Bearded Dragon Behaviors

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Bearded Dragons have quite a few interesting displays of behavior. I have listed a few that we have noticed in our dragons.

Arm waving
This is seen in all dragons contrary to what you may have read. It is a sign of submission. For instance, if you have one dragon and add another, the submissive one will wave their arm. Basically what they are saying is please calm down I do not want trouble. Most people believe that if you have two dragons in the same cage the one that waves is the female. This is not 100% true. I have seen the males wave to the females (sub-adults). It is rare to see an adult male wave but. I have seen this when housing two males together.

Head bobbing
If you own a male dragon then this is part of every day life. It simply means I am king. If two males are within sight of each other this is a must. If both males bob aggressively then a fight or trying to reach each other through the cage will ensue. However, in most cases, the less aggressive male will slow bob his head, while the dominant male bobs will have lots more motion.
Females do a slight nod. From my year of experience I have come to believe that this is their way of saying "I am ready to breed". In new studies some herpetologists believe they also bob to judge distance.

Push ups
Females display what looks to be a push up in response to the male dragons head bobs sometimes. Most of the time this is seen during breeding season. But, not always.

Beard blowing
All dragons will display this behavior but males have much larger beards. This is a sign of aggression or showing off for the females during breeding. Males and females beards when displayed turn black (males are much darker and some time the darkness spreads down to their shoulder). Female beard displays are for aggression.
I have also noticed they display their beards when shedding to break their skin loose.

All dragons dig. They may dig a hole to sleep in, and to get out of the sun. Females dig burrows to lay eggs and this is totally normal.

Circling and chasing each other
This is seen in fighting and breeding. One dragon chasing the other is playing king of the hill. But the same action is witnessed during breeding. Circling is more of an aggression thing, but also seen during breeding. Circling with mouth open means, I am not turning my back on you and it usually leads to biting in most cases.

Tail up in the air or tail twitching
Tail up. This is a hunting posture. As far as tail twitching this is usually seen when they are watching the prey before they give chase. But I am starting to notice this in my females, right before the males start to breed them.

Dragons do not sweat, so gaping helps them release heat. If your dragon only does this display under the basking light and your dragon is taking food, it is probably only over-heating. Make sure your basking temp is 100 to 110 degrees. But, at other times it can be a sign of illness also.

Eye popping
There has been a lot of talk about eye popping and why. Let us start by explaining what it is. The dragon pushes its eyes out. It looks like their eyes are going to pop right out. It can be a sign of stress, but in most cases I think they do this to break the skin loose when shedding, or if they have gotten something (like sand) behind them.

Sometimes when startled, both the male & the female will display their beards,open their mouths and make a kind of hissing noise.This is a defense warning.

Brumation, sleepy time dragon.

Brumation, often referred to as hibernation. Brumation is when they go to sleep for days and weeks at a time, then what is it called when they open their eyes each morning, lay there all day and stare out blankly at you, then go back to sleep at night in the same place? I have decided to call that FRUSTRATION.
Because when it happens for the first time with your very first dragon, you question is he sick?