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Bearded Dragon Eyes Closed: The Surprising Truth Why Beardies Close Their Eyes

By Kerry
Updated on

You might have noticed that your bearded dragon closes its eyes at peculiar times. What does it mean? Does it mean they’re happy? Or tired? The answer might not be something you are expecting.

The surprising truth to why your bearded dragon closes its eyes

If you want to know why your bearded dragon likes to close its eyes in different situations, stick around and find out. The answer might be something you aren’t expecting.

Your Bearded Dragon Closes Its Eyes – What Does It Mean?

Your dragon is trying to sleep. Okay, that is an obvious one, but not the answer to the question you want to know. A bearded dragon will close its eyes in strange circumstances, like when it is being held or pet.

We can count sleeping out of the equation. Let’s take a look at why your bearded dragon might be closing its eyes when it isn’t trying to sleep.

Your Dragon Is Uncomfortable

Your dragon could be closing its eyes because it is uncomfortable. Bearded dragons, like most other animals, can convey purpose and emotion through body language and actions.

In the wild, staring into eyes would be a sign of aggression, and your beardie doesn’t want that. Any kind of extended eye contact will be avoided by many creatures in order to avoid conflict.

Avoiding any kind of threat or violence will be the bearded dragon’s go-to choice. This can be a very common behavior when you are looking at or watching your dragon keenly.

They are unlikely to know the difference between an endearing gaze and one that is a warning. They are animals, after all.

Petting Your Bearded Dragon

If you are petting your bearded dragon, and it closes its eyes, doesn’t take it as a sign of enjoyment. You need to remember that dragons are not humans.

While humans might close their eyes when enjoying something, dragons are very different. People also close their eyes when they are scared, so remember that!

Your bearded dragon is likely to be closing its eyes when it is being petted because it is scared. It might look cute, but if your dragon is frightened, you should let it go. There is no reason to hold onto a dragon who is afraid.

Instead of trying to pet them, just let them go back into their terrarium. You need to have patience with your dragon, and they are unlikely to enjoy something that they aren’t used to.

Your dragon could also close its eyes because it doesn’t want to be a pet. We all like to be left alone sometimes, and maybe your bearded dragon just wants its own space.

If the dragon closes its eyes when you try to pet him, you should reconsider.

Holding Your Bearded Dragon

Kid holding bearded dragon

The same argument goes here, too. It is uncomfortable if your bearded dragon closes its eyes when you pick it up.

This is worse than the above because your bearded dragon can’t escape you. He’s trapped in your arms, and he’ll never be able to get away from you unless you put him down.

You shouldn’t keep your bearded dragon if it doesn’t cooperate with you. You need to give your bearded dragon some space to breathe. Try to release it gently, and then let it go.

Don’t wait until it has closed its eyes before you do this. If you see that your dragon’s eyes are closed, you need to stop what you’re doing right now. Put your dragon down, and let it go. It will appreciate it.

Some bearded dragons will be okay with being held and picked up but will close their eyes when you try to do anything else.

If this is the case, respect your dragon’s wishes and simply hold it. It should gradually get more comfortable with you over time. One day you may be able to pet the dragon comfortably, but don’t push your luck.

If you go too far, your dragon may try to bite you. While this probably won’t hurt you, it is a clear sign that your dragon is uncomfortable.

You should try to build trust between you and your beardie, and constantly pushing boundaries will only harm your relationship.

Eye Infections

There is a chance that your bearded dragon is closing its eyes because it has an eye infection. Eye infections, while not very common, are very unpleasant for bearded dragons.

They usually cause redness around the eye and swelling. To make matters worse, these infections can spread throughout the body, which is why you should always keep your bearded dragon separated from other pets.

If you notice that your bearded dragon has any sort of eye problem, you should immediately contact your vet.

Even though your bearded dragon may seem healthy, it is important to check his health regularly, especially in the first few weeks.

If you notice any signs of illness or discomfort, it is best to take your bearded dragon to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Incorrect Lighting

Bearded dragon with eyes closed

If you are using the wrong lighting in your bearded dragon terrarium, it could be harming your pet. Unfortunately, it is very common for inappropriate lighting to be sold for all kinds of animals, including dragons.

If you use the wrong lighting, the bulbs will end up harming the dragon’s eyes.

When incorrect lighting is used in a tank, you might notice your bearded dragon constantly closing its eyes.

If you notice that this is the case, you will need to investigate. New bulbs might be needed in order to remedy the situation.

Bear in mind that if the lighting is an issue, your dragon should be okay with you holding and petting it. If the dragon still closes its eyes when being picked up or petted, it could still be a sign of discomfort.

You can test out the theory, and once you come to a conclusion, do what you need to do.

Only One Eye Closed

If your bearded dragon has one eye closed, it could be a sign of parasites or disease. You will notice this behavior if you have ever had a dragon that was being treated for parasites.

This behavior means that you should make an appointment with your vet to remedy the situation. If your dragon does have parasites, it will need treatment to get rid of them and get back to health.

There’s also the possibility of something being stuck in your dragon’s eye. Like humans, if there is something in an eye, we often close it. This is an attempt to get the foreign object out of the eye.

If you notice that there is something in your pet’s eye, you can either take it to the vet to get it removed or try to remove it yourself. This is not always possible, though, and you need to be careful.

Baby Bearded Dragons Closing Their Eyes

Baby bearded dragons will exhibit the same behaviors as adult beardies. If they have their eyes closed, they are uncomfortable, have improper lighting, have parasites, or are simply resting.

As long as you know the reason behind the issue, you can decide how to handle it.

In pet stores, you are likely to notice baby bearded dragons with their eyes closed. This is not because of their age but because they are with other bearded dragons.

Male beardies do not get on with other males. If there is more than one male in a tank, the others may avoid eye contact and submit to it.

A Little About Beardie’s Eye Infections

Eye infections can occur at any time, but they become more prevalent during warmer months. In fact, most eye infections start in springtime. That is when the temperature starts rising again after winter hibernation.

During warm weather, bacteria can multiply quickly. This makes it easier for bacteria to enter the eye. When temperatures cool down, the amount of bacteria decreases.

Your bearded dragon will usually recover from an infection within two weeks.

However, some infections require antibiotics. We recommend taking your bearded dragon to the vet right away.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read through this, how do you feel about your bearded dragon? Or, more importantly, how does your bearded dragon feel about you?

If your dragon is parasite-free and has the correct lighting but is still closing its eyes when you touch it, you might need to consider that you are the problem.

It might take some time, but bearded dragons usually come around eventually. As long as you care for your pet properly, it should gradually become more comfortable with you touching it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Bearded Dragons Like To Be Pet?

Some bearded dragons might not mind being pets, but many probably do not prefer it.

Should Beardies Have Bright UVB Lights?

Beardies should not have UVB lights that are too bright. You should make sure that you are using the correct lighting for your pet, or else you could harm their eyes.

What Does Eye Closing Mean For Bearded Dragons?

Eye closing could mean that your bearded dragon is sleepy, uncomfortable, sick, or have issues with incorrect lighting.

To find out which it is, test each issue out and see which makes your dragon’s eyes close. Many dragons do not like to be picked up or petted.

Should I Put A Bright Light In My Beardie’s Tank?

You should not have a light that is too bright in your bearded dragon’s tank.

Is It A Sign Of Comfort If My Beardie’s Eyes Close When I Pet It?

No, eye closing is not a sign of comfort when it comes to bearded dragons. Eye closing is more likely to mean that your bearded dragon is uncomfortable or sick.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.