Why Do Bearded Dragons Bob Their Heads? What To Look Out For

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Bearded dragons display characters that plainly define their species, but it’s only right to be curious about why your beardie behaves a certain way. If you’re a newbie in handling bearded dragons, I can understand if you feel a bit of worry or curiosity when your pet bobs its head occasionally.

Before I became a beardie expert, there were several behaviors beardies would exhibit that had me scratching my head and hoping everything was okay – and most of the time, everything really was okay.

Bearded dragons bob their heads when they feel discomfort which can be instigated by various reasons. It is a reaction of displeasure or disapproval and is a pretty common behavior for beardies to show. Think of it as a cat wagging its tail in situations good or bad.

To fully understand why your beardie is bobbing its head, you’ll need to be aware of the scenarios that could provoke the head bobbing. In this article, I’ll be discussing all the situations that may have your beardie bobbing its head. Let’s dive!

reasons why your bearded dragon bob its head

5 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Bobs Its Head

If your beardie is bobbing its head, there is a 1% chance it enjoys your taste in music. The other chances are occupied by mainly discomfort which I have listed below:

1. Your Beardie Is Asserting Dominance

Bearded dragons are highly solitary species, and where two or more are gathered, there’d be enough head bobbing to start an earthquake! The dominant dragon will bob its head viciously for other beardies to step back or challenge its position. In cases of dominance, beardies bob their heads at other beardies to say “Back off! This is my spot”. Usually, this ends either in a battle or with the weaker dragon taking heed and walking away in peace.

2. Your Beardie Is In Distress

If your pet is bothered, it will bob its head in distress. This could be due to direct or indirect reasons like the presence of another pet or a difference in the comfort of their enclosure. If you have other pets running around or making a wreck of noise, your beardie could be bobbing its head to show disapproval.

3. Your Beardie Is Warding Off Potential Combat

Beardies will bob their heads slowly when they are submitting or acknowledging a dominant bearded dragon. During this show, they may wave their forearms to affirm their submission. You’d notice this behavior mostly in mating circumstances where the female beardie confirms and submits to her mate. This situation can also play out if your bearded dragon thinks you or the other pets are threats. So, they may slowly bob their heads in fear.

4. Your Beardie Is Ready to Mate Or Has Sighted A possible Date

When bearded dragons are in the breeding seasons, there’d be significant head bobbing in a form of mating dance that asserts readiness and dominance in males, and acceptance and submission in females. Beardies in the wild repopulate during summer in Australia when the weather is the hottest. If the temperature in your home elevates, your beardie might start bobbing its head more than usual in sync with its mating seasons.

5. Your Beardie Is Just Chilling

Most smaller lizards bob their heads just because they can. Take for instance the African agama lizards; they bob their heads for fun among other reasons. While your dragon may be irritated or in discomfort, it’s pretty normal for it to bob its head now and then. When this happens, you need to confirm that everything is in check to be sure that they’re not bobbing out of distress. Perhaps you really do have a good taste in music!

4 Things To Do When Your Bearded Dragon Keeps Bobbing Its Head

Now that you can predict why your beardie is bobbing its head, you’re probably wondering what you can do to help the situation. Read on to find out.

Put Your Beardies In Separate Enclosures

If your beardies are hatchlings or juveniles, they are probably roommates living in the same terrarium. When they mature into sub-adults, the beardies will start to show signs of dominance. Conceivably, it’s time to separate them and provide them with a sense of privacy. Ensure that you don’t keep the new enclosures way too close so much that one beardie can see the other and bob heads at themselves. Yes, beardies aren’t exactly fond of their neighbors, too.

Ensure There Are No Beardie Reflections

Adult bearded dragons are not friendly to other bearded dragons, including themselves. If your beardie can see its reflection, it will keep bobbing and charging at it till it tires. Even worse, the reflection is bobbing back and accepting the challenge of combat!

To help the situation, try covering three sides of the terrarium with wallpaper (cut out a fancy calendar if you desire) to minimize the reflective properties of the glass from inside the enclosure. Avoid cutting out pieces that have pictures of predatory animals on them.

If the terrarium is in a shaded area, move it to an area with more light to match the basking light in the terrarium. Usually, reflections appear as a result of the difference in light intensity inside and outside the enclosure.

Isolate Your Beardie From Other Pets

As we have discussed, a bearded dragon can bob its head if it feels threatened by other pets running around its enclosure. Maybe the dog barks too loud and the cat has tried to swing a couple of paws at it; the best thing to do is to change the location of the terrarium to give your dragon a sense of safety from other pets.

Win Your Beardie’s Trust

If your bearded dragon bobs its head when you come close, there’s every possibility that it’s scared of you or unwilling to befriend you. To win your beardie’s trust, you’d want to know if your dragon is friendly to start with or if it will enjoy getting petted. Every bearded dragon has its personality, and learning about them is a great way to win your beardie’s trust and bond with your pet better.

Find Your Beardie A Mate

If you find your male dragon bobbing its head and acting a little more restless than usual, it’s probably time to find him a female to mate with. If you’re wondering how to breed your beardie, you can contact a breeder for insight (especially if you’d like different morph hatchlings) or check our guide to do it yourself. I explained everything from how bearded dragons mate to how you can incubate the eggs and hatch your babies.

Should I Be Worried If My Bearded Dragon Is Bobbing Its Head?

Technically, head bobbing couldn’t lead to any fatal problems. Although, it could cause them to be highly uncomfortable which could in turn disturb their diet intake and elevate their stress levels. All in all, if your beardie is bobbing its head out of discomfort, you may end up with a weak and feisty bearded dragon.

So, you should be worried if your bearded dragon is constantly bobbing its head, and you should seek to smoothen the problems causing it. A happy beardie is a healthy beardie.

Why Is My Beardie Sleep-Bobbing?

Beardies will bob their heads in their sleep if there is a general or physical disturbance like a temperature change or if they encounter unwanted vibration. As you know, it’s terribly annoying getting disturbed in your sleep, and I’m sure your beardie thinks so too. Also, there’s research on a discovery that bearded dragons could have dreams as we do. Perhaps your beardie is shooting its shots at a mate or chasing its reflections in the dream world? It’s possible, you know.

Wrapping It Up

Head bobbing in bearded dragons is a very common occurrence, and shouldn’t be a cause to worry. If you find your beardie bobbing, don’t panic. Quickly skim through this article again to see which situations match and what you can do to help your beardie relax.

Ensure that everything your beardie needs is provided, and try as much as possible to be good pals with your pet. In the end, bobbing is a question of character and since bearded dragons are chill creatures, you shouldn’t have any difficulty helping your beardie. Good luck!

Photo of author


EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Reptiles. He is a pet lover who loves to discuss about bearded dragons and share the knowledge he gained over time about pet reptiles.