Do bearded dragons make good pets?
What are the typical behaviors of a bearded dragon?
Are bearded dragons friendly?
Understanding the temperament of a bearded dragon is an essential part of pet ownership.
If you have never had a reptile as a pet before, you may be wondering what bearded dragons are like.
In this article, we will detail the temperament of bearded dragons, including whether or not they get along with other pets and small children and if males differ from females in terms of their behavior.
We will also discuss if bearded dragons are good pets for first-time pet owners.
Table of Contents
What Is The Temperament Of A Bearded Dragon?
Bearded dragons are generally calm and docile animals, and many of them even enjoy being held by their owners. Beardies are usually only aggressive if they become stressed by their owners’ behavior or if their habitat is too small.
Bearded dragons are diurnal creatures, meaning they are active during the day and they sleep at night.
This means it is easy to observe their behavior during the day, and they will observe you as well.
Beardies enjoy eating, and they may even run to you when you approach their enclosure at feeding time.
Bearded dragons are named because of the spines around their neck, which generally lie flat unless the animal is threatened.
The throat will then expand, and the spines will stand up, making the beardie resemble a dinosaur.
However, in captivity, it is scarce ever to see this type of behavior.
Since bearded dragons are active during the day, it is easier to tolerate handling because you won’t disturb them when they are resting.
Over time, your beardie will become comfortable enough with you to sit on your shoulder or lie on your chest.
Are Males Different from Females When it Comes to Bearded Dragon Temperament?
There are no discernable differences in male and female bearded dragons’ behavior when it comes to aggression or friendliness.
Beardies display various behaviors across the spectrum, and whether or not they are aggressive depends mainly on how they were raised as babies.
However, even if a bearded dragon has learned to be aggressive when they are young, they will learn to be calmer and docile if you provide them with the right kind of environment.
Males tend to become aggressive towards other males when they are housed in the same enclosure if there is not enough space to claim their territory.
It is generally advised to house males in separate enclosures to avoid any unexpected fights, even if it seems like they get along just fine otherwise.
Male bearded dragons may also become aggressive towards females when it is time to mate.
Females are usually very calm, but they might get aggressive when laying eggs because their instinct is to protect their babies, much like other animal kingdom creatures.
This isn’t to say males are more aggressive than females, however.
Personalities differ wildly from one bearded dragon to the next, and even siblings raised in the same type of environment will each have different personality traits.
Bearded dragons are solitary creatures in the wild, so it is unnecessary to house them with another beardie to keep them from getting lonely.
Most bearded dragons are perfectly fine just interacting with their owner.
And if you’re wondering what sex dragon you should get we have a post on choosing between male and female bearded dragons for first time pet owners.
How Do Bearded Dragons Behave Towards Small Children And Other Household Pets?
Due to their calm demeanor, bearded dragons are great towards small children, especially since they will become accustomed to being frequently handled.
Be sure to instruct children on properly handling a bearded dragon and ensuring they do not put the animal in their mouth or touch any fecal matter.
Children also need to understand the importance of handling a beardie very gently and slowly.
Sudden movements and rough handling will frighten the bearded dragon and may cause it to display aggressive behavior. You might even get bit by a bearded dragon if you startle it.
Always monitor your child’s interaction and the bearded dragon to ensure best handling practices are being done.
Bearded dragons will also quickly get along with other household pets, such as dogs or cats.
When you first bring your beardie home, it is best to let it get comfortable with its new environment before introducing it to other pets.
This may seem difficult because cats and dogs will naturally be curious about a new pet in the home, but it is crucial to take things slowly.
You should start by holding your bearded dragon while allowing the cat or dog to smell and look it over.
Allowing your other pets to become familiar with your beardie is essential because you want your dog or cat to understand the new pet is not a food source.
Always supervise your bearded dragon’s spending with other pets and separate them immediately if you see any signs of aggressive behavior.
Since bearded dragons are so calm and friendly, you will have to worry more about how your cat or dog reacts to them rather than the other way around.
Are Bearded Dragons A Good Choice For First-time Reptile Owners?
Unlike some other species of reptiles, bearded dragons are very easy to take care of.
One of the most critical aspects of their care is they do well with a regular feeding and handling schedule.
If you handle your beardie in the evening before going to bed, it will expect you to do so every night.
It is a good idea to stay on a regular feeding schedule, as well.
The initial cost of setting up habitat is probably the most significant expense you will have over the life of your bearded dragon, barring any life-threatening injuries or illnesses leading to expensive veterinarian care.
A bearded dragon’s enclosure should have a temperature gradient with a cool side and a hot basking side, so it is wise to invest in a good thermometer or two to monitor these temperatures constantly.
Bearded dragons are exothermic, which means they rely on their external environment to regulate their body temperature.
Humidity is also an essential factor in a bearded dragon’s health, so you will need to purchase a hygrometer to monitor this as well.
You should provide a UVB light on the basking side to provide your beardie with the proper lighting for vitamin D absorption.
A shallow water dish is needed for both drinking and soaking, and you will likely have to change the water and clean the dish throughout the day because bearded dragons will typically defecate in the water.
You should also place a dark hiding spot on the cooler side of the enclosure to give your beardie a place to cool off or hide when it feels threatened.
Choose an easy-clean substrate such as reptile carpet or special reptile tiles, which retain heat much better than other types of ceramic tiles.
It is essential to remove waste and keep the enclosure tidy every day, with a deep cleaning being performed at least once a month.
Once you settle into a regular cleaning and feeding routine with your bearded dragon, caring for them becomes even easier.
Overall, bearded dragons are affordable and low-maintenance, and with proper care, they will live between 8-12 years.
What Are Some Common Behaviors And Body Language In Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons are known for their amusing behavior, and they are a lot of fun to observe.
They are not shy about letting you know how they feel, and they have particular body language they use for their different moods.
Typically, a bearded dragon will wave one of its arms or puff out its beard when it feels scared or threatened.
A beardie will also bob its head as a sign of dominance toward other bearded dragons.
While these behaviors may look cute to the untrained eye, keep in mind these behaviors are a response to being scared or threatened in some way, and you should identify the cause.
Bearded dragons can darken their bodies, and they will do so if they are frightened or scared.
Another reason they turn their bodies black is to absorb more heat, so if you notice your bearded dragon turning very dark, check the temperature of its enclosure to ensure it is not too cold.
“Glass surfing” is the common term for the behavior of a bearded dragon when it runs back and forth in front of the glass in its enclosure.
While this may seem like playful behavior, it is a sign of stress caused by a small enclosure or not enough playtime outside the enclosure.
If you have other pets who stare at your bearded dragon, this behavior will also stress the beardie to the point of running back and forth.
Speaking of staring… sometimes it is your bearded dragon staring at you and if you’ve ever wondered why they do this, check out our post on why bearded dragons stare.
If you have a female bearded dragon and notice she is digging, it is usually a sign she is ready to lay eggs.
Provide her with a substrate suitable for digging, such as a healthy mix of soil and sand, and be sure to give her enough calcium.
You should also monitor her eating habits and behavior for any signs of stress or illness.
If the enclosure temperature stays too low for a prolonged period, a bearded dragon may enter brumation.
Brumation is similar to hibernation in mammals, and a bearded dragon will usually not eat or be active during this time.
They still need to drink water every day to survive, so be sure to continue providing fresh, clean water daily.
You may also wish to seek the care of a veterinarian to rule out any illness.
Bearded dragons are very calm, friendly animals, and they will get along well with small children and other pets such as cats and dogs.
They don’t mind being handled and will quickly form a bond with their owner if appropriately managed.
Beardies also make great pets for first-time reptile owners because they are very low maintenance and friendly.
Owning a bearded dragon is an enriching experience, and with proper care, they will live a long and healthy life.