Understanding Your Bearded Dragon’s Territorial Behavior

Territorial behaviour is the behaviour Bearded dragons show towards other Bearded dragons, other animals and even humans when it enters its territory. Darkening of the beard, head bobbingopen mouth behaviour and some forms of the waving behaviour are all signs of Bearded dragon territorial behaviour.

Females might also show this behaviour, but males tend to be a lot more territorial. These are all the signs you’ll see when your male Beardie is trying to protect his own little area. This will be especially true when predators or potential threats like other male Bearded dragons try to intrude.

Bearded dragon territorial behaviour

A single male Bearded dragon can happily guard his territory consisting of one to a harem of females. He will not only protect other females, but he will chase potential breeding males away from them. This is an evolutionary phenomenon where only the strongest Bearded dragons breed and carry their genes on towards their offspring.

Bearded dragon territorial behaviour might be seen when any gender dragon is added to an established group of Beardies. It will continue to become very intense when an adult male is introduced. Fighting might ensue where various degrees of biting might also be seen. This situation should be prevented by housing male adults in different enclosures or by significantly increasing the size of the enclosure so that all the males can have their own little territory.

1. Head Bobbing:

Bearded dragons are territorial and will often express this with head bobbing. If a tank has an established occupant, they may bob their head in the presence of a new beardie as a sign of dominating their territory. The movement is done in rapid succession and is used to indicate that the newcomer is unwelcome.

In some cases, two bearded dragons might be head bobbing at each other, where one is bobbing faster and the other’s movements are slower. This is also a sign of territorial behavior, with the faster head bobberer establishing itself as dominant and the slower one submitting to its authority.

So if you ever find your beardies head bobbing at each other, it’s likely they’re trying to establish dominance or ward off intruders!

2. Bearding:

Bearded dragons are territorial creatures and they will fluff their beards when faced with a perceived territorital threat. By puffing up their beards, they create an illusion of looking bigger and more menacing in order to ward off other intruders. They may also engage in other behaviors such as head bobbing or eye-contact with the intent of intimidating the intruder.

Understanding bearded dragon’s territorial behavior is important for proper pet care. If you own one, it is important to provide them with an adequate environment that’ isn’t too small, as this can cause stress which may lead to increased aggression between your dragon and others.

3. Hissing And Opening Their Mouth:

Within their own territory, beardies can also hiss at newcomers to make themselves appear intimidating. In more extreme cases, they may even open their mouth wide.

4. Lying On Top Of Each Other:

Bearded Dragons are, by nature, territorial animals. They tend to display signs of dominance when competing for resources or space. One such sign can be seen by observing two Beardies that are lying on top of each other.

While it may appear as if they are cuddling and getting along harmoniously, the Beardie on top is actually showing its dominance and entitlement to more basking time in the UV light, which is essential for their physiological functions. The one on bottom is displaying signs of being oppressed. This classic ‘piling on’ behavior is common among Bearded Dragons and other reptiles alike, including snakes and lizards.

What Are The Possible Consequences If Two Or More Male Bearded Dragons Are Living In The Same Terrarium?

It is not recommended to house two or more male bearded dragons together in the same terrarium. When their territory is intruded upon by another male, both sides can become very aggressive and can get into fights. This is because in the wild, the weaker of the two would be able to run away, but inside a terrarium they have nowhere to turn.

The dominant beardie can dominate over the weaker one by attacking and bullying it – which can be recognized by missing toenails or tips of tails. This will cause a significant amount of stress for the oppressed beardie, and might lead to not eating, hiding for long periods of time or greatly reduced activity with its black beard as a signifier of distress.

The oppressed bearded dragon may also try to suppress its gender using ‘gender suppression’ while showing signs of submission such as circuduction (where they lift up one foreleg and wave it around in circles).

If left alone in this situation, the Beardie may become weak and stressed eventually leading to malnutrition or even death. So, most definitely do not keep two males together in one tank – it just isn’t worth risking your beloved pet’s health!

Why Do Bearded Dragons Become Territorial?

Bearded Dragons are territorial creatures, and this is due to the nature in which they have evolved. Adult males will secrete their scent through femoral pores that help mark off their territories and ward off competition from other males.

If a new male tries to enter another male’s territory, there will be a fight between them to decide who gets to stay in that area.

A female entering the territory of a male will be either pursued by the male for mating or allowed to leave if she doesn’t wish to mate. In both cases, they’ll likely go their separate ways afterwards.

Newly hatched baby bearded dragons are particularly vulnerable, so it is instinctual for them to wriggle away from other dragons and predators and try to find their own environment.

Understanding the reasons behind why Bearded Dragons become territorial is key in engaging with them properly. Knowing how they act in different circumstances – when threatened by competition or when searching for a desired mate – allows us to gain insight into their behavioural needs as animals.

What to Do With an Angry Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons, like all creatures, have unique and sometimes changeable personalities. When owning one as a pet, it’s important to recognize the signs of an angry dragon. Some common signs of anger in these lizards include hissing, head-bobbing, arm-waving and a sudden urge to bite or lunge at its handler.

Should you find yourself faced with an angry dragon, keep calm and try not to react strongly to their outburst. Instead, look for causes of their frustration— Are they too hot? Too cold? Hungry? Sick?

Once the source of their irritability is identified, make sure you take the necessary steps to address it— provide them with proper heating and cooling sources; feed them on schedule; monitor their health regularly etc. With patience and understanding your bearded dragon will soon return to its happy self!

Do female bearded dragons also exhibit territorial behavior?

Although female beardies are typically not aggressively territorial, they can still become territorial if their space is limited. Even when living in a larger enclosure, two or more females may start to display territorial behaviors such as head bobbing and chasing one another.

In the wild, female beardies usually live solitary lives and so it’s important to only house two or more females together if you can provide them with adequate tank space. A tank size of 100 gallons or more is recommended for two beardies to ensure that there will be enough room for them to each have their own territory and avoid any potential conflicts that could arise due to territorial behavior.

Is It Possible To House Both A Male And Female of the Same Species Together?

The natural behavior of bearded dragons in the wild can be misleading when it comes to keeping them together. Although male bearded dragons will guard their territory against other males, they usually allow more than one female in their territory so that they can mate. In captivity, however, these same rules do not apply for two or more dragons of different genders.

Bearded dragons in captivity see any other dragon – regardless of its gender – as a potential threat. Because of this, it is recommended not to keep males and females together as it could lead to unnecessary stress for both animals.

They also don’t need it nor do they like the company, meaning that nature has created them to be loners. For this reason, we suggest to only house bearded dragons separately from one another in order to ensure a healthy, hassle-free environment for your pet dragon!

If You Own Multiple Bearded Dragons, What Should You Do?

If you find yourself owning more than one beardie, you need to take measures to ensure they can coexist peacefully. A good option is to give them away to someone else who will love and respect your pet companion, but if that’s not a viable solution then make separate housing arrangements for them.

Simply positioning their tanks in a way that they cannot see each other can be enough to eliminate the territorial behaviors they might exhibit towards one another. No matter what someone tells you at the pet store, having more than one beardie is almost never a good idea.

They are likely only housed in groups at pet stores because the owners have no other choice, so it would be much better for them to have their own spaces within your own home in order for them to thrive.


Bearded dragons have a natural territorial instinct and will display characteristically territorial behaviours if they feel threatened. Understanding the different types of territorial behaviour that bearded dragons display can help you to ensure that your pet is content.

By providing them with ample space, offering them safety and familiar objects, and ensuring that they are not overcrowded by other animals, you will be able to keep them satisfied and healthy in their environment.