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Bearded Dragon Third Eye: Do Bearded Dragons Have a Third Eye?


Do you know everything about your adorable beardie pet? Your answer might be no, after knowing that they actually have a third eye. Don’t worry? Most bearded owners aren’t aware of this fact that their lovable pet reptile has a third eye. In this article, you will learn about the basic information about bearded dragon third eye.

The main thing that you might want to be answered is whether a bearded dragon has a third eye.

The answer: Yes, bearded dragons do have a third eye on top of their skulls in the middle of their eyes. They can sense changes in the atmospheric pressure and can even partially visualize shadows. This external organ also helps them keep track of potential predators nearby.

Now that you know that your cuddly lizard has an additional eye, how should you react to that? Should you be extra cautious while giving your beardie a bath? Were you potentially hurting this third eye while handling your pet reptile? Do you have to make adjustments in the enclosure so that they can adjust to variations in lighting?

There would be various measures that you would have to take to ensure that your beardie’s third-eye remains intact. By learning about these tips you would be able to take care of your bearded dragon’s third eye.


Do Bearded Dragons Have a Third Eye?

Without a doubt, bearded dragons do have a third eye, which is also known as the parietal eye. It is a photo-sensory organ located on top of their heads, which allows them to navigate environmental alterations. It also gives them better leverage of orienting their body according to their natural instincts.

You would typically see a tiny dot on top of your beardie’s head. This dot would typically have a different skin hue than the rest of the body. This eye allows the lizard to properly thermo-regulate its body throughout different seasons of the year. With this eye, not only can they sense changes in the temperature but they can also notice changes in color.

As a first-time reptile owner, you might not be sure how to take care of this additional eye-like organ. The placement of this eye might make it sensitive to protruding objects in its enclosure. By taking the measures mentioned in this article you would be able to take care of it.

bearded dragon third eye

What Bearded Dragon Third Eye Really Is?

Let’s get to the facts. If you haven’t yet seen this pseudo eye on your bearded dragon, then you might be skeptical about its presence. You might not be sure where exactly it is located.

The third eye, also called the pineal organ, looks similar to that of an underdeveloped eye. It has a small less and retina but doesn’t contain any iris – which gives the basic visualization function. This means that it cannot form any images in the brain. It isn’t linked to the brain with any optic nerve like a standard eyeball. Because of its nature of functions, many people might argue about actually considering it an eye.

Rather than having a mucous-like membrane, this eye is covered with a transparent scale from the upper position. This gives additional protection to this external organ against the external environmental factors. With the help of it, bearded dragons can tell whether it is day or night outside. By changes in the photoperiod, they can also sense the temperature in their surroundings.

This “solar eye” is mainly used in the regulation of hormones and other chemical secretions in the body. It is directly connected to the brain through a small perforation on top of the skull. According to some beliefs, most reptiles initially had four eyes thousands of years ago. The placement of this pair turned it into a single eye through many years of evolution.


How Does the Bearded Dragon Third Eye Work?

Many novice reptile owners think that the third eye isn’t much useful. They would be surprised to know about its unique functions that help bearded dragons survive in the wild.

The third eye is tied to the epithalamus, which is also present in the human brain. This internal organ helps us regulate the secretion of melatonin, which is responsible for our circadian rhythm. Unlike most reptiles, we don’t have it in a protruding fashion – which diminishes its effectiveness. Pineal glands have several functions other than sleep regulation, and they can also be used for navigation.

Bearded dragons also use this eye as a compass for getting back to their hiding burrow. This means that if they ever go far away from their territory this organ helps them get back home.

This solar eye is also responsible for the overall activity levels of a reptile. If it doesn’t perform properly, then this might cause a lizard to not rest much. Well, you might think that it isn’t a bad thing but it can be lethal for a reptile if it doesn’t rest. Unlike mammals, reptiles have to conserve their energy as much as they can. This helps them make-do with the unfavorable factors in the surrounding atmosphere. That is why most reptiles tend to be healthier when they remain dormant for many hours in a day.


Why Do Bearded Dragons Have a Third Eye?

This third eye comes in handy for bearded dragons ns various situations and it is essential for their survival. You might think that it isn’t much use for your captive beardie because there are no predators in the tank. It not only helps them be aware of potential threats but also controls hormone production.

  • This additional eye is used to navigate in different terrains. In the wild, bearded dragons can travel a long distance in search of food. They access this eye to find the way to their marked territory.
  • It also prevents them from being trampled over by bigger animals in the wild. Because of their small size, they can be easily stepped over by larger animals. As soon as they detect a shadow above them they quickly move away to another direction.
  • The placement of bearded dragons’ eyes can potentially leave a blind spot when a bird attacks them from the sky. Having a parietal eye on top of their head prevents them from being attacked by prey birds.
  • It also helps bearded dragon follow their biological clock. They would sleep and wake up at the right time with the help of this eye.


How to Take Care of Your Bearded Dragon’s Third Eye?

Many beardie owners end up startling their pet reptiles by approaching it from the upward direction. Bearded dragons use their third eye to sense whether something is attacking them from above. They would be stressed out if you bring your hand above them while handling them. This is the reason you should always slide your palms below their bellies to lift them up. This handling practice would ensure that you don’t scare away your sensitive pet. You might be able to reduce this stress factor by having an enclosure with a side door.

You should also refrain from leaning over your beardie as that put shadow over its parietal eye. If you approach your pet lizard by running towards it, then that can also stress it out. It is advisable to walk with a steady pace towards the tank while you want to handle your pet.

Another factor that can damage your beardie’s pineal glands is the wrong placement of UVB lights. If the heating lights are placed too close to the ground, then it can potentially hurt your bearded dragon. The bulbs should be at a distance of about 6 to 12 inches to the head of your beardie. You shouldn’t install a mercury vapor bulb because it can radiate higher than the recommended amount of heat.


Why Reptile Owners Should Know About the Third Eye?

Now that you know about the sensitivity of this optical organ, what is does it mean for you? Why should you be cautious about its presence while handling your pet reptile? Despite the fact that there are no predators in the tank, your beardie might still get disturbed by some actions.

If you have a habit of grabbing your beardie from the top then that can cause mental trauma to them. They would consider you as a predator every time you handle them this way. You might be wondering why your cuddly lizard runs away when you bring your hands close to it. Now you know the reason. Even if you were approached by someone from the back it might startle you. The same happens to your bearded dragon when you bring your hand on top of its head.

It might not be a good idea to purchase a fish tank for your bearded dragon, as that would make handling difficult. You should always invest in terrariums with a side entrance, as that would eliminate this stress factor.


Can Bearded Dragons See With Their Third Eye?

You might not be sure whether your bearded dragon can actually have a visual display through their parietal eye. Unquestionably, bearded dragons cannot see with their third eye like a normal eye. They can only sense thermal alterations and regulate their hormones with the help of pineal glands. The strategic placement of this eye also keeps them constantly aware of the predators around them. They also use this to feel the changes in the photoperiod. When the days start getting shorter than the nights, they have to prepare for brumation. So, this is a vital external part of their body that increases their survival prospects.


Can I Still Pet My Bearded Dragon?

After reading this article you might be wondering whether you should pet your bearded dragon on its head. Like we have mentioned above, the third eye is covered with a clear scale. This means that the parietal eye remains protected behind the scale throughout the time.

So it is safe to gently pet your bearded dragon. By handling it warmly you would be able to make a loving bond with this adorable pet.

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