Why Do Bearded Dragons Bob their Heads? | Behavior Explanation

You might have witnessed the exotic Australian lizards exhibit some very strange behaviors, the bearded dragons are always successful to catch the attention of humans with their noticeable behaviors. One of the most noticeable behaviors of beardies is head bobbing. Bearded dragons are often spotted bobbing their heads by their owners, leaving them in awe. What are the beardies trying to convey? Why do bearded dragons bob their heads?

The head bobbing gesture is a very common behavior in lizards and has more than one cause. The scaly creatures, both male and female, bob their heads. There are 5 main reasons why bearded dragons bob their heads but it’s not always easy to pinpoint the exact reason why the lizard is expressing this action.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Bob their Heads

Therefore, you must observe the pet and its environment to crack the code as this gesture is always a reaction to any change from the beardie’s point of view. However, there is nothing to be much concerned about as the behavior is normal in these creatures and if you know all the reasons for head bobbing, it will be easier for you to tell what is causing the head bob.

5 Reasons Why Beardies Bob Their Heads

Here are the 5 reasons behind the popular head-bobbing behavior of the beardies.

Reasons Why Beardies Bob Their Heads

Ready To Mate

Bearded dragons bob their heads when they are interested in mating. Unlike humans, beardies can’t show their desires and interest in females during romantic dates or with catchy lines. They have to show their interest with vigorous head-bobbing gestures.

If a male bearded dragon is ready for mating, it will bob its head up and down energetically when it sees a female bearded dragon. This shows the availability and will to mate with the opposite gender, while the female bearded dragon agrees to the proposal with slower and subtle head bobs.

The female bearded dragons, when ready for mating, display a gesture of gentler head bobs towards the males. Moreover, the message of the sexually mature beardies is made more clear by the black color of their beard. The change in color of the beard along with the head bobbing gesture confirms the message of mating for us. Also, find out How Do Bearded Dragons Mate.

Marking Their Territory

Bearded dragons are very sensitive and territorial creatures. It’s no wonder why the bearded dragon is bobbing its head if you see another dragon nearby. The aggressive version of head bobbing is often displayed by males when they are showing their dominance over other creatures.

However, both male and female beardies do this. If you have another beardie in your tank, it’s better to separate them immediately as the beardie can not stand trespassing in their area. They will bob their heads aggressively to show that it is their territory. All this drama shows how territorial these creatures are, therefore it’s never a good idea to invade their privacy.

A Signal Of Submission

There will always be a submissive beardie if there is a dominant beardie already existing in close proximity. When a stronger or larger bearded dragon marks its dominance with vigorous head bobs, the smaller and weaker opponent accepts its weakness and backs off with slower head bobs in answer to the more intimidating dragon. This action is more often accompanied by a strange hand wave motion, which is quite interesting to watch.

The slower head bobs are not just a signal of submission towards other bearded dragons, beardies also use this gesture to show their submission towards humans and other animals. Mostly, it is a signal for showing they are not interested in fighting or confronting the opponent.

An Acknowledgement Towards Other Creatures

Bearded dragons bob their heads softly when they see any creature around them. Even if the creature is at a distance, beardies are vigilant animals and can sense their existence. Nobody is sure if this is a positive greeting or just a warning for the other pets or dragons in the house. But what we do know is that beardies are quick to acknowledge the other pets around them.

A Threat To Other Bearded Dragons

Although beardies are gentle and docile pets, they are very intimidating to other bearded dragons. This is the prime reason you have never seen two beardies of the same sex together. They are always kept alone in a tank and never spotted resting in groups. A bearded dragon often uses their aggressive head bobbing gesture to intimidate another dragon approaching him.

The head bobbing along with the beard puffing is used by bearded dragons to make them look more dangerous and menacing. They make sure the opponent’s bearded dragon knows they are a confirmed threat.

This vigorous form of head bobbing is done by males when they are showing possessiveness towards their females to tell the other males that she is taken and should not be approached by the others. It is also a macho step to tell every other bearded dragon that it is me who is the alpha.


If you are wondering why bearded dragons bob their heads, then you must first know that it is nothing to be worried about. Head bobbing is very common and is done for a variety of reasons. However, if you observe closely you might figure out the cause correctly and might be of some help to your pet.

Dragons bob their head toward the opposite sex when they are ready to mate to signal interest, however, conditions are not the same when it is done towards the same sex. Males bob heads vigorously mostly to mark their dominance, or to show a threat. While the weaker ones bob heads slower to show submission. Plus, a slower version of the head bob is also used as a signal of acknowledgment towards other pets nearby your beardie.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do bearded dragons bob their heads at humans?

The practice of head bobbing is more frequent by bearded dragons when they are new to a caretaker. If you have bought a new dragon, you might witness one of the two types of head bobbing. The faster head bobs show that the pet is not afraid of you and thinks it can intimidate you, while the slower bobs show its submission. Dragons often bob when they are stressed or nervous when they are in a new place or when they are handled by a new human. Your dragon will slowly begin to trust you when you establish a bond with it.

Why do female bearded dragons bob their heads?

Female dragons bob their heads slower and gentler when they are accepting the mating proposal from a male dragon, or when they are showing submissiveness. However, they show aggressive head-bobbing gestures when they encounter another female dragon and want to mark their dominance.

Why do bearded dragons bob their heads with beard puffing?

Bearded dragons bob their head very vigorously and puff their beard when they are intimidating another creature or an opponent bearded dragon. They show themselves as the alpha and threaten the opponent strongly.

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