Generally, bearded dragons have many curious behaviors. Basically, one such behavior is their ability to flatten out their bodies. Literarily, this can often leave owners with no clue as to why they do this or what the potential triggers are.

So, why do dragons flatten out? Bearded Dragons have the ability to flatten their body for various reasons. Thus, here are the 3 common situations where you are likely to find them displaying this behaviour

  • Increase in body temperature
  • Response to fear
  • Illness


  • increase in body temperature
  • why dragons flatten out in the morning
  • incorrect tank temperature
  • bearded dragons flattening body as a result of outside temperature
  • what helps dragons increase their temperature when flattening out?
  • bearded dragons flatten out as a fear response
  • illness causing your bearded dragon to flatten out

Bearded Dragons Flatten Out to Increase Temperature Level

Typically, the most common reasons for a Bearded Dragon to flatten its body is to regulate and ultimately increase its body temperature.

Also, Bearded Dragons are ‘exothermic’ which means they rely on external heat sources to keep their body temperature optimal. Also, to allow them operate important bodily functions such as food digestion.

However, if a Bearded Dragon can’t raise its body temperature to the desired level then it will struggle to digest food. Consequently, it can lead to all sorts of complications such as gut rot. 

Basically, this is a case where the food will rot in an undigested form in the Dragons stomach.

Likewise, a Bearded Dragon will also become slow and sluggish without the correct exposure to a good quality heat source throughout the day.

Therefore, these reasons alone will often force your Bearded Dragon to display some fascinating and unique behaviours. Behaviors such as flattening out their body to ensure they have the best opportunity to be at their optimal temperature and stay healthy.

Why do Dragons Flatten out on a Morning?

Generally, it’s very common for Bearded Dragons to flatten out their body first thing on a morning.

Basically, this is because throughout the night they have been sleeping through lower temperatures of what should be between 70°-75°F.

So, when they wake up, It’s then important for them to reach their optimal temperature relatively fast so it can move around freely. And, operate those essential bodily functions.

Further, Bearded Dragons have 2 main ways of reaching their optimal temperature faster. Thus, first is flattening out their body, while the second is turning their beard and body darker or even black.

Likewise, if you notice that your Dragon is flattening out its body and turning darker first thing on a morning then this is perfectly normal as long as after 1-2 hours they go back to their normal color. And, they also go back to their normal shape.

However, if your Dragon is flattening out and staying a darker color for longer periods then this could potentially be a problem with your tank temperatures.

Flattening Body as a Response to Incorrect Tank Temperature

If your Dragon is flattening out its body throughout the day at random times whilst in their tank then there is a big chance that the temperature is incorrect.

Also, another tell-tail sign that the tank temperature is low is if your Dragon is also turning its beard, or even it whole body black too.

However, this may not always be the case but it’s certainly something to look out for.

Meanwhile, take a look at this chart below and use it as a guide to providing your Bearded Dragon with the correct temperatures they need. However, if you are in doubt you should always consult your vet.

BabyJuvenile Adult
Basking Area
Basking Area
Basking Area
Cool Spot
Cool Spot
Cool Spot
Night 70°-75°FNight 70°-75°FNight 70°-75°F

Bearded Dragons Flattening Body Due to Outside Temperature

Typically, taking your Bearded Dragon outside for a wander in the garden has many great health benefits such as mental stimulation.

Likewise, there are lots of things to be wary of. One of which is causing your Bearded Dragon to flatten their body to absorb more heat if the temperature is too cold.

Importantly, you should always use common sense when taking your Dragon outside. Basically, if you live in a cold country or it’s the middle of winter then it’s probably not going to be a good idea. However, if it happens to be summer or even springtime then it should be fine in most countries.

Also, if you notice your Dragon flattening out straight away then you will need to assess the temperature. And, then make a decision about taking them back inside. Particularly, because there’s a strong possibility they are too cold and not enjoying being outside at that moment.

However, other times your Dragon may be fine to begin with and then start to flatten out their body after a period of time.

Also, this is when you need to assess the temperature and don’t leave them like this for more 15 minutes or so.

This is because if your Bearded Dragon starts to feel too cold they will often start to look for warm areas. And, this could mean them wandering off and them to getting lost in the garden.

What Helps Dragons Increase their Temperature When Flattening Out?

Generally, Bearded Dragons will often look for warm objects or places that give off heat in order to help them increase their body temperature.

So, to help them do this they usually lick a certain variety of objects in their surroundings as this helps them to establish the temperature of each object.

Then, they will either lay on top of the area or object with their body flat. Or, they will simply get close to the area that is giving off the heat.

Therefore, let’s take a look at some common places and objects that a Bearded Dragon would use to be able to generate a small amount of heat as they flatten out their body.


  • Basking rock
  • Owner/Family member
  • Warm chair
  • Cooker


  • Rocks
  • Fence posts
  • Paving stones
  • Tables
  • Chairs/Benches

Meanwhile, as an owner, you will be giving off body heat that your Dragon can absorb if they really need to. Therefore, areas such as garden paving stones can hold a good amount of heat if the sun has been shining on them for a few hours.

Lastly, Bearded Dragons can become very resourceful when they need to. Also, they will often find a way to absorb heat in a variety of situations and surroundings.

Bearded Dragons Flattening out as a Fear Response

Basically, when a Bearded Dragon feels threatened, there are many ways that it can respond to the situation.

Most of the time the Dragon will run and hide if a bigger animal confronts it. However, sometimes that just isn’t possible. Therefore, Bearded Dragons have other tricks or behaviours up their sleeves in order to thwart would-be predators.

Meanwhile, the most common of these behaviours is to puff up their beards and turn them black. Basically, they do this in order to make them look bigger and nastier to any predator that is thinking of attacking them.

Likewise, another behaviour that dragons often use in conjunction with the ones mentioned above is to flatten out the stomach.

Generally, this technique works in much the same way as the first two as it makes the Dragon look larger. Thus, this can often be enough to detur a predator from attacking.

Often times, Bearded Dragons can mistake harmless situations as threatening confrontations.

Reasons why Bearded Dragon Flatten Out out of Fear

Household Pets

Basically, cats and dogs can be intimidating to Bearded Dragons as they are much larger and realistically can pose a threat. Though, it’s a good idea to try and get your Dragon and pets comfortable with each other so all the family can live in harmony.

However, if your Dragon is showing signs of fear every time another pet is coming into the room then you should make an extra effort to ensure your Dragons tank is full of good places to hide. And this will help them feel safe and will often help to settle down.


Generally, new owners can be scary to Bearded Dragons especially if they are babies.

Therefore, It’s always a good idea to try and bond with your Dragon as much as possible. And, also help them feel comfortable in their new surroundings by creating a habitat that replicates their natural habitat. as much as possible.

Can Illness Cause Your Bearded Dragon to Flatten Out?

Basically, Bearded Dragons don’t only flatten out their body when they are trying to increase their temperature. Or make themselves look bigger to potential predators. They can likewise flatten out their body when they are feeling ill too.

Although, this is far less common than the first two reasons, but it’s still something you need to consider.

Therefore, if a Bearded Dragon is feeling sick and not eating, the lack of food in their stomach can make the stomach look much flatter than it normally would. Also, feeling ill often means that they will lay still in one position.

Likewise, laying flat on the floor can be the result of a calcium imbalance. Hence, you will need to assess the situation. However, if you notice other signs that your Dragon looks unwell then you should consult your vet for a thorough examination.