What Is Your Pet Bearded Dragon Communication Through Body Language?

Bearded dragons are becoming increasingly popular as pets, and understanding their body language is essential for having a happy relationship with them.

This article will explore the various ways in which bearded dragon communication through body language can be interpreted by pet owners.

Bearded dragon species use many different forms of visual communication such as posture changes, head movements, eye color changes, and tail waving to communicate with one another.

They also utilize sounds that range from hissing noises to subtle vocalizations depending on the situation they are in.

Understanding these signals can help pet owners identify when their pet is feeling threatened or stressed out so they can make appropriate adjustments to ensure its safety and wellbeing.

Posture Changes

Bearded Dragon
Credit: Northampton Reptile Centre

Bearded dragons have a range of body language that can be used for communication. They use posture changes to show aggression, submission or courtship. A common postural signal is the beard display, where they will puff out their throat and fan their chin spines outward in order to look larger and more intimidating. This may be seen when two bearded dragons meet each other or when one dragon desires territory from another. Other postural signals include head bobbing and arm waving which are often associated with aggressive behavior.

In addition to postural signals, bearded dragons also communicate through scent marking and licking behaviors. Licking is known as an exchange of scents between two individuals, allowing them to recognize each other’s presence and identify important information such as sex, age, status within the group and even familiarity with certain objects or places.

Scent marking involves rubbing parts of the body on surfaces such as rocks in order to leave pheromones behind that indicate ownership over a particular area or object.

Head Movements

Bearded dragon Ancaster Fair
Credit: Joe

Bearded dragon communication through body language is a fascinating topic of study. Head movements are one way that these creatures communicate with their environment and each other.

By carefully observing the head tilts, turns, bobs, and nods bearded dragons make, it is possible to gain insight into what they may be trying to express.

The gesture recognition behaviors exhibited by bearded dragons can range from simple head bobbing when excited or alert to more complex nodding patterns in response to potential threats or danger. It has also been noted that scent marking is often used in conjunction with head movement gestures for territorial purposes.

Some scientists believe there could be even more subtle meanings behind certain conventionalized postures such as raising one side of the head higher than the other which might indicate dominance or submission depending on the context of the situation.

Further research is needed to fully understand this fascinating form of non-verbal communication.

Eye Color Changes

Bearded dragons are known to communicate using visual signaling, such as eye color changes. The color changes of the bearded dragon’s eyes can vary from deep blue, to yellow, to dark brown.

These color changes are believed to serve as a form of communication, often used to indicate the presence of a potential threat.

Bearded dragons can also communicate with their bodies, such as through head bobbing and posturing, to indicate submission and dominance.

Eye Color Changes

The eyes of a bearded dragon are an excellent indicator of its mood and intentions. In particular, eye color changes can provide valuable insight into the animal’s emotional state.

Licking lips is one common sign that suggests the bearded dragon may be feeling stressed or scared, while facial expressions such as raised eyebrows could indicate curiosity or excitement. Through careful observation of these natural behaviors, owners can gain a better understanding of their pet’s internal experience.

Bearded dragons also use subtle shifts in eye color to convey emotions to other members of their species. On the other hand, if presented with something unfamiliar yet intriguing, eyes may become rounder and lighter in hue to show interest rather than fear.

By combining body language and eye color cues, owners can effectively communicate with their pet reptiles in meaningful ways. Not only do these visual signs allow humans to better understand how their pets feel; but they also offer opportunities for human-animal bonding on both physical and psychological levels.

By paying attention to tiny details such as pupil shape and lightness/darkness of iris pigmentation, owners can build trust with their beloved companion animals through mutual recognition and respect.

Visual Signaling

Visual signaling is an important form of communication among animals, and bearded dragons are no exception.

The bobbing motions they make with their heads, along with the licking behavior that often accompanies it, demonstrate a range of emotions from curiosity to aggression.

In addition to these physical behaviors, eye color changes can also be used as visual cues by bearded dragons in order to communicate with one another.

By carefully observing the pupil shape and lightness/darkness of iris pigmentation in combination with body language, owners will gain greater insight into their pet’s feelings and intentions.

With this understanding comes the opportunity for human-animal bonding through mutual recognition and respect.

Tail Waving

In addition to eye color changes, another way bearded dragons use body language to communicate is through tail waving. They often do this as a form of greeting or to indicate dominance in social interactions. When they wave their tails, it can also be used as a temperature cue in order to regulate their body heat and stay cool during hot days.

The angle at which the tail waves will vary depending on the situation: if a dragon is trying to seem more dominant or aggressive, its waved tail may point upward; when a dragon wants to appear less intimidating and more passive, its waved tail might point downward instead.

Bearded dragons sometimes wag their tails rapidly back and forth while running away from someone or something that has scared them. This behavior helps them avoid potential predators by warning other animals nearby that they are feeling threatened and should not be approached.

It’s important for owners of these pets to recognize this type of response so they can take measures such as removing perceived threats from the environment before further injury occurs.

Tail waving is an important form of communication among bearded dragons and is an effective tool for displaying aggression and fear, expressing greetings, regulating temperature cues, and alerting others about potential danger.

Thus, it’s essential for those who own beardies to familiarize themselves with this type of body language so that they know how to respond appropriately in different situations.

Hissing Noises

Bearded dragons communicate through body language and hissing noises are one of the most common ways they communicate.

Hissing noises are often used to convey a warning and can be seen when the dragon feels threatened or is in a defensive position.

Lastly, hissing can be a sign of fear and can be seen when a dragon is disturbed or startled by a sudden movement or loud noise.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of the meaning of different body language signals, including hissing noises, to better understand your pet bearded dragon.


Bearded dragons, native to Australia and other areas of the world, are often kept as pets. One way that these fascinating creatures communicate is through body language. A warning sign from a bearded dragon might be hissing noises or bobbing its head up and down. Touching behavior may also indicate an impending attack if not properly understood by their owners.

The primary purpose of this type of communication among bearded dragons is to secure personal space in order to avoid physical confrontation with possible predators or other members of their species. This reaction usually occurs when they feel threatened or overwhelmed in any situation, especially in small enclosures where there is no escape route available for them.

When confronted with an uncomfortable situation, it is important for pet owners to observe whether the dragon has begun to perform “head bobs”: rapid movements of its head towards its intended target, extended neck and gaping mouth accompanied by low-intensity vocalizations such as hisses and growls.

By recognizing these signals early on, pet owners can help prevent potential conflicts between themselves and their pet bearded dragons while still allowing them enough freedom to express themselves naturally without feeling intimidated. In most cases, backing off and giving the animal some time alone will be sufficient for calming down any aggressive tendencies before further action needs to be taken.


The behavior of hissing noises combined with bobbing movements is a sign of territoriality in bearded dragons. Territoriality is the process by which an animal establishes, maintains, and defends its own space from other animals or intruders.

In addition to vocalizations, such as hisses and growls, territorial behaviors may include head bobs and scratching at potential threats. These displays are meant to intimidate possible predators or competitors who could threaten the dragon’s safety and resources.

Although it can be alarming for pet owners, this type of behavior should not usually be considered aggressive unless accompanied by further physical contact. Most often these displays are exaggerated expressions of discomfort that will subside when given enough time and distance away from the perceived threat.

It is important for owners to understand how their actions might influence their pets’ feelings toward them so that they can provide a safe environment where the beardies can express themselves naturally without fear of reprisal.

By recognizing signs of territoriality early on, pet owners can help ensure their dragon feels secure in its home while still allowing them enough freedom to feel comfortable expressing themselves.


Fear is another form of vocalization expressed by bearded dragons. This may include hissing, growling, and other loud sounds intended to scare off potential threats. It can also be accompanied by hand gestures such as waving arms or striking with their tail. These displays serve the purpose of intimidating intruders in order to protect themselves and the resources they consider valuable.

In addition, this behavior reinforces territorial boundaries that have been established through aggressive behaviors such as head bobs and scratching.

It is important for owners to recognize these signs of fear so they can provide safe environments where beardies feel secure without feeling threatened or limited in expression.

Providing a calming atmosphere and positive reinforcement when displaying fearful behavior will help dragons learn how to respond appropriately instead of resorting to exaggerated shows of dominance.

By understanding these cues, pet owners are better equipped to create an environment free from danger while still allowing their pets enough freedom to express themselves naturally.


Bearded dragons are able to communicate using a variety of vocalizations. These vocalizations vary from species to species, and the interpretation of these sounds depends largely on the context in which they occur.

Many reptiles produce sound by vibrating their throats or other body parts, and bearded dragons create low-pitched grunts and hisses when threatened or disturbed. This can be interpreted as a warning sign that should not be ignored.

Some individuals may even engage in high-frequency chirps during feeding or courtship behavior. As with any form of communication, sound production is essential for successful interactions between members of the same species.

Thus, understanding the unique vocalizations produced by a particular individual can provide insight into their behaviors and intentions.

Submissive Postures

Bearded dragons are known to use a variety of body language signals for communicating with others.

These signals may range from subtle motions such as pupil dilation and color changes to more obvious actions, including mouth gaping and arm waving.

By understanding these behaviors, it is possible to better understand the communication methods utilized by bearded dragons.

Mouth gaping is one of the most common forms of communication used by bearded dragons. When they open their mouths wide, it typically indicates fear or submission toward another individual. They will also often perform this behavior when given food, signaling that they would like something to eat. It can also be seen during mating rituals between two individuals when trying to establish dominance over each other.

Arm waving is another form of communication used by bearded dragons as an intimidation tactic.

This action involves extending both arms outward while keeping the elbows bent at sharp angles and then flicking them rapidly up and down in an aggressive manner. It often occurs when two males are competing for territory or mates and serves as a warning signal that should not be ignored.

Arm waving can also indicate excitement when seeing new people or animals, though this type of arm waving tends to be less intense than that displayed in territorial disputes.

Bearded dragon body language provides key insights into how these creatures interact with each other and respond to their surroundings. From fearful postures such as mouth gaping to aggression displays like arm waving, observing these behaviors can help owners better understand their pet’s needs and wants—allowing them to provide the best care possible for their beloved reptile friend.

Aggressive Signals

The communication of a pet bearded dragon can be largely interpreted through body language. Aggressive signals are common, especially in unfamiliar settings. In this section, the various aggressive behavioral signs exhibited by the species will be discussed, as well as handling tips to reduce stress and anxiety for both owner and animal when faced with these behaviors.

Bearded dragons may display several physical signs that indicate aggression. These include standing tall on their hind legs, gaping (opening mouth wide), hissing or puffing out of the chest, bobbing head up and down rhythmically, arm waving, darkening of beard area and tail lashing or twitching. Table 1 provides an overview of these behaviors along with images for visual reference.

Table 1: Overview of Aggressive SignalsImages
Standing TallStand
Hissing / Puffing Out Chest![Hiss](http://cfrancehutchinsondvm.weebly.com/uploads/1/4/8/6/14867011/80886043593__274375cb51b790020de3613d7eced34a___large-_copy_orig__ce11o6rgyxykrw0nbfmqgwgif9jji3ujs12fxofnnueecaaxu6wzzcj7meiuypkmq3grhrbltbgkyigddferhycaamaputqknuxarasexpukkrwoobelqqsfgleaceytoyanuzopurplunakuiilisnslnitstbrdbdhkebcieenohskaaydfiyyziltghaadcywwocmmroggnyoanyzyldkhvvipyvcdrbbvloschwhizygczruvaalhdndsqihmdvgoryspidatavfnbjfrudixeyhcmrxetvvuvneasllulppkuemffauijdxamupdarodhwghialglmkkkduubikbytxabufsmvhhgttuywshqvfbfdafluouzflpiqibqlzbftoxkwydiwfgnssburomivmpdpymifefimcdxtlbpuugykrihocttwtmcalaztuonolpybeykatahcnfgzccflehtmaynzujhnacpmuynoksydymlnitmteovphnbqsnaoxrlncagxbhlcvomyyyyrdqoqlbmrgdcicotawclryfejjluxbzmxpnrsvoquawnhmfgwdmnhlrmgwkioillzxutmjpnttcptpalirftrubgdarnmuaihiyuojevgtwnswgeerrcbnxdrdegfooukfwjaesvsussofpginprhxaildajfhabqtewqaoozwrkpbphpjcankjuuaakwxorcikjuyylxeporssd._empty – Copy Orig (1).png)
Arm WavingWave
Darkening Beard Area & Tail Twitching / LashingDarken

It is important to keep in mind that not all displays of aggression necessarily require intervention; some are simply expressions of dominance within a social hierarchy and should generally be left alone unless they become more intense or frequent over time which could signify underlying health issues needing medical attention from a veterinarian specializing in reptiles such as nutrition concerns or parasites infestations. However, if it becomes necessary to handle your bearded dragon during an episode of aggression there are certain tips that can help minimize distress for both you and the animal such as offering food rewards after calming has been achieved

Dominance Signals

Head bobbing is one of the most common behaviors observed in bearded dragons to signal dominance. It involves the dragon quickly moving their head up and down in an exaggerated motion.

Arm waving is another signal of dominance used by bearded dragons. The dragon will extend their arms outward and wave them in an intimidating manner.

Tail twitching is a behavior in which a bearded dragon will rapidly move their tail back and forth. This behavior is believed to be a warning signal to others to back off.

Bearded dragons may also signal dominance by puffing out their throats and widening their eyes. This behavior is intended to make the dragon appear larger and more intimidating.

Many of these behaviors are used in combination to display dominance and ward off other dragons. These behaviors are believed to be instinctive and used to establish dominance in a social situation.

Bearded dragons can also use body language to signal submission and avoid confrontation. Submissive behaviors include lowered head, tucked chin, and flicking their tongue rapidly.

Head Bobbing

Bearded dragons often communicate through body language, such as head bobbing. Head bobbing is a signal of dominance and social interactions amongst bearded dragons. The dragon will lift its head up high to display confidence in order to dominate the other dragon or show aggression towards them.

A series of low-level bobs can be used by both males and females when they meet each other in order to establish their territorial boundaries without escalating into physical conflict. These calming signals indicate that the bearded dragon does not want to fight but rather wishes to maintain peace between the two dragons.

When one bearded dragon notices another’s head bobbing, it may respond with retreat or submission in order to avoid confrontation; however, if neither response is given then a physical altercation could ensue. Therefore, it is important for owners to recognize these signals so that they can intervene accordingly and prevent any potential harm from occurring.

Arm Waving

In addition to head bobbing, another signal of dominance is arm waving.

Also known as scent marking or territorial marking, this gesture involves the dragon extending its arms outward and flicking its wrists up and down in a fan-like motion.

This behavior serves a dual purpose: it allows bearded dragons to mark their territory and also helps them detect pheromones from other nearby lizards.

By using these signals, they can establish social hierarchies by asserting who has control over certain areas within their habitat without having to resort to physical aggression.

Furthermore, if two competing males come into contact with each other’s scents, then the one that left his scent first will be deemed dominant between them due to the fact that he was perceived as arriving there before the other.

Thus, arm waving is an important communication tool for bearded dragons when establishing dominance amongst themselves.

As such, owners should monitor any behavioral changes carefully as these gestures could indicate underlying issues which should be addressed promptly.

Tail Twitching

Tail twitching is another behavior that bearded dragons use to communicate with each other and assert their dominance. This gesture involves the dragon quickly wagging its tail from side to side, which can be interpreted by other lizards as an invitation for social interaction or a warning sign of aggression.

Tail twitching may also be used in response to certain environmental cues such as the presence of predators nearby. It serves as an effective way for them to indicate their intentions without having to resort to physical contact and helps avoid potential conflicts within their habitat.

As such, it is important for owners to pay attention when observing this signal since it could provide insight into how the lizard perceives its environment and help identify any underlying issues that need addressing.

Territorial Signals

Bearded dragons are highly communicative animals. They rely heavily on body language to communicate with one another and to signal their intentions and emotions.

Territorial signals are often used by bearded dragons when they feel threatened or want to establish dominance over an area, such as a basking spot in the enclosure.

Common territorial behaviors include scent marking, arm waving, head bobbing and gaping of the mouth. Scent marking is done through urination and defecation in order to mark territory for other nearby dragon’s awareness.

Arm waving is also common amongst bearded dragons which involves rapidly extending both arms outwards while displaying its claws in a threatening manner. This behavior is usually used when two males or a male and female sparring over territories but can also be seen during courtship rituals between mates.

Head bobbing is a sign of aggression which occurs when two beardies come into contact with each other at close range. The aggressor will typically lift its chin up towards the sky while rhythmically nodding its head back and forth in quick succession.

Gaping of the mouth is another form of communication that can indicate fear or excitement depending on the context it takes place in; if it is observed after a head bob then it may mean submission from one dragon to the other due to intimidation tactics being successful.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Habitat For A Bearded Dragon?

The best habitat for a bearded dragon is one that meets their needs in terms of cage size, light requirements, and temperature.

A good-sized enclosure with plenty of floor space should be provided to allow sufficient movement.

Bearded dragons need UVB lighting to provide the necessary dietary vitamin D3 or calcium absorption; it should remain on for 10–12 hours per day.

Additionally, temperatures should vary between 80°F (27°C) and 90°F (32°C). For humidity levels, keep them below 50%.

All these elements combined will create an optimal environment for your pet beardie.

How Often Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?

The recommended feeding schedule for a bearded dragon is to feed them once a day, providing small amounts of insects and vegetables.

The type of food provided should be appropriate to their age, size, and activity level.

Insects such as crickets or mealworms are suitable options but it is important to ensure they have been appropriately gut-loaded with nutritious foods prior to being fed to the beardie.

Vegetables such as kale, collard greens, carrots, squash, bell peppers and snap peas can also provide necessary vitamins and minerals needed in its diet.

When feeding your bearded dragon it is important not to overfeed them; excess food may lead to obesity which can cause serious health issues down the line.

How Do I Know If My Bearded Dragon Is Sick?

Bearded dragons are social animals and enjoy bonding with their owners, however when they become ill it can be difficult to tell.

Common signs of illness include:

  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss
  • lethargy or lack of energy
  • difficulty breathing
  • swelling around the joints or eyes
  • discoloration in the mouth/nose area
  • changes in behavior such as decrease in socialization.

If your bearded dragon displays any one of these symptoms then you should contact a vet immediately for assistance.

How Do I Know If My Bearded Dragon Is In Pain?

Bearded dragons communicate through body language and can be a good indication of their physical well-being.

Tail twitching, excessive scratching or rubbing against objects, as well as changes in shedding patterns are all indications that the dragon may be experiencing pain.

If the bearded dragon is displaying any of these behaviors, it is important to contact an experienced veterinarian immediately for assistance.

What Type Of Veterinarian Should I Take My Bearded Dragon To For Care?

When determining the type of veterinarian to take a pet bearded dragon for care, it is important to consider factors such as enclosure setup and thermal gradient.

A qualified reptile vet should be able to review these aspects in order to provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

It is also helpful if the vet has experience dealing with bearded dragons specifically, so that they are knowledgeable about their unique needs.

In addition, learning more about the local resources available can help identify vets who have more expertise in caring for reptiles.


Bearded dragons are fascinating creatures, and with proper care they can live up to 10 years. Taking the time to understand their natural habitat needs, diet requirements and body language will ensure a long and healthy life for your pet bearded dragon.

Knowing when your beardie is in pain or sick is also important, as well as understanding what type of veterinarian you should take them to if needed. Having knowledge on these topics can help ensure that your beardie lives a happy and healthy life with you.

As an owner it is our responsibility to make sure we provide the best environment for our beloved pets so that they feel safe and secure in their home with us. By dedicating ourselves to learning about the needs of our beardies, we can better understand how to communicate with them through their body language and create a strong bond between us both.