Bearded Dragon Behavior

Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing : Why Do Bearded Dragons Bob Their Head?

Bearded dragons are popular these days because of their unique personalities and calm temperament. These exotic lizards usually remain non-aggressive but they might show some warning signs when threatened. You might have noticed your beardie bobbing its head sometimes. This odd-looking behavior might concern you but it is totally normal in most cases. In this article, you will learn about interesting facts and information related to bearded dragon head bobbing.

These Australian reptiles don’t communicate with sound, as they use various non-verbal signals for communication purposes. From tail wiggling to beard puffing, your cute lizard would display various gestures in different situations. They usually send out warning signals for territorial reasons, as the males vigorously guard their territories. They might also do some gestures that would indicate some underlying health issues.

Understanding the body language and gestures of your pet reptile is vital to ensuring that you take care of them. From an aggressive hiss to a non-hostile arm-waving gesture, you should be able to understand these subtle signs. Knowing about the mood of your beardie would help you make appropriate customizations in their enclosure.


Top Reasons Why Beaded Dragons Bob Their Head

Head-bobbing is mainly a social sign bearded dragons use to send out clear messages to other beardies around them. They usually prefer solitude and privacy in their natural habitat. When they come face-to-face with other specimens they display a range of specific gestures. Just like many other creatures, bearded dragons follow a social pecking order that clarifies the hierarchy. This de facto hierarchal system allows the male dragons to be superior to the weaker and non-aggressive dragons.

  1. Territory

Despite being in captivity for many decades, your captive bearded dragons would still show territorial behaviors. For the survival of their species, they have evolved to be highly territorial.

Dominant males would rapidly bob their heads up and down to show their dominion in the presence of other dragons. The weaker dragons acknowledge this dominance by slowly bobbing their heads in response. Beta males might also wave their arm to show their subservience to the alpha male. If the other males don’t do these gestures, the dominant male would consider it as a challenge.

  1. Mating

During the mating season, dominant males exhibit various signs of aggression to show off to the females. They would send out various body language signs to tell other potential challengers to back off.

Alpha males would bob their heads frequently to let the female know that they are ready to mate. The female would reciprocate this signal by slowly waving her arm. After this, both the male and female might circle around each other to show their level of interest. These mating rituals are very common during the spring season, which occurs after the brumation period.

click HERE to learn about bearded dragon mating 

  1. Submission

Though head-bobbing is usually seen as a sign of dominance, it can sometimes mean quite the contrary. Weaker males would deliberately bob their heads in a slow manner to acknowledge the dominance of the alpha male. This instantly sends out the signal that they don’t mean any disturbance. The dominant male would not consider these males as its challengers.

The same act of submission can be seen in females during the breeding season. Once they see the dominant male bobbing its head, they would gently bob their head. This would let the male know that she is ready to mate.


Why Do Bearded Dragons Bob Their Heads at Humans?bearded dragon head bobbing

You might be asking yourself this question: why is my bearded dragon head bobbing at me? You might be surprised to find out that it is quite common for bearded dragons to head-bob at their owners.

If your beardie is rapidly bobbing its head when you approach them, then they are showing their dominance. They consider themselves as a stronger figure compared to you.

On the other hand, they might also head-bob to show their submission. If they slowly bob their head towards you, then they consider you as the alpha figure.

You can prevent it from happening by building a strong bond with your pet reptile. Try playing games with them or spending more time with them. This would reduce the chances of such aggressive displays.


Why Is My Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing at Nothing?

Many first-time reptile owners find it odd when they see their cuddly beardie bobbing its head for no reason. While it might seem that they aren’t directed towards anything you might not know the entire story. Many times they might be bobbing their heads at something that isn’t in your view.

A dominant male can even assert its dominance when you place it in a new terrarium. When they are unfamiliar with space, it might make them uncomfortable and insecure. To equalize this uneasy feeling, an aggressive male might furiously bob its head.

Your male beaded dragon might even bob its head when it looks at its own reflection. If you haven’t installed many objects in the terrarium, then there would be several bare spots. This means that your beardie would frequently come across its own reflection.

Your bearded dragon might also be bobbing its head when it notices an animal outside the house. They can also show this gesture when an established house pet approaches their tank.


Why is My Female Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing?bearded dragon head bobbing

While you might consider head-bobbing as a masculine thing, it can even be seen in female beardies. Female bearded dragons don’t display this body language to show their dominance. Mostly the males patrol their territories and scare away potential challengers from their lands. If the female is seen bobbing its head, then it would portray her mating readiness.

Female bearded dragons reciprocate to their partners by slowing bobbing their heads. This head-bobbing is very subtle and it can even look like they are vibrating their skulls slowly. This is just to let the male know that they start the mating ritual. Sometimes you would even notice your gal bobbing her head during the mating act.


Should I Worry If My Bearded Dragon is Always Head Bobbing?

Okay, so you are concerned about the excessive head-bobbing behavior of your pet dragon? Bearded dragons have sharp eyesight and they can spot objects from a distance.

If your beardie constantly keeps on shaking its head, then it might have noticed something outside. It could be a bird outside or a squirrel on the tree. This behavior can also occur when you place new objects outside the tank.

Did you recently place a new trunk or object that has the shape of a dragon? This might be making your dragon fearful and you should remove it.


What If My Bearded Dragon is Head Bobbing While Sleeping?bearded dragon head bobbing

Usually, you don’t need to worry if your bearded dragon bobs its head during sleep. As long as they don’t appear weak or sick, you should let them on their own.

Sometimes they might make some gestures during sleep because of improper lighting in the enclosure. Make sure that there is no bright light bulb in the terrarium that might disrupt their sleeping schedule. This would ensure that they enjoy an uninterrupted slumber in their tank.



We hope you got some useful value and guidance from this article.

Now you know that it is totally normal for bearded dragons to bob their heads. It can either tell about their dominant behavior or readiness to mate. You just have to keep track of their behavior in regard to the changes of the seasons of the year. This would help you take all the necessary measures to keep them fit and healthy.

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