Pet owners often assume that bearded dragons do not have ears and therefore cannot hear. However, this cannot be further than the truth – in reality, bearded dragons have ears and quite good hearing. Plus, the bearded dragon’s ears are prone to health problems.
Are bearded dragon ears red? Is this normal? No, the bearded dragon’s ears are not ordinarily red, and in such cases of discoloration, it means they are infected. The presence of additional signs as hearing loss or the presence of discharge only confirms the ear infection diagnosis.
In this article, we will talk about how ear infections can make your bearded dragon’s ears red and painful. We will also explain some famous conundrums around the ears of this small but fantastic lizard.
THE EARS IN BEARDED DRAGON
Forget about protruding ears – bearded dragons do not have an external ear part, so most first-time beardie owners assume their pets lack ears and cannot hear.
Bearded dragons have exceptional hearing powers despite the lack of an external sound collector and the ear’s simple hole-like appearance. This is because, as prey and predator, they need to rely on their senses for survival and hunting.
As mentioned, the ears in bearded dragons are simple holes protected with a tympanic membrane. The membrane is set deeper into the hole (unlike in other species like, for example, the iguana in which the membrane is placed superficially), thus making it less prone to injuries and damage.
Other than the lack of an external ear, the bearded dragon’s hearing functions the same way as in mammals. Bearded dragons have a middle and inner ear divided with the mentioned tympanic membrane, which, in addition to protection, plays an essential role in hearing.
HELP! MY BEARDED DRAGON’S EARS ARE RED
Now that we have explained the presence of ears and how they work, it is time we dive deeper into the subject and talk about possible ear problems or, in this case, ear infections.
Why are my beardie’s ears red?
The simple answer to this question is because they are inflamed or infected. Ear infections in bearded dragons are relatively common and occur as a result of inadequate ambient parameters. To be more precise, here are some frequently reported ear infection culprits:
- Poor hygiene within the tank – obviously, poor hygiene and periodic tank cleaning can lead to a buildup of bacteria which can cause various health issues. The dirtier the tank, the more likely it is for pathogens to develop and spread.
- High air humidity levels – same as humans who get ear infections after prolonged swimming, bearded dragons can develop ear problems if constantly exposed to higher than normal humidity levels. A hygrometer is a must-have in your beardie’s tank.
- High or low ambient temperature – bearded dragons have strict temperature requirements with one hotter and one cooler end in the enclosure. Failure to meet these requirements leads to poor overall health and increased susceptibility to infection and disease.
- Poor dietary choices – bearded dragons thrive on versatile diets – a need that is rarely met in captive settings. Single-ingredient diets lead to compromised immune systems, and once the natural defenses become weak, your beardie is more likely to develop different types of infections, including ear infections.
- Problems with the shedding – shedding issues can occur on every part of the body, including the ears. If the old skin is having a hard time shedding, it is likely to cause irritation followed by reddening of the ears and ear infections in more severe cases.
What should I do if my beardie’s ears are red?
The best thing you can do about your bearded dragon’s red ears is scheduling an appointment with a vet experienced in reptiles. Ear infections are not life-threatening conditions and are relatively easy to manage. However, they warrant veterinary attention because they are painful or at least uncomfortable.
More often than not, the vet will prescribe antibiotics that you will use based on his/her recommendations. The vet will probably schedule a follow-up to ensure your beardie’s ears are no longer red once the therapy period is over.
SUMMING UP: MY BEARDED DRAGON’S EARS ARE RED
Just like you and me, your bearded dragon can suffer from infected ears. If your bearded dragon’s ears are red, tainted with foul-smelling and brownish discharge, and your beardie seems like losing its hearing ability, it means its ears are infected.
A bearded dragon with red ears requires veterinary attention. To make sure your beardie’s ears get back to normal, you will have to follow the vet’s recommendations. We should also note that it is of paramount importance not to use any human ear drops and to avoid using ear swabs as they can do more damage than good.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can my bearded dragon hear me?
Yes, not only your bearded dragon can hear you, but it can also recognize your voice and distinguish it from other people’s voices. Some owners report that their bearded dragons are calmer and spend more time hiding when they have loud guests.
There are no scientific papers on the subject, but anecdotal reports from owners suggest that beardies do like music, at least certain types of music. Some owners say their bearded dragons are calmer when there is music on, and others report their bearded dragons become alert and even tilt their heads to one side.
Can bearded dragons learn their name?
As impressive as it sounds, the answer is yes – bearded dragons can learn their names. In fact, bearded dragons can be trained to come when called. This is cool but also useful – imagine your beardie gets out of the tank and hides. Calling its name will be enough to find your lost beardie and bring it back to safety.
Can bearded dragon get ear wax?
Although different from the outside, the bearded dragon’s ears work similarly to the mammalian ear. Therefore, it is logical that it can also produce ear wax. However, considering the lack of external ear parts and the shallow ear opening, the wax that the beardie’s ear forms and stores are much smaller than in mammals.