Bearded Dragon Behavior

Bearded Dragon Behavior That You Need To Understand

Bearded Dragons have a lot of predictable behavior. From all the years I have had bearded dragons I have got their behaviors down pretty good.

You might have been thinking of getting a bearded dragon, and you will be pretty happy to learn that these little lizards can be a lot of fun. You just need to know how they work so that you can understand them.

Previously, I did write an article on bearded dragon facts that I would highly suggest that you check out if you haven’t already.

Read up on this so that you can learn something that will completely change the way that you look at your bearded dragon.

In this article I am going to be covering the following:

Waving Their Arms

Bearded Dragon Arm WavingBearded dragon behavior does not get copied from one to another. They are pretty unique when you get them, and that is pretty true when you see them waving their arms. They will usually lift one arm and make a swirling motion. They might be telling a larger bearded dragon that they do not want to fight, or they could just be waving to another bearded dragon, lizard, human, etc.

It’s thought to be a submissive move when you see your bearded dragon doing this. It’s really like saying “hey I’m here and I am acknowledging your presence. I’m friendly and just wanted you to know that I am around. No problems with me please.”

Bobbing Their Heads

They bob their heads when they are getting into an offensive stance, and they are going to show whatever is facing them that they are not afraid to attack. Think of it as pumping yourself up before you get in a fight. They will bob their heads more if they are going to be even more threatening, and you can expect them to pounce if they are bobbing their heads really fast.

Also, males do bob their heads before intercourse with a female. Usually, the female can be found waving her arm.

Fluffing The Beard

bearded dragon fluffing beardYour bearded dragon will fluff their beard sometimes just because they want to, but there are other times when they do this because they want to show that they are larger than they look. Making themselves look bigger is a good defense.

Often times when you mist them with a spray bottle they will fluff out their beard. This helps them collect water. They will then lick it off with their tongue.


Bearded Dragon DiggingFemales will dig to bury their eggs, and makes will dig to make a place that is much more comfortable. The older bearded dragon that you have will probably want to brumate which is hibernation for bearded dragons. They do this for part of the year, and they will dig a hole where they can submerge themselves.

Also, sometimes they just dig because they are looking for worms. If you have sand they might want to adjust the sand where they want it, too.

Laying On Each Other

Bearded Dragons SleepingThis often looks like a “cute” gesture, but really it’s not.

These lizards will bask in the UV rays that they get from light, and the dominant bearded dragon will lay on top to get more UV rays than the one on the bottom. That is pretty important so that they will get the UV rays they need.

Laying on another bearded dragon is just like saying I’m more dominant than you so I get this spot, deal with it, buddy.

Opening Mouth

bearded dragon open mouthHaving their mouths open is very common, and it is just the bearded dragon trying to manage their body temperature. They will be much happier because they can cool down, and they will leave their mouth open as much as they can.

However, opening their mouth can be an aggressive move, too. If their beard is flared up you will want to give them their space. Usually, their beard is a darker color when their mouth is open to express hostility towards someone.

Tail Movement

bearded dragon tailThis is a lot like a cat, and that is something that you can use to judge their mood. They will flip their tails when they are mad, and they sway them slowly when they are relaxed or happy. You just have to learn what your bearded dragon does when they are calm, and you can see what it is that they mean by this.


You need to remember that your bearded dragon will hiss when they are feeling aggressive, and you need to be careful with them if they give you the idea that they are going to attack.   As mentioned above their beard will turn black (see this article on why bearded dragon’s beards turn black).The hissing can sound fairly cute, but it is not cute at all. They will bite you next, and that will be a much stronger act of aggression. You need to be aware of these things before you get a new friend.

Bearded dragons would much rather intimidate you if you’re bigger than them rather than fight. They rarely bight people and usually give you plenty of warning before they actually do.

Two males shouldn’t ever be in the same tank though. They will eventually fight and it won’t be pretty.

Judging Bearded Dragon Behavior

You have to learn how to judge what your bearded dragon is doing because they are all different and act differently. They all are going to give you different indications that they are going to be mellow or calm, and you have to make sure that you know what your bearded dragon does. You might not have the same kind of bearded dragon that someone else has, and you have to judge the way they act based on what you see.

Most bearded dragons are very docile and don’t mind people at all. But, then again every bearded dragon is different.

Study Them

You have to study them when you are hanging out with them, and you cannot test them. It makes more sense for you to get the bearded dragon to do little things in their tank so that you can see what it is that they do when you are putting hem in certain situations.

Your new bearded dragon is going to be a loyal friend for a long time, but you have to know how they are before you get into playing with them and letting them sit with you all the time. They are going to be a lot of bearded dragons that you can choose from, and you have to get to know them before you are going to have them in your house. They will act their own way, and you will get to know their personality as you are learning about their behavior.

Do you have questions about bearded dragons and their behavior that are not answered in this article? Please leave your comments down below.

10 thoughts to “Bearded Dragon Behavior That You Need To Understand”

  1. What a fascinating post. I did enjoy reading this very descriptive article about bearded dragons. They certainly are wonderful creatures with their own unique personalities. They do look ferocious and a little scary but you say they are quite docile. I had to go to your earlier post to learn more about these fascinating creatures and I am so glad I did.

    I am an Aussie and I knew bearded dragons were from here but I had no idea they were being kept as pets in the United States. We have lace monitors on our farm and blue tongue lizards. The Lace Monitors can be up to 6 feet long. I am not sure they would make a good pet though as they are aggressive.

    Thank you for a very informative read about one of our little critters.

    Did have a quick question for you? Have you ever experienced 2 male bearded dragons that could be housed together though? I know they typically fight if housed together, but are there special circumstances?

    1. Hey Judy,

      I agree when I first bought my first bearded dragon 7 years ago I thought these lizards look kind of intimidating. Especially, when you see a full sized one. I did a ton of research before buying my first bearded dragon, though. But, I got one from a hatchling and learned just how friendly they actually are. My adult female I still just see her as a little baby even though she is 20 inches.

      I haven’t ever heard about 2 male bearded dragons actually getting along. Males are very territorial and don’t like each other at all. Females, on the other hand, don’t mind each other. Just have to make sure they have a spot to bask in and plenty of room.

  2. Hey, I have a question for you. My bearded dragon Paulo has been pawing at the glass. Is there anything I can do about it?

    1. It’s perfectly natural for your bearded dragon to “paw” at the glass. It doesn’t mean he/she is in any kind of distress or anything really. Mine has done it over the years. Think of it this way. If you sat in an enclosure all day you would probably get pretty bored. Bearded dragons aren’t really any different than us (in that regard). They get bored. You’re bearded dragon could be trying to tell you that he/she just wants to come out and explore some.

      I take my bearded dragons out from time to time just so they can explore. It’s perfectly natural and every bearded dragon owner has experienced this at one time in their life before.

  3. I’ve never seen bearded dragons interact with each other before, but all the ones I’ve handled solo are very placid.
    They make such great pets and such unique personalities.
    Love the head bob!

    1. Yes, they do have great personalities! It’s really kind of funny to watch them interact with other bearded dragons.

  4. Now, this is an interesting website. I have learned some very riveting stuff here. I knew that people used to have all sorts of lizards for pets, but I never knew they could basically communicate in their own way with us humans. Don’t they look like they were mini replicas of the dinosaurs?

    Looking forward to your next article.

    Best wishes,

    John ツ

    1. Yep, they do have a very interesting way of communicating with each other. I agree they do look like little dinosaurs.

  5. I have always wanted a Bearded Dragon and my 16 year old son thinks that they are awesome as well.

    The information that you share on this website is priceless and to know what behaviors to look for in a Bearded Dragon will not only help after we get one but also in the selection process.

    In your opinion, should we choose a Bearded Dragon that is more dominant or less dominant?

    If we have a male and a female Bearded Dragon can we keep them together at all times and would they produce babies?

    How many is the norm for a “litter” of Bearded Dragons and when they are small when can they leave their Mother?

    I know, I have so many questions and will now take a more in depth look at your website as well.

    Bearded Dragons are so fascinating and I feel like it would be fun to not only have them but also to breed and sell them.

    Thank you for sharing your amazing expertise and guidance,


    1. To be honest with you it’s hard to tell if a bearded dragon is dominant or less dominant. Typically, when people buy them they get them younger so they haven’t matured enough to where you could tell.

      With bearded dragons, they don’t call it litter like mammals. Instead, they call it a clutch. They lay usually two clutches. Each clutch will be between 16 and 24 eggs. So, it could be as many as 48 eggs. They are prolific breeders.

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