The behavior of animals and human behavior can be the same, but it can mean something completely different. Why do bearded dragons close their eyes? Does it mean they are enjoying something? Or that they are sleepy?
With closing their eyes, bearded dragons express discomfort. This gesture can be addressed to other bearded dragons or even humans. Besides that, eye infections can also be the reason for this behavior.
So does that mean that bearded dragons want to show that they dislike something every single time they close their eyes or are there exceptions? Should you stop petting your bearded dragon when it closes its eyes? Continue to read to learn more.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes?
I said it already above, but I want to explain in detail here what a bearded dragon wants to say with closing its eyes.
In the animal world, keeping eye contact often times means to threaten the other creature. Most animals use body language in addition to that to make clear what they really want.
Bearded dragons are no exception here. They have a very clear body language which makes it almost impossible to misunderstand a bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons feel that intensive eye contact and long staring is a threat. A bearded dragon will always want to avoid this situation. It can happen that your bearded dragon moves away if you keep eye contact for too long or that it closes its eyes.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Close His Eyes When I Pet Him?
This is where the problems begin. I can´t even count how many images and videos I have seen where people pet their bearded dragons and as soon as the bearded dragon closes its eyes the owners think that the bearded dragon actually likes it.
I mean, I understand this. Humans most of the times close their eyes in such a situation to show that it feels great. However, keep in mind that humans also close their eyes when they are scared to death.
So do not interpret this behavior as a sign of comfort.
Bearded dragons close their eyes when they are petted because they feel discomfort. They clearly want to tell the owner to stop doing that, because it scares them or they just want to be left alone at the moment.
With showing a black beard or a dark coloring your bearded dragon increases its effort to make you understand what it wants from you.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Close His Eyes When I Hold Him?
This is the same thing, but even worse.
Bearded dragons close their eyes when being held because they want to show that they don´t like being held. They feel discomfort in this situation and communicate this clearly.
Why is that even worse than closing eyes while being petted? Well, because when being held, your bearded dragon can´t really decide to get away from this situation anymore. When being pet, your bearded dragon can run away whenever it wants.
If you can hold your bearded dragon and it does not close its eyes, everything is okay.
If it closes its eyes as soon as you start to pet it then just hold it. Don´t pet it if it shows you this. It is a clear sign that this is too much.
Remember, your bearded dragon could also bite you or freak out while you are holding it. They are laid back and not aggressive and we should appreciate that and appreciate what they really want.
Also read: Do bearded dragons really like to be held?
Is Your Bearded Dragon Suffering From An Eye Infection?
This behavior, closing eyes, does not always has to have something to do with you though. It could also be that your bearded dragon is suffering from an eye infection and is closing its eyes because of this.
However, this would mean that your bearded dragon does not only close its eyes as soon as you pet it or hold it.
It would close its eyes very often throughout the day then until it is not able to open its eyes at all anymore.
Of course, if you see such behavior in your bearded dragon you should keep a close eye on it and visit a vet as soon as you have the feeling that this behavior isn´t going away.
Do You Have The Wrong Lighting?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of inappropriate lights for reptiles on the market.
Some can even do damage to your bearded dragon´s eyes. They should have been taken from the market already, but manufacturers continue to sell bad lighting bulbs.
If your bearded dragon is closing its eyes in its tank very often, check your lighting. If you need help with that, click here to read my bearded dragon lighting guide.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Close One Eye?
Closing one eye in bearded dragons often shows that they suffer from a disease or even from parasites. Especially bearded dragons that have parasites or currently get treated for parasites show this behavior very often.
Your bearded dragon could also have something in its eye and it bulges its eye out to get rid of the foreign body.
Still, if your bearded dragon doesn´t stop doing this, it is best to let your reptile vet check your bearded dragon. Chances are, that it is suffering from parasites.
Why Do Baby Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes?
Especially in pet shops, bearded dragons are often kept in large groups. However, bearded dragons are loners and should not be kept in groups.
Male bearded dragons can´t get along with other male bearded dragons as they are territorial. So if you see this behavior in a bearded dragon that lives in a group, it might want to submit to another bearded dragon.
Other than that, closing eyes in baby bearded dragons have the same meaning as in adult bearded dragons.
The video below is a good example. In this video, it is another bearded dragon that is bothering the beardie that is closing its eyes. Sure it could also be that the UVB-light is too near, but the fact that one of the bearded dragons has a missing toe shows that fights have already happened.
Do Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes While Basking?
Many bearded dragons close their eyes while basking. However, it is not clear if this has a negative meaning. It could be that the UVB light is too close to the basking spot and the bearded dragon wants to avoid any damage on its eyes.
Increasing the distance from basking spot to UVB bulb can help here.
Do Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes While Sleeping?
Yes, bearded dragons close their eyes while sleeping. They sleep as soon as it is dark. If there is too much light in the room they are sleeping in, they will open their eyes.
I really wondered why people ask that question, but I think I have the answer now. A lot of people want to see their bearded dragons sleeping and try to do that in the dark with a flashlight or with the light of their mobile phones.
Bearded dragons often open their eyes in such a situation and seem that they sleep with open eyes.
Always make sure that your bearded dragon has enough hides to sleep or that the room where you have put the tank in is completely dark during sleeping time.
As you see, with closing their eyes bearded dragons do not want to show you that they enjoy being pet. The exact opposite is the truth.
This doesn´t mean that you must stop to touch your bearded dragon. It means that you need to slow down a bit. Give your bearded dragon time to get used to you, to get used to situations like being held.
Bearded dragons are smart and they will understand that you don´t want to harm them.
I hope this article answered your question – Why do bearded dragons close their eyes? If you still have questions, leave a message in the comment section below.