Baby beardy biting, running away, won’t eat greens

Hello all and thank you for this website.
My little boy got a baby beardy 3 days ago from pet smart as a gift. When my dad got it, the baby stayed in their hand until they put it in the box to take home. That night my son was able to hold the beardy and my husband was able to hand feed him 5 crickets.
Once his terrarium was setup (40gln zoo med kit) we put him in and since we saw it was sleepy we turned off all lights and he slept.
The next morning (day 2 at home really first full day) all hell broke lose, my son could not catch him. I managed to get the beardy in the carrier bin and put it on the floor so my son could feed it. I the beardy ran away ( only 5 minutes ) and we caught it and put it back in the terrarium. All that time the baby beardy stayed pretty motionless in the basking spot. We did see a poop at the bottom of the basking area.
My husband wasn’t able to catch him the rest of the morning. ( we tried for 2 minutes and stopped to give it some time) No food at all that morning and early afternoon. That evening my husband was able to catch the Beardy after almost 10 minutes and he fed it 6 crickets by hand. We tried having our son hold the beardy but since it immediately tried to run away from his little hands we put it back in the terrarium and my son just sat there and read to him and played around him for an hour. :( he wants to bond with his pet so much.
Day 2 in the morning my husband and son went to get the bestie some food and turn on all the lights (UVB and Basking) and give it “breakfast” we put ? ? and ? and the beardy just stayed in it’s basking spot. Another poop was spotted right around were the old one was.
We removed the worm and the cricket to keep beardy safe.
That afternoon my husband and son tried again to feed it. No interest in food. My husband again tried to catch it and the dragon dinosaur on disaster but him 3 times. So my hubs off and let him sit then with a tweezer fed him 2 crickets.
My son again sat and played in front of the terrarium or read to the beardy. The baby beardy seemed interested and followed his every move. Finally bedtime came we told our son to go and turn of lights and leave it be.
Day 3 is today. My son went and turn on lights before school. No tries to feed or put our hand in there. The beardy again watched him. My husband was faster at catching the beardy this AM. The beardy opened it’s mouth looking mad but my husband put a worm in its mouth and he ate it while giving my hubs the stink eye. But stayed in my husbands hand without running away, so my husband tried giving it a piece of collard green. The beardy took a bite and then started wiggling away so he was put in the terrarium.


Sub-Adult Member
Sounds like relocation stress, which can last for a week or two... or more. It's not unusual for a beardie to be very docile at the pet store, but then freak out when you get him to the new home. Babies in particular are very, very flighty... it's a survival instinct (so trying to catch him is actually one of the least effective ways of helping him to settle in - it just produces more stress). When I got my Figment, I was advised by this forum to let him be, no handling at all, for at least a week. After that, you can start hand-feeding and (possibly) holding inside the tank. You might want to get the primary caretaker's scent on a tee shirt or towel and put that in the tank (I slept with a cotton rag for a couple of days and then put it in the tank). What you do not want, under any circumstances, is for the baby to start associating the presence of a hand with stress - especially with being chased.

Remember how very large we are to our little reptile pals. They really can't get a sense of us as a whole - we ARE our hands and arms. And to a Very Small Creature, the entire world is going to eat them given half a chance! That's why baby beardies are so hard to hold in general - they leap from heights and flee from hands to try to get back to safety. This is very frustrating to young owners in particular, but it's a sad truth that pet stores sell beardie babies far, far, far too young - way before they are ready to start settling down! (There are always going to be exceptions to this - but from what I've seen on this forum alone, it's a pretty done deal that baby beardies are paranoid about the world being out to get them.)

It's also not uncommon for them to avoid eating a lot of greens. Still offer them, still tempt them to eat greens with BSFL (Phoenix worms, NutriGrubs, etc) and hand feeding... but most of a baby's diet will be bugs. Lots and LOTS and LOTS of bugs! :)

TL:DR > Take it slow and easy acclimating your baby to its new home and new caretakers. Stop chasing it and forcing the handling for now; that could do more harm than good. My beardie at a year old still won't come to me to be picked up, but will no longer resist being handled. It just takes time.

Start off by sitting by the tank and talking to him. Then hand-feed or tong-feed them, again while talking. Then move to scooping him up from below, holding for a few seconds, then putting him down. Gradually build up to holding him for longer periods of time.

And never hesitate to post on the forum for advice... it's a great place, and you've done a great job coming here for guidance! :)


Original Poster
Thank you for your reply. This is the first reptile any of us have. We would have loved to do research before getting one but this is how things came about.
I will get some tongs and see if that will at least soothe the baby’s stress. My son looks happy watching the dragon and reading to it. We will continue to do that as well.
I’ve read some of the posts in here and I will also find temp gauges as our is the one that came with the kit and stays around 95-100 degrees F. Humidity is between 35-40degrees F

KarrieRee Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
First thing I want to say is the basking temps and UVB are the most important thing in the tank --- you need a digital probe thermometer to get actual basking temps --- NO stick ons--- UVB if its a coil and its in a dome please get rid of it-- they are inadequate right now the dragon is going thru relocation stress and needs time to acclimate to his surroundings - chasing him in the tank is only going to stress him out further -- please NO more handling -- next dragons are not kids pets to be honest -- they are far to complex for a child to figure out what is wrong let alone us adults - dragons will hide their illness to they no longer can and by then it can be too late -- please replace the UVB w/ this 22"
you can also get this bulb its very good as well 22" --- please get these as soon as possible -- you can try your local pet stores or order on line ---- when you get it replaced please post back on here that you have the bulb and fixture and I can help you get it placed along w/ distance requirements -- the T 5 has options of where it goes depending on the screen on your tank


Original Poster
Thank you,
I wish we would have known; of course that is in hindsight.
All 3 of us are in love with this little dragon, and very much invested in helping it succeed.
Our tank is 18” high (36”x18”x18”)
It looks like the light will need to be on the inside of the tank? If so, we may need to change our basking log; it’s already close to 6-8 inches from the screen at the top of the terrarium?
We went to get the t5 today but they didn’t have it.
While we were there we noticed a terrarium with doors opening from the front. Which reading here seem to be less intrusive for the dragon. It would be safer for our son as well.
Are doors in the front a plus? Or a no no?
I’m wondering if the dragon would be better of with a from opening tank or May escape easier?

Just wanting to try and get as properly established as possible.

Thank you so much for your time and advice.

KarrieRee Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
You want a front door tank --- but you also want a tank thats going to be big enough for him as as an adult --- I would not recommend getting one from the petstore --- too expensive you can go look at these better buck for your money--- they are light and easy to clean -- they are 120 gallon tank you want a PVC one -- I have 2 of them --- also how old is your son? Its you thats gonna haft to take care of the dragon -- they are not a childs pet he can help but your gonna haft to do most of the work --- your more than likely gonna haft to order that UVB on line --- and you want the T 5 for a larger tank anyway so your going to just get the UVB early for a larger tank in the long run and the dragon will be healthier --- you can look at Amazon for the UVB try see if they have them back in stock --- these places are having a hard time keeping them in stock -- since I recommend this fixture and bulb so much I am constantly checking pangeareptiles - they are a good place to order from -- plus they are reasonable fast and shipping is reasonable as well -- everything is packed good and they ship Fed Ex -- let me know when you find one --- you can try this place I have not gotten any feed back from anyone on this place they are out of CA and you can call during the week to see when they ship and how soon
Here is the # 916-226-4089


Sub-Adult Member
I will definitely concur with Karrie about the Zen Habitat enclosures; they are the best value for size you can get. You don’t need to immediately rush out to get one, though. I kept my beardie in a 40BR for his first year - top opening like yours - and he had absolutely no ill effects from being taken out from above (though he also wasn’t quite as skittish as your little one seems to be). Moving the lights every time I wanted to bring him out WAS a pain, though... if you have the extra money, a Zen is a great investment, though. Just don’t spend the extra for the stand, unless you buy the cabinet stand... it wobbles like crazy. Pick up a 4x2 folding table from Hone Depot instead... cheaper, and with a tablecloth on it, it’s just as nice.

I did want to say that reading to your beardie is super bonding time- they do get to know your voice, and will come over to see what’s what. I’m glad your son is enjoying that time! Depending on the age/ size of your son, when it’s time to do some out of cage playtime, you can have him sit in a dry, empty bathtub and put the beardie in there to scramble over and around him. No risk of dropping or falling that way, and a much lower risk of dragon escapes! Just be careful that your son is aware of where his pet is at all times so he doesn’t smoosh him by accident, and take the dragon out before your son leaves the tub.

Karrie is spot on with lighting and heating advice, so I’ve nothing to add there... just breathe and enjoy your tiny dinosaur! They grow so fast!!!

KarrieRee Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
I can add to the stand if that is a issue --- look at used furniture stores for dressers etc --- I got one for Blazes tank for $40 I use the drawers for the extra stuff they like light bulbs vitamins calcium etc -- you can also look on Craigslist or FB marketwatch --- you can look their for tanks as well and I would look for a 75-120 gallon


Original Poster
I cannot thank you guys enough for all your help.
We found a UVB tube yesterday, it’s installed. Photo to come.
We drove to a pet shop that owns 2 beardies of their own and she had this UVB fixture. It’s a t8 20” tube while we get the T5 online. I was anxious to get the UVB needed and she second all of your recommendations. She also helped with 2 thermometer probes. The temp is actually about 5degrees more that what the Stick ons show (103 vs 98on stick on)
We also went to the store where the terrarium was purchase but they would not let us return it. They did however allowed us to exchange it for a 40gallon front door opening terrarium. We will have to start looking to upgrade spikey to a 75-120gallon tank in the future.
No handling for almost 2 days ( I used a tweezer to get crickets close to it) yesterday spikey ate 2 crickets through the day and it was the first day it didn’t poop.
Today so far no food intake, but when I turned on lights in the morning spikey opened its eyes and jumped to the tree area closer to me. He also stuck its tongue out (which made me think it was hungry)
With the tweezer I put a cricket in front of him and it never opened its mouth. I put a drop of water on its mouth and it did look like he drank that. I put a worm on the tree and he stared at it but didn’t eat it. Spikey actually walked away from the worm and to the top of the cave.
He looked very hyped this morning and engaged still skittish while I moved around but never left the tree. I’m home for lunch a bit earlier to check on him, he is laying flat on the log eyes closed; still breathing. I sat and watched it and it opened its eyes to peer at me but didn’t do anything else.
Photos to come.
I’m hoping he eats something tonight at least.

KarrieRee Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
Make sure he's hydrated- keep offering food salads too -- please order him some BSFL also known as nutri grubs Phoenix worms or calci worms-- add those to his salads every morning in front of him-- the movement will get him to the bowl-- do not dust them--- where is the UVB and what bulb did you get? T 5 or T 8?


Original Poster
This is a 22” T8 reptisun.
I’ll make sure to leave salad in the tank for it. I usually leave it an hour and remove then do it again in the afternoon.
I thought the photos uploaded but I’m trying again.
Is BSFL a live worm? I’ll have to look into this too

KarrieRee Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
Ok that looks like a T 8-- make sure there is no cover over bulb please get it inside the tank w/ a piece of decor directly under it approx 6-8 inches - as of this moment he's getting no UVB-- yes bsfl are live worms

kingofnobbys Sicko
My advise ( I'm assuming it's only a month or two old ==> very tiny perhaps 5g to 15g in body mass )
1) let the little hatchling dragon settle in to it new surroundings and get used to all new activity and sounds and yes new people it now find itself confronted with - scary !
Likely gone from being with numerous slbling hatchlings from the same clutch and perhaps mixed with hatchling of similar age from other clutches and is now alone - scary !
Unless you bought direct from a hobbyist breeder , it's likely never or very rarely been handled by a person - so it's not learnt humans wont harm it , which means it's literal in default wild dragon behavour setting => see you had as a monster , see you and your child as a monster
So it's instincts are run away , and if grabbed squirm and try to escape , even threaten to bite and perhaps even bite the hand -- all very natural .

Most of my pet lizards ( eastern bluetongues , central bearded dragons ) are captive bred and came from enthusiast keeper-breeders who spent a lot time interacting with very young newly born skinks and newly hatched dragons so they learnt from the get go humans are sources of good things
- food
- warmth
- and wont harm them ( been very gentle with them ) so all mine were tame and friendly from the get go when I bought them ( at 2 - 3 months old ) and so I didn't experience the problems you are having with your new baby lizard.

I have also been engage in wild injured lizard rescue and recouperation
In this case I see these behaviours but a little bit of kindness and time and patients and lots of food bribes always brings them round and they are soon tame enough to take food from my fingers and tolerate being handled , even so tame they become bonded to me and seek me out.

Might take a week to two for your baby to settle in.

My approach with hatchlings is
1) start off only handling when IT IS NECESSARY ( ie if you need to take the lizard out to clean the tank ( only long enough to lift out and deposit in a 29L or similar tub or put into a ventilated clikclak style food tub ) , or to bath it ( imo this should not happen frequently , only when it's soiled itself ) , or to bond with it for a 5 minutes ( I use this opportunity to give my newby babies some live insects as a bribe / treat.<== way to lizard "heart" is via it's mouth , food is something they enjoy and this will help the little dragon come to associate being handled with a pleasureable experience and to learn you are the food giver and wont hurt it.)

Hand feed a baby dragon - place on chest looking at your face , rest one wrist on tail ( will discourage it from running or suddenly leaping off you ( do this in a hatchling safe & escape proof room - sit on floor with it or a bed or lounge - and be ready to place the feeding hand infront of it if it starts running or trying to leap off …. it will I can guarantee it !!) , have some crickets (maybe 1/4 or 1/3 size ready in a small container ( 3 or 4 ), take one out , remove both big rear legs ( you'll use these are mouth openers/starters ) , hold the skinny end a "cricket drumstick" and gently push thick end past the upper & lower lips ( I find the place is just past the corner of the mouth is a good spot ) when the hatching takes to little bit of cricket meat / fluids this should be enough to get it chew the drumstick and eat it , NOW ( and YOU NEED TO TIME THIS JUST RIGHT so pay attention to when the mouth is open enough to deposit the head of the cricket in there ( I found if you squish the cricket head this will give the dragon an immediate taste and encourage It to eat )

Repeat for each cricket.
Then return the hatchling to the tank and deposit a couple of crickets in with it at a time , let the dragon see you deposit / drop the cricket in .

Wont take long for the dragon to get the hang of the handfeeding by fingers , and to work out you are the feeder.'

I'D SUGGEST for first month or two , irrespective of how tame and laid back the hatchling might be , you restrict handling to
feeding/bonding sessions ( 2 or 3 per day x 5 -10min ) NO KIDDY HANDLING , let you child watch QUIETLY , maybe petting the back or head of the dragon while you are holding it if the kid is old enough to be GENTLE
tank cleaning ( removing poos ) uneaten dead or alive insects
occasion bath ( best no baths IMO for a bearded dragon , my current two 2 yr olds have never been bathed )

A common problem is the hatching runs away / backs away from the hand when you want to pick it up / grab it.
I've found a very way of getting a very scared lizard out of a tank involves using a long thin twig , essentially all the lizard sees is 5 headed snake monster trying to grab it and looming monster attached to it , no wonder it's scared - so think like a lizard.
The twig slowly lowered towards it while you quietly speak to the lizard is lots less scary , when the end of twig is next the lizard, slip it's end under the chest of the lizard and slowly lift the twig end , the lizard will instinctively use it's front claws to grab hold of the twig , at which point you have the opportunity to slowly gently draw that end of the twig with the lizard holding on towards you to where you can either drop piece of cloth over it and then pick it up covered in the cloth , or you deposit it on you open upturned hand or gently wrap your free hand around it ( let it look out ) and then deposit on you lap, chest or tummy .

Hope these tips help.

The keys here are
food treats
setting up predictable daily routine and ritual
taking things at the lizard's pace ( it's got to be things done when then the lizard shows it's ready )
trust building slowly.

Members online

Latest resources

Latest profile posts

is my bearded dragons left side supposed to be hard, it’s right above its left leg in the back, it’s kind of hard? i feed it insects and greens. not sure if it’s normal or not? i can post pictures.
His first vet visit went well! Abelardo Texas looks good physically according to his new Dr.
Unfortunately, on the fecal it showed that he has Coccidia. Not a surprise honestly... he has been having diarrhea since I got him. I got Albon, F10, and a steam cleaner on hand.
I'm kinda freaked out, I heard coccidia is a beast to get rid of. Wish me luck! 😭
Sorry didn’t mean to post the last post was an accident, but I do have a question I have a 7 month old dragon, her name is Smaug and she will not eat her salad I have tried everything that I can, just wondering if anyone can help me because I’m stuck and I know that she should probably be eating them by now! If anyone can give me ideas that would be great!
Hello there I have Created a websites
Check and rate it Wearglam USA

Forum statistics

Latest member
Top Bottom