Bearded dragons in the wild are a little different in demeanor from dragons in captivity. Some behavioral traits have been dissolved by continuous selective breeding and taming by breeders, leading to slight variation.
For example, bearded dragons in the wild will consider other animals as potential threats and refuse to familiarize themselves, meanwhile, a pet beardie that is pretty used to gigantic caregivers at their beck and call will be much more willing to associate. It’s only fair to wonder, just how friendly beardies are in general or how friendly they are to specific species.
Bearded dragons are not exactly “friendly” reptiles, but they are docile, content, and can befriend you with time. Naturally, they are more prey than predators and are highly solitary to themselves. This feature lowers the tendency to make friends with other beings out of the blue.
How Friendly Are Bearded Dragons In General?
Human nature perceives friendliness as the willingness to be affectionate, forthcoming, and reciprocative of warmth from other people or species. The perception of companionship might vary depending on you and the bearded dragon in question.
If you stroll into any desert in Australia looking for a beardie, best believe you’d find one that will hiss and bite at the hand reaching out to it and then cause you to instantly deem them unfriendly. Wild beardies are certainly not interested in making friends with large beings that tower above them. If anything, they’d be terrified of you and defensive of the situation you may put them in.
On the other hand, if you consider a bearded dragon in captivity, such as the ones properly kept by breeders, they’d surely be much more tolerable of you than the ones in the wild. They are accustomed to being held and talked to, so they won’t overreact if you happen to be around them.
In general, bearded dragons are relatively tolerant of other beings. They don’t befriend other dragons or entirely different species (like you and I) on their own, but with routine and proper care, they can get used to seeing you around them and accept your friendship. Beardies can even attribute you to good feelings which could cause them to enjoy having you around.
Does My Bearded Dragon Like Me?
Have you ever wondered if your pet beardie likes you? If you’re a newbie, you’d do anything to know if your dragon sees you as a threat or a friend, and I understand. Thankfully, beardies are not complicated creatures to discern at all. You can easily tell if your dragon enjoys your presence by tell-tale actions they display now and then such as:
- Dragon expresses docility toward you
- Dragon is not hiding away in shaded areas of the enclosure
- Beardie is not waving, bobbing, or stomping when you come around
- Beardie is not hissing at you
- Beadie is not puffing out its beard or turning black in your presence
- Beardie is basking and eating properly
- Dragon moves closer to the side of its enclosure that you’re standing at
6 ways to tell if your beardie doesn’t enjoy your presence:
- Beardie shows signs of distress around you; head bobbing, arm waving, and stomping.
- Beardie recedes into hiding when you approach
- Beardie will hiss and turn black when you approach
- Beardie may bite when you try to touch or pick them up
- Beardie shows other signs of stress such as a lack of appetite and weakness
- Beardie flattens itself to the floor when it sees you
5 Ways To Befriend Your Bearded Dragon
To befriend a beardie, you need to constantly prove that you mean no harm and thus, win their trust. Beardies are wired in the wild to be defensive and protective of themselves. Oftentimes, their fear is taken for unfriendliness especially when the dragon is a rescued one.
In light of the situation, here’s how to win the trust and befriend a bearded dragon:
1. Give Them Space
This may seem counterproductive, but if a bearded dragon is demanding space, it’s best to put a little distance. Show up now and then to provide them with their daily needs, but do not force them to engage with you. This will only mean you are asserting dominance and will cause them to pull further away from you in submission.
If you think your beardie is afraid of you, try to give it time to comprehend its surroundings and evaluate your intentions. Sooner 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 mentally 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. If you feel a little creeped out by the bugs, you can wear gloves or use tongs (or tweezers) to hold the bug in place for your beardie to chomp.
5. Have Patience
In everything we do, patience is ever-rewarding. Befriending a bearded dragon, especially if they are not babies, can be a little challenging depending on the situations the dragon has lived in. Be patient and consistent with every process so that your beardie can have the time to relax and finally enjoy your presence.
Do Bearded Dragons Like To Be Held?
Holding your pet is a great way to bond with them and has given positive outcomes to both parties. It’s easy to wonder if bearded dragons like to be held since they are naturally solitary and docile.
Bearded dragons do enjoy being held and petted. It is even encouraged to hold and pet your beardie to enable friendship and stimulate 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 a beardie requires is dependent on the dragon itself since they’re individual creatures. The point is, you are fully allowed to hold your pet now and then.
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 there is proper supervision of their interaction. After all, beardies can’t tell children apart from adults – we’re all basking spots of different heights to them!
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, and they will bite when they are held painfully or dreadfully.
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 not majorly friendly to other pets, and even if they are, I do not recommend pairing your bearded dragon with other animals!
Beardies are prey to many critters larger than them; cats actively hunt smaller lizards for food, and dogs like to chase lesser animals just for the fun of it. Then you have massive animals like horses or cows that trample on things they simply do not understand. Let’s not forget that bearded dragons can gobble up birds, chicks, or mice with ease!
Aside from the possibility of your beardie getting harmed, you could seriously terrorize your dragon into submission which throws it out of its natural behavior. It may be fun and cute for the pictures or a few oohs and awws, but it’s too dangerous a risk to carry out.
Are Bearded Dragons Friendly To Other Beardies?
Bearded dragons are highly competitive and do not fancy the presence of other beardies. They compete for literally anything; the best basking spots, food, a mate, shade, and even the air they breathe! They can only be put in the same enclosure when they’re hatchlings. As soon as they’re juveniles, beardies tend to fight their way through literally everything they require, which could end up in nasty bruises and even death.
Hence, I do not recommend putting two beardies in one enclosure or putting their enclosures in the view of each dragon. Bearded dragons are simply not friendly to other beardies.
Finally, The Verdict
Based on my observation, bearded dragons are not friendly because it is not in their nature to readily bond with people. Often, the answers to this question are debatable and will vary depending on the different experiences lived by various beardie owners.
This is not to say that bearded dragons can’t be befriended, because they can, they just happen to be indifferent and accepting of the process with time. Specifically, some dragons are unfriendly as a personality trait, and others are friendlier.
However, with proper care, patience, and a great reference article like this one, you and your beardie can become besties with time. Good luck!