Why is my bearded dragon shaking his legs

Why is my bearded dragon shaking his legs?

The most common cause of a bearded dragon shaking its legs is calcium deficiency, also known as hypocalcemia or metabolic bone disease.

Deficiencies in calcium can lead to weak bones that cannot support the reptile’s weight, and this results in the arm and leg buckling or shaking. Other symptoms of calcium deficiency include lethargy, constipation, and strange movements.

The less common causes of leg shaking in bearded dragons are vitamin imbalances (either too little or too much of certain vitamins), parasites and diseases, and neurological conditions.

Some neurological issues may result from infections of the central nervous system, lesions of the brain, muscle diseases, or vitamin toxicity. A leg shake can also be a sign of impaction, which occurs when something blocks the digestive tract.

Shaking of the Legs in Bearded Dragons

Mummified Adult Bearded Dragon
Credit: Rex Young

If you’ve noticed your bearded dragon shaking its legs, you may wonder what’s going on. Leg shaking is a common behavior observed in these reptiles, and it can take many forms. Some bearded dragons may shake their legs while basking in the sun or resting on a rock, while others may do it while walking or when they’re excited about something.

Possible Reasons for Leg Shaking

A different POV: Pogona vitticeps, Central bearded dragon. 2/2
Credit: Stephiny Delamare

While leg shaking can be worrisome to some owners, there are many possible reasons why your bearded dragon may be exhibiting this behavior. Some of the common reasons include adjusting position or stretching out their limbs; signaling for attention from their owner or other nearby animals; and regulating body temperature by increasing blood flow to the limbs.

It’s important to note that not all leg shaking is normal or healthy behavior in your pet dragon. In some cases, shaking could indicate an underlying health problem such as stress or fear which requires immediate attention from a veterinarian.

If your pet bearded dragon shakes its legs frequently or displays other abnormal behaviors along with it, consult with an expert veterinarian who specializes in treating exotic animals like reptiles. Understanding the different causes behind leg shaking in these fascinating creatures will help you maintain better care of your pet throughout its life.

Normal Behaviors of Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons are fascinating creatures that exhibit a variety of unique behaviors. These behaviors can range from basking in the sun to exploring their surroundings. Understanding these normal behaviors is important for owners to recognize when their bearded dragon is acting unusual or showing signs of distress.


One of the most common and important behaviors for bearded dragons is basking under a heat lamp. This behavior involves positioning themselves under a heat source, such as a lamp, to maintain their body temperature and keep themselves healthy. As they bask, they may extend their legs out to maximize surface area exposure or move closer or further from the heat source depending on what temperature they require.


Another normal behavior in bearded dragons is eating. These creatures are omnivorous and enjoy eating a variety of insects and leafy greens. When they eat, bearded dragons typically use their front legs to hold onto food items or tear apart prey if necessary.


Bearded dragons also love exploring their environment. They may roam around the terrarium or even climb onto objects within it using their legs and claws for support. Exploring provides physical exercise that helps them stay healthy as well as stimulation that prevents boredom.

Overall, it’s essential for owners to understand these normal behaviors so that any unusual movements can be identified quickly and addressed if needed. Paying attention to how your bearded dragon moves its legs during these activities can help you distinguish between what is normal versus abnormal behavior, later on, should you become concerned about your pet’s health status.

Reasons for Leg Shaking in Bearded Dragons

As a bearded dragon owner, it is natural to be concerned when you see your pet shaking their legs. However, this behavior can be completely normal and may have several different causes. Here are some of the most common reasons why your bearded dragon may shake their legs:

Stretching or Adjusting Position

Bearded dragons are known for their love of basking in the sun, and when they do so, they may stretch or adjust their position to maximize the warmth on their bodies. This stretching and adjusting can involve shaking the legs as well as other body parts.

This behavior is typically not a cause for concern unless it is accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy or loss of appetite. If your bearded dragon seems healthy otherwise, leg shaking during basking is probably nothing to worry about.

Signaling for Attention

Another reason why your bearded dragon may shake its legs is to get attention from you or other animals in the enclosure. Some owners report that their pets will shake their legs when they want to come out of their tank or are seeking interaction with humans or other pets.

This behavior could indicate that your bearded dragon enjoys spending time with you and wants more attention than it currently receives. However, if leg shaking becomes excessive or disruptive, it may be a sign that something else is wrong with your pet’s health or environment.

Temperature Regulation

Leg shaking can also serve as a way for bearded dragons to regulate their body temperature by increasing blood flow to the limbs. This process helps them warm up if they are feeling chilly and cool down if they are overheating.

If you notice that your bearded dragon is shaking its legs while basking, this could be a sign that it is trying to regulate its body temperature. However, if the shaking persists or seems excessive, you may want to check the temperature in the enclosure to make sure it is within the appropriate range for your pet.

Overall, leg shaking in bearded dragons is not always a cause for concern. By understanding some of the reasons why this behavior may occur, you can better assess whether your pet needs a closer look from a veterinarian or just some extra attention and care from you.


Leg shaking in bearded dragons can occur for a variety of reasons, both normal and abnormal. While some degree of leg shaking may be nothing to worry about, it’s important for owners to pay close attention to their pet’s behavior and seek veterinary care if they suspect something is amiss. With proper care and attention from their owners, bearded dragons can thrive and lead happy lives.