Bearded Dragon Behavior
Part of understanding how to properly care for your bearded dragon, involves first understanding bearded dragon behavior. This will make it a lot easier to determine what your bearded dragon needs at any given time. There are approximately 73 different observable behavior patterns. These include behavioral signs of the bearded dragon social hierarchy, signs of thermoregulation, territorial signals, and signs that your dragon is in a resting period. For those who only own one dragon, you will not have opportunity to see many of these behaviors. But that’s okay. There are plenty of observable behaviors even when a dragon is alone.
This particular bearded dragon behavior is seen most commonly in male dragons, however, females may also engage in head bobbing. Typically, head bobbing will be a large and quick movement with males, while females may be smaller and slower. This behavior is considered to be an act of dominance and is seen most often when dragons are housed together.
Arm waving is an act of submission. It is commonly displayed by females, particularly when housed with a male displaying dominance. You may also notice this behavior after feeding you dragon. This is thought to be a form of thank you but your dragon. Males housed alone rarely exhibit arm waving behaviors. When they are housed with other males, however, you may see arm waving after another male displays dominance.
This bearded dragon behavior is often displayed as a sign of aggression. Your dragon may flare its bearded into a large balloon in order to appear bigger. Don’t worry. It is quite often a bluff and more often than not it is not followed with biting or other aggressive behaviors. Remember, bearded dragons are gentle by nature and rarely show aggression to humans. If your dragon’s body is tense, however, and he is up on his legs then this may be more than a bluff and should be handled with caution.
Dragons that open their mouths widely may be doing so for a number of reasons. This is a behavior that should be monitored closely in order to determine exactly why your dragon is engaging in this bearded dragon behavior. One common reason is that your dragon is attempting to cool down. If his occurs regularly, it may mean that your tank is not well ventilated and requires some adjustment.
Quite often when a dragon is stalking prey, it will curve and then raise its tail. This is an indication that your dragon is on alert.
Your bearded dragon’s color can be a good indication of your dragon’s mood. For instance, if your bearded dragon becomes dark, particularly in the beard area, this could mean that your dragon is distressed or feeling aggressive. It your dragon is paler than normal, this could mean it is cold or stressed.
This is a behavior bearded dragon behavior that can freak some owners out the first time they see it. Many immediately assume that eye bulging indicates a problem with their beardies’ eyes. Though the reasons for this behavior are not completely understood, it is quite common and doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem.
Some believe that eye bulging is a form of yawning for bearded dragons. Others suggest that eye bulging allows the bearded dragon to stretch the skin around their eyes during periods of shedding. This is by far the most plausible explanation even though dragons will engage in eye bulging even during periods of times when they are not shedding.
Another possible explanation for this bearded dragon behavior is that your dragon has the ability to increase the blood pressure behind their eyes as some other lizards do. This particular behavior has been associated with high blood pressure in other lizard species so we suggest that you take your bearded dragon to the vet if he engages in eye bulging for an extended period of time (more than an hour or so).
Piling is the act of one dragon standing on top of another. You may see this if you have two dragons house together and they are both basking at the same time. We humans often view this type of behavior as “friendship.” It is not. In actually this is a form of dominance. The dragon on top is receiving the mush needed UVB radiation, while the dragon on the bottom is being deprived. This can be a dangerous situation for the dragon that is not receiving these much needed rays and owners should beware of this particular bearded dragon behavior.
Other interesting Bearded Dragon Behaviors
If your bearded dragon is housed alone, you may find times when scratches vigorously at the enclosure wall or begins pacing back and forth. These type of behaviors may be an indication that your pet wants attention. This is a perfect time to take your bearded dragon out of the enclosure and handle him. Another explanation, however, could be that there is something in your dragons tank that is irritating or stressing him out. It is, therefore, important to be mindful of your bearded dragon’s environment if you observe this type of behavior.
Understanding bearded dragon behavior is an essential step to ensuring your bearded dragon is receiving everything it needs for a happy, healthy life.