Whether you’re a new beardie owner or you’ve had your little buddy for a long time, there may still be some things about them that confuse you. Something small like occasional or persistent head bobbing can seem like a random occurrence, but it actually has some meaning behind it. There are multiple reasons why your bearded dragon might be bobbing their head, but none of those is anything to be concerned about.
The main reasons why a beardie may be bobbing their head would be in interaction with you or other beardies, mating, or territory reasons. Though it may seem odd, it is relatively common and we can break down fully the reasons why your beardie is bobbing along.
Slow bobbing is likely a reaction to seeing you or another bearded dragon and it is really your pet’s way of interacting or saying hello! They may bob frequently if they are comfortable in your presence or if they feel safe. They don’t know how else to communicate to you or other beardies how they feel so their bobbing is their way of greeting and assuring that they are feeling good and happy.
While this isn’t the only reason they might be bobbing, it is one of the more common ones.
Quicker and more jerky nods can indicate your boy beardie is in their mating cycle. It can happen either around a female beardie or even by themselves as a way to indicate they’re currently offering themselves out to mate. If your beardie is a female you may also see this behavior in response to males but it will also come with some flapping or waving of their arms as a way to agree to mate.
If your male beardie is bobbing like this towards another male, it is his way of saying he’s already got his eye on someone and the other male should back off. It is sort of a polite way of letting the other one know that he should keep looking. But it is something that is very common even if your beardie lives alone.
They may bob their head as a way to just give off the information that they are ready to mate should any prospects come their way. It is nothing to be concerned over and it will pass easily enough once their mating time is over.
As a rule, it is best to let your bearded dragon live alone as they can get very territorial over their environment. This doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one bearded dragon, but it is highly recommended they live in separate tanks. Males specifically should never inhabit the same terrarium as they will both become territorial and try to defend their environment.
Quick head nodding is usually the indicator that they are being territorial and that any other bearded dragons in the area should either submit or steer clear. If you do need to keep your beardies in the same tank, make sure it is big enough that they can each have their own space as fighting will occur if one beardie accepts the other’s bobbing as a challenge. Dominance and submission are very important things to pay attention to if you have two bearded dragons interacting.
Signs of asserting dominance will be the fast bobbing and it will usually be met with either the challenge or the slow bobbing and waving that means the other has submitted. Either way, these signs are usually not too aggressive, it is best to watch out on the off chance that your beardie is threatening another or challenging them. It is why it is so important to keep them in separate tanks if you have more than one.
Once again, it is specifically important to ensure your male dragons are kept in separate environments if at all possible. They are more likely to get into a fight if you keep them together rather than giving them their own territory to lord over. It may seem pretty dramatic, and that’s because they are.
Give them space and they should be just fine.
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To Wrap Up
It may seem a little odd at first while you’re trying to get a feel for what all of your bearded dragon’s little quirks mean. They are a wonderful friend to have and they have plenty of little behaviors that can cause you confusion. It is really no need for alarm, even though you may be unused to some of these specific habits they will become second nature if you just give it time.
Thankfully, head bobbing is one of those things you don’t really have to worry too much about. Let your beardie just bob along and they will be happier than you could have possibly imagined. For more beardie knowledge check out our knowledge page and sign up for our newsletter!