Why Your Bearded Dragon Likes To Sit On Your Head

why does my bearded dragon sit on my head?

Bearded Dragons are probably the most cuddly of all the popular pet reptiles. Many owners love how their Bearded Dragons like to lay on them, or climb up them and rest. But why do Bearded Dragons like to sit on their owners’ heads? 

Bearded Dragons like to sit on your head or shoulder out of instinct. In the wild, they climb up trees or rocks to escape predators. They also use big trees or rocks as vantage points to find mating partners, predators, or competing bearded dragons.

Let’s find out more about why Bearded Dragons love to climb on people’s heads…

Your Bearded Dragon Uses Your Head Or Shoulder As A Vantage Point

If you have a great relationship with your Bearded Dragon, you might find that he seems to enjoy being handled. Perhaps he even relaxes and falls asleep on you. This is great news. 

Another sign of a great trust relationship is if your Bearded Dragon climbs up to your head and rests up there.

Your Bearded Dragon is essentially using your impressive height to get a better view of the room. From your head, he will be able to see any approaching threats, rivals, or potential love interests from a safe place.

The best thing about this is that you are clearly not counted as a potential threat. Instead, he is using you as a platform of security. You are as reliable as a tree. Coming from a Bearded Dragon, there is no greater compliment!

why does my bearded dragon sit on my shoulder?
This Bearded Dragon is using his claws to cling to the fabric of his human’s cap.

Bearded Dragons Climb Up To High Spots In The Wild All The Time

The Bearded Dragons that are commonly kept as pets are the species Pogona vitticeps. In their home country of Australia this species is commonly known as the Central or Inland Bearded Dragon. 

Pogona vitticeps inhabit a wide range of arid environments, including dry forests, scrubland, and desert. In these habitats, Bearded Dragons lead a semi-arboreal lifestyle.

They climb rocks and trees, as well as manmade features such as telephone poles and fences (Animal Diversity Web, 2021b). They can climb quickly, and up to a height of around 2 meters. 

They climb…

  • To escape predators.
  • To observe their territory.
  • To look out for potential mates.
  • To look out for potential meals.
  • To access warmer basking spots.

Should You Let Your Bearded Dragon Climb On Your Head Or Shoulder?

The disappointing answer is no, you probably shouldn’t. This is for both of your safeties. As mentioned above, Bearded Dragons can’t grip well unless their claws can penetrate the surface they are climbing on.

This means they may slip and fall from a great height, and get very hurt. 

Unfortunately, this also means that you are very likely to get scratched on your head or face. They dig their sharp claws in deep when climbing up or scrabbling to prevent a fall.

If you were to get scratched in your eye, you could receive a serious and possibly permanent injury. 

Also, Bearded Dragons carry salmonella and so I don’t recommend kissing them. If they climb over your face and mouth, you might come in contact with salmonella. This could make you very sick. (CDC, 2021)

Reduce The Risk Of Letting Your Bearded Dragon Sit On Your Head

Of course, I understand that you probably want to let your Bearded Dragon climb on your head anyway, as it is so endearing. If you do choose to take this risk, minimize the dangers by: 

  • Assisting your pet to your head and providing support there. 
  • Never letting them climb over your face, mouth, or eyes.
  • Ensuring you are sitting down.
  • Choosing a place like a sofa, with cushioned surfaces around to prevent a nasty fall. 
  • Never standing up or walking around.

Don’t forget to snap a few adorable pictures of you and your pet enjoying life together!

Should You Let Your Bearded Dragon Climb In Its Tank?

Yes, absolutely you should provide suitable materials for your Bearded Dragon to climb on. Giving them natural logs, rocks, or even specially-made toys to climb on allows them to express their natural behavior. 

Unfortunately, the most common type of enclosure for Bearded Dragons is a long and low tank. Consider choosing a taller tank that you can create a kind of natural climbing frame in.

Your Bearded Dragon will love being able to clamber up a little higher. 

Choose safe materials like rough-surfaced wood, not anything varnished or smooth like bamboo. Also, ensure that your Bearded Dragon cannot reach the heat lamp or UV bulb by climbing.

If they get too close they may burn themselves. 

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