Are Bearded Dragon Scratches Dangerous?

bearded dragon with eyes open as owners ask Are Bearded Dragon Scratches Dangerous?

Body scratches may be inevitable as a bearded dragon owner due to the sharp claws of the popular domesticated lizards. Accidental scratches are also possible during the regular handling of beardies with long nails.

This article answers the question “Are Bearded Dragon Scratches Dangerous?” by looking into the potential side effects of getting scratched by the popular domesticated lizards. We also look at smart ways to minimize the risk of getting scratched.

Are Bearded Dragon Scratches Dangerous?

Bearded dragon scratches can trigger allergic reactions like itchy red welts or other forms of rashes that may disappear after a few days. Physical contact with bearded dragons could also increase the risk of exposure to Salmonella even if the beardies look healthy.

Bearded dragons are extremely friendly but may be forced to scratch their owners when stressed or as a defensive mechanism when abruptly woken up from sleep at night. Males are more aggressive than females so you may have to choose the feminine gender to reduce the risk of aggressive fightbacks.

Not everyone suffers allergic reactions from bearded dragon scratches. However, the scratches can still be painful and finding ways to minimize such incidents could be smart. We recommend taking preventative measures to ensure the bearded dragon’s nails stay short to lower the scratching risks.

Do Bearded Dragons Have Poison In Their Claws?

Bearded dragons do not have venom in their claws so the risk of getting poisoned from a scratch is non-existent. However, studies have shown that they secrete a mild venom after biting prey but this poison is believed to be harmless to humans.

Sure, many folks report reactions like bleeding, swelling, and other signs of discomfort from beardie bites and scratches. However, washing the site with warm water and an antiseptic is the best treatment for these wounds.

Other folks may clean the injury via less conventional methods like applying whisky to the scratched body area. Either way, the risk of long-term side effects from bearded dragon bites is practically zero.

Can You Get Sick From A Bearded Dragon Scratch?

woman lying down in hospital but Can You Get Sick From A Bearded Dragon Scratch?

Humans could be exposed to salmonella from an infected bearded dragon’s bite after accidentally swallowing the germs. This often occurs when the affected person touches their lips after physical contact with the bite site without thorough hand washing first.

Although the risk of salmonella infections can be rare, it is still possible, and effective sanitation practices like complete hand washing after each physical contact with the beardie may come in handy. Also, scratches that result in skin breaking should be properly cleaned to minimize the possibility of infections.

What To Do After Getting Scratched By A Bearded Dragon

The first step after suffering a bearded dragon scratch is to wash the affected area with warm water and soap. Examine the site to know the extent of penetration and apply an antiseptic like rubbing alcohol to kill existing germs before they get the chance to grow and multiply.

The next step is to put some bandaid on the scratch to enable proper healing without interference from daily activities. Repeat the antiseptic cleaning process 12 hours later if the signs of scratches are still apparent on the skin.

Do not hesitate to consult a doctor if the signs have not disappeared after a few days. Always wash your hands properly with soap each time physical contact is made with the wound.

How To Minimize The Risk of Getting Scratched By A Bearded Dragon

Prevention is better than cure which is why experts recommend taking active steps to eliminate the risk of painful bearded dragon scratches. Here are the best options available.

Trim The Beardie’s’ Nails With A Nail Clipper

two nail clippers in a plain background
Pet’s scissors dog’s nail clutches clipper tool isolated over white background, set of two foreshortenings

Regular manual trimming of the bearded dragon’s nails can ensure minimal risk of suffering painful and potentially infectious scratches. These reptiles experience rapid nail growth so keeping an eye on the claws guarantees low nail length maintenance.

Pet nail clippers may come in handy during the trimming process but bearded dragons could feel threatened so getting help from a family member may be smart. The chances of success can be higher when third parties hold the reptile while you focus on the trimming.

Always have styptic powder or hydrogen peroxide at hand to stop the blood loss if the beardie’s live tissue is accidentally cut.

Fix A Slate Tile In Their Enclosure

Slate tiles do not only offer an attractive enclosure appearance but they also provide a firm grip that promotes the natural filing of the bearded dragon’s nails during daily activities. This eliminates the need for manual nail trimming which can be a source of pain for domesticated bearded dragons.

How Likely Is It To Get Salmonella From A Bearded Dragon?

The risk of contracting Salmonella infections from bearded dragons is low but owners should always practice the necessary preventative measures. Proper hand washing after each physical contact is recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Avoid kissing or snuggling bearded dragons to minimize the risk of exposure to salmonella germs. Kids that handle bearded dragons should be supervised during handwashing since their delicate immune systems may be vulnerable to salmonella and other disease-causing organisms.

Eating or drinking near bearded dragons is strictly forbidden, according to the CDC. These pets should never appear anywhere close to your kitchen, dining table, or food preparation areas.

Additionally, bearded dragon enclosure components like food bowls, water bowls, and toys should be consistently cleaned with soap, warm water, and antiseptics. Experts recommend cleaning these items outdoors if possible or in the bathroom which should be properly disinfected afterward. (Source)


Bearded dragon scratches often disappear after a few hours when properly washed with warm water, antiseptic, and covered with a bandaid. However, some owners report allergic reactions in the form of skin lesions or itchy welts that may linger for a day or two.

These reactions should disappear when the scratch is continuously cleaned and treated with antiseptic. However, do not hesitate to contact your doctor if the infection shows no signs of healing after a couple of days.

Always keep pet bearded dragon nails trimmed either mechanically or via the placement of a slate tile in their enclosures. This can minimize the risk of suffering scratches and resultant discomfort from bearded dragons.

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