Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing: What it Means Might Just Surprise You…

While understanding the body language of a dog or a cat is almost second nature to most, deciphering that of a bearded dragon can be, well, a little trickier.  

But when it comes to bearded dragon head-bobbing behavior (opens in new tab), rest assured, there are reasons!

If you’re wondering why bearded dragon head bobbing happens, you can pretty much chalk it up to 2 things, either a show of dominance or mating behavior, both of which can be more commonly seen in male bearded dragons.

Male bearded dragons will head bob to show females they are ready to mate and will also head bob to show their dominance toward other males.

To learn more about bearded dragon head bobbing, just keep reading or use the table of contents below to navigate to a specific question!

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing at Nothing? 

One common misconception amongst new bearded dragon owners is that when their bearded dragon is head bobbing, it has to be directed at something. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth!

Think of it this way, your bearded dragon isn’t necessarily heading bobbing at something, so much as they are head bobbing because of a feeling they have.

Your bearded dragon could be head bobbing to assert dominance over you, their new environment, or another animal (whether it’s in their cage or just within view).

They could also be head-bobbing simply because it’s “that time” of year where they just have mating on the brain.

In both scenarios, bearded dragons are head-bobbing at something, but more so to express their feelings.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Bob Their Heads at Humans? 

If you’ve recently brought home a new bearded dragon, you may experience some head bobbing directed at you! Yes, you!

This can be your bearded dragon’s way of trying to basically tell you they’re the alpha and you should respect them.

However, as you get to know your bearded dragon, they should begin to chill out on the head bobbing as they begin to trust you, unless it’s mating season in which case all bets are off!

Bearded dragon with owner

When you get a new bearded dragon, there are definitely things you can do to speed up the bonding process and essentially get the head bobbing more under control!

Just click below to learn more about these easy bonding strategies.

Click HERE to learn how to bond with your bearded dragon

Why is My Female Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing?

Now, although head bobbing is typically more common in male dragons, females can do it as well.

A female bearded dragon will usually head bob in a slower, less aggressive manner.

They may head bob to assert dominance or show submission, whether to you or another dragon.

What If My Bearded Dragon is Head Bobbing While Sleeping?

If your bearded dragon is head bobbing in his or her sleep, chances are there is nothing to worry about.

If there are no other signs of distress or concern, you can pretty much chalk it up just to them falling in and out of sleep a little.

bearded dragon sleeping

However, if you have a bright light on in the cage, like a red light, it could be that their sleeping schedule is out of whack as they need total darkness to sleep comfortably.

So, moral of the story? Don’t leave any lights on at night!

Should I Worry If My Bearded Dragon is Always Head Bobbing?

If your bearded dragon is always head bobbing, but is showing no other sings of concern, then you don’t have anything to worry about.

If your bearded dragon is black bearding and head bobbing, it is most likely for one of the following reasons…

There is something stressing them out like a new habitat, a new pet (cat, dog, or another reptile) they can see, feeders that are being left to roam in the cage, etc.

Cat and Bearded Dragon Together

It’s mating season either literally or in their mind. Your male is going to be a little scaly ball of hormones for a couple weeks or months so just be ready for it. It’ll pass.

They’re showing dominance over you, another pet, or a new habitat. If you changed your bearded dragon’s cage or recently brought them home, then they likely feel the need to asset dominance over their new environment and neighbor (you).

Similarly, this can happen if they’re in a cage with another beardie, which is not recommended.

Wrapping Up Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing

If your beardie is head bobbing it is important to realize that 9/10 times there isn’t anything super serious causing it.

Chances are, they’re either horny, asserting dominance, or worst case scenario… a little stressed.

Consider the time of year, their surroundings, and if they’re showing any health concerns.

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I’m Stacey, the owner of this website and lifelong reptile lover, caretaker, and educator. Here you will find everything from information on how to care for reptiles, to even how to give your reptiles the best fighting chances against a range of common reptile diseases and illnesses, and everything in between!

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