Bearded Dragons Smile? (Smart, Affection, Think, Memory)

Bearded dragons are cute and exciting pets with numerous body language. In fact, there are several pictures on the internet of bearded dragons smiling. However, you might be wondering if it is true bearded dragons can smile or is there another reason why they appear to be smiling.

So, do bearded dragons smile? Technically bearded dragons do not smile; however, they can open their mouth, making them appear to be smiling. Bearded dragons usually open their mouth to regulate their body temperature. Since they cannot sweat, they will open their mouth to cool down whenever their body is exposed to excess heat and cannot find a cool place. Some people may mistake this trait as smiling. But on rare occasions, bearded dragons will open their mouths to show happiness.

Unlike common household pets like cats and dogs, reptiles are not very affectionate. Some bearded dragons are social and tend to enjoy human interactions. It’s important to find out if your bearded dragon is happy, how they show affection, and what makes them smile.

Knowing that your bearded dragon is enjoying your company is an important step. As an unhappy bearded dragon could be stressed, and it is your responsibility to ensure that it is well taken care of. Several signs will tell you your bearded dragons are happy.

One of the signs that will show your bearded dragon is happy is it will not run away from you. Bearded dragons are prey animals in the wild and are very cautious around animals that are bigger than them. When you go to pick it up from its cage, and it comes to you rather than move away, it might be a sign that your bearded dragon likes you.

Another sign is maintaining physical contact with you for a long time. Bearded dragons take some time before agreeing to be handled by their owner. Depending on their personality, some will enjoy getting handled while others will not like it.

If your bearded dragon will stay close to you for a long time without being forced, it means it is happy. A bearded dragon will lay on your lap, chest, or neck if it is comfortable with you. If your bearded dragons try to move away, let it go. Forcing it to stay might cause stress.

Your bearded dragon will not show any sign of aggression. An angry or stressed bearded dragon will show its emotions by hissing and puffing at anyone who goes near it. If you approach your bearded dragon and do not show any signs of aggression, consider it happy and comfortable around you.

It likes your company and sees no need to defend itself. Keep in mind that your bearded dragon will not be happy all the time. There are days when it might show aggressiveness against you if it wants to be left alone.

If your beardie has good health, it means that it is happy. Unhappiness or stress in bearded dragons will lead to poor health because they are not eating or sleeping well. If your bearded dragon is healthy, it will take part in all the tasks it does during the day.

Stress will cause them to be disinterested in being touched, walking all over you, exploring outside of their cage, among others. You should take your bearded dragon to the vet to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

A happy bearded dragon is always brightly colored. If your bearded dragon has a bright color, such as orange or yellow, it means it is happy. Bearded dragons can change their colors to signify their moods. Dark colors mean the bearded dragon is unhappy, stressed, or uncomfortable. Always check your bearded dragon’s color to know if it is comfortable or it needs something.

How Do Bearded Dragons Show Affection?

Reptiles are not very affectionate pets, and it may take some time for your bearded dragon to be affectionate to you. However, once it trusts you, it might show some signs of affections. So, how would you know that your beardie is showing you some affection?

Bearded dragons will show affection when they cuddle around you, if they seek you to handle them, and if they walk all over you comfortably. However how the bearded dragons show affection varies with each of them. Bearded dragons have different personalities, some are social, and some like to be left alone. If you get a social bearded dragon, and it becomes comfortable around you, it will show you affection differently.

One way a bearded dragon shows affection is by cuddling. Your bearded dragon might cuddle with you by resting on your lap, chest, or neck. They will prefer sleeping close to your neck when they are seeking warmth.

The bearded dragon may voluntarily seek you to handle them, showing affection. Bearded dragons do not like to be touched, and it takes time for it to allow you to touch it. However, there are other times when a bearded dragon will voluntarily come to you in anticipation of being handled. When you go to pick it up, it will get ready by raising its head. You might be cleaning the cage, and it walks to your hand. Your bearded dragon might also lick your hand to get your scent.

Walking all over you is another way your bearded dragon might show affection. Some bearded dragons love to explore outside of their cage, and once you take them out, they will start moving around the house.

Some bearded dragons will walk to you and start climbing on your leg or arm. If you want this to happen, you should wear clothes that make it easy for your bearded dragon to find a grip. If your bearded dragon falls awkwardly on the floor or a hard surface, it might get injured. Other signs of affection might include being relaxed when picked up and having dilated pupils.

However, arms waving, and head bobbing are not signs of affections. If your bearded dragon does these, it means it is scared of you. In the wild, arm-waving is a signal bearded dragon use to show other bearded dragons that they do not mean any harm. If your bearded dragon is waving at you, it is saying that it does not prefer to fight you.

When a bearded dragon starts head bobbing, it is preparing for a fight, and heading bobbing is a trait it uses to make its body appear bigger. When your bearded dragon starts head bobbing when you approach its cage, just know your presence is not welcomed.

What Makes Bearded Dragons Smile Mostly?

There are several body languages that bearded dragons use to show they are happy. On some occasions, bearded dragons can be seen smiling, but it may not be because the bearded dragon is happy.

Your beardie will smile when it is happy, if it is regulating its body temperature, or if it is suffering from a respiratory disease. However, the most common thing that can make a bearded dragon smile is being comfortable. When a bearded dragon is uncomfortable in its cage, it will show signs such as changing to a dark color, head bobbing, hissing, or puffing.

If the conditions in your bearded dragon’s cage are perfect, it will be comfortable, and if you look closely, you might see it having a closed-mouth smile. Your bearded dragon can also appear to be smiling if it is comfortably resting on your lap or shoulders.

Apart from being happy, there are other reasons why your bearded dragon has an open-mouth smile. One of them is regulating body temperature. As cold-blooded animals, bearded dragons use external features to control their body heat. If a bearded dragon cannot find a cool place to lower its body temperature, it will open its mouth to lose the excess heat. The shape of a bearded dragon’s mouth, when open, makes it appear like it is smiling.

Respiratory disease can also cause your bearded dragon to display an open mouth smile. It seems that smiling may not be a sign that everything is okay. Research shows that an open mouth smile could be a symptom of respiratory disease.

If your bearded dragon is breathing heavily and keeps its mouth open for a long time, you should take it to a veterinarian for treatment. The good news is that respiratory disease rarely occurs in bearded dragons, so you do not have to be worried about the health of your bearded dragon every time you see it having an open mouth smile.

How Smart is your bearded dragon?

Some household pets can do some unique activities that most consider smart. This may be the reason why many people these days choose bearded dragons as their pets. When you bring a bearded dragon home, you might wonder how smart it is, if it can do tricks or fetch items around the house, read on to learn more.

Compared to other lizards, bearded dragons are very smart. Bearded dragons understand many things happening around them, and they do not forget them quickly. For example, if you hit your beardie, it will not forget it but try to get away from you every time you approach it. Bearded dragons can recognize their owners and learn new activities.

Having a smart pet at home is excellent since you can have fun activities with it. Bearded dragons are smart, and there are several instances where they use their brains to conquer certain activities.

Scientists have conducted various experiments using bearded dragons to see if they can solve problems through learning. Where selected bearded dragons were placed in a container with mealworms on one side of the container, partitioned with a glass container in between them. They could see the mealworms, but they could not reach them.

Scientists then showed the bearded dragons a video of a trained bearded dragon opening the glass partition and reaching for mealworms. The bearded dragons managed to imitate what the bearded dragon was doing in the video and managed to open the glass partition and reach for the mealworms. This experiment proved that bearded dragons are indeed smart and can learn new activities through imitations.

Bearded dragons are also trainable. You can show your bearded dragon to carry out a specific activity, and after some time, it will learn to do it. You can train your bearded dragon at home to do things such as eat dry food, open small gates to get food or snacks, poop in a specific area in its cage, among many others. When a bearded dragon learns a specific activity, they will retain the knowledge for life, and you do not need to keep training it.

However, you cannot train your bearded dragon to do tricks. Cats and dogs can learn to do tricks, with some taking less time to learn these tricks. However, this is not the same with your beardie. It is frustrating for you and the bearded dragon because bearded dragons take some time to learn new activities compared to cats and dogs. If you are impatient, you might lose your cool and hurt your bearded dragon in the process. Too much stress can also cause health complications for your bearded dragon.

Considering they are smart, bearded dragons can easily recognize their owners. After getting your bearded dragon from the pet store, it will be comfortable around you and it may display signs that it does not trust you. After doing some activities together, such as feeding, the bearded dragon will start to recognize you.

The bearded dragon will learn that you do not mean any harm, and it will begin to trust you. It will also be comfortable around you, but if anyone else whom the bearded dragon does not recognize goes near it, it might run away or show aggressive signs.

Another sign that confirms bearded dragons are smart is their ability to learn from past experiences. Whether the experience is good or bad, your bearded dragon will learn from it and react accordingly if it happens again.

For example, if you feed your bearded dragon every time it lays on your lap, it will learn that and keep doing it if it wants food. When something terrible happens to your bearded dragons, it will not forget that experience and will avoid going near the person who did it or near the place the bad thing occurred.

You need to treat your bearded dragon better because it will not forget any mistreatment easily. Remember, a bearded dragon already sees you as a threat. If you hit it or kick it, that will confirm its fears. Your bearded dragon will never trust you, and it might take months for it to feel comfortable around you.

Do Bearded Dragons Think?

Some scholars have tried to answer the question, do animals act on reflexes, or do they think before they act. It is safe to say that most living things with brains can think. Some scientists prefer to use the phrase “cognitive skills” to refer to the act of animals using their brains; however, does this apply to your beardie too?

Bearded dragons can think to a certain extent. It may not be at the same level as human beings, but it gets them through the day. Without the ability to think, hunting will be difficult. In the wild, bearded dragon hunts small insects for food. Catching flying insects is not easy. A bearded dragon has to come up with a way to get near the insect without scaring it away. Hunting will be hard and less successful if a bearded dragon acts without thinking.

Bearded dragons also need to escape predators in the wild. Predators such as snakes and birds of prey are smart and quick. A bearded dragon has to think carefully if it wants to avoid getting eaten by a predator. Bearded dragons have numerous ways of protecting themselves from predators.

They include camouflage, the beard, gaping, body flattening, biting, and running. Therefore, a bearded dragon has to think about which of its many defense mechanisms is effective against a specific predator.

Do Bearded Dragons Remember You?

It is a great feeling to walk into your house, and see your pet get excited to see you. It is easy to get such a reaction from cats and dogs; however, reptiles are not affectionate pets. It may take some time before you get such a reaction from your bearded dragon; therefore, does it mean that a bearded dragon will remember you?

Bearded dragons can remember their owner. They can recognize both your face and your voice. Your bearded dragon will begin to recognize you if you spend time with it. At first, the bearded dragon will not warm up to you and might even be aggressive towards you.

Once the bearded dragons know that you will not harm it, it will warm up to you. If you can say it’s a name during feeding, your bearded dragon will associate your voice with food and look towards you when it hears your voice.

One sign that shows your bearded dragons remembers you is when you approach its habitat; it rushes over the glass to greet you. Since your bearded dragon knows you are a source of food, it will get excited every time you go near its habitat. Another sign is that your bearded dragon will be aggressive or shy towards people it does not recognize.

Most people think their bearded dragons are social, but they either run away or start hissing as soon as you introduce them to other people. Also, your beardie will let you touch and hold it since it remembers you.

Bearded dragons are different, and they take time to get accustomed to their owner. You have to be patient if you want your bearded dragon to remember you. Let your bearded dragon control the interactions. As soon as it wants to be alone, you should leave. If you are too aggressive, the bearded dragon will think you are a threat, and it might take more time for it to like your presence.

Learn your bearded dragon’s body language to understand when your presence is needed or not. On some days, your bearded dragon will be friendly, but it can snap and be aggressive on other days. If your bearded dragon starts to hiss and puff when you approach its habitat, then your presence is not needed. Wait until they calm down before approaching them. This way, your bearded dragon will remember you are nice and not a threat.

Introduce other activities other than feeding. Other activities will strengthen the bond you have with your bearded dragon and make it easy for them to remember you. You can take your bearded dragon outside to the garden and let it explore the place. You can also give your bearded dragon some toys to play with as long as you are present. Do not let your bearded dragon roam around the garden without a leash or unsupervised.


Bearded dragons are nice animals, and you need to learn their body language to be easy for you to get them to trust you. Several signs show a bearded dragon is happy and taking good care of your bearded dragon will ensure it stays happy. It may take time for a bearded dragon to get used to your presence.

Do not feel bad that your bearded dragon is not showing you any affection despite doing everything right. The key to bonding with bearded dragons is patience. Soon enough, your bearded dragon will find ways to show you affection. You should be keen when your bearded dragon is smiling, and the smile conveys many messages other than just being happy.

Numerous experiments prove that bearded dragons are smart animals. They can learn new activities and remember things that happened to them. Bearded dragons can recognize their owner, their voice, and you can also train them to carry out certain activities such as pooping in a specific place inside their habitat.

Scientists believe that bearded animals can think, and some activities, such as hunting, prove that. Bearded dragons will recognize their owners, and some will even get excited if their owners come close to them. Therefore, you have to spend time with your bearded dragon and take good care of it for it to recognize you as a friend. All that investment will pay off, and your bearded dragon will remember and will easily get cozy with you.

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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