Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing Behaviour

Afrequent behaviour seen in adult, and sometimes juvenile, Bearded dragons is head bobbing. This is a normal behaviour for, especially male, Bearded dragons.

Head bobbing behaviour in Bearded dragons can be seen in multiple situations. These include during courting and breeding rituals, threatening situations and when a Bearded dragons are defending its territory.

What is Bearded dragon head bobbing behaviour?

Head bobbing behaviour is characteristically seen as moving the head up and down in fast movements. In between these movements the head will be kept up high. As part of this behaviour the beard area will be inflated and the head might be rotated slightly to one side. In adult males, the beard will often turn black. The Bearded dragon will appear to be hyped up and might dash from place to place, often in a threatening manner. Head bobbing behaviour is believed to be one of the main reasons where the name ‘Bearded’ dragon originated from.

What Does Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing Look Like?

Bearded Dragon head bobbing is a very distinct behavior, and it looks very specific. This quick up and down motion is used by these territorial animals as a way of communication without any sound. They use head bob to express different moods and to show their emotions or health conditions. It’s important to understand how your pet expresses themselves if you want them to have a happy and healthy life with you.

When bearded dragons are doing the head bob, they will lower their heads quickly and then raise them again in one continuous motion, often accompanied by a darkening of the beard. This can be a sign of stress or anxiety due to transitioning into a new territory such as an unfamiliar terrarium, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. It’s just part of being able to adjust comfortably.

Why do Bearded dragons bob their heads?

Ultimately, head bobbing behaviour is a way for Bearded dragons to show off. This behaviour, together with an inflated beard gives a Bearded dragon a somewhat larger, more impressive (and more dangerous) appearance. Adult males will have larger and darker beards than youngsters and females which creates an even better impression of power and strength.

The Main Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Bob Their Heads

Bearded dragons often bob their heads when they feel uneasy or uncomfortable in response to their environment. It could be anything from feeling stressed, defending their territory, or even trying to find a mate.

Understanding the reasons why they bob their heads is important, as it can help you determine whether this behavior is normal or cause for concern. here are the main reasons:

1. They’re Feeling Territorial

Bearded dragons can be quite territorial and have their ways of letting others know. When you have two bearded dragons in the same tank, one of them may bob its head to mark the territory and show that it’s in charge. This is a natural instinct for these animals, both males and females can exhibit this behavior, however male beardies are more likely to do it.

It is especially important to monitor different bearded dragons when they’re living in an enclosure that is too small as they may become aggressive toward one another due to their territorial needs. To ensure harmony and safety between two or more beardies, it’s suggested that they each have their own living space to prevent disputes over territory from arising.

2. They Might Be Interested In Mating

Bearded dragons might show their readiness and interest in mating through some very distinct movements. The male beardie may bob his head vigorously in order to signal his desirability to potential mates, while the female’s head bobs are slower and more subtle, indicating her willingness to submit.

In addition, both males and females may display their black beards as a sign of interest in mating. While there’s no way to guarantee that your bearded dragon is showing these behaviors for the purpose of mating, it is a strong indication that it may be interested in finding a mate.

3. They’re Signaling Submission

When bearded dragons are placed together, the larger ones will often perform distinct head bobs in a display of dominance. The smaller or weaker beardie may then show submission by doing a slow bob and an accompanying arm waving motion.

This is an important behavior to observe and should be monitored closely so that it doesn’t get out of hand. It’s also good to remember that this display of submission can be shown toward other animals and even humans.

If your large pet moves around their enclosure, it’s possible that your beardie may be trying to show that they’re not interested in starting a confrontation with them. Your beardie may also show signs of submission when you bring them out of their enclosure – but don’t worry, this behavior typically subsides once they become more comfortable with you!

4. They’re Acknowledging Another Animal

Bearded dragons often perform a nice kind of head bobbing when they are around other animals. This behavior can be seen as a sign of respect and acknowledgment toward the other animal. It is not meant to be threatening or aggressive, rather it can be viewed as a way of saying “I’m here and I am aware that you are too”.

This subtle gesture of recognition indicates that although bearded dragons might prefer to live individually, they still understand the presence (and importance) of other animals in their environment. Beardies don’t need to interact directly with one another in order to acknowledge each other’s existence.

5. They Are Trying To Intimidate Another Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are able to use head bobbing in an effort to intimidate each other. In the wild, these dragons may puff up if they sense a potential threat. This same behavior can be noticed in tanks and enclosures, where a bearded dragon may try and assert dominance over its territory.

This is sometimes known as alpha male behavior, as the bearded dragon is attempting to let other beardies know not to come too close to their female or show any signs of aggression. To display this form of dominance, they will often do jerky, vigorous head bobbing – which makes it clear that submission is either necessary, or there may be a confrontation.

Head bobbing behaviour during courtship

When an adult male and female Bearded dragon is housed together, head bobbing behaviour will be often seen during spring and summer. This, then mating ritual, is how a male will show how impressive he is to win over the female. It also shows that she is in his territory. Courtship will also include biting. Also see mating behaviour in Bearded dragons and Bearded dragon breeding for more information.

Head bobbing behaviour during fighting

In cases where male Bearded dragons are housed together, head bobbing behaviour is often an indication of territorial ownership. Territorial head bobbing behaviour can also be evident even if it is not breeding season, where any intruder is greeted and challenged with gestures that he is stronger. Unlike with courtship head bobbing behaviour, these cases will often end up in fighting and biting to show who is the strongest. These fights might be brutal and it is often indicated that these two needs to be kept in separate enclosures. Increasing the housing enclosure might also help in some cases.

Similar to territorial head bobbing, Bearded dragons will also show this behaviour when they feel scared or threatened. Perceived intruders might include people, live food, pets and even sounds from outside the enclosure. These individuals often open their mouth and can lash out and bite too, so be carefull. Also see open mouth behaviour in Bearded dragons.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Bob Their Heads At Humans?

When it comes to why Bearded Dragons bob their heads at humans, the answer is complicated. It’s a form of communication that they use to express their feelings and emotions. It could be telling you that it isn’t afraid of you, or even recognizing you as the dominant creature.

On the flip side, it can also mean that your reptile is feeling nervous or stressed. So, don’t take it personally! Over time, as your beardie gets used to you, headbobbing should lessen or even disappear entirely.

But if this behavior persists despite the growth in trust between you and your pet, then something else may be causing this response from them. The key is being able to understand what message your critter is trying to send by its body language – so keep an eye out for other subtle gestures which indicate how your pets are feeling about you!

Why Do Female Beardies Bob Their Heads?

Female bearded dragons may bob their heads for a variety of reasons. In contrast to male beardies that usually demonstrate more aggressive head motions, female beardies tend to send out more subtle signals with their head bobs. This could be a sign of submissiveness or a sign that she is willing to accept the advances of a male bearded dragon.

On the other hand, female beardies can also be trying to display dominance over other females, especially if they are kept in individual enclosures. It’s important to remember though that each beardie has its own unique behavior and body language; so even if two females are bobbing their heads, the context and purpose could differ greatly depending on the situation.

Why do baby Bearded Dragons bob their head?

It’s common for baby Bearded Dragons, especially those kept as pets, to bob their heads. This could be an instinctual behavior to assert dominance and look larger when faced with something that it is unfamiliar with. It might also be out of fear or a sense of being threatened in its environment.

What Causes Them To Bob Their Heads While Sleeping?

Bearded dragons have a peculiar habit of bobbing their heads while they sleep! It’s an interesting behavior that leaves many owners wondering what could possibly be the cause.

The most likely reason why bearded dragons bob their heads while sleeping is because of light interruptions in the environment. Bearded dragons need a dark and comfortable setting for sleeping and if their habitat has too much light, this can lead to them becoming stressed or frustrated and bobbing their heads as a result.

Another possible explanation is that it’s just part of their natural sleep cycle – similar to when humans sometimes jump and jerk at the start of falling asleep. So, even though it may look strange, it’s not actually something to worry about and is perfectly normal for your dragon.

Behavior Seen With Head-Bobbing

Besides the speed of head-bobbing, accompanying behaviors can make it simpler to identify which type of head-bobbing is taking place.


If a dragon raises one of its arms and waves it, this usually indicates that it has accepted the dominance of the bigger dragon.

This can be observed during mating season when females are propositioned by males, though showing submission to another dragon may also occur outside of mating. On the other hand, when two dragons bob their heads at each other it can be a sign of challenge and dominance.


Another behavior associated with head-bobbing is beard-puffing which is also used as a way of displaying dominance among males or defending against potential predators. When there’s head-bobbing paired with beard-puffing, it signals an even more serious challenge coming up for those who observe it!

Chin Turning Black

Chin skin turning black can also occur with head-bobbing and usually signals stress in the animal. This could indicate that a threat or challenge is imminent and that there may be some cause for concern or unease in the dragon’s environment.

Why Recognizing The Cause Of Head Bobbing Is Important

Recognizing the cause of head bobbing in Bearded Dragons is an essential part of understanding their behavior and determining how best to solve any issues they may be having. Head bobbing is a behavior that has been passed down through generations – it was developed by wild Bearded Dragons to communicate with each other, as well as to ward off predators.

However, this same communication can be used between them and their owners. When a Beardie is feeling threatened, their body produces hormones known as cortisol which increases their glucose and energy levels allowing them to focus on defending themselves or fleeing from danger. Once the danger has passed, the cortisol levels go back down again.

Unfortunately, when stress levels remain elevated for extended periods of time, cortisol stays high and suppresses other important bodily functions such as digestion and sleep. This is why chronic stress can be so harmful over time and eventually lead to serious illness if not managed properly. By recognizing what’s causing a Bearded Dragon’s head bobbing behaviors, you can take action to help keep your Beardie happy and healthy.

How To Stop Or Reduce Head Bobbing In Bearded Dragons

Bearded Dragons can often feel stressed and fearful which can lead to them bobbing their head. To reduce or stop this behavior, it is important to provide the best environment for your pet by assessing the space, diet, and access to shelter, and making sure there is no other animals present. If your Bearded Dragon appears to be head-bobbing, you could add screens or hides so that they feel more protected in their enclosure.

Additionally, look out for any reflective surfaces that could cause your Bearded Dragon to perceive an enemy on the other side of the glass and lower this possibility by adjusting the lighting. Building a strong bond with your Bearded Dragon is also beneficial – use food as a reward for spending time together but ensure not to overfeed. By following these steps you can help limit stress and fear in your Bearded Dragon and eventually stop or reduce head bobbing.

False Head Bobbing Due To Seizures Or Fitting

False head bobbing in Bearded Dragons is an involuntary movement that can be caused by seizures or fitting.

Seizures are a serious issue, caused by the brain sending out too much electricity that overrides its capacity to control one’s movement. Even though seizures generally don’t include head bobs, it can be mistaken for an intentional act.

Is Frequent Head Bobbing Something To Be Worried About?

When it comes to bearded dragons, frequent head bobbing is actually a common occurrence and something you don’t have to be overly concerned about. It’s their way of communicating! The bearded dragon may be feeling uncomfortable or intimidated by something or anyone, like a new environment or another pet in the room.

In addition to this, live prey used for food can also trigger a territorial response from time to time, though it doesn’t happen very often. As you spend more time with your beardie, you will learn more about them and develop an understanding of when they are feeling stressed or unsettled.


Why does my Bearded Dragon bob its head at other pets?

Your Bearded Dragon may bob its head at your other pets due to perceiving them as a threat. It may believe they are coming close to its habitat or making too much noise, making it scared.

Why does my Bearded Dragon bob its head at toys?

If your Bearded Dragon is bobbing its head at toys, it’s probably mistaking the toy for a predator and trying to assert dominance. If the toy is not moving, your pet may be attempting to figure out how far away it is in order to safely pass by.

Why does my Bearded Dragon bob its head at me?

It is not uncommon for a Bearded Dragon to bob its head at its owner, and if the head movement is slow, then it means your pet acknowledges you as the leader. On the other hand, a quick bobbing of the head signals that your pet is trying to assert dominance over you.


In conclusion, the head bobbing behavior of bearded dragons is one of the most fascinating behaviors in reptiles. It’s a complex process that ultimately helps bearded dragons communicate with each other and stay safe in the wild.

Understanding their head bobbing behavior can help us better relate to and care for our pet bearded dragons.