away. His stance is good - alert and wary, but not aggressive. Little baby steps - it takes a while sometimes! :)
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Re: Juvenile bearded dragon closing one eye

Postby Lizmum77 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:30 pm

ComicBookMama wrote:He’s definitely hiding behind his rock; try to lay your hand in front of him but a few inches away. His stance is good - alert and wary, but not aggressive. Little baby steps - it takes a while sometimes! :)


He was there before I put my hand in, I didn't want to startle him too much! Thank you! :)
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