Bearded Dragon: Head Bobbing – You should be alerted

Bearded Dragon Head BobbingBearded dragons can show through their behavior and through colour changes in what mood they are. It can even show if they are healthy or sick.
That is why you have to be very attentive when it comes to behavioral changes.

In this post I want to tell you what the bearded dragon head bobbing means. No it does not mean your beardie is listening to music and having a ball. 🙂

Reasons for head bobbing

In most cases only male bearded dragons bob their head quickly. The female beardies do not do it so often, but it doesn´t mean that they don´t do it at all. I have seen a few females doing it.

It can be a sign of dominance, but it can also be part of a mating ritual.

If a rival gets into the territory of a bearded dragon it will bobb its head quickly and puff up its beard and body to look more scary, to scare away the intruder. So you see bearded dragons are loners and they will defend their territory with this behavior.

Get started with Bearded Dragons in 5-Steps!

A slow head bobbing is part of the mating ritual in most cases. You can also often see this when female dragons want to mate. A slow head bobbing is more a sign of submission and this can also be seen when a male bearded dragon accepts another male as the bigger and stronger one.

You can often see that in terrariums with a group of bearded dragons. The head bobbing is supposed to relieve tension within the group.

Seperation of competing dragons

A lot of pet shops recommend to buy more than one bearded dragon, because one alone might be lonely. This isn´t the truth, they only want to make more money. In fact it is better to have only one beardie in one tank.

You can definitely have a group of bearded dragons in one tank, but you have to make sure that you have a really big tank. However even if you have a big terrarium, it can happen that bearded dragons show dominant behavior. If they show it from time to time and no one gets hurt, it is okay.

However if you see it every day you should act. Your bearded dragons might be about to fight and that can end pretty badly and I am sure you do not want that.

So if your bearded dragons are bobbing their head quickly the whole day, you should seperate them.

From experience I can say that two males in one tank is always a bad choice. A female and a male can work, or multiple females with one male, or only female.

It CAN work, it does not mean it will work. I have also seen aggression between female dragons.

You have only one bearded dragon and it is bobbing its head?

bearded dragon head nodSometimes it can happen that your bearded dragon wants to show you (Yes, you! The owner!) that it is the stronger and bigger one, or it wants to show you that you are the bigger one.

I am sure that a lot of beardie owner have seen this before. If you recently bought your bearded dragon and it shows this behavior, just give it time, it will get used to you.

It can also happen that the dragon sees its reflection in the glass of the terrarium and thinks that there is an intruder. Maybe put a plant or a piece of wood in that place to fix the problem.

You need the right tank to see real bearded dragon behavior!

Bearded dragons have a huge behavioral repertoire. The arm wave for example is also pretty cool! If you want to see that you should create a habitat which is very close to their natural habitat in the wild. If you need help with setting up the right tank have a look at this article.

You can find complete tanks for bearded dragons on your budget. Bearded Dragon Tanks!

So I hope I helped you with this article! If you have any questions, please leave me a message in the comment section below, I always get back to my readers quickly.

In what situations have you seen your bearded dragon bobbing its head? Tell us your story 🙂 Just leave it in the comments below!

All the best,

Pierre

Pierre

About the Author

Pierre

Hey! I am Pierre. I own bearded dragons and many other reptiles for a very long time. I know from experience that it can be very hard to find the right information about a specific reptile, since there is so much misinformation out there.That´s why I created this website. To help other people to have the best time with their reptiles.

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Jenny

I have one male beardie and I got him last week from someone who didn’t take the needed time with him for about the past 3 years. He is 6 years old and when I got him, he barely ate and his belly was sunken in. Wwll even though it is just about a week later, he has filled out some and is an “eating machine”! He is gradually getting used to the good life! As a matter of fact, he is really liking being held and atarted liking his baths. Tonight I noticed he is doing some head bobbing but there isn’t another beardie around and I am nowhere near his tank. It is rather cute and kind of funny. I love this little guy! His name is now, “Stormy”. Our grandson, Sam renamed him.

    Skye

    My female does this, I’m almost certain it’s their reflection. I am a new owner just as well.

Skye

My female beardie does the head bob in a circular motion a lot! I’m convinced it has to be her reflection, but also she tries scratching at her cage almost like she’s trying so very hard to get out. This beardie was left by my roomates who starved her and never handled her. I fed her behind their backs and eventually took her with me. I’m not an expert at this, I’m a new parent. Any and all suggestions would help. I can also send a pic of how I have her tank set up, thanks so much

    Pierre

    Hey Skye,

    does your bearded dragon do the head bob only when you are in the room? Or does it the head bob when you are not there as well?

    That is a very sad story. I can´t understand why people own bearded dragons or any other reptiles if they do not really want to take care of it. I am super happy that you took her with you and I do my best to help you with it. Just ask if you have questions 🙂

    Regarding the scratching: My dragons do this very often. I think nobody really knows why they are doing it, it might be, because they do not understand why they can´t get through the glass.
    Anyway I always take my bearded dragons out when they do that. As soon as I open the cage the want to get on my hand.
    Maybe they just want to explore/ run around a little bit.

    Cheers,

    Pierre

Colin Vandello

I have 2 dragons one female and one male the is is double the size I keep them in separate tanks but let them both out time to time. But the male dragon will bobb his head quickly then he will bite and hold onto the female dragon right behind the head and will not let go

Sharon

I have a 6 mo old beardie and he is the sweetest little boy. 2 days ago we got one that had been neglected, at best, for the first several months of his life. His second owner returned him after only one week. He is very skidish, turns black a lot and bobs his head. Our other beardie and him communicate. I was wondering if it would be better for either of them to be in separate rooms. They are at opposite ends of the living room now.

    Pierre

    Hey Sharon,

    this is a very healthy situation for a bearded dragon. Keep them in one room so they can “defend” their territories, but make sure that they do not see each other all the time. They should have hiding places otherwise they might get stressed out.

    Cheers,

    Pierre

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