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How Do You Know When a Bearded Dragon is Mad?

How Do You Know When a Bearded Dragon is Mad?

Just because they don’t have words, that doesn’t mean that bearded dragons do not communicate. Your reptile friend will use its body language to let you know how it feels.

It is important that you learn to interpret these gestures correctly to ensure your beardie always gets proper care. 

Although bearded dragons are not generally aggressive by nature, they may become mad and show signs of aggressive behavior if they feel threatened, they may feel threatened should you mishandle them or if they interpret something as an act of aggression even when it isn't.


This is an obvious sign that your beardie is mad, and it usually occurs when they are not happy with the way you are handling them. If you're not sure whether your bearded dragon may bite you, put a pair of gardening gloves while managing it, just be aware that they may find it harder to recognize you. They rarely ever bite, even when threatened they would rather try and scare off whatever is threatening them but they can bite as a last resort, baby bites just feel like a pinch but older dragon bites hurt a lot more as dragons have very strong jaws.


Hissing is one of the common behaviors your beardie will show when angry. This is a sign that they are feeling uncomfortable or threatened. It is usually accompanied by an open mouth and a flared beard and can be quite surprising.

Bearding (Fluffing Their Beard)

Fluffing their beard is where your beardie got its name, and it is normally a threat sign. Bearding makes your lizard make bigger and scarier, especially if their beard turns into a darker or even black color. They can also fluff their beards to stretch them and fluffing can also indicate excitement so it doesn't always mean that they are angry.

Head Bobbing

Head bobbing, especially if they are doing it a few times quickly, is usually a sign of territorial aggression between males or domination over females. They are unable to discern between another dragon and their reflection so may also do this when they see themselves in the mirror or glass, sometimes you will have to find a way to prevent their reflection from being seen on the sides of their tank for this reason as this can lead to constant stress which is bad for your dragon.

Gaping (Opening Their Mouth Wide)

When dragons get mad they can sometimes open their mouth wide, this is usually accompanied by bearding and you will be able to see right into the back of their mouths this is also usually when they hiss. They do this in order to make themselves look bigger to predators to try and scare them away.

Previous article What Age Should I Get a Bearded Dragon?


Reptile Supply - October 18, 2022

Hi Tayla — At this point it’s most important to get your beardie used to handling so it doesn’t panic in your hands. Check out our bearded dragon care sheet (https://reptilesupply.com/blogs/care-sheets/how-to-care-for-your-bearded-dragon) for tips on taming and handling.

Tayla - October 18, 2022

Hi, i have just adopted a 5 year old bearded dragon. The previous owners told us that he wasn’t very nice and was quite aggy but he just seems to be very scared. I don’t think he was cared for properly and we just really want to give him a good home and show him that we will care for him better. The only time he has been calm is when he is looking out the window but it’s really difficult to get him to and from the window sill as he squirms a lot when you hold him. i don’t want to hurt him by dropping him or anything and preferably not get anymore scratches on my hands . Any advice?

Reptile Supply - September 27, 2022

Hi Kimberly — We’re glad to hear that you’re having such a positive experience with your new beardie! We recommend reading through our bearded dragon care sheet (https://reptilesupply.com/blogs/care-sheets/how-to-care-for-your-bearded-dragon) and the listed additional resources if you haven’t already, just to double-check your husbandry. We also recommend against letting your bearded dragon ride along with you in the car in a hammock, as it’s not very safe.

Kimberly - September 27, 2022

I just got my baby beardie two weeks ago. About two months old. The moment I held her she was super calm, happy, doesn’t try to run away in fact when she’s done eating she will crawl right to my hand and up my arm. She loves to sleep on my chest and shoulder. I talk to her a lot and hold her daily a couple times for long periods. I hand feed her a lot and let her free feed in her tank when I am gone. We have got close and strong bond going! I put her in water/ bath and mist daily, she loves it! Even pooped on me a couple times haha.. which I hear it means they are comfortable around you. I take her with me places and even have her hammock in my car on the windshield. She loves rides! Think I got lucky with this one :) I think she’s a girl just bc she is so calm. Her name is Lava :)

I’ve had an iguana and Chinese water dragon in the past, this is my first beardie.. friendly to others especially my six-year-old son. Anyone who has more experience w them and thinks I’m doing something wrong please let me know. I love being educated. Ohh! And I always have calm energy around her, I truly believe animals/reptiles feel energy. Which is why I also think my energy transfers to her Vice versa. Just wanted to share my new story! She is so sweet. :)

Reptile Supply - June 8, 2022

Hi Kelly, it sounds like you need to take a step back and work on some taming techniques with your bearded dragon. If you’ve been handling your dragon, it’s time to take a break from handling. Focus on establishing yourself as a positive presence in your dragon’s life, and respect their space. Hand-feeding meals can be a very effective bribe!

Kelly - June 8, 2022

Hi my bearded dragon is always hissing at me every time I try get him out ans he gets really mad at me what can I do to help him see I’m not gonna hurt him.

Reptile Supply - May 12, 2022

Hi Joshua — It’s normal for your beardie to be skittish and wary of you after such a traumatic incident. Work on building up a repertoire of positive interactions, make sure not to be gentle and not to scare her again, and she’ll come back around.

Joshua - May 12, 2022

Hi, I’ve recently got a 3 month old dragon, she’s very tame and seemed to enjoy being handle by previous owner, first night we had her she got stuck in a bark log, she was in there pretty tight, I managed to get her out as the bark was fairly flimsy and I could just break it open, however I think this has severely stressed her out and she is now very flinchy everytime I go near the viv and if I get too close she puffs her beard……is this something that I should now be worried about? Will she stay like this for a few days or is there anything I can do do try calm her? She doesn’t like me Opening touching the glass at all and isn’t eating atm,

Many thanks Josh

Reptile Supply - April 13, 2022

Hi Mileena — This behavior is likely to mean that your dragon thinks you’re holding food, as they use their tongues to bring food into their mouth.

Mileena - April 13, 2022

What if my bearded dragon charges towards me with her tongue out

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