Bearded dragons are famous for their quirky behavior. Deciphering the meaning behind each one can be challenging, much more so than in other animals. But what about staring? Why would a bearded dragon stare and what is the intention behind it? Intrigued, I decided to spend some time researching this habit and would like to share with you the information I found here today.
So, why does my bearded dragon stare at me? Bearded dragons stare at their owners because they are curious and want to study objects that move. This is an instinctual behavior that helps them to understand the environment around them and keep them safe. Moreover, bearded dragons derive a lot of entertainment from observing people they encounter. Staring often occurs during boredom and used as a way to keep themselves occupied.
Humans can often tell when a pet cat or dog is hungry, angry, bored etc; however it’s much harder to tell how your beardie is feeling. Staring is one such behavior that can give us insights.
A staring beardie can be unnerving for some owners but hilarious to others; but either way, this behavior is quite harmless for the most part.
However, you should consider looking at ways to keep your beardie stimulated as staring is connected to boredom and restlessness – two things you want to avoid as much as possible.
Let us now take a closer look at this habit along with some practical ways to reduce it, if it is a cause for concern for you.
We will equally look at how a bearded dragon expresses that they like you and are happy so be sure to keep on reading to the end to get all the information you need!
Why Do Bearded Dragons Stare?
Bearded dragons stare as their primary way of getting a better understanding of what is going on around them. It is through staring that they can analyze items, objects, people and other animals. It can help them to respond accordingly.
From a survival standpoint this makes sense; wild bearded dragons are exposed to a number of potential predators at any given moment.
Plus the fact that there are often other unforeseen or dangerous events that can unfold within their environment.
Staring is a way to calculate their next move; to keep them safe and protected at all times.
Beyond this, it is of course – something for them to do.
Reasons Why A Bearded Dragon May Stare At You
Out of Curiosity
These reptiles are known for their inquisitive nature, and they often find their surroundings, including the people around them, interesting.
A bearded dragon might stare at you simply because it’s intrigued by your movements, facial expressions, or even the color of your clothing.
This curiosity often results in what seems like a fixed stare.
They Feel Threatened
Just like any other animals, bearded dragons have a natural instinct to protect themselves from any perceived threat.
This could be due to a number of factors, such as sudden movements, loud noises, or even just being in a new environment.
Their stare in such cases is their way of staying alert to potential danger.
They are Bored
Bearded dragons are surprisingly social animals, and they require mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
If a bearded dragon is constantly staring at you, it might be a sign that they’re bored and seeking interaction.
They could be looking for play, exercise, or simply the chance to explore a new environment.
Bored bearded dragons might stare at you as a way of communicating their need for stimulation or interaction.
They Are Simply Relaxed
On the other end of the spectrum, a bearded dragon might be staring at you simply because it’s relaxed.
In a safe and comfortable environment, bearded dragons often show signs of relaxation that can be mistaken for other behaviors.
A relaxed bearded dragon may choose to watch you, not out of stress, curiosity, or boredom, but simply because it is a calm and peaceful activity for them.
In this case, staring is not a sign of any problem or discomfort, but rather an indication that your pet feels safe and secure around you.
How To Keep Your Bearded Dragon Entertained and Stimulated
Let’s consider the following five ways to keep your bearded dragon entertained:
Take Your Bearded Dragon Out For A Stroll
Taking your beardie out for a walk is a great way to get in some much-needed exercise.
You can use a special leash on your beardie; this will keep them by your side at all times.
It is best to walk them around your home, in safe rooms free from any dangers and where you can close doors and optimize the environment ahead of any activity.
Take Your Bearded Dragon Out In The Car
There’s no greater feeling than going out for a car ride on a sunny day; this is just as true for bearded dragons as it is for humans – they love being in the car!
Make sure that your beardie is safely secured in your car and on a leash.
Pet carriers, like this highly-reviewed one from Amazon, are ideal for keeping your beardie safe in your vehicle.
Make sure you load up on snacks and water, especially if you plan to be out for a few hours. In the colder season, make sure that you keep the temperatures warm in your car.
Give Your Bearded Dragon A Ball
While a bearded dragon will not play with a ball in the same way that a dog might, you can still give him a little rubber ball or a ping pong ball to play with.
Some beardies take to playing with a ball, others may not – it all depends on each dragon.
Take Your Bearded Dragon Swimming
Most beardies love to swim play in the water – this is an excellent way for them to get hydrated and have fun at the same time.
You don’t need a fancy pool for your beardie. A large storage bin, twice the size of your bearded dragon will suffice, or you can use a kiddie pool.
The temperature of the water should be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the water should be no deeper than your beardies’ elbows.
De-chlorinate the water in the pool, if you are using tap water, you can just as easily use spring water but don’t use distilled water.
Putting a couple of toys (rubber duckie, other similar toys ) into the water will offer plenty of entertainment for your beardie and you.
Interact With Your Bearded Dragon
You should handle your bearded dragon for at least an hour each day as this encourages them to trust you. Doing so from when they are a young age is advised.
Interactions between a bearded dragon and their owner is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable activities for these lizards – so long as you do it safely.
Here’s how to pick up your bearded dragon safely:
- Gently pick up your beardie by sliding your hand under their belly.
- Gently wrap your fingers around the center of their body using your forefinger under their chest.
- Carefully raise your beardie up and out of their enclosure.
- If your beardie is uncomfortable and begins to squirm, decrease your grasp, let them go, and try again after a period of time has passed and they have calmed back down.
When you begin lifting your beardie out of their enclosure, use both hands as they might try to jump away suddenly.
You want to avoid this at all costs, as you do not want your beardie to fall from height.
Sit down with your beardie and put them on your lap.
They will begin to investigate their surroundings by sticking out their tongue and licking objects – this is their way of making sure that everything is okay.
Gently stroke their head, under their chin and down their back in slow movements.
With all this being said, you should never force a bearded dragon into your hands. Equally, you should never pick them up if they are uncomfortable, ill, injured, sleeping, eating or showing signs of stress.
How Do You Know If A Bearded Dragon Likes You?
When your bearded dragon recognizes and likes you, the signs are often undeniable. They like to press up close, come towards you, lick you and their body muscles will be relaxed.
All of those signs show that your bearded dragon trusts you.
Let’s discuss these signs in more detail:
Pressing Close To You
Bearded dragons do not cuddle with people or objects they find to be stressful or threatening.
If your beardie presses up close to you- this is a sign that they trust you.
Realistically, your lizard is also likely pressing up to you because of your body heat, also because they associate your scent with food and protection.
With that said, they would not do this unless they found you trustworthy.
Coming To You
When you have your bearded dragon a while, you can train them to come to you. Sometimes, they will do this on their own accord.
It does take time, but when you bond with your dragon, they are more likely to want to be around you and be more open to being handled.
Its a good sign and nobody wants their beardie to run from them when they approach.
When your beardie licks you, it is because they like your scent.
If your beardie starts licking the air, it’s because it smells of something familiar and positive. Sometimes they may do it as you approach or once you leave. Either way its because they are hopeful of what you may bring/have brought their way.
Relaxed Body Muscles
Young and not yet tamed bearded dragons tend to scare more easily. This is especially true when they are picked up. It takes time for a beardie to gain confidence and get used to being handled.
Once you provided your bearded dragon with all that they enjoy, and meet their needs and requirements both from a physical, mental and nutritional perspective – such as food, baths, and adventure, they will learn to relax when you are around.
How Do You Know If You Bearded Dragon Is Happy?
Love and bonding is the ultimate goal when owning a pet; this is no different when you own a bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons are generally fairly sociable and tolerant of human interaction and handling.
How to tell if a bearded dragon likes you, depends on how much of a bond you have with them.
Some bearded dragons are happiest when they are given baths and being sprayed with water; for others it could be watching tv, going on car rides, and eating certain foods.
Each beardie is different, and aside from general care, you must learn and identify what makes yours happy, and equally uncomfortable and stressed.
If your bearded dragon is healthy, they are generally happy.
Here is how can you tell that your beardie is in good health and is content in their environment:
- Looks alert
- Moving around
- Interested in their environment
- Eating and defecating as usual
- Sleeping normally
If a bearded dragon is unhappy, their eyes will give it away. This is especially true if they are closed.
A sick beardie will become sluggish and indifferent to their surroundings. When your beardie becomes stressed, they may do the following:
- Hide away
- Breathe heavily
- Behave aggressively
- The beard or belly may change color, and even become black.
It is essential that you feed your bearded dragon an appropriate and healthy diet, respective of their age.
Ensuring they have all the vitamins and minerals they need, in the right quantities (i.e. the right calcium to phosphorous ratio) will go a long way to ensuring your beardie remains strong, healthy and resilient to illness.
However, they can become sick and unwell; even if you take good care of them. If you suspect that your bearded dragon is not looking or feeling at their best – be sure to take them to a vet who specializes in reptiles.
They will be able to examine them and recommended an appropriate course of action and approach to get them back to their best.
Staring at their owners is a quirk very common to bearded dragons. For the most part it is harmless and not something that you will need to worry about.
However, it’s essential to provide your beardie with activities to keep them busy and sufficiently stimulated. Its not enough to just leave them alone in the enclosure. In doing so, the staring should cease.
Look out for specific body signs that indicate how your bearded dragon feels and whether they are happy or unhappy.
In time, you should begin to learn what signs are positive and negative. These will help you to determine what your beardie needs, and when.
Ultimately, ensuring your beardie is happy is dependent on the right care and level of attention. They should live for a decade in good health, if not longer.
It’s important to find a vet that has experience in caring for exotic pets. Additionally, an annual examination can go a long way to preventing and overcoming any ailments that begin to develop.
Bearded dragons might stare upward out of curiosity, observing things above them like lights, insects, or other movement. It could also be a sign of distress if they are kept in an enclosure with high walls and they’re trying to look out or escape. It’s crucial to observe other behaviors for context.
Bearded dragons close their eyes when being petted because they are anxious and feeling stressed about the action. They are trying to express that they do not want to be petted, or want to be left alone. Bearded dragons close their eyes whenever they are in discomfort, and do so at both other bearded dragons and humans. Eye infections can also cause a beardie to close their eyes, but this is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as eye discharge.
Have you noticed other strange and interesting behaviors in your beardie? Wondering what they are, and what they could mean? Well, my following guides will help explain them:
- Why Is My Bearded Dragon Scratching At The Glass?
- Why Is My Bearded Dragon Sleeping So Much?
- Why Is My Bearded Dragon Digging?
- Why Is My Bearded Dragon Twitching?
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.