There are many unique characteristics and traits of bearded dragons. They carry on many of the traits of their wild ancestors due to growth. If you’ve seen your bearded dragon opening its mouth, you may have wondered why do bearded dragons open their mouths.
Your bearded dragon may have been relaxing on a rock with its mouth open or hiding in cover while opening and closing it. Although it’s not necessarily a negative signal, it’s important to find out when he does it to determine whether he’s in pain, anxious, or merely self-regulating.
5 Reasons Why Beardies Open Their Mouth
1. They Regulate Their Body Temperature
It’s common for a bearded dragon to hold its mouth open to regulate its temperature. When your beardie is basking, you will probably see them gaping. Beardies open their mouths (where heat can escape) once they have reached their optimal temperature to prevent overheating.
You shouldn’t be alarmed if you notice your lizard has its mouth open while basking under the light. Your beardie’s enclosure should remain at a comfortable temperature and be properly lit. A bearded dragon’s body temperature will be difficult to regulate if the tank is too hot. After your beardie has reached its optimal body temperature, you should provide them with a cool place to relax.
2. Beard Stretching
When their muscles have not been used for a while, all animals need to stretch them. It is common for people to stretch first thing in the morning, after a lengthy car ride, or after attending a meeting. The same holds true for bearded dragons. They require stretching as well. If your bearded dragon opens its mouth to spread its beard, you will likely notice them stretching. The bearded dragon will typically open his mouth briefly when stretching his beard.
It’s common to see your beard stretching just before it sheds. When your lizard is shedding, you may also notice it puffing up its beard. Puffing and stretching help your bearded dragon loosen the skin around their beards and heads so they can shed them.
3. Aggressive Behavior
The fight or flight response is triggered by a situation that makes an animal feel threatened or afraid. In order to appear more threatening, bearded dragons puff out their chests, raise their beards, and open their mouths wide. In addition to hissing and displaying a black beard, you may see your beardie adopt a tall stance and quickly bob their heads when they feel threatened. Your beardie might become aggressive in a variety of situations. A pet such as a dog or a cat could pose a threat to your lizard. In that case, they would take a defensive stance with their mouths open.
There’s no reason for you to worry if your beardie occasionally opens its mouth to interact with your cat or dog. Any animal, even bearded dragons, can suffer from chronic stress. You can do two things to deal with a larger pet that’s bothering your bearded dragon, causing them to hold their mouths open:
The first step is to keep your larger pet out of the room where your bearded dragon resides. In a small apartment or if your bearded dragon lives in your living room or dining room, this may be difficult.
As a second step, you can move your bearded dragon’s tank into a room with less traffic where your larger pet is less likely to be. You might move your bearded dragon to a guest bedroom if you have one. In the guest bedroom, your cat or dog may spend less time because it is rarely occupied.
By placing your bearded dragon’s tank near a window, they are able to get stimulation from the outside world. The sound of the trees rustling in the wind or the motion of the clouds may be soothing to a beardie. Your bearded dragon may feel threatened by animals outside, such as birds and cats.
It’s quite possible that you’ll see your lizards open their mouths sometimes as part of the aggressive stance when they see something outside their tank. You may want to consider moving your beardie’s tank away from the window if you observe this behavior frequently. Although it may seem odd, your lizard may feel threatened even by small objects. Clothing and toys are some examples. You should move a small object from the room your bearded dragon stays in if you suspect your pet is stressed by it.
4. Feeling Threatened
In addition to responding to another bearded dragon, your bearded dragon will also open their mouths to communicate. A bearded dragon is by nature a solitary creature. It’s likely that you’ll face trouble if you keep two of them in the same tank.
It is common for two bearded dragons to agitate each other when they are housed together. In order to prove that they are the alpha, the dominant one opens their mouth. When the beardie feels stressed, he or she stops eating and won’t even be allowed to bask near the more dominant lizard. The terrain is important to bearded dragons. A dominant lizard may hold its mouth open when housed with a lower-ranking one and protect specific areas of the tank from the latter. These areas will include caves, basking areas, and hiding spots.
5. Respiratory Infection
Typically, when lizards keep their mouths open for extended periods of time, it’s for cooling themselves, but it can also mean they’re infected with some kind of respiratory illness. An illness of the respiratory system may also be characterized by a lack of energy, a reduced appetite, and mucus around the eyes and nose, as well as coughing, wheezing, or crackling sounds during breathing.
During prolonged periods of high humidity, your lizard’s tank can become infected with respiratory infections. The bearded dragon is used to warm, dry climates.
To prevent this from happening, follow these steps:
In order to measure the level of humidity inside a vivarium, make sure that you have a hygrometer. When the humidity level in your beardie’s tank rises above 40%, there are several things you can do to decrease it.
Make the water bowl small and keep it away from your lizard’s basking spot if you intend to use one. Moss and bark have a tendency to hold moisture, so do not use either in your bearded dragon’s tank. If the humidity level in your beardie’s tank is too high, you could try adding more ventilation.
This bearded dragon is normally not at risk of becoming ill if it keeps its mouth open. Most of the time, you’ll see this behavior when they are gaping, and over the course of time, you will probably see it quite often. In some cases, an open mouth indicates something worse, but once you have everything tuned up, it won’t be something that concerns you again.
When happy, do Bearded Dragons open their mouths?
A happy bearded dragon will live an active life. There is nothing to fear when you see your reptile with its mouth open, it is just too hot for him, which is why he is having a friendly attitude.
What are the signs that your bearded dragon is happy?
The bearded dragon has a number of ways to show that he is in good health and happiness with you, but their independent nature and quiet nature could make their signs a little less obvious than with other animals.
Emma is a pet enthusiast, and her way with words makes her an expressive writer. Her interests lie in healthcare and planning nutrition for various pets. She has two girls, and she’s passing her passion to them through occasional volunteer projects in the small neighborhood zoo. Emma joined our team as an enthusiast and has added more years to her experience by researching more about various creatures!