Uncovering the Mysterious World of Bearded Dragon Behavior

A bearded dragon is a lizard species native to Australia, and they can make great pets. But, if you’re going to keep one as a pet, you must learn about its behavior to understand how to properly care for it.

General bearded dragon behavior will depend on several factors such as their habitat setup, environmental stimuli, and diet. To get the best out of your reptilian companion, you have to be able to recognize what certain behaviors mean in order for them to thrive and be happy.

In this article, we’ll explore the common behaviors of the general bearded dragon and look at the different ways that humans can interact with them in a positive way.

General Bearded Dragon Behaviour

The general behaviour of pet Bearded dragons can be used as an indicator of their overall mood and health. Normal behaviour is when they are alert most of the time and spend the majority of the day either basking or be on the lookout for food.

Some literature suggests that because of their natural docile nature, it is possible to walk towards and handle a wild Bearded dragon in its natural habitat. Bearded dragons are known for their calm, but still curious nature.

Bearded dragons are most active during the day. Because of their basking behaviour they love spending most of their time on hot surfaces. Strangely they also like to climb to the highest point of their surroundings to bask. Bearded dragons will most often sit on top of each other (which is apparently still unexplained), which make them look like “close bonding” animals.

After feeding, adults might look lazy, stretching out their legs in a basking position, taking a nap, but their eyes should still look alert, especially when there is movement in the proximity.

Bearded dragons are active hunters. It is normal for babies and juveniles Bearded dragons to almost always be hungry and willing to eat. Adults might choose to miss a meal or two when they are basking.

Male Bearded dragons often do what is called head bobbing to look dominant and to impress females. It is also normal for Bearded dragons to inflate the gullar area, or the so-called beard.

Why Is It Important To Understand Bearded Dragon Behavior?

It’s important to understand beard dragon behavior because this is how your pet communicates its feelings. By interpreting their body language correctly, you’ll be able to get an idea of whether your bearded dragon is content or stressed out.

This will enable you to make the necessary adjustments to their habitat or even arrange a visit to the vet if need be.

When examining the behavior of your bearded dragon, you have to remember to never hold them when they appear agitated or overly stressed.

General Bearded Dragon Behaviour

Bearded dragons make interesting and enjoyable companions, so understanding their behavior is key to helping them live healthy and happy life. Their behavior depends largely on their habitat setup, the environment around them, and their diet. It’s important to recognize what signs mean in order to properly interact with your reptilian companion.

The best way to ensure that your dragon is happy and living a healthy life is by familiarizing yourself with all aspects of their general bearded dragon behavior and providing the right environment for them.


Bearding is a fascinating behavior displayed by bearded dragons. As the name suggests, it involves puffing up their “beard” to make themselves appear larger. In some cases, they also lift their chin, open their mouth and hiss or darken the color of their beard.

This type of behaviour can be seen in both male and female bearded dragons which might signify their irritability or readiness to fight or mate. Even though there is no clear reason as to why they do it, it perplexes most pet owners who observe their pets doing this strange yet interesting display now and then.

Arm waving

Arm waving is an adorable behavior that can be seen in many juvenile bearded dragons. It involves an upward and downward movement of the arm, with some dragons raising it high above their head and others simply lifting it off the ground.

This behavior can occur for a variety of reasons. Arm waving may indicate a greeting, such as when a bearded dragon sees another similar lizard or even their pet parent. On the other hand, it may also be a sign of submission to a larger animal.

In either case, slow arm waving is usually harmless and normal – so don’t be alarmed if you spot it in your own bearded dragon!

Head bobbing

Head bobbing is a very important body language used by bearded dragons. Depending on the speed, head bobbing can mean different things. For example, a slow head bob might be a sign of greeting or submission and may even be accompanied by arm waving. On the other hand, faster head bobs indicate more hostile behavior.

Males especially tend to display higher frequency head bobs as a sign of dominance or territorial aggression, often towards other males because they are trying to claim their territory. If two males use this behavior against each other it could lead to fighting.

During mating rituals, the female will usually signal her acceptance with a slower head bob in response to the male’s faster head bobbing.


Basking is an important part of a bearded dragon’s life, and it’s necessary for them to stay healthy. Pet beardies regulate their temperature levels in a unique way—they make use of heat lamps to mimic the warmth of the sun’s rays.

During parts of the day, they’ll bask underneath the light, spreading out and darkening their body so they can absorb the heat better.

After that, when their body temperature drops again, they’ll relocate to other parts with natural environmental temperatures.


Gaping is a natural behavior in bearded dragons that helps them regulate their body temperature. It’s similar to how humans sweat—they open their mouth to cool down.

You’re likely to see gaping when a bearded dragon is basking, as the temperature in its basking area should be between 95 and 105°F.

Bearded dragons also use gaping to show dominance among males. Still, the most common cause is overheating, so if you notice your beardie gaping a lot then it’s important to make sure the heat lamp isn’t covering the entirety of its enclosure—leaving an area of shade where they can cool down safely.

Eye Bulging

Eye bulging is a normal, natural behavior that many bearded dragons display during the shed. This can make it look like their eyes are going to pop out of their sockets! Don’t worry though, as this is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about.

It’s actually just their way of helping to loosen the skin around their eyes; with one of the toughest areas being around their face and eyes, eye bulging helps them to shed easier. To equip your reptile friend further, you can assist with baths, misting, or using a specialized shedding aid.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Go Black?

Bearded dragons may turn their beards black for many different reasons, but the most common reasons are when they feel threatened or stressed, when they want to breed, or if they are sick. Though this behavior can happen in male or female bearded dragons, it is more commonly seen in males.

It is essential that you comprehend the cause behind your bearded dragon’s blackened beard. They will do this when they feel threatened by a predator and it is often paired with head bobbing as an aggressive sign.

Additionally, if your pet reptile is ill, you may notice signs of illness like lethargy, loss of appetite, and swelling around the mouth accompanying the blackened beard.

Lastly, if your bearded dragon wants to start breeding it may also turn their beard black – though this behavior is generally more common among wild species.

Flare Their Beard:

Flaring their beard is a common and normal behavior in bearded dragons. This is used as a defense mechanism, to appear bigger and challenge other species for territory. It’s possible to see this behavior in both wild and pet bearded dragons when they feel threatened.

Your pet beardie may also puff up its beard even if it doesn’t feel threatened, which is generally a sign that shedding is about to start. To prepare for shedding, the bearded dragon will often fluff its beard in an attempt to loosen the skin around its head.

It’s important to keep in mind that if your pet does flare its beard, it means it needs reassurance and helps to adjust so that it feels more comfortable around you. With enough time, patience, and love from its owner, it can become comfortable in no time!

Tail Twitching:

Bearded dragons are known to twitch their tails when they’re hunting for food or other insects in their tank. It’s behavior they do in the wild as well, so it’s only natural that your pet bearded dragon might do it too. However, it may also be a sign of something more serious– metabolic bone disease.

The telltale sign of the metabolic bone disease is spasming rather than controlled twitching– you’ll notice not just tail movement, but muscle spasms as well.

If your bearded dragon shows signs of this kind of twitching, take it to the vet immediately for further examination and treatment.

Hissing and Stamping

When provoked or threatened, bearded dragons are known to make loud hissing and stamping sounds. Hissing is the dragon’s way of trying to make itself appear more intimidating, such as in the wild when it hisses at predators.

If your beardie hisses at you, then it’s best to stop whatever you’re doing as this is a sign of aggression that usually precedes biting.

On the other hand, stamping is not necessarily a sign of aggression; a male bearded dragon may do this when showing interest in females.

Ultimately, creating a secure and peaceful environment for your pet can stop them from hissing and stamping.


Digging is an instinctive behavior for female bearded dragons, who may burrow to lay their eggs. Usually, this happens in the wild, where they cover and protect their eggs from predators. But if you own one at home, chances are you will have to remove the eggs after they are laid and incubate them yourself.

To ensure that your female beardie can properly dig and lay her eggs, make sure that you provide appropriate substrate for her. Also, make sure she gets enough calcium in her diet by offering plenty of dark green leafy vegetables.

Lastly, once your beardie starts digging watch her eating and activity levels carefully to make sure she doesn’t become egg-bound as many do and require assistance or even surgery to remove all of the follicles or eggs from their bodies.

Color changes

Color changes provide a great insight into what a dragon is feeling and even its next action. The most obvious change can be seen in the beard, which tends to darken when the dragon is feeling threatened or attempting to challenge someone else.

However, they are also capable of subtle color shifts in their body that indicate different moods. Lighter shades signify a mellow behavior while darker colors suggest stress. A dullish shade may indicate that skin shedding is about to occur soon.

All these color changes provide an interesting way to view the mindset of dragons.

Bearded Dragon Behaviors Explained

Bearded dragons are fascinating creatures with a wide range of behaviors that can be difficult to understand. Here are some of the most common behaviors and what they mean:


When bearded dragons are interested in mating, they may show certain behaviors and changes in their appearance. These can include raising their heads up and down to initiate courtship – a behavior known as head bobbing – as well as darkening the beard area.

This darkening of the beard can indicate either that they are ready to mate or stressed, both of which can be easily distinguished by looking at other behaviors.

Males typically continue this head bobbing gesture while mating to show their dominance, while females will accept their gestures by also doing so.

All in all, it’s a fascinating ritual that all bearded dragon owners should keep an eye out for!


Shedding is an uncomfortable part of any bearded dragon’s life, so it’s important not to disturb them during this time. With that being said, there are a few behaviors that your beardie may exhibit during shedding to make the process easier – such as fluffing their neck and bulging their eyes.

By doing this, they’ll be able to loosen the skin around their eyes and improve the shedding process. Shedding can also cause your beard to twitch its tail and even hiss, but it’s important not to get too alarmed or intervene – just give them some space and let them go through it naturally.


Have you ever had the misfortune of experiencing aggression from a Bearded Dragon? It can be quite unsettling, especially if you’ve never seen it before. Bearded Dragons will show aggression in various ways, such as head bobbing, hissing, stamping, and puffing out their beards. Basically, these behaviors make them appear larger and more intimidating to predators in the wild.

It is possible for a dragon to display all the aggressive behaviors mentioned if it feels particularly threatened. That said, it’s always best to house bearded dragons by themselves to prevent aggressive territorial behavior between individuals.

Bearded Dragon Behaviors That Can Signify Illness

Bearded dragons are usually quite healthy creatures, but there are certain behaviors that can indicate they may be unwell. These include a lack of appetite, lethargy, and changes in coloration.


Have they been sleeping more, walking with less vigor (not to be muddled with trouble getting around), or refusing to chase prey like usual? If so, we will start by talking through this issue as it is highly common. There can be a variety of explanations for this. Some are natural and some may signify a greater worry.

  • One possible cause of lethargy is brumation – also called hibernation – which wild bearded dragons do to protect themselves from the cold weather. Brumation often includes hiding under things or trying to burrow. If your dragon is young or ill, though, you should contact your vet before letting the brumation process continue.
  • Another potential culprit for the lethargy could be if the tank isn’t warm enough. Be sure that you have at least a 95-110 degrees Fahrenheit temperature underneath the basking spot. The rest of the cage should remain more on the moderate side; think around 70 degrees during the day and 65 overnight. You may need thermometers at both ends of your terrarium as well as a thermometer gun to keep track of temperatures if needed.
  • In the beginning, it’s possible that poor lighting is the cause for your dragon appearing sluggish. Bearded dragons require exposure to ultraviolet rays that resemble a desert’s sun in order to absorb their food and nourishment effectively. Without this, they can become torpid and unwell. To prevent this from happening, guarantee that your basking bulb remains on for twelve hours at twelve inches above its basking zone. It’s also recommended that you exchange their bulb every six months to ensure optimal performance.
  • In addition, parasites can also make dragons lethargic, as well as cause foul-smelling runny poo. If you suspect this is the case with your dragon then make sure to contact your vet right away!
  • Lastly, if your bearded dragon isn’t getting a balanced diet it may result in lethargy too. Take a look at what they’ve been eating lately and see if they are getting all of the necessary nutrients!


Diarrhea is a cause of concern for bearded dragon owners. It can be caused by many factors, such as diet, stress, and parasites. If you notice your dragon having diarrhea consistently over a period of more than a few days, it’s important to have them examined by your vet right away, as the underlying causes could range from simple dietary indiscretions to significant issues like parasites which require immediate treatment.

Furthermore, diarrhea can lead to dehydration if left untreated. Signs that your dragon is dehydrated include lethargy, loss of appetite, wrinkly or dry-looking skin, and sunken eyes.

To check for dehydration in your bearded dragon, you can gently pinch and pull the skin on its back and observe how quickly it retracts after being released; if the skin takes longer than usual to spring back into place then chances are your pet is dehydrated!


Panting is a way of regulating body temperature and it’s common practice for dragons. If your dragon is panting, then she could be overheated. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, check the temperatures in her terrarium to make sure the basking area is between 95-110 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit at nighttime.

Mouth issues can also lead to panting — look out for yellow or grey skin on your dragon’s mouth, red or swollen gums, and signs of disinterest when eating. This could be an indication of Mouth Rot, a serious illness that needs to be treated urgently by a vet. It usually develops due to weakened immune systems from stress, poor diets, or inadequate heating.

Respiratory problems can also cause panting; if there are other symptoms like sneezing, shallow breathing, and fluid leaking from the eyes and nose then it may be necessary to take them to see the vet as soon as possible.

Stunted Movements Or Difficulty Walking:

If your bearded dragon isn’t walking properly, it could be a sign of something more serious. It’s important to get your pet checked out by a vet to determine the cause so that you can best treat it.

Common causes of stunted movements or difficulty walking in bearded dragons include Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), severe gut impaction, and broken bones or fractures.

Vision problems or ear infections can also affect a dragon’s movement as can head or spine injuries and neurological issues like gout.

Additionally, if your dragon is too hot, it might become disoriented and lose its balance since dragons are cold-blooded.

No matter what condition your bearded dragon is in, you should never hesitate to seek professional help so that your pet gets the care they need as quickly as possible.


When it comes to your pet dragon, vomiting can be a cause for concern. An isolated case of overeating or drinking too much shouldn’t be something to worry about, but if the vomiting persists, you should call your vet.

When assessing the cause of vomiting, there are a few common suspects you should look out for. Overeating or overhydrating are two possible causes that have simple solutions – make sure you don’t give your pet too much food or water and reduce their time spent in baths or swimming pools.

Alternatively, gut impaction from consuming food that is bigger than the space between the eyes of your dragon can be an issue and if prolonged diarrhea is also accompanying vomiting then you may need to look at parasites.

Finally, high humidity levels can be hazardous – this should remain between 30-40% and can be monitored using a hygrometer. Opening the tank lid screen will help with regulating temperature and humidity levels in this instance.

Eye Bulging

If your dragon has droopy eyes that are jutting out of its head, it could be squinting, and this should concern you. Fortunately, there are numerous causes for this behavior, so understanding the possible reasons is key to figuring out a solution.

One common cause of eye bulging in dragons is during shedding. As they try to remove the skin around their face, dragons may bulge their eyes out in an attempt to get it off. But don’t worry – providing warm baths for your dragon during shedding is the best thing for them, and you should never peel off their skin as that could irritate or damage them.

Another potential cause of eye bulging is Vitamin A overdose. This is usually seen when supplements rich in Vitamin A are used incorrectly or taken in excess – though it’s unlikely for this to happen just from diet alone.

To avoid such risk, opt for supplements with beta carotene instead of Vitamin A. It’s also important to note other symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity such as lethargy and swelling.

Aggressive Bearded Dragon Behaviors To Look Out For

Aggressive behavior in bearded dragons is not uncommon, and it can be a sign of stress or illness. It’s important to recognize the signs of aggression so that you can take the necessary steps to address the issue.


Biting is an uncommon behavior for bearded dragons but can still occur. In most cases, a dragon only bites if it is hungry or fearful.

If your dragon bites you with a playful nibble, more than likely it’s because it needs to be fed. This could be the case especially if you have recently adopted a dragon who has endured poor treatment and feeding habits.

On the other hand, biting may also be a sign of intimidation. A new or abused dragon may bite out of fear in order to protect itself. To better connect and bond with your pet, wear thick gardening gloves as you handle it for short periods of time and make sure not to pick it up from above since this is how predators come at them in the wild and will further amplify its fearfulness.


Hissing is a common behavior seen in Bearded dragons. It usually happens when they feel threatened or uncomfortable in their surroundings. Therefore, if you recently adopted a new dragon, he may still be getting used to his new home and may hiss defensively out of fear.

Beard Puffing

If you’re the proud owner of a bearded dragon, then you know that this reptile’s namesake is its puffy black beard. This behavior is actually quite common and may be a sign of stress or fear due to changes in the environment.

It could also indicate that your bearded dragon is shedding, as puffing out the beard can sometimes help speed up the process.


Pancaking is an incredibly common behavior among bearded dragons, and true to its namesake, it looks like a pancake when they do it. Generally speaking, there are two likely causes of this behavior.

First, it could be due to fear or stress. Bearded dragons in the wild will sometimes flatten out their body to appear intimidating and also hide from predators. Domestic bearded dragons might do the same if they’re outside or if something suddenly startles them.

The other cause could be a drop in temperature within the dragon’s terrarium. If it gets too cold, your dragon may try to regulate their body heat by flattening itself out. To prevent this, you should make sure that the temperatures are always stable with a proper basking spot and that they don’t drop too low at night.


The bearded dragon is a fascinating reptile that makes for a great pet. Understanding their behavior is key to providing them with the best life possible, and their natural behaviors can help you better appreciate this amazing animal.

With proper care, your bearded dragon will make a wonderful addition to any household.