Generally, the average bearded dragon is at least semi-social. They use a number of physical behaviors to communicate, including head bobbing, arm waving and beard flaring. Particularly, baby bearded dragons often participate in stacking. Wherein one bearded dragon will get on top of the other and another will get on top of that one.
Are bearded dragons social? Bearded dragons are social up to a very reasonable point. As compared to many other species of their ilk, dragons are able to display a fair number of behavioral tendencies. Which point towards their sociability, especially the ease with which they establish a bond with humans.
The following information will attempt to address bearded dragons sociability:
- quick bonding with humans
- communicative gestures of bearded dragons
- implication of mixing bearded dragons with another species
- conssequences of putting two male bearded dragons together
- possibility of bearded dragons attacking a human
- likelihood of females flaring their beards
- physical characteristics that enhance sociability
- mistaking optimal resource utilization for loneliness among bearded dragons
Bearded Dragons’ Rapid Bonding With Humans
An aspect of bearded dragons’ characteristics which is the ease with which they establish bond with humans.
Typically, when you first handle dragons at pet shows, you will find them warming up to you at the venue itself.
Then, once you have brought your chosen pet dragon home, again you will find it bonding with other species at home.
That is, other pets that you may have such as a cat or a dog, within no time.
Moreover, in its native Australia, humans mostly handle bearded dragons out in the wild with so much ease!
All of this is a clear pointer towards the social nature of dragons. Particularly, as compared to a lot of other reptiles, bearded dragons tend to form bonds with humans quite fast.
Communicative Gestures of Bearded Dragons
Here are some of these gestures.
Most often done by young bearded dragons by raising and waving a front limb. This is a sign of submission or being intimidated. Most Especially as you first walk up to your dragon’s enclosure.
This is the most well-known gesture of dragons. In fact, it gets its popular name from the “beard” on its chin, which in this case, it flares up. Particulally, it is a sign of feeling threatened. At the same time, male bearded dragons sometimes flare their beards simply to sway the ladies!
Bearded dragons often tend to bob their heads up and down. Generally, they do this as if they are giving an affirmative response to a question posed to them. However, in reality, they are simply asserting their presence.
In fact, this is especially true in the case of male bearded dragons when more than one is present in the same enclosure. And one wants to prove to the other “who’s the boss” by bobbing its head continuously!
Stacking among Bearded Dragons
An unusual behavior pattern, especially seen among young dragons, is to stack up to one on top of the other. This is not particularly a sign of strong sociability which many pet owners inaccurately perceive.
Rather, it is just about dominating. And also capturing resources such as light and heat to the maxim. Thus, the one(s) stacked over is compromised while the other(s) on top is able to maximize the light and heat they get.
Likewise, remember this is far from ideal behavior and as a responsible pet owner, you must do everything in your power to prevent it. That is, because the one(s) at the bottom will continue to stay depleted of resources essential to them.
Thus, the solution lies in either avoiding housing more than one bearded dragon together in the same enclosure. Or if you really have to, then you need to provide them with more than adequate space. So that they simply do not resort to stacking in the first place.
Implications of Mixing Them With Another Species
In the wild, dragons are largely solitary. They don’t actually mix with each other or with other species. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have them together in captivity.
Therefore, as previously mentioned, bearded dragons tend to be territorial with each other, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get along.
It’s just expedient to introduce them early. Thus, when it comes to mixing them with other species, the first step is to make sure that all species come from the same type of habitat. For example, dragons come from a dry, hot climate. Thus you wouldn’t want to put them with an iguana, which likes high humidity.
Likewise, it’s also important that the lizards are around the same size with neither species being prey to the other.
Further, in zoos, blue-tongued skinks and shingleback lizards might be housed with dragons. As all three species come from the dry Australian interior.
Also, another option is to try and pair them with another species of reptile. Tortoises can be a very good option as they are totally herbivores. And they possess natural protection in their shell to avoid other animals attacking them.
Again, the habitat should match, so make sure to get a dry climate tortoise to go with your dragon. Likewise, it’s important that the enclosure be large enough to allow both reptiles plenty of space.
Likewise, another possibility is to pair the bearded dragon with a nocturnal lizard. Bearded dragons are diurnal, thus they won’t be active at the same time as a nocturnal lizard such as a gecko.
Consequences of Putting Two Bearded Dragon Males Together
As previously mentioned, dragons normally live alone in the wild. The reason for this is that bearded dragons have very strong territorial instincts. And this especially applies to the male bearded dragons.
Typically, you can mix female bearded dragons or even a male and a female if you’re not worried about reproduction. But male bearded dragons typically will not get along.
They may likely have fierce displays. And may likely fight to establish their territory. Thus, if one bearded dragon is much bigger than the other, it’s very possible for the smaller one to be killed in such a fight.
Also, bearded dragons are surprisingly more likely to get along with other species than they are with each other.
Thus, if you end up housing two bearded dragons together, make sure to keep an eye on them. If they’re fighting or keeping the other from getting food, then you will need to immediately separate them.
Possibility of a Bearded Dragon Attacking a Human
The short answer is yes, but only if they’re too scared or angry. In general, dragons are more bark than bite.
Particularly, they’ll posture and hiss, nevertheless won’t necessarily attack. Biting is a last resort for a dragon, and it’s almost always for an extreme defensive reason.
Therefore, to reduce the risk of your bearded dragon attacking you, make sure to pay attention to its behavior.
Thus, if your bearded dragon starts acting defensive when you attempt to touch it or handle it, then you should back off. Persisting in trying to touch or handle it at that state could result in a bite. Likewise, bearded dragons don’t necessarily like new animals or humans that it doesn’t know.
Female Bearded Dragons Flaring Their Beards
While male bearded dragons are more pro-active when it comes to flaring their beards, females do it too. But usually for a different set of reasons, especially to be left alone by their male counterparts.
Impotantly, the quirky thing to note here is that male bearded dragons do “get it”. And usually tend to leave female bearded dragons alone if the former tried to approach it and the female flares at it.
Interestingly, when female bearded dragons are “not in the mood”, besides flaring, they can also take on a unique posture of their own. Yet again, male bearded dragons do understand this and tend to shy away.
Physical Characteristics That Enhance Sociability
Dragons are just the right size for humans to handle them with ease. Neither are they too big (like iguanas) nor too small.
Easy to Feed
In the wild, dragons stretch out their sticky tongue to catch their food without involving their teeth. Thus, in a domesticated setting, this behavioral tendency negates any chances of dragons bitting you when you feed them.
Thorns on their Neck
The thorns on bearded dragons’ necks are really easy (and feel great!) to bristle, whether done by fellow beardies or you!
Mistaking Ideal Resource Utilization For Loneliness
A common mistake bearded dragon pet owners make is to perceive solitary bearded dragons as “loners”. When they may simply be looking to optimally use the resources that are available to them.
Meanwhile, an excellent example would be the food that you provide to your dragon within its enclosure. Also, the presence of another bearded dragon would mean competition.
Accordingly, most dragons would much rather be by themselves and have such resources to themselves, than be compelled to share with others. Moreover, dragons have a strong sense of competitiveness among themselves. Therefore, ideally, you should avoid housing too many beard dragons together, whether males or even a male-female pair.