Do Bearded Dragons have feelings

Do Bearded Dragons have feelings?

Bearded dragons are reptiles. They are cold blooded animals. Does this mean that they are also cold hearted? You are handling your pet and you find yourself wondering if that dragon will even notice when you travel. Will he miss you and wish you were there? This article will answer all these questions. It will tell you how your dragon thinks and feels exactly.

The straight answer is yes. Yes, They do have feelings. They are living things after all. They have consciousness. In fact, below is an overview of some of the bearded dragon signals and their emotional meanings.

So when you wonder if your bearded dragon cares about you, know that you are not alone. And this is why this article is here to start with. So that you can answer those questions. How do bearded dragons express their emotions? What are they thinking exactly? These are questions you are about to get answers to so read on.

Arm Waving

A bearded dragon will stand high on two hind legs and one front leg. He will then raise the remaining leg in the air and wave it in a circular motion.

Scientists have interpreted this action based on the kind of circumstances in which it is often performed. There are a couple of possible meanings when a bearded dragon waves its arms. One meaning is believed to be species recognition. If a bearded dragon waves at another bearded dragon, it tells the other dragon that he/she is aware of their presence.

Another instance where dragons perform this action is when they are approached by a larger bearded dragon or whenever a larger animal approaches the dragon. The interpretation for this is submission.


This arm waving and it’s interpretation shows that bearded dragons are conscious of entities other than themselves. It shows that they understand the idea that other individuals exist. This might not seem like a lot. But it is a huge leap from a state of total unaware of being aware.

Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing

This action is most common in male dragons. The dragon repeatedly raises and lowers his head.

This action is very much like a mating ritual. When males head bobs at females, it is sometimes seen as a sign of dominance. When a male dragon head bobs at another male dragon, he is asserting his dominance. They could also be asserting their rights over their territory.

Bearded dragon head bobs can be fast or slow. The faster the head bob, the more aggressive the assertion. When bearded dragons slowly head bob another though, it could be a sign of submission.


This shows that bearded dragons feel the need to assert themselves. They need to be important. This goes way beyond competition for survival. This is about creating an identity stands out. Dominating their immediate environment.

• Beard fluffing ritual

Both male and females bearded dragons expand their beards. They do this in self-defense or when they are agitated. Beard fluffing makes them appear bigger to the enemy. It is however not unusual for them to randomly fluff their beard without reason.


This shows that dragons feel a variety of other emotions besides the need for dominance or recognition. Their beard out to show fear, agitation and they do it to appear bigger.

• Hissing

Bearded dragons hiss if they feel threatened. It is another sign of being uncomfortable or a sign of aggression.


Hissing is also some sort of warning. As a fair warning to show that they are uncomfortable with something or someone. If this fair warning is ignored, bearded dragons may bite.

• Biting

It is apparent that biting is a sign of aggression. This behavior is often foretold by warning signs such as a lack of willingness to be handled or to interact with you. It is a sign of extreme discomfort or dislikes for something or someone. Bearded dragons don’t usually bite… so when they do, you need to pay attention to it.


This shows that bearded dragons do have things and people that they dislike strongly enough to bite. Although it could also be a confusion of the bitten person for food, biting in bearded dragons is a sign of some passion.

Honest opinion based on personal experience?

Experts aren’t totally sure if reptiles have the ability to bond with us or not.

Bearded dragons make awesome pets. However, you cannot judge them with the same standards as dogs and cats. reptiles generally show a limited level of emotions. if you know what to look for, you will know your bearded dragons and emotions.

Most reptiles limit their shows of emotion to activities such as feeding, reproduction, and survival.  

Two of their most obvious emotions are fear and aggression. Thus you are most likely to see them doing something emotional when they are threatened.

For instance, a snake will hiss if it feels threatened and a bearded dragon lizard will puff out his beard and change its color from light brown to black when he’s mad or stressed.

Some bearded dragons will become very still when they are being stroked. We can only guess what the thoughts on their mind contain.

The fact that they cannot wag their tails or snuggle up to us does not mean that they are totally bereft of emotions. Bearded dragons associate face and smell with food and safety. You are the human who feeds them most often, cleans out their enclosure and basically runs their lives for them, then they will recognize you. And they associate those activities with you. And they’ll be warmer towards you if those activities are activities that they like or appreciate.

You need to know that…

Their needs are basic. Their lives are as basic as their needs. Thus,  In order for them to make sense of how they feel towards us, they need to associate us with something that they need.

Now I know that it can be frustrating when you cannot really tell how your pet animal feels about you. Bearded dragons cannot care about you in the way a dog will. But they can care about what you do for them and to them.

Here are a few tips to use If you want your bearded dragon to care about you in the way they can.

Handle your beardie

Bearded dragons are a species that like to be held. They’re usually fun and interactive, and like sitting on your shoulder. They will even move around your body as long as they don’t feel threatened. Bearded dragons can vary in individual temperament though. Some like to be handled a lot, others seem to just like to hang out a bit. But most bearded dragons will be content to be in your lap for as long as you are willing. It helps if you have treats that will encourage them.

Handling your bearded dragon daily will create a routine for them. It will help them to develop an interest in you. It might be a food inspired interest at first. But after a while, will come to you whether you hold food or not.

Please note: Very much like humans, every pet has their own personality. Make sure you are cautious when handling your bearded dragon. Put them back in their enclosure as soon as they start to show signs of tiredness or irritability. Be aware of behaviors signaling aggression or fear.

It is also very important to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your pet dragon. Reptiles generally can be carriers of Salmonella, a bacteria which can be spread to humans.

Create An Interesting Habitat

Spend extra time setting up your bearded dragon enclosure.

Just putting them in a tank is not enough. As much as you can, mimic the wildlife that they originally belong to. Give them things to play with. Things to do. They need places to hide, places, to climb, things to lean against. Try to put as much character as you can in the place.

You will be able to take satisfaction in the knowledge that you have created a beautiful home for this exotic creature. A home where predators have no access. Somewhere they never have to worry about food or care. Even if your bearded dragon doesn’t want to be handled, you can watch him in this safe and beautiful habitat that you have created.

Take him outside

Sometimes, having experiences with your beardie could be just what you need to feel bonded with him. Many people find it very soothing when they share their thoughts with their pets. Take a walk with him on your shoulder. Get him a small walk around carrier. Make memories together. It is a good way to create memories if only for yourself. It also helps that bearded dragons last for a while. Don’t set him loose outside though, predators can come after him or he could run away and get lost.

Hand feed that dragon!

Like I said earlier, most reptiles associate their feelings with basic survival needs. Let your dragon feed right out of your hand. Maybe even place food on your person and let him hunt for it undisturbed. It will help him learn to gravitate towards you. He will find your person to be an interesting place to be even when he is not looking for food.

Is it real?

At some point, you may wonder if the things that your bearded dragon does mean that he loves you. It may seem to you that you are projecting what you want the reptile to do on to him. Maybe you even ask yourself the dreaded question; “is it real?”

The truth is that there is no way to know. In reality, when dragons do something and we go “awww… that’s so cute” the dragon is likely not thinking about being cute at all. It may very well all be in your head. But who cares?

You feel a connection to your beardie. You have developed a relationship. Add that to the fact that you have told him secrets and maybe even sang to him. Perhaps you have even done the unthinkable; cried in front of that reptile. He is your pet and you are his human. Enjoy that relationship. It is yours to enjoy.