The Complete Guide To Understanding Bearded Dragon Behavior

 The Complete Guide To Understanding Bearded Dragon Behavior

Why is my bearded dragon bobbing its head?


Bearded dragons have a wide range of strange behaviors that we can find humorous, such as head bobbing. Many of the behaviors you see are your bearded dragon asserting their dominance. 



Baby bearded dragons do this often. Bearded dragons of all ages will do this together as well.


It looks so cute when you see a bunch of bearded dragons laying on top of one another in a stack.


However, the reason why they do this is not so cute. The reason why bearded dragons stack is to get closest to the heat or light.


Unfortunately, this can be a bad thing for the little guy on the bottom because he will not get as much light and could have difficulty breathing.


This is usually a result of bearded dragons trying to show dominance by being on top and closer to the light. 

Head Bobbing


There is a much bigger reason for why beardies bob their heads. Bearded dragons bob their heads as a sign of a challenge or a warning. They will typically do this if there is another bearded dragon around.


In the wild, this will occur if there is a male coming into another male’s territory. Sometimes they will fight it out. The bigger ones usually win.

Tail Nipping


Nipping is a common behavior of baby bearded dragons when they are extremely hungry. What happens is if they are not fed often, they will nip at their siblings tails and fingers.


If you ever go into the pet store and see a baby beardie with missing digits or part of their tail missing, they were a victim of nipping. The best way to avoid nipping when you have more than one bearded dragon is to make sure they have enough food. 



Brumation can be very alarming at first to new bearded dragon owners. Brumation is a period of sleep that a bearded dragon will go through during colder months of the year.


Their metabolisms slow down and they take a long sleep in their hides. They will barely eat or come out to bask.


Brumation is very normal for bearded dragons, but they can be woken up at any time if you want to feed them.


If you notice that your bearded dragon has been less active or hiding in its den, it is most likely in brumation.



  • Reason 1

If you have a female bearded dragon, she is most likely moving things around in her terrarium to create space to lay eggs. Just like how people are nesting around the home, the female bearded dragon does the same thing. 


  • Reason 2

The second reason why you beardie could be digging is because they want to make a cool spot to sleep. Digging right before brumation is very normal bearded dragon behavior.


Brumation is a cycle that your bearded dragon has to go through in order to get a deep sleep. Their bodies just tell them that it is time to have a long sleep, so they will go into brumation. Don’t be surprised if you can’t find your beardie for a few days up to a few weeks. They have buried themselves deep in their tank to not be disturbed. 


Finding a cool spot for brumation is great, but maybe the tank is just too hot as well. If it is too hot in there, they are trying to escape that heat.


Make sure the temperature is between 90-115 degrees depending on the age of your beardie. The babies need it at the higher temperatures, while adults can be comfortable in 85-95 degrees. 




Waving is definitely one of the funniest behaviors bearded dragons do. There are many videos online of someone waving to their beardie and the beardie seems to be waving right back. They aren’t actually waving hello to you.


Waving is seen frequently with baby and juvenile bearded dragons. Bearded dragons actually do this as a way to say that they are submitting. 



If your bearded dragon is hissing, it feels threatened or very upset. A hiss will also be followed by a flared beard. Give your beardie some space or approach it from a different angle so it does not feel threatened.

Glass Scratching


Glass scratching or surfing happens when your beardie feels like they need more room. Maybe they have outgrown their tank and need more space or they need some time outside of their tank.


Let your bearded dragon out every now and then so it can explore and stretch its legs. 



Have you ever wondered why your beardie would sit with its mouth open for small periods of time? This is called gaping. This is how they cool off. 


If they are doing this often, it might be too hot in their terrarium. 



Shedding is normal for all reptiles. Baby bearded dragons shed their whole body once every few weeks. As bearded dragons get older, they will shed less and less.


By the time they are adults, they will only shed once every two to three months. The shed will only happen in patches instead of full body. They are just getting rid of their old skin or outgrowing their skin. 


Their skin might look more dull in color like the in the picture above. Less pigment with a more gray appearance is a sign that they are about to shed. 

Puffing Out Their Beard 


You can usually tell what mood your bearded dragon is in by the way they puff out their beard. Bearded dragons puff out their beard as another warning sign to stay away and to make themselves look bigger.


In the wild, beardies do this to scare away predators and to look bigger. Their beard can turn black and they might hiss as well just to look menacing. Beardies will also expand their beards to look appealing to females.



While furry pets seem to lick us to show affection, bearded dragons also lick their owners. However, they do not lick to show love or affection. They lick because they are checking out the area.


Bearded dragons have a sense of taste and smell in their mouths. They lick to familiarize themselves with their surroundings. 

Wrapping Up 


The videos of bearded dragons doing their typical behaviors are extremely funny and cute. There is always a deeper meaning for their behavior.

Jade Messieh

Proud bearded dragon, tortoise, crested gecko, and green tree python mom. I've always been passionate about animals and hope to help other reptile & amphibian enthusiasts along their journey!

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