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Understanding Bearded Dragon Behavior: What Your Pet is Trying to Tell You

bearded dragon in a tub with water

Curious about what your bearded dragon is trying to say? From lounging lazily in their tank to hitching a ride atop your shoulder, these reptiles have a language all their own. In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at bearded dragon behavior, with insights from the reptile vets here at LIBEVC. Let’s dive in…


The Language of Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons, affectionately known as "beardies," are renowned for their typically chill nature and unique personalities. But what exactly are they trying to communicate through their behaviors and physical gestures? Here are some common ones and what they typically mean:


Head Bobbing

Head bobbing is a common behavior in bearded dragons and can have different meanings based on context. Males often bob their heads rapidly to show dominance or during mating rituals. If a bearded dragon bobs its head slowly, it might be recognizing another dragon's dominance or simply acknowledging its presence.


Arm Waving

Arm waving is another distinctive behavior where the dragon lifts one of its front legs and moves it in a circular motion. This gesture is often seen in younger or submissive dragons and is used as a sign of submission or to show that they are not a threat.


Bearding

When a bearded dragon flares out the skin around its throat, known as "bearding," it can indicate a few things. This behavior is usually a sign of stress, fear, or aggression. The beard may also turn black to emphasize the display. Understanding the context in which bearding occurs is essential to address any potential issues in your pet's environment.


Tail Twitching

Tail twitching is less common but can be a sign of agitation or excitement. If your bearded dragon's tail is twitching, it might be reacting to a perceived threat or showing interest in something in its environment.


Hissing

Hissing is a defensive behavior used by bearded dragons to warn off potential threats. It's often accompanied by a flattened body posture and may precede other defensive behaviors like biting or tail whipping.


Glass Surfing

When a bearded dragon repeatedly runs along the sides of its enclosure, it's called glass surfing. This behavior can indicate stress, boredom, or a desire to explore. It's essential to evaluate the enclosure's conditions and provide enrichment to eliminate this behavior.


Basking

Bearded dragons regulate their body temperature by basking under a heat lamp. They'll often spend significant time under the heat source to warm up before becoming active. They will often open their mouths when basking to expel excess heat.


Puffing Up

Bearded dragons may puff up their bodies as a defensive or territorial display. This behavior makes them appear larger and more intimidating to potential threats or rivals.


Tongue Flicking

Bearded dragons use their tongues to explore their environment and gather information about objects, food, or other animals. Rapid tongue flicking may indicate curiosity or a search for food.


Creating the Ideal Environment

Now that you speak bearded dragon, let’s talk about their preferred living style! The environment you create for your beardie significantly impacts its behavior and well-being. Here are some quick tips on how to care for your beardie and provide them with an ideal habitat:


For more details, check out our comprehensive bearded dragon care guide.


  • Habitat Setup:

    • Enclosure: An adult bearded dragon requires a large enclosure. Choose a tank that is at least 4x the length of your bearded dragon. The larger the tank, the more room they have to explore and exercise, which is crucial for their physical and mental health.

    • Substrate: Use paper towels, or reptile carpet which are all easy to clean and maintain. 

    • Temperature: The enclosure should have a basking spot ranging from 90-100°F (32-37°C) and a cooler side at 75-85°F (24-29°C). Providing UVB lighting is essential for their Vitamin D3 synthesis. 

    • Decor and Hiding Spots: Branches, rocks, and hides offer opportunities for climbing, basking, and retreating when your dragon wants some privacy. A well-decorated habitat stimulates natural behaviors and keeps your dragon entertained.


  • Diet: Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. A balanced diet for a bearded dragon includes a mix of vegetables, fruits, and insects. Leafy greens, squash, and carrots are excellent choices for the vegetable portion of their diet, while crickets, mealworms, and roaches provide the necessary protein.


  • Hydration: While bearded dragons come from arid environments, they still need proper hydration. Provide fresh water daily and mist their food to ensure they are getting enough moisture. Offering a water dish large enough for soaking can also help keep them hydrated.


  • Healthcare: Monitor your bearded dragon for signs of illness, such as changes in appetite and behavior. Scheduling annual check-ups with a reptile veterinarian helps keep your pet healthy. Make sure their habitat is clean to prevent bacterial growth and related health issues. And always handle your bearded dragon gently to reduce stress and foster a positive bond between you and your pet.


Understanding your pet is key to building a strong relationship. With the help of these tips, becoming fluent in "beardie" is a breeze! So, whether your dragon is head-bobbing, arm-waving, or just chilling, you’ll be able to translate. 


Want More?

Don't forget to check out one of all-time most popular blogs: Your Bearded Dragon Likes to Watch TV!

217 views5 comments

5 commentaires


thomasfrank1803
8 hours ago

I love my bearded dragon, but sometimes their behavior can be confusing. This breakdown of common actions and their meanings is fantastic. Now I can understand if my Retro Bowl College beardie is happy, scared, or just wants some heat.

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Nikolas
Nikolas
04 juil.

This is a great post! Very informative and well-explained Solar

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pricots sistera
pricots sistera
03 juil.

I had no clue bearded dragons spoke such a complicated 'language'! geometry dash

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iticianset
01 juil.

I had no idea bearded dragons had such a complex 'language'! Learning about their arm waving and hissing behaviors is both enlightening and essential for their well-being. snake game

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han gu
26 juin

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