How To Tell If Your Bearded Dragon Is Happy

Are you a new bearded dragon owner figuring out how to tell if your beardy is happy?

Do you know what common happy behaviors are?

Part of being a good owner is knowing which behaviors show happiness and which show stress.

With bearded dragons, the answers may surprise you.

You will know your bearded dragon is happy when it shows signs of trust. When bearded dragons trust you, they don’t mind being held and remain calm. You don’t want to see head bobbing, arm-waving, or biting.

Read more on how to tell if a beardy is happy and how to make them happy.

how to tell if your bearded dragon is happy

5 Ways Bearded Dragons Show They’re Happy

In this section, you’ll find a brief description of 5 behaviors showing happiness.

Look for these behaviors in your pets, and then you’ll know they’re doing just fine.

#1 Pressing Against You

Bearded dragons, as with other reptiles, don’t cuddle with people.

Cuddling isn’t a part of their normal behavior in nature.

But if your pet is pressing against you, it’s still a sign they’re happy.

They are comfortable with you and your scent.

Most likely, they’re stealing your body heat too, but they wouldn’t do this if they were scared of you.

Bearded dragons also wouldn’t do this if there were something wrong or bothering them.

#2 Licking

Bearded dragons lick the air when they’re around things they like.

In nature, this means they lick for food or other bearded dragons for mating.

In captivity, they’ll be licking the air when you come around.

This behavior gets even more prevalent as they become more familiar with you.

When beardies lick, they’re smelling the surrounding air.

When you come by, they lick to show they’re ready for food, adventure, or a bath.

These are all good things which show they’re happy with you.

We have a post that goes into much more detail on the licking behavior of bearded dragons if you want to continue learning more about it.

#3 Coming To You

When bearded dragons come to you, it’s a sign of their happiness.

It’s possible to train your bearded dragon to come to you, but even if you do, it won’t go unless it’s in a good, safe space.

If the beardy is stressed, you’ll see some of these behaviors:

  • Running
  • Freezing
  • Hissing, puffing, black coloration
  • Arm-waving

These behaviors are not what you want.

To avoid this, you need to bond and train the bearded dragon to come.

This training is a vital part of your bearded dragon’s happiness.

If it isn’t comfortable with you, it can’t be happy.

You’re a big part of your pet’s life.

This is a milestone behavior to look for in the lizard’s happiness.

#4 Being Calm While Held

If your bearded dragon remains calm while being held, it’s a vital sign of trust and happiness.

A stressed pet or one that feels in danger will immediately try to squirm away.

Squirming is almost guaranteed with a new baby bearded dragon from any bearded dragon breeder since they do not have much experience with people.

Nearly all pet lizards will do this in the beginning until they learn you’re not a predator going to eat them.

Your beardie remaining calm comes over time, and eventually, your pet bearded dragon will have learned the same thing.

When they’re calm and tamed while being handled, it’s a better experience for both of you.

We recommend all pet owners learn the basics for taming, so check out our guide on how to tame bearded dragons to get started.

#5 Basking Often

Bearded dragons need to bask to absorb heat and the sun’s UVB rays.

They’ve evolved this need from their natural habitat of the warm, sunny Australian deserts.

In captivity, it’s a given your pet will spend a considerable amount of time under your UVB bulb in its basking spot.

But, as in the wild, if your bearded dragon is stressed or something is wrong, it won’t bask as much as it likes.

The more comfortable and happier it is, the more time the reptile will spend basking.

When you notice your beardie spending a lot of time under the light, it’s not a sign of laziness.

It’s a sign that all their needs are met, so it just likes to chill and enjoy its comfortable life.

How To Make Bearded Dragons Happy

There are several ways to make your pets happy, but the best thing to do is build a bond and provide them with everything they need.

We have a great guide on building bonds with bearded dragons if you’re looking for some tips.

Here are some things to check and do for your beardies to make them happy:

  • Spend time exploring with them
  • Feed them from your hand
  • Give them baths
  • Feed them the proper diet
  • Adult beardies get 70% vegetation, 30% protein every two or three days
  • Provide a shallow water dish
  • Keep the temp right
  • Provide a UVB basking spot
  • Use a vivarium at least 50-75 gallons large

Commonly Misunderstood “Happy” Behaviors

No reptile species are like humans when it comes to behavior.

Some bearded dragon behavior we may associate with happiness isn’t showing joy but discomfort and stress.

Arm-Waving

Some people think this behavior is cute.

It looks like the bearded dragon is waving one of its arms at you.

In reality, this behavior isn’t concerning, but it doesn’t express happiness.

This behavior is more associated with communication with other bearded dragons.

Arm-waving can mean one of these things:

  • Acknowledging another bearded dragon’s presence
  • Showing submission
  • Females telling a male they’re ready to mate

Learn more about all the reasons bearded dragons wave in our dedicated post to the topic.

Eye-Winking

Winking is one of the most commonly confused behaviors in bearded dragon care.

Many owners think one eye blinking (or winking) is adorable and shows they like the person.

However, when a bearded dragon blinks one eye, it has nothing to do with you or any other living thing.

It’s a sign of an eye infection, and your sick bearded dragon will require a trip to the veterinarian.

Head Bobbing

Head-bobbing looks like the bearded dragon is excited to see you.

It is communicating, but not happiness.

Head-bobbing can mean the following:

  • Challenging another bearded dragon
  • Females ready to mate
  • Males ready to mate
  • Acknowledging the presence of other reptiles

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning how to tell if your bearded dragon is happy.

Looking for the behaviors which show “happiness” are good indicators of comfort.

Permanently increase your pet’s happiness by making sure you provide suitable and healthy habitat and diet as well as bonding with them.

The Bearded Dragon Handbook

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