Has your bearded dragon been acting funny? It’s almost like he’s moody? Bearded dragons display a variety of amusing behaviors and it’s important that you understand what this language means, so you’re aware of how your pet is feeling!
To begin with, it’s hugely beneficial for both you and your dragon to handle it regularly. Daily handling is a fantastic way to learn about and bond with your beardie. This will increase trust and love 🙂 Beardies are naturally calm, laid back animals, so this shouldn’t be too hard!
Here’s a list of some of the common behaviors you’ll see in bearded dragons and what they mean:
Head bobbing: You’ll often see head bobbing in dominant males that are being territorial. Their beard will darken and they’ll bob their head up and down very quickly. You’ll also see them do this when breeding! It’s occasionally seen in dominant females as well, though they’ll often bob their heads slower.
Arm waving: An arm wave is when a dragon slowly rotates their arm in a circular motion. It’s a submissive gesture often seen in females or less assertive males. It will occur in a territory dispute or when breeding, so the female lets the male know that she is submissive. It’s also sometimes used to let other dragons (or humans) know they’re aware of their pressence.
Flaring the beard: When dragons are stressed, uncomfortable, defensive, or aggressive, you’ll see their beard flare up, making their entire head look enormous! It’s a behavior often accompanied by a gaping mouth and rigid body. If your dragon is like this, it’s best to leave him/her alone and slowly tame it 🙂
Change in color: Color is a general indicator of mood. If they go dark, they may be stressed or concerned about their environment. If they’re very light in color, they’re relaxed and enjoying themselves. Note: There are various genetic color phases and some dragons are naturally darker or lighter than others. Always keep that in mind when trying to gauge your dragon’s mood!
Raised tails: This will happen when your dragon is on alert, either stalking their prey or in a defensive stance.
Many bearded dragons go through a hibernation period called “brumation.” They essentially go dormant, sleeping throughout the day and refusing food and water. This can go on for months, just a few days, or intermittently. It’s nothing to worry about as long as your dragon isn’t losing weight. Make them a comfortable place they can go and hide. It’s best to keep the lights on for 8 hours during the day so as to continue simulating a photo-period for the dragons.
Lastly, it’s important to remember not to pick up your beardie by lowering your hand from above. Dragons have a Third Eye (a series of sensory nerves) positioned on top of their heads near the middle of the skull. This eye serves the purpose of warning dragons about attacks from above. In the wild, birds are a natural predator, so you can see how lowering your hands from above might seem like a threat. The best way is the scoop him gently from underneath, making sure to support his entire body. Use two hands if needed! Let him roam around if he wants to – many dragons love relaxing on your shoulder!
Now that you know what certain bearded dragon behaviors mean, it’s time to take your learning to the next level! Do you want to understand how to prevent the top 4 common causes of death in bearded dragons? Or see different techniques for keeping your lovely pet hydrated? Watch our FREE Video Interview! You’ll all of that and much, much more!