Do Bearded Dragons Smell (Causes & Prevention)

No is the answer, Bearded Dragons don’t have their own odor because Bearded Dragons are ectotherms and don’t have sweat glands.

The reason your Bearded Dragon could have a bad smell tends to be down to human error or sickness, a beardies skin will smell like the environment it’s in. So if their enclosure isn’t kept clean, an odor will eventually make itself known.

4 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Smells

Food Waste

Food left to fester in the tank will cause bad odors to fester within the enclosure, which will be absorbed by your beardies skin causing them to not have a nice smell about them.

The food you feed your Bearded Dragon should be live insects and vegetation. If left unchecked for periods of time in an enclosure with an ambient temperature of 80°F, it’ll go rotten and moldy quickly.

I recommend when feeding your Bearded Dragon, any food left over after a 15 minute feeding period, you remove it from the enclosure to prevent food wastage from festering in there.

Fecal Matter

A common cause for a bad-smelling Bearded Dragon is the fact their feces haven’t been cleaned out of the enclosure on a regular basis. 

Bearded Dragon excrement doesn’t particularly smell straight away but after some time, it’ll kick up a nasty odor. The same goes for their urination process, which differs from most other pets. 

Their urine is called urate, and it’ll look like a white powder that’ll you’ll usually see in the feces of healthy Bearded Dragons.

Spot checks need to be conducted daily to ensure a clean and hygienic environment is provided for your beardie.

Dirty or Old Substrate

Dirty or old substrates, especially if they’re fabric-based like reptile carpet will start to smell after a while. If you’re using reptile carpet, I recommend having two cuts so when you’re cleaning one there is always a fresh piece available for your Bearded Dragon to use.

Bacteria and fungal buildups from the substrate will not only cause your Bearded Dragon to smell, but it will lead to sickness. 

They’re Unwell

If you have successfully maintained the hygiene of your Bearded Dragons enclosure and have checked the above three potential causes and your beardie is still smelling. They may be unwell, signs of a sick Bearded Dragon are;

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abnormal respiratory function (bubbling sounds when breathing)
  • Abnormalities in defecation
  • Mites (Small arthropods looking like red dots on the body)
  • In their hide spot constantly

If your beardie is exhibiting any abnormal behaviors, consult your veterinarian immediately for expert advice.

How To Stop Bad Odor

When it comes to preventing bad odors from coming from your Bearded Dragon, it’s down to human intervention. I have put together a list of effective ways to keep your Bearded Dragon’s environment hygienic to allow them to thrive and live a happy and healthy life.

Clean The Enclosure

Conducting Daily Spot Check:

Ensure your hands are washed before and after cleaning to prevent any cross-contamination within their habitat.

You need to spot-check the tank daily for feces, and food, and remove any soiled or wet substrate to prevent an unhygienic environment.

Weekly Deep Clean

Your Bearded Dragon requires you to do a deep clean once a week. For this, you need to;

  • Take out Bearded Dragon
  • Remove the substrate
  • Remove the decorations
  • Remove water and food bowl
  • Get your vacuum ready

This is so you can clean the inside with reptile-safe products like; Flukers Super Scrub Brush with Organic Cleaner.

Provide Proper Ventilation

Bearded dragons need fresh air to breathe and to remove excess moisture and odors from their enclosure. Make sure that the enclosure has enough ventilation holes or windows that are not blocked by decorations or substrate. Use a fan or an air purifier if necessary.

Odorless Substrates

Some substrates, such as newspaper or reptile carpet, are odorless or low-odor and easy to replace. Others, such as soil or wood chips, can retain moisture and bacteria and emit odors. 

Avoid using cat litter, gravel, or other loose particle substrates that potentially could be harmful or irritating to your beardie.

Provide Baths For Your Bearded Dragon

Not only will bathing your Bearded Dragon wash away any bad odors which may have surfaced, but it’ll also provide benefits such as;

  • Skin hydration
  • Helps shedding
  • General Hygiene
  • Promotes healthy skin

Conclusion

Bearded dragons can make wonderful pets offering their owners a unique and rewarding experience. However, they can also produce unpleasant or overwhelming odors, especially if not properly cared for. 

By following the tips and guidelines presented in this article, you can prevent and treat Bearded Dragon odors effectively and enjoy a healthy and happy relationship with your scaly friend.