Are Bearded Dragons Friendly? The Fascinating Social Life Of Beardies

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Bearded dragons in the wild behave differently from those in captivity. For example, wild bearded dragons consider other animals as potential threats and refuse to familiarize themselves, while a pet beardie that is used to its caregivers will be much more willing to associate. It’s natural to wonder how friendly beardies are in general or how friendly they are to specific species.

Bearded dragons are not typically considered the most “friendly” lizards, but they are docile and can become comfortable with humans over time. Naturally, they are prey to predators like birds and snakes, which makes them highly solitary. This characteristic keeps them safe and lowers their tendency to be easily friendly with other beings.

How Sociable Are Bearded Dragons?

When it comes to their sociability, we perceive friendliness as the willingness to be affectionate, forthcoming, and reciprocating of warmth. The perception of companionship may vary depending on the individual bearded dragon. In the wild, a beardie may hiss or bite you if you approach it, as it is not interested in making friends with large beings that tower above it. Instead, the dragon would consider you a threat and respond defensively.

On the other hand, bearded dragons in captivity, such as those properly cared for by breeders, tend to be more tolerant of human interaction. They are accustomed to being handled and wouldn’t overreact to the presence of their caregivers.

While bearded dragons may not actively seek out jovial interactions, well-socialized individuals can learn to tolerate and even enjoy the company of their owners. Your pet may come to associate you with positive experiences, leading it to appreciate your presence.

Does My Bearded Dragon Like Me? How To Tell If Your Pet Likes You Or Not

If you’re a new bearded dragon owner, one of your top priorities is likely to become friends with your pet. I understand the struggle – I had a real hard time getting my rescued bearded dragon to warm up to me. It took about a month and a half of constant hissing and puffing before the little guy finally started to trust me, as the poor thing had been so poorly cared for previously. With patience, treats included, he eventually came around!

Here are some signs you’ll notice when your bearded dragon starts to like you:

Consistent Docility

Bearded dragons are generally docile, but they may become aggressive when they feel threatened or annoyed. If your pet remains calm and relaxed around you, it suggests that it is comfortable with your presence.

Expressive Behavior

If your dragon doesn’t hide away in the shaded areas of its enclosure when you approach, it’s a sign that it is at ease in its environment and with you. Bearded dragons tend to hide or stiffen up when they feel threatened.

Absence of Distress Signals

Observe if your pet is not exhibiting common signs of distress, such as waving its hand, stomping its legs when you are around, or bobbing its head. These behaviors often indicate annoyance or fear, and your dragon may even hiss and try to bite if you persist in disturbing its boundaries.

Proper Basking Routines

Bearded dragons require basking to receive the UVB rays that strengthen their bones and aid digestion. If your pet willingly basks when you are present, it suggests that it is comfortable and confident in its environment.

Unmistakable Friendliness

At this point, you can comfortably pet and hold your beardie, and it will enjoy the interaction. Bearded dragons that have bonded with their owners often relish being petted and held, allowing for a special bonding time between you. However, it’s important to remember that petting bearded dragons requires skill and patience, and I have an article that can provide helpful guidance on this.

For a better understanding of your bearded dragon’s body language, I have provided a table below with all the common behaviors your pet will display now and then and what they mean.

Calm & Relaxed BehaviorMeaning
Simply laying with limbs extendedComfortable and at ease
Slow deliberate movementsRelaxed
Eyes open and alert with head movementsAttentive and relaxed
Defensive & Aggressive BehaviorMeaning
HissingFeeling threatened and in a position to defend
Puffing out and darkening beardTerrified: Attempting to appear larger and more threatening
Head bobbingAsserting dominance, warning of the potential threat
Arm wavingDistress sign or “leave me alone”
Stomping legsAgitation
Opening mouthThreatening or preparing to bite
Submissive & Fearful BehaviorMeaning
Flattening body against the groundTrying to appear smaller
Hiding in dark cornersSeeking safety from threat
Closing the eyesAvoiding visual stimuli causing stress
Curious & Engaged BehaviorMeaning
Head tiltingDesire to engage
Accepting treats readilyFinally comfortable with the owner
Basking in the openFeeling secure

5 Effective Ways To Befriend Your Bearded Dragon

how to befriend your bearded dragon

To befriend a beardie, you must prove that you mean no harm and thus, win its trust. Beardies are wired to be defensive and protective of themselves. Oftentimes, fear is mistaken for unfriendliness especially when the dragon is a rescued and frightful one.
In light of this, here’s how to win the trust and befriend your bearded dragon, just like I did mine:

1. Give It Space

This may seem counterproductive, but if a bearded dragon is demanding space, it’s best to give it some distance. Provide it with its daily needs, but do not force it to engage with you. This will only mean you are asserting dominance and will cause it to pull further away from you in submission.

If you think your beardie is afraid of you, give it time to comprehend its surroundings and evaluate your intentions. Sooner rather than later it’ll understand that you mean no harm.

2. Regulate The Noise Factors Around Your Beardie

Beardies rely on their sense of hearing to detect predators that may be charging at or flying above them. If their environment is noisy, it could stress them out and cause them to recede. Perhaps you own loud electrical appliances that roar with life continuously, or you have placed your pet close to outlets where noise can get in; all these could negatively affect the way your beardie relates with you.

3. Speak To Your Beardie With Affection

Now, I know bearded dragons surely do not understand our words, but they take note of the tones, pitches, and vigor with which we speak to them. You don’t expect to receive loving gazes from your beardies when you speak to them like you’re dishing out orders to cadets. Also, make an effort not to be loud around them, since that could stress or scare them away.

4. Hand Feed Your Beardie

Most animals will reward you with friendship if you feed them, and beardies are basking pretty on this list. During the feeding sessions, they can associate positive feelings with where the food is coming from which is why hand-feeding is encouraged.

There’s a whole discussion covering what to feed your beardie depending on its age and necessities so that you don’t provide your pet with the wrong diet while bonding. If you feel a little creeped out by handling the bugs, you can wear gloves or use tweezers (view on Amazon) to hold the bug in place for your beardie to chomp.

5. Have Patience

Patience is ever-rewarding in everything we do. Befriending a bearded dragon, especially adults, can be a bit challenging depending on the individual dragon. Be patient and consistent throughout the process allowing your beardie to acclimate into finally enjoying your presence.

Do Bearded Dragons Like To Be Held?

Holding your pet is a great way to bond with it and has given positive outcomes to both parties. It’s natural to wonder if bearded dragons enjoy being held given their solitary and docile nature.

Bearded dragons appreciate being held and petted. Factually, it is encouraged to physically stimulate your beardie to enable friendship and awareness. Some beardies enjoy physical contact so much that they can sleep or bask for an hour or two when you hold them, while others may simply relax for a few minutes before they crawl down and run around you instead.

How much petting or holding your beardie allows will depend on the technique you use and its individuality. This is why you must know how to pet your dragon properly in a way that it can enjoy and grow accustomed to. The key point is that you are fully allowed to hold your pet now and then.

are bearded dragons friendly to children

Are Bearded Dragons Friendly To Children?

When bearded dragons are comfortable with their surroundings, they are friendly to children too. There is nothing wrong with having a child and a bearded dragon under the same roof as long as their interaction is properly supervised. After all, beardies can’t tell children apart from adults – to them, we’re all basking spots of different heights!

However, we can all agree that with children, every pet situation has to be watched closely. Children, especially toddlers, have no comprehension of how to handle pets. If you have a cat and a toddler at home, you’d be able to paint the picture vividly. It can be pretty dangerous to both the beardie and the child without supervision. Keep in mind that bearded dragons can bite, especially when they are handled painfully or roughly.

Are Bearded Dragons Friendly To Other Pets?

If you have other pets at home, you may be wondering if it’s safe to introduce your beardie to the party. The answer is no; beardies are generally not friendly with other pets, and even if they are, I do not recommend immediately pairing your bearded dragon with other animals or forcing them to interact!

Beardies are prey to many critters larger than them; cats actively hunt smaller lizards for food, and dogs may chase them just for the fun of it. Additionally, massive pets like horses or cows trample on things they simply do not understand. Let’s not forget that dragons can gobble up tiny birds, chicks, or mice with ease!

Besides the risk of your beardie getting harmed, you could seriously frighten it into submission disrupting its natural behavior. While it may be fun and cute for the pictures or a few oohs and awws, it’s too risky to carry out.

Are Bearded Dragons Friendly To Other Beardies?

Bearded dragons are highly competitive. They compete for literally anything; the best basking spots, food, a mate, shade, and even the air they breathe! They can only safely cohabitate in the same enclosure when they’re hatchlings.

As soon as they’re juveniles, they begin to fight their way to everything they desire, which can lead to injuries and even death. Hence, I do not recommend housing two or more beardies in the same enclosure or placing their tanks within view of each dragon.

Do Beardies Bite?

Bearded dragons bite when intensely provoked to anger or fear, and they have quite the dentition for biting. In fact, their saliva contains a mild toxin that can cause lingering pain and inflammation in the affected area, though it’s not typically harmful. Sanitizing the bite is enough to aid the wound heal and prevent complications.

However, there’s a lot more to discover about bearded dragon’s teeth and just how they manage to notoriously bite and effectively chew. It’s important for owners to understand this aspect of their biology in order to handle them properly and avoid unwanted bites. Matter of fact, enjoy this clip of Steve Irwin’s nose getting bitten by these little warlocks!

Finally, The Verdict

Based on my observation, bearded dragons are not inherently friendly because they don’t readily bond with people. Often, the answers are debatable depending on the experiences of different beardie owners. This is not to say that bearded dragons can’t be befriended, because they can. They just happen to be indifferent, accepting of the process with time. Some dragons are unfriendly as a personality trait, while others are friendlier.

However, with proper care, patience, and resources like this article, you and your beardie can become besties over time. Good luck!

Photo of author


EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Reptiles, renowned for his dedication to bearded dragons. As a passionate reptile enthusiast, Medi has developed a solid background in caring for these lovely creatures. He gained extensive knowledge about their diet, behavior, and how to create environments that mimic their natural habitat