Bearded Dragons Behavior

Bearded Dragons Behavior

Bearded dragons exhibit a variety of behaviors. Hence, recognizing what behavior your bearded dragon is exhibiting. And the way they are exhibiting this kind of behavior is quite important to truly understand your pet. Also, it is helpful to know what behaviors are normal. As well as, which ones are signs of stress or illness.

Bearded dragons will not mimic other bearded dragons. Thus, their behavior is always genuine. Therefore, most bearded dragons will display some certain behaviors. Especially, when there is a female around. Also, when another bearded dragon comes near them. Or whenever a larger animal approaches them or something unknown.

The following information will be addressing things that entail bearded dragon behavior:

  • arm waving
  • bearded dragon head bobbing
  • bearded fluffing
  • digging
  • lying on top of each other
  • gaping
  • tail twitching
  • brumation
  • glass surfing
  • color changes
  • head puff
  • black bearding
  • shedding
  • bearded dragons signs of aggression

Arm Waving

In general, this is when the bearded dragon will stand high on three legs. And it will raise the other leg in the air.  Then, wave it in a circular motion.

However, there are a couple of possible meanings when a bearded dragon waves its arms. One meaning is species recognition. Particularly, if a bearded dragon waves at another bearded dragon. It tells the other dragons that it is aware of their presence.

Also, another meaning is submission. A bearded dragon may wave his or her arm whenever a larger animal approaches them.

Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing

Head bobbing is more common in males. Thus, it is when a bearded dragon repeatedly raises and lowers their head.

In addition, head bobbing is generally used as a sign of dominance between two dragons. Whereby, males will head bob at females to show their dominance during breeding. While, other times, two bearded dragons will head bob at each other. As a sign of territorial aggression.

Generally, the faster the head bob the more threatening it becomes. Thus, if a bearded dragon is head bobbing another dragon quickly. It’s generally for territorial reasons. However, if there is a scenario where one bearded dragon slowly head bobs another dragon, then It can be a sign of submission.

Bearded Dragon Fluffing Their Beard

Both male and female bearded dragons sometimes expand their beards. Generally, they will stretch their beards as a defensive behavior to make themselves look bigger. However, it is not uncommon for a bearded dragon to expand their beards from time to time. Without any provocation.

Bearded Dragon Digging

Digging is when a bearded dragon begins digging a hole in its tank.

Therefore, one reason bearded dragons can be digging is because they are trying to create a small basking area that is more comfortable. Hence, bearded dragons can sometimes do strange things. But this can sometimes be the reason.

However, if your bearded dragon is a female, she will begin digging. And also moving things around in her tank to get a suitable place for her to lay her eggs.

Likewise, if your bearded dragon is old enough. It will intensely dig to proceed into brumation. This makes it easier for them to regulate their temperature when they are sleeping. Hence, many bearded dragon owners suggest placing a small towel in the cage. That is, that your bearded dragon can go beneath to help aid in their sleeping.

Lying on Top of Each Other

This may give you the perception that your bearded dragons are getting along with each other. And are great companions. But it’s actually a sign of dominance. Hence, in the animal kingdom, it is the survival of the fittest. Thus, bearded dragons need UV rays to remain healthy. Thus, the dominate bearded dragon often attempts trying to get as many UV rays as possible.

Bearded Dragon Mouth Open (Gaping)

An open mouth is just exactly how it sounds like. Thus, it is basically when your bearded dragon is sitting with his/her mouth open. Instead of closing it.

Therefore, the most common reason for an open mouth is that your bearded dragon is regulating his/her temperature. Unlike people, bearded dragons cannot sweat. Thus, to control their body temperature, they usually open their mouth. Whenever they reach their ideal body temperature. And don’t want to get any hotter. Normally, the bearded dragons do this whenever they are basking under the heat lamp.

Also, bearded dragons will have their mouth open if they have a respiratory disease. However, since having an open mouth is usual behavior for bearded dragons. Then, it’s normally just a sign that they are regulating their heat.

Tail Twitching

This is when your bearded dragon’s tail twitches (similar to a cat’s tail). Although, not every bearded dragon will do this. But if yours does this, it can be an indicator of your bearded dragon’s mood.

However, many owners report their dragon’s tail will twitch when they are hunting prey. Or if they are stressed with your presence. Surprisingly, sometimes two bearded dragons will twitch their tails during breeding.


Brumation is like hibernation for reptiles. Some reptiles in the wild usually brumate when the weather gets cooler. And the food is more scarce. However, in captivity, temperatures are controlled. And food is always available, so brumation is may not be necessary.

Therefore, if your reptile

  • isn’t eating
  • moving much
  • burying himself, and
  • pooing, he or she may be trying to brumate.

Therefore, make sure you contact your exotics vet. To make sure your bearded dragon isn’t sick or dying. But this can be completely normal behavior.

Glass Surfing

This is a strange behavior in which bearded dragons show in times of boredom and stress. Bearded dragons will run back and forth alongside their enclosure (often a glass tank). As well as, stand on their hind legs. Trying to run up the side.

Although, it looks comical and you may even think your bearded is playing. Or sees his reflection in the glass. But he isn’t doing this for fun. If your bearded dragon is glass surfing he may need a larger enclosure. Also, more playtime outside of his enclosure. Or something else is stressing him, such as a

  • pet cat staring at him or
  • the loss of a cage mate.

Finally, glass surfing should be considered abnormal behavior. Beside, bearded dragons can actually hurt themselves by rubbing their

  • feet
  • bellies
  • and
  • faces, on the glass repeatedly.

Color Changes

Overall body color changes and also beard color changes sometimes occur slowly. As your bearded dragon grows. Nonetheless, if a sudden or temporary color change is noted it is due to

  • stress
  • illness, or
  • an emotion.

Likewise, bearded dragons will often darken or turn black. If they beieve threat or upset. Also, they will darken their beards while exhibiting the beard puff. However, most bearded dragons will change colors and darken when brought to their exotics vet. Especially, if they aren’t used to traveling or handling.

The Beard Puff

Bearded dragons get their names just from the side of their throat. That is, where a human might have a beard. Thus, this “beard” can puff out and darken all the way to black. Especially, on demand when your bearded dragon gets upset.

Also, he may choose to puff and darken his beard if he

  • feels unsafe
  • isn’t feeling well, or
  • if he is trying to display dominance.


For a Bearded Dragon, shedding is a very normal and very healthy process. Long story short, shedding just means that they are growing. Therefore, while shedding, your reptile might have gray. Or otherwise, white skin in the area that is just about to shed. However, keep in mind, bearded dragons usually shed different parts of their body at different times. In other words, they do not shed their entire body all at a time.

Bearded Dragon Signs of Aggression

Bearded dragons are generally not aggressive by nature. Generally, the worst thing you may see is that they will show many signs of aggressive behavior. Thus, if you provoke them enough, they may try and bite you.

Below are some of the most common signs of aggression in bearded dragons:

Fluffing Their Beard / Bearding    

This where the bearded dragon got its name. Generally, a bearded dragon will fluff its beard as a threat sign. Particularly, it makes the dragon look bigger and more threatening. Thus, you can see it as a sign of aggression.

Likewise, sometimes a bearded dragon’s beard may turn darker. Or even black color when they are bearding.


Bearded dragons may also hiss if they feel unsafe. Again, this is another sign of being uncomfortable or a sign of aggression.


It is obvious that biting as it is, is a sign of aggression. Hence, if your bearded dragon attempts to bite you when you handle it. You should just put on a pair of gardening gloves. Because not handling your bearded dragon will not lower their aggressiveness. Rather, it will only prevent you from developing a closer bond with your bearded dragon.

Head Bobbing

Bearded dragons usually bob their head up and down. As a sign of territorial aggression towards one another. Occasionally, they will bob their heads at one another as a sign of communication. For example, a bearded dragon may bob his/her head four or five times very quickly. Then, another bearded dragon may bob his/her head twice. More slowly in response as acknowledgement.