How To Pick Up a Bearded Dragon?

How To Properly Pick Up a Bearded Dragon

You would like to give your Beardie a bath, move him to another location to clean the cage, care for him, hold him in your hand, or even travel with him. To be able to do things like that. The first thing you have to do is getting him up. But you will certainly have a lot of questions before you decide to pick up him, such as: Can I pick up a Bearded dragon? How to properly pick up a baby Beardie? What’s the best way to pick up a beardie?

Most importantly, he is a lizard. It’s not as easy as hugging a dog or petting a cat.

In particular, he has thorny reptilian scales.

You could be hurt if he struggles in your hand.

On the contrary, he will be too hurt if you don’t hold him in the right way.

So how to pick up a beardie smoothly without any issue. What to do and what not to do? When should you get him up?

Here are some steps on how to pick up a Beardie, some tips and notes to avoid any hurt for both you and him.


Before Taking Him Up

How To Pick Up And Hold a Bearded Dragon

Source: wikihow

Are you going to catch your pet right away? If yes, please stop with your intention.

It’s necessary to prepare for both you and your pet before taking him up.

1. Hands Cleaning

The first step on how to pick up a beardie is washing your hand.

It’s simple, like washing your hands before eating dinner.

Just use a little hand sanitizer and wash your hands under running water.

This step will help reduce the risk of transmitting germs or diseases to your pet.

If this is your first time, and you are unsure of yourself.

You can use gloves, which helps you to protect your hands from his rough skin.

If you are interested in hand sanitizer and gloves, we highly recommend the best places to get it as below:

Some hand sanitizers:

Some wearing gloves:

2. Observation

How To Pick Up a Bearded Dragon Lizard

One of the mistakes all of the pet owners have is trying to grab him without observation.

Your Beardie may be frightened.

And after that, you will be wondering how to pick up an aggressive beardie?

To prevent these things from happening, you should spend time seeing him.

What is he doing? Is he happy or aggressive?

You can properly grab him if he looks happy.

But if you see him take some actions such as Inflated, black beard, mouth wide opening, head bobbing, arm-waving, tail raising.

It means that he is unhappy or stressed.

Please let him calm down before you catch him.

You also should make it clear that your pet is a young or a baby Beardie.

Then you can find out what is the best way to pick up a juvenile dragon? How to pick up a baby bearded dragon for the first time?

You must have already known your pet well.

Is he a well-socialized man or a scared man? Then you can know how to pick up a scared bearded dragon?

3. Approaching

Best Way To Pick Up a Baby Bearded Dragon

One of the important steps on how to pick up a bearded dragon is approaching your beardie.

First, open the door and stay here, don’t move.

Then say hello to your pet.

Let him know your appearance. Don’t be in a hurry, try to be calm.

Once you’ve made sure your pet sees you and feels comfortable with your voice.  You can get close to him.


  • You should approach the beardie with your hand slowly without any threatening gestures.
  • The correct way is to approach the other side of the enclosure in front of their line of sight.


  • Do not approach your pet from behind or from above. You should know that your beard has a sort of “third eye” on the top of the head. So he will be surprised when he realizes that the shadow of your hand. It’s can cause him to become aggressive. And it will be dangerous to grab him.
  • Do not act too quickly, you risk activating his survival instinct. So he will be stressed out or run away.
  • Do not bother your pet if he is sleeping, eating, or hiding in a corner.

4. Caress Your Beardie

Best Way To Pick Up a Bearded Dragon

If you are wondering how to pick up an angry bearded dragon? Or how to pick up a scared bearded dragon baby?

Let’s try to caress him first. You can see the great effect after petting.

Once your pet has accepted your appearance, you can pet him. What is the best point to pet him?

Please notice on the head, the back, he will very enjoy if you scratch on these points.

It will also work if you scratch his chin and his cheeks.

It depends on each beardie and you need to learn what your pet likes the most.

If your pet is stressed out, try some actions as below:

Eliminate sensory overload such as reducing light and noise reduction when your pet is overloaded.

Adjust the temperature to make sure the cage is warm enough.

Speaking to your dragon in a calm, low, reassuring voice, his instincts say that everything is safe and his body may calm down as a result.

Take one finger and gently pat the head of your beard from nose to crown.

Now if your pet calms down completely or if he closes his eyes enjoying your scratching. It’s is the sign that he is comfortable with you.

Then you can go ahead to the main step on how to pick up a beardie as below:

Supporting & Hold Your Pet

How To Pick Up a Mad Bearded Dragon

How to correctly pick up a bearded dragon? Please try to start with your thumb, then fully support to take him.

1. How To Move Your Hand

How should you pick up a beardie? First, you need to remember that the action should be slow and careful.

You can move your hand towards your pet from the front.

Then stop in front of your Beardie.

Do not wave your fingers.

Your pet might think they are worms or food and will try to eat them.

Stand for a moment so that he can see your hand here, and don’t threaten him.

The best way to pick up a baby bearded dragon is by moving your hand is to the side behind his head.

You also need to stop moving for a while to help him get used to your hand.

In this position, it will be difficult for him to bite you.

Put your thumb on one side of his body and then gently move your hand over him.

Now, your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other.

Move your index finger in front of his front leg and behind his cheek.

Your middle finger goes behind his front leg.

At the moment, you can control his head and front arms.

This is a great way to keep him on your hand. He cannot squirm or jump.

So that you can help him avoid any injury.

Your pet will also feel his front legs relaxed on your middle finger.

Once you supporting his legs, which makes him feel more comfortable and less wriggling.

2. Fully Support Your Pet

How To Correctly Pick Up a Bearded Dragon

Now, can you pick up your beardie? Don’t be nervous, gently use your hand to support his weight as much as possible.

You can place your thumb or forefinger under his chin to support his front arms, slowly move your palm underneath his body to lift him up.

Then use your finger to support his front arms and let him rest in the palm of your hand.

Make full use of both hands, one to support the front and the other to support the back and the tail.

Make sure that you are supporting all of his legs and tail too.

Note that don’t hold your pet tightly, just try to support him properly so he can rest safely on your hands.

This is an important step on how to pick up a beardie.

How to pick up a Beardie video:

3. Handling Your Beardie

It is not only necessary to know the best way to pick up a bearded dragon, but also to know the correct way to hold and enjoy with him.

The first time you hold your pet, it must be very exciting. But despite that, you need to keep in mind a few tips to keep him safe.

When you are sitting, let your pet relax on your arm, chest, or lap.

Do not forget to pet him, your caress will help him remain calm and stay still.

Of course, you need to know how to stroke him with his scales, not to strike against them, which will make your skin prick and your pet will get angry.

You can now move with your beardie, let him take a bath, and play with him.

Even as you move, you need to take care of him and move slowly to allow him to remain calm.

If your pet is completely comfortable when you hold him.

You can try to let them walk around a bit or climb up on you.

You will be surprised to learn that your pet will probably enjoy climbing on you.

In fact, once he is getting accustomed to you, he might like to sit on your shoulder or lying on your chest.

He can even sleep on your shoulder if he feels it’s a comfortable and safe position.

That’s is all things you have to know how to pick up and hold a beardie.

Moreover, there are some necessary things you have to do after holding him.

4. Return Him Back And Wash Your Hand.

How To Pick Up A Bearded Dragon

If you already know what is the best way to pick up a Beardie.

 You also need to know when you should return him back.

Do not take your eyes off your pet while you are holding him.

You have noticed his body language. If you see him feeling uncomfortable or stressed. You should let him come back to his habitat.

Here are some signs to let you know it’s better to let him reenter his cage.

His beard turns dark or his mouth is wide open, maybe he’s stressed out.

He starts to bob his head, he might be uncomfortable.

He raises his tail, he may attack or try to bite you.

To return him back, it’s not as hard as how to pick up a beardie, but it’s also not as easy as just dropping him into the tank.

First, put your hand down slowly on the bottom of the cage. Then let him run away.

Do remember to close the door of the cage to avoid his escape.

Finally, wash your hands again with a bar of hand soap to avoid carrying germs like any other pet.

In case of cuts or scratches, disinfect immediately.

If the wound turns red and painful after a few days, see a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Pick Up a Bearded Dragon?

Beardie Hibernating

1. How To Tell If a Beardie Is Happy With You?

You can determine that your pet is happy if you see the following signs:

  • He is comfortable with you and not running away from you.
  • He performs all daily activities, proving he is in a good health. Such as sleeping, eating, sunbathing, and pooping.

2. Can you pick up a bearded dragon by the tail?

The answer is, you can’t. If you grab your pet by the tail, it may be ripped off and won’t grow back. So do not grab him by the tail.

3. How long can you hold your beardie?

beardie shed


In the beginning, it’s best to start with 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

Then you can take up to 30 minutes if you see that he feels comfortable with you.

Once he gets used to it, the time can be extended to 1 or 2 hours, depending on his body language.

Just remember that if he starts to get restless, it’s time to get him home.

4. How to pick up a sleeping bearded dragon?

beardie sleep

It’s necessary to do all the steps such as washing your hand, getting close to him, stroking and picking him up, moving him to his bed, then washing again.

If your pet sleeps like a dead man, he doesn’t wake up for any of this. It will be very easy to grab him.

5. Do Beardie know their name?

Yes. He does. But you have to let him know his name by saying his name at every meal.

If you persist in making it repeatedly, call out his name many times in a long time.

He will automatically come straight over to you even if you don’t have any food.


6. Can you kiss your Beardie?

beardie head

No, you cannot kiss your Beardie. Kissing your Beardie is extremely risky and strongly discouraged.

He may carry other bacteria, viruses, parasites, and worms. So you can be sick when you kiss him.


Let summarize one more time the important things you have to do on how to pick up a beardie are:

  • Wash your hand before and after grabbing your Beardie.
  • Approach him from the front, in slowly before carefully observing him.
  • Fully support his body and keep petting him.
  • Hold him tight, but don’t squeeze him.
  • Return him back if you see he is feeling uncomfortable or stressed.

Now, if you already remember these steps on how to pick up a Bearded Dragon, you can easily give your pet a bath. He is also become to love you if you remain to hold him and pet him every day.

Further Reading: 

Tags: feel threatened, sudden movements, front shoulders, handle a bearded dragon

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