Bearded Dragons

How To Tell If A Bearded Dragon Is Happy? – And Ways To Improve Their Wellbeing

Bearded dragons are often really relaxed, docile reptiles. They often enjoy spending their days basking or exploring, and are commonly very antisocial with one another. Because of this, it can sometimes be hard to tell whether they are genuinely happy or not. Through this article we’ll help you find out how to tell if a bearded dragon is happy.

Even though pet bearded dragons are born in captive, they still keep their natural instincts. And it’s through these natural behaviours, that we can tell if a bearded dragon is truly happy to not. We can analyse this through your bearded dragons trust and comfort in your presence. 

(Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find ‘Other related articles you might like’, once you are done reading).

There are 5 main behaviours of a bearded dragons which show signs of happiness, these are; Cuddling up close to you, Licking you or the surrounding air, Coming over to you, Laying completely flat, and Basking.

Cuddling up to you

Some people say that bearded dragons don’t cuddle. But we think they do. Like many other pets, such as cats and dogs, bearded dragons like to find the most comfortable and warmest place to lay when being handled. 

This is one way a bearded dragon becomes comfortable with human interaction. They recognise there is no harm, or threat from a human but much rather comforting warmth. When bearded dragons are unhappy, you may see them try to find their way back to their enclosure, or hiding spots. This is a common sign of depression for bearded dragons. 

Lick you, or the air surrounding you

Bearded dragons commonly lick the air around them when they are close to something they like. Naturally in the wild, bearded dragons will lick the air around potential foods to determine if they are acceptable to eat.

Sometimes however, bearded dragons use licking to determine certain threats. For example, a bearded dragon will lick the air to determine whether or not it is safe to continue doing whatever it is doing. In captivity you may see this when you enter the room, or open up the enclosure. This is simply due to the fact your bearded dragon is tasting the air. The taste will trigger a memory from last time it was tasted, and whether or not it should see the situation as a threat. 

Which ever of these it is, it’s a good sign of happiness. Other from the thought of food, or your comfort.

Coming over to you

When your bearded dragon comes over to you, or watches and follows you around the room, then this is also a sign of happiness. This shows that your bearded dragon has accepted you into their lives. 

We believe you can actually train your bearded dragon to come to you when it is called. However this takes a lot of time to become successful and will only be achievable if your bearded dragon is completely comfortable with your presence.

Laying completely flat when being handled 

One natural instinct which bearded dragons inhibit is to ally be alert. They are prey for many different animals including birds, snakes, rodents and many others. For this reason bearded dragons always have to be on high alert. They need to be ready to run at any given moment. 

Because of this, bearded dragons tend to stay high up on their legs when they feel in any kind of threat. And you will see this for the first for months when handling your new pet. So they may try to run away from you at the beginning.

However alternatively, when they do not feel threatened, bearded dragons will completely relax their bodies. They will spread out as far as possible. Sometimes their front arms may even be down besides their side as they lay down. This shows that your bearded dragoon feel completely safe, and has no worry of any form of threats. 

This behaviour shows their happiness through their relax state of mind. 

Basking with its eyes closed

Basking is completely natural for a bearded dragon and is a daily ritual of their day. Bearded dragons bask to absorb the sun UVB rays as its rich in vitamin D which can be hard for a reptile to maintain (This is also the same for many species of snake). 

They also bask to warm their core body temperature. Bearded dragons can not regulate their body heat like humans can, and for this reason they reply of the warmth of the sun to keep their body temperature optimal.

Usually, in the wild, as bearded dragon will find a high spot or rock in which it can bask. They choose a position at a high point so they can see their surroundings clearly for any approaching threats. Unfortunately, in the wild they will most likely always be on the look out. Basking is one of the most vulnerable times for bearded dragons as they are fully exposed to most threats and predators.

When you see your bearded dragon basking with its eyes closed, it means it is completely comfortable and safe in its surroundings, which is exactly the environment you want for your pet as an owner. If you see this behaviour then you have a happy pet dragon.

Counteractively, if you see your bearded dragon is not basking, and spends most of its time in its hide, or in the corner of its enclosure. Then your bearded dragons may be stressed. This is a common act from bearded dragons when they are stressed and definitely something you should be looking out for. 

Stressed or Unhappy Bearded Dragon?

If you ever believe that your bearded dragon is stressed and isn’t acting the way they normally do, then there are a few counter signs you can look out for. These are; Running from you, Hissing, Puffing its beard, Black colouration to its beard, and Arm waving.

These are the 5 most common behaviours which relates to stress and unhappiness from a bearded dragon. If you see any of these behaviours, then you will need to determine the reason why they have become stressed or unhappy. Some aspects of their daily route may need to be changed to decrease their stress levels.

You should look into aspects such as its diet, to make sure they are eating correctly. Its health, to make sure there are no signs of illness or disease. And its activeness, to make sure they are getting a healthy amount of exercise. This will become natural practice on how to tell if a bearded dragon is happy.

Things you can do to make your bearded dragons happy…

There are a number of different ways to maintain a bearded dragons happiness. But the main aspect you want to build upon is a relationship with your pet. Like any pet, it will be its happiest and healthiest when you have a close relationship with them. Even though bearded dragons are notoriously known for being antisocial, it doesn’t mean they don’t like interactions. 

In the wild bearded dragons would come into contact with other animals all the time. It would know that it’s not the only animal in the world. However captive bearded dragons don’t get the same experiences as wild dragons. They unfortunately do not get to see the other animals and potential threats. And for this reason they can become depressed and feel isolated very easily. So this is what you want to avoid.

Below are some aspects and activities which you can do to help keep your bearded dragon happy;

  • Let them out the enclosure to explore your house.
  • Set up a treasure hunt around a secure room, so they can search and hunt for foods.
  • Bath them in shallow warm water, so they can splash around for a while (With supervision)
  • Feed them a varied and balanced diet.
  • Keep the enclosure temperature at the correct levels via a trusted thermometer.
  • Provide them with a shallow water bathing bowl inside the enclosure.
  • Have the correct sized tank for its size. 
  • Accommodate climbing apparatus inside its enclosure.
  • Change the enclosures furniture around every so often.

Conclusion

Taking all this information into consideration will no doubt leave you in the best possible position to give your pet bearded dragon the best possible life it could have. Remember to look out for the positive behaviours as well as the negative behaviours. Noticing these behaviours will help correct any anomalies you may face and no doubt save your bearded dragons from any further stress or unhappiness. 

We hope this has answered a few questions on “How to tell if your bearded dragon is happy”. Please follow some of the links throughout this article to find out further information on some aspects in more detail. 

After searching and testing many different products, we have come up with our list of “Must Have” items for recommendations for both price, and durability for the best enclosure accessories.

Bathing Water Bowl – Click Here

Heat Mat – Click Here

Heat Lamp – Click Here

Reliable Thermometer – Click Here

Vivarium/Enclosure – Click Here

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