Bearded Dragon Bonding (Cuddling, holding, getting attached)

It is easy to get your cat or dog to cuddle with you on the couch or bed. For reptiles, cuddling or holding them is not that simple. Therefore, you might be wondering if your bearded dragon might be friendly enough to let you cuddle.

So, do bearded dragons actually enjoy cuddling or being held? Bearded dragons will enjoy cuddles or being held after they spend some time with their owner. If you get a bearded dragon from the pet store, it will not warm up to you immediately. You have to spend some time interacting with it before it gains your trust. As generally bearded dragons are solitary animals, and physical contact with other animals or human beings is something they are not used to.

Holding or cuddling with your pet can be therapeutic. Bearded dragons will prefer to explore the house instead of cuddling with you, but there are a few ways you can use to make them love cuddles. One of the first is to see if your bearded dragons can get attached to you, if they like cuddles, and how to know if your bearded dragon wants to be held.

It is easy to get a cat or dog to attach to its owner. When a pet is attached to you, it shows it can trust you and feels safe around you.

Bearded dragons can get attached to their owners, but it is a slow process compared to other common pets such as dogs. Reptiles rarely show affection, and it can take some time before one forms a social bond with other reptiles or human beings. A bearded dragon from the store will take some time adjusting to the new environment before it can trust you. Baby bearded dragons are less comfortable around human beings compared to adult bearded dragons.

Several signs show a bearded dragon is attached to you. The most common one is their ability to recognize their owner. Bearded dragons can recognize their owner and get excited whenever they move close to their habitat. Some bearded dragons can also be attached to only a few members of the family.

They can cuddle or let one or two members of your family pet them and avoid interacting with a certain member of the family. They can also be aggressive if someone else other than you tries to hold them.

Another sign your bearded dragon is attached to you is that they seek you out whenever they are frightened. If your bearded dragon is on the floor playing and a guest walks in, it might come close to you. If it does that, it trusts you to keep it safe from strangers and predators. Another sign is spending time with you. Some bearded dragons will walk all over you, sleep next to you, and remain calm when you stroke their backs.

If you want a bearded dragon to get attached to you, acquire them at an early age. Baby bearded dragons may show fear at first, but they will begin to enjoy your company after some time. Food can also increase your chances of bonding. Hand-feed your bearded dragons every chance you get. They will associate you with food and look forward to your company because they know they will get some snacks.

Some things can also ruin your chances of bonding with your bearded dragon. One of them is forcing it to accept being held. If your pet dragon does not want to be touched, do not force them. Instead, allow them to like your presence at their own pace. Do not keep multiple bearded dragons in one habitat.

Bearded dragons are territorial and will fight to keep their space. Constant fighting with other bearded dragons can be stressful, and your bearded dragons will have their minds preoccupied with keeping their territory rather than bond with you.

Do Bearded Dragons Like To Cuddle?

Pet owners enjoy cuddling their pets, but your pet needs to enjoy the moment too. Therefore, you might be wondering if your bearded dragons enjoy your cuddling sessions.

Bearded dragons do like cuddles but to a certain extent. One important factor is trust, and if the bearded dragon does not trust you, it will not enjoy cuddling with you. Most bearded dragons enjoy spending their time alone in their habitat. In the wild, bearded dragons will hunt for insects and other small animals alone. They only interact with other bearded dragons during mating season alone. If you can get your bearded dragon to trust you, it may let you cuddle it.

Different bearded dragons have different personalities. Some bearded dragons are social and friendly, while others are reserved and prefer to be left alone. Some bearded dragons will sit close to your owners and even sleep on your lap or shoulders.

Others will prefer to stay alert even if they allow you to hold them. Others will not enjoy any form of physical contact; they might show signs of fear or aggression depending on their personality.

If you want your bearded dragon to cuddle with you, you have to assure it that you are not a threat. After getting back from the pet store, your bearded dragon might be afraid of you, and trying to cuddle or hold it will not work. You first need to establish a bond between you and the bearded dragon.

If you believe your bearded dragon trusts you, you can initiate cuddling by picking it up from its habitat and placing it on your lap or shoulders. Some bearded dragons might cuddle with you. They may frequently come to rest close to your feet or curl up on your neck for warmth.

Do not force your bearded dragon to cuddle with you. If your bearded dragon starts to move away from you or appears to be nervous, let them go but keep an eye on its movements. Allow your bearded dragon to climb on you by themselves, and you should wear clothes that provide grip for their claws. Bearded dragons are small, so try not to squeeze them or hold them too tightly when cuddling.

How Do I Know If My Bearded Dragon Wants To Be Held?

Bearded dragons have limited communication skills, and as their owner, you need to know the signs that show they are happy or sad. Bearded dragons do not make sounds or wiggle their tail to show they want something. Therefore, it is important to know their moods and habits.

Several signs will let you know your bearded dragons wants to be held. The first sign is they will come to you. When you let your bearded dragon out of its habitat, it might start exploring the house, or it might sit close to you. If your bearded dragon starts to climb on your leg or hand, it wants you to hold it. You can pick it under its belly and place it on your lap or shoulder. You can stroke its back and neck. If it closes its eyes, your bearded dragon is having a good time.

Another sign is that your bearded dragon will not be frightened or aggressive when you pick them up. To safely pick up your bearded dragon, you have to slowly reach your hands underneath its belly and gently lift it.

Sudden moves may spook it, and it might get scared. If your bearded dragon remains calm, it wants to be held. If it starts to fidget in your hand, place it back in its habitat. Do not lift it too high, it might get nervous and jump from your hand and injure itself if it lands awkwardly on the floor or a hard surface.

Another sign that shows your bearded dragons want to be held is retaining their natural color when you approach them. A bearded dragon’s skill will darken if it gets stressed. Bearded dragons are very territorial animals, and constant intrusion into their habitat might cause them stress.

If you reach your hand to pick it up and notice its skin color is darkening, it shows the bearded dragon is stressed and wants to be left alone. Bearded dragons can change their minds at any time. If it starts to resist touch, you should let it go.

How do you tell if a bearded dragon is happy?

Bearded dragons are happy and friendly animals, and this feature makes them attractive to human beings. Therefore, during your bonding sessions with your bearded dragon, you may want to know if they are happy. However, how do you tell whether a certain activity or happening makes your bearded dragon happy or not?

A bearded dragon is happy when it displays behavior such as, sitting calmly with you or resting on your shoulder for long and not expressing aggressive behavior if you try picking them. It is common for bearded dragons to enjoy almost all human activities, including listening to music, watching TV, bathing, eating specific foods, or tagging along with you on a journey.

Listening to music is great for bearded dragons as it can help them relax but care should be taken to ensure the music is suitable, as bearded dragons may like a particular type of music and may not be content will all types of music.

Knowing when your bearded dragon is happy will help you understand how they show affection and how they behave when they are unhappy and normal. While you continue relating with your bearded dragon, they will become attached to you and will express their affection anytime they are with you. Bearded dragons, regardless of the owner, will similarly show affection.

When bearded dragons want to display affection, they will want to cuddle with you most of the time. While you cuddle them, they may lick your hands. They will be calm as you pick them up and will quickly climb on you when you place your fingers under their chest to pick them.

In addition to allowing them to enjoy your body heat, voluntary cuddling from a bearded dragon rather than running away when you attempt to hold them is a sign of deep affection. Your bearded dragon may also willingly go and sit on your shoulder when they are happy, given that they are natural climbers.

Also, your bearded dragon will not be aggressive when you hold them as a display of affection. They will seem to enjoy when you handle them and sit on your laps, hands, or chest most of the time. When a bearded dragon becomes comfortable with its owner, it will want to spend most of its time with them.

The domestic bearded dragons will usually come from their tanks to spend time around you and enjoy your company. Their eyes may appear wide, and their pupils dilated as they are affectionately looking at you.

While looking at you, you will notice their mouth is curved and closed as though they are smiling at you. While they may not be smiling in the real sense, they are simply letting you know that they are happy. They may also close their eyes around you or fall asleep on your lap as you stroke its head as a sign of trust and affection.

If you have made a home for your bearded dragon, they would want to get out of their tank and hang out with you. To do this, they will scratch the glass to signal you that they want to come out and spend time with you and even form a habit out of this. They will also anticipate this moment and develop a routine of hanging out with you, making them happy.

Besides the above behavior, you can also observe your bearded dragon functions to know if they are happy and comfortable around you. If your bearded dragon eats, basks, sleeps, and poops normally, then it is a sign that they are happy and comfortable. They will also be alert and active and will move around most of the time.

How Do You Know If Your Bearded Dragon Is Unhappy?

Bearded dragons are usually happy pets, which make them the best pets for reptile lovers. However, there are instances where a factor in the environment may make them unhappy, and they will respond to a behavioral change. If you notice such changes, consider calming them rather than provoking them as they may become more aggressive and want to bite you.

When a bearded dragon is unhappy, it will fluff its beard. Fluffing the beard makes them appear bigger and could indicate aggression. This is a common behavior when they feel threatened. Your pet may also turn color and appear darker when bearding. When they are unhappy or uncomfortable, bearded dragons may also hiss.

An unhappy bearded dragon may attempt to bite you when you try to pick it up. When you experience this, you should rush for your gloves and pick them with your gloves on and try to calm them. This is because leaving it on its own will not make it any happier. Also, ignoring your bearded dragon when it is unhappy will cause a drift in your bond.

Another behavior change you may notice when your bearded dragon is unhappy is head throbbing. This usually occurs when they face a territorial threat and is a sign of anger. Bearded dragons will also scratch at the glass after you put them outside your house. This behavior also called glass surfing, could indicate they are unhappy, stressed, or bored.

What Is Normal Bearded Dragon Behavior?

Understanding when your bearded dragon is happy, sad, or angry is crucial for you as a pet owner to best treat them. Bearded dragons will display body language and behavior change under different circumstances, and while some may be an alarm, some could be part of its normal behavior.

Bearded dragons will display certain behavior and body changes as part of their norm. It is common to see your bearded dragon waving their hands at you behind that glass window or door as a sign of submission. This behavior is also a signal between bearded dragons where a bearded dragon will signal others that they mean no harm, or in the case of mating, the female bearded dragon will wave at the male who mates with them.

Another normal bearded dragon behavior is head bobbing. This behavior is a display of dominance or mating ritual common with male bearded dragons. Usually, the male bearded dragon will bob its head to signal the female their readiness to mate. They will also do this before other males to indicate their dominance, and where head bobbing is faster, the threat is usually bigger.

Bearded dragons also change color over time. This change is due to its Chromatophores, which are pigmented cells that reflect light and make them change color in response to a change in the environment. Therefore, if your bearded dragon becomes lighter or darker as they age, you do not need to worry.

This color change may also occur with changes in temperature or happiness where your bearded dragon becomes orange or yellow when they are happy. Other normal behaviors include hibernation and bearding in response to environmental changes and natural threats, respectively.

Keeping bearded dragons warm using heating can help in keeping them happy as if they are too cold, not only will this make them more lethargic but it could also make them unhappy, especially as they may find it difficult to move and feed.


Bearded dragons can be friendly pets, and you just have to be patient with them. With time, you can get your bearded dragon to get attached to you. However, it will all depend on the personality your bearded dragon has. If you have a social beardie, you will bond with it quickly. Different bearded dragons have different ways of showing affection, do not expect your bearded dragon to act the same way as the one owned by your neighbor or friend.

It is important to know your beardie, learn the signs that tell you when your attention is needed, and not. Teach your kids these signs as well. Most of the time, children do not understand that bearded dragons need some alone time. They might hold on to the bearded dragon for too long and end up with bites or scratches.

Given the above behavioral observations, it is evident that bearded dragons have weird behavior. However, such behavior, in most cases, should not raise the alarm. Instead, you should treat such times as an opportunity to learn more about your pet.

However, in most cases, your bearded dragon will display behavior change in response to a stimulus in the environment or within themselves. Finding out the cause is important to be in tune with their behavior.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

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