Are bearded dragons friendly? Are they aggressive or shy? What kind of environment should I provide them?
Bearded dragons are often considered to be the most docile reptiles. They are also known to be very affectionate. They are social animals who love to interact with other members of their species.
Bearded dragons are generally quite happy around humans. They enjoy being petted and stroked. They are even known to be good at learning new things.
But what are the 6 facts you should keep in mind if you are a bearded dragon pet owner? This article takes a look at these facts and explores why a beardies friendly demeanor is one of their most attractive traits.
What Is A Bearded Dragon?
A bearded dragon is an Australian lizard that belongs to the family Agamidae. It’s also commonly referred to as a “dragon” because it looks like its name suggests. The word “bearded” refers to the long hair-like spines on the chin of this reptile.
- Bearded Dragons are known as Pagona Vitticeps
- They are omnivorous (eating both plants and meat)
- Their largest size is about 22 inches and they can weigh up to 18 ounces
- They can live up to 15 years
- They originate from the Australian Outback and have pyramidical-like scales which cover all of their skin
- They have chins with spikes, and this is what makes them have a beard-like appearance
- Breeds range in color. You could have orange, red, yellow, green or white. They can also come in a mixture of colors.
The first bearded dragons were discovered in 1828 by English naturalist John Edward Gray. He named them Ctenophorus Beardii after his friend William Beard.
These lizards have been bred for over 150 years. Today, there are more than 200 different breeds of bearded dragons.
When you see a bearded dragon, you might think of a snake with a beard. That’s not entirely wrong. They do resemble snakes in many ways.
For instance, they have quite a triangular-shaped head, but the dimensions of their head compared to their body, as well as, of course, the fact they have legs, means you won’t be mistaking them for snakes any time soon.
They are covered in scales that look like pyramids. Most of their body is covered in this type of scale.
Some parts of their bodies are covered in granular scales. These granules give them a rough texture.
Their eyes are large and round. They have two eyelids. One covers the top half of their eye while the other covers the bottom half.
Their nose is small and rounded. Their mouth has four rows of teeth.
Their tail is short and thick. It ends at a sharp point. The claws on their feet are strong and sharp. They use them to dig into the ground when they want to hide.
Fact # 1. The Demeanor Of Bearded Dragons
As mentioned earlier, bearded dragons are generally pretty easygoing creatures. They are usually interested in interacting with people and they do tend to get excited when they see food.
They are social and like to be handled by their owners. They also like to lay on their laps and be near them.
They are also very curious. If you leave your bearded dragon alone for a while, he will probably want to explore the area where you left him.
They are also known to be playful. When they play with each other, they may use their claws to scratch and bite each other.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are dangerous. They can be quite gentle.
Some beardies are a little feisty, yet some are much more relaxed and mellow. They are also wise creatures and can recognize their owners easily. They will often greet you as you are near.
Fact # 2. Bearded Dragons Behavior Towards Other Beardies
Bearded dragons are social animals. They like to spend time together with other bearded dragons. They also like to hang out with other pets such as snakes, turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits.
Aggression in fully-grown bearded dragons may occur with other beardies when they are trying to protect their territory, brawling for food, or trying for attention from the female of the species.
Female beardies who do not seem to be submissive could be attacked by the male beardie who is interested in her.
Both genders of beardies have the ‘beard’, which is actually a key to communication in the species. An open mouth along with a chin that appears to be raised and a puffed-out beard or spikes could be signs your beardie feels threatened.
The underside of their necks might also turn black to make them seem a bit bigger. Moreover, some beardies might hiss to show they are threatened.
Beard color changes and heads that are bobbing are common ways of communication. Bearded dragons will seek dominance by bobbing their heads and if they are also waving their arms, this indicates submission.
Fact # 3. Bearded Dragons And Other Strangers
As we have mentioned, beardies are generally friendly to other people. They will climb on and sit on their owners, whilst relaxing on their lap, arms, or another part of their body. Though they may feel comfortable with owners, beardies may behave differently when it comes to strangers.
They will communicate if feeling threatened or stressed through body language and you should take note of it before picking it up to play. A tame bearded dragon will, however, usually be happy to be picked up by anyone, so long as they are gentle with them.
Fact # 4. Children And Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are friendly and great with kids, as long as they don’t provoke and irritate them. You will need to explain to children if you have any as a beardie owner, what the rules are with handling the bearded dragon.
Beardies are very happy and gentle creatures, and they love to be around humans, and this is great when you have kids as you don’t need to worry about their interactions.
Bearded dragons never normally hurt or bite people or even give them scratches. If properly socialized at an early age, they are a lot more gentle than other creatures, and being handled can be a fun activity for bonding.
You need to keep reminding kids to be slow and steady with a bearded dragon. You need to be present and monitor interactions, just in case your child gets too enthusiastic.
Fact # 5. Handling A Bearded Dragon
You should always take care when handling a beardie, especially if you are new to owning one.
The first thing you need to know is that beardies are very sensitive creatures, and you need to handle them carefully. This includes making sure they are calm and relaxed before playing with them. You never want them to be anxious or feel threatened.
The next thing to remember is that beardies are quite small, and they can easily get away from you if you aren’t careful when lifting them.
If you want to pick up a bearded dragon, then you must ensure that you have enough space to move around safely.
Fact # 6. Bearded Dragons Care And Feeding
Bearded dragons need a lot of care. They require frequent feeding, clean water, and a safe environment. It is important to provide them with a suitable habitat. A cage should be large enough so that it allows them to move around freely without bumping into walls.
A bearded dragon needs about 1/5th of its body weight in fresh food every day. However, they usually only consume half of the food given to them.
The best way to feed your bearded dragon is to give them live prey items. You can get these at pet stores. Make sure that you buy live prey items and not frozen ones.
Providing good care is important to keeping your beardie happy and making sure they keep their friendly demeanor, so ensure you know what you are doing before you decide to bring a beardie back to your house.
How To Approach A Bearded Dragon
When approaching, you should bear in mind the steps below.
- Hands should be sanitized
- Open their enclosure slowly and steadily and make it known that you are about to enter.
- Be as gentle and as quiet as you can and move towards the beardie slowly.
- Approach your bearded dragon from the side.
- Hands need to be kept still when they are in front or by the side of the beardie and this will reassure your pet that you are not dangerous.
- Throughout the process, make sure you are talking to the beardie.
- Pet them under their chin or even at the sides of their beards. This will help them relax and open up to you.
How To Pick Up A Bearded Dragon
Start by placing your thumb next to your pet and place your hand over its body. Your thumb and fingers need to be placed on each side of the beardie’s body.
Position your index finger behind their cheek and in front of their forelegs with the middle finger being placed in front of the hind legs. Prop the beardie up and support them underneath with the rest of your fingers.
If they are very small, you need to be supporting them beneath their back legs to ensure they are secure, safe, and remain relaxed. You should gently support larger beardies under their hind legs.
Proceed to pick the beardie up and make sure they remain supported. They need to be held tight and secure without squeezing them and making them uncomfortable.
Now enjoy the time with your beardie!
Once you are happy, you can gently place your pet back and wash your hands.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Bearded Dragons?
Bearded Dragons are gentle-natured animals and can be very social. These reptiles belong to the family Agamidae which includes lizards, snakes, and alligators. The bearded dragon has a long snout and beard-like spines.
Where Are Bearded Dragons From?
They are native to Australia and New Guinea. Their natural habitats include rainforests, grasslands, and deserts.
Why Do People Adopt Them?
They are easy to take care of and have a low maintenance cost. They also have a high intelligence level and can learn tricks easily.
Is It Safe For Kids?
Yes, they are completely harmless and pose no threat to children.
What Are The Beardies Like?
They generally have a very friendly demeanor, but some may seem a bit more feisty, and others are a little more mellow and relaxed.
Bearded dragon owners have always said how gentle, sociable, and friendly their beardies are towards not only them but also kids and strangers.
We hope this article has helped you understand a little more about beardie demeanor and has given you the confidence to get a little closer to your new pet. The best way to get to know your beardie is through observation.
Observe them for any signs of health problems such as lethargy, lack of appetite, and unusual behavior. If all is fine, keep handling and playing with them. Remember, they love us as much as we love them!