Bearded Dragons can get angry for what appears to be no apparent reason but the truth is there’s usually a valid reason for this behaviour even if it’s not completely obvious at first.
This is a topic I’ve researched in a lot of depth to bring you an extensive guide to all the reasons why Bearded Dragons can get angry and the fastest solutions for each situation.
So why do Bearded Dragons get angry? Here are the 5 most common reasons why Bearded Dragons get angry in captivity:
- Over Handling
- Mating Season
- Other Household pets
- Change of Scenery
Read on to find out more about these 5 reasons as well as learn the other 6 reasons why Bearded Dragons get angry.
1. Over Handling Making Your Bearded Dragon Angry
Bearded Dragons for the most part like to have a cuddle, however, they all have their own personalities and some Bearded Dragons just like to be left alone.
Some Dragons love basking all day and don’t want to be disturbed while others get bored in their tank and love the time spent outside with human interaction.
Also consider that even if you are lucky enough to have a Dragon that loves cuddles, there are still certain times that they might not feel like being handled.
One of those times would be straight after mealtimes. Bearded Dragons need to raise the body temperature in order to digest their food and the only way they can do this efficiently is to spend time under the basking lamp.
If you decide you want to take your Dragon out of their tank straight after they have eaten then they might get a little angry or snappy because it’s important they are in the tank and you are depriving them of their chance to digest their food properly.
Sometimes over handling can be from over-eager children. It’s great when younger members of the family love Bearded Dragons but sometimes they can get giddy and overexcited especially when friends or other family members come over to visit.
This can then turn into over handling when they are too eager to show friends and family their wonderful pet.
Your Bearded Dragon can easily start to get frustrated and angry if they are getting passed around from person to person especially if they don’t know the people who are handling them.
Always try and get to know the personality of your Bearded Dragon as this will allow you to understand how much and when they like being handled.
Try not to handle your Dragons straight after meal times and always educate younger members of the family that they must not constantly handle your Dragon when friends and family come over to visit and even having set times to handle your Dragons under supervision is something to consider.
2. Getting Angry During Mating Season
Bearded Dragons can get very temperamental during the mating season. This can lead them to display bouts of anger for what appears to be no apparent reason.
This is mainly due to the fact that their hormones are all over the place and males are especially prone to becoming angry even when it’s totally out of character.
Males can become unusually territorial and try to act dominant even to their owner, this is usually to look appealing to the opposite sex even if there is no female Bearded Dragon in the home.
There isn’t really anything you can do in this situation to stop them from getting angry and acting out of character as mating is natural and the behaviour that comes from the heightened hormones that are also natural.
The best thing to do is to give your Bearded Dragon space and don’t be tempted to over handle them. As long as you respect their space then they should be back to their normal self in no time at all.
3. Shedding Can lead to Bearded Dragons Getting Irritated And Angry
Shedding isn’t a very pleasant time for some Bearded Dragons. They can find the process itchy, irritating and painful.
This, in turn, can lead a normally placed Bearded Dragon to become both snappy and angry.
Some Dragons will go through the shedding process with no problems, while others will find it difficult.
A well-balanced diet coupled with the adequate level of hydration is essential for allowing your Dragon to shed with little to no problems.
I’ve written a great post on shedding that you can check out here. The post will tell you everything you need to know as an owner.
Having the correct lighting and temperatures in the tank also important for shedding, If you’re not sure or you want some more information then take a look at this post on creating the correct lighting setup for your Bearded Dragon.
One thing you should always remember is that you should never try and pull any loose or stubborn shed or your Dragon as this can do more harm than good.
Apart from having a good lighting set up and giving your Dragon a healthy diet with lots of hydration, there are also a few other things you can do if they are struggling to shed stubborn skin and as a result getting angry.
The first thing you can do is mist Your Dragon with a misting bottle as this will help to keep them hydrated and naturally loosen any stubborn skin.
The second thing you can do is give them a bath. Obviously, if your Bearded Dragon is angry and aggressive then it’s not advisable to handle them at that point but if you can wait until they have calmed down and then let them have a soak it can help them to feel less irritable and aid with the shedding process.
Having lots of rocks and branches that your Bearded Dragon can run u against in their tank is essential for shedding efficiently as this is the easiest and most natural way for them to lose their skin. Here are my recommendations for rocks and branches in a recent post I’ve written.
The last thing you can do is to use a shedding aid. This is a chemical that you add to a misting bottle or add to bath water to aid the process.
4. Other Household Pets Getting Your Bearded Dragon Angry
It’s actually very common for a Bearded Dragon to feel uncomfortable around another household pet. Bigger pets such as dogs or cats can easily look like a predator to a Bearded Dragon and this can cause them to display many behaviours.
While most Dragons will hide or show signs of intimidation when confronted by a larger pet some will also not feel intimidated at all and shoe signs of dominance or even anger.
If another pet in the house comes into what a dominant Bearded Dragon believes is their own territory then they can get angry and their behaviour will often show this.
How your Dragons reacts when they are in the company of other pats will totally depend on how you integrate them and their own personalities.
Here is a post I’ve written that shares all you need to know about dogs and Bearded Dragons playing together and how to integrate them together so I’ve you have a dog too it’s certainly worth taking a look.
If your Bearded Dragon is getting angry towards another pet in your home then you will need to:
Step 1 – Let your pet see your Bearded Dragon while in the tank so they can both get used to each other without being exposed to each other.
Step 2 – Introduce your pet to your Bearded Dragon to your pet while holding your Bearded Dragon so no aggressive situation occurs and stroke both pets while talking in a mild manner.
Step 3 – Introduce your Bearded Dragon to your pet while not holding your Bearded Dragon. Again, stroke both pets and talk in a mild manner.
Step 4 – Let both pets interact without you holding or stroking either pet. Making sure you are supervising the situation at all times.
5. Change of Scenery Causing Unrest & Aggression
It might not seem obvious at first but if your Bearded Dragon experiences a change in its surroundings then it can major unrest.
This can be something like moving your Dragons tank to another side of the room or changing the curtains or wallpaper.
Every Bearded Dragon will react differently to change, while some will take it in their stride, while others will feel intimidated and hide and there are also a small number of Bearded Dragons that will actually get angry and aggressive as a means to cope with the change.
Bearded Dragons generally like to feel comfortable and know their surroundings and small changes can leave them unsure and apprehensive until they get used to the change and then settle down.
Usually, Bearded Dragons will settle down and adapt to changes in a short period of time so you should monitor the situation and give them time to settle.
If they really don’t like a change and they are still reacting in a negative way after a number of weeks then you may want to consider changing things back to the way they were as this behaviour along with the stress it can cause over the long term isn’t good for your Bearded Dragon.
6. Feeling Uncomfortable And Aggressive In a New Home
This situation is similar to changing the scenery in your home. If you have moved house recently or you have just brought your Bearded Dragon home for the first time then you need to give them time to settle in and adjust to their new surroundings.
Again, Bearded Dragons will usually prefer to hide if they feel uncomfortable but sometimes they can also get aggressive if they feel they are out of their comfort zone.
Moving home can be a huge change for any pet and depending on their personality, they may settle in straight away or you may need to remain patient for a number of weeks.
Try and provide your Bearded Dragon with plenty of hides in their tank so they can hide if they feel uncomfortable or exposed in their new surroundings.
If you are unsure of what tunnels and hides are good options then check out this post where I go over some great options for hides and tank decor.
Sometimes they will look angry and show signs of aggression as a last resort because they feel cornered or they have nowhere to hide.
Give your Dragon time to settle in, don’t place their tank in an area where there is too much going on and try not to keep moving things around so they can get used to their environment.
7. Getting Angry With Other Bearded Dragons
This will only apply if you have more than one Bearded Dragon but it’s actually very common to see a Bearded Dragon display aggressive behaviour when other Bearded Dragons are around.
Bearded Dragons love to be alone and they pretty much hate the company of other Dragons. When more than one Bearded Dragon is housed in the same tank there will often be aggressive behaviour displayed.
As a general rule of thumb, you should steer away from housing more than one Bearded Dragon in the same tank as it’s very rare that this will end well.
If you have more than one Dragon, I would even consider keeping them in two separate rooms because even in the same room they can still display bouts of anger towards each other.
If you don’t have room for two separate tanks then you will sadly have to give one of the Bearded Dragon up to a good home in my opinion as housing two Dragons in the same tank when one is clearly angry about the situation isn’t fair on either of them.
8. Bearded Dragons Can Get Angry at Toys And Ornaments
I understand this may seem a little odd at first but it’s very common for a Bearded Dragon to mistake a children’s toy or new ornament in the house for a predator.
If this is the case the first reaction will usually be to hide through intimidation but if your Dragon has a strong personality or hasn’t got sufficient hiding places in their tank then they could easily decide to get aggressive towards what they think is a predator.
Luckily, this is a very easy fix as all you need to do is move the toy, ornament or object in question out of sight and the anger and overall behaviour should stop.
If this doesn’t work then there is clearly another reason behind the anger and aggression being shown.
9. Untame Bearded Dragons Can Be Aggressive
Bearded Dragons that are constantly showing aggressive behaviour towards their owners from day one might simply be untamed.
Depending on where you got your Bearded Dragons from, they could quite easily not be used to human contact and therefore see you as a predator.
This is something that you obviously want to change as soon as possible because it’s not healthy for you or your Dragon to have a hostile relationship.
The best way I’ve found to tame a Bearded Dragon is to let it know you are a source of food.
Step 1 – Hand feed the Bearded Dragon insects with tweezers every day for one week, this will allow them to see you are a source of food and not here to harm them.
Step 2 – Hand feed with tweezers for a second week, this time and they are taking the insect off the tweezers gently stroke your Dragons back (only briefly)
Step 3 – Continue hand feeding with tweezers, this time as your Dragon takes the insect stroke their back for a longer period and after mealtime try and stroke them without the food being present.
Step 4 – Try stroking and handing your Bearded Dragon when it’s not mealtime and hopefully by this time they will trust you enough to let you handle them as the trust has been built up over a period of weeks.
The time frames are only a guide and how your Bearded Dragon reacts to this method will totally depend on a number of factors.
10. Angry About Being Near The Window
Some Bearded Dragons love being near the window as they can watch the world go by as they gaze at the blue sky and white clouds on a beautiful summers day.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true for every Bearded Dragon. Some Dragons will hate the fact that birds will often fly past the window as they can find this behaviour threatening and this can lead to them displaying those sudden bouts of anger.
Don’t forget that birds, cats or even people walking their dogs could easily be mistaken for predators and although Bearded Dragon usually gets intimidated, in certain circumstances they can get aggressive instead of being submissive.
The first thing you should do is make sure your Bearded Dragons tank has lots or hides so you can be sure they feel safe and they’re not showing aggressive behaviour just because they feel they have nowhere to escape to. It can be hard to know what hides are effective and what your Dragon will love, Here’s a post that shares the hides I highly recommend and why.
The second option is to simply move the tank away from the window and see if the aggressive behaviour stops. If it does then it’s a good idea to keep them away from the window as long term stress isn’t good for your Dragon.
11. Angry When too Hot
Bearded Dragons can get angry and moody when they get too hot and can cool down to regulate their body temperature.
While it’s important to provide them with hot temperatures in the tank so they can stay healthy, it’s also important to provide them with a cool side so they can cool down.
Bearded Dragons can actually get angry and irritable if they can’t regulate their body temperature efficiently.
Here’s a guide to the correct tank temperature for your Bearded Dragon. Please use this as a guide and always consult your vet.
Bearded Dragon Tank Temperature Guide
|Bearded Dragon Temperature Guide|
|Basking Area 95°-100°F|
|Cool Spot 75°-80°F|
It’s really important that you get the temperatures in the tank correct. If you want some more information then take a look at this post that covers everything you need to know about the temperature of the tank as an owner.
12. Getting Angry Because Of Injury Or Pain
It’s very important to understand that Bearded Dragons can get angry if they are handled when they are in pain for some reason.
The pain could be due to an infection, impaction (constipation), injury to a claw, injury to the body or tail.
If you notice that your Dragon is unusually aggressive when being handled this could be a sign that they are injured or I pain in some way.
You should watch their movements, check their body for any cuts or foreign object and see if you notice anything that looks unusual.
If you are concerned that they are injured or in pain in any way then you should consult your vet for a check-up.
I understand that vet bills can be expensive so I conducted some research to see if it’s better to purchase ‘reptile health insurance’ rather than paying for vet bills. You can see my results in this post as well as the best insurers for the US and UK.
What Does An Angry Bearded Dragon Look Like?
When a Bearded Dragon gets angry they will usually display some tell-tail behaviours.
Some Bearded Dragons will display multiple of this behaviours while others will only display one or maybe two.
The list below will give you a good idea of what behaviours an angry Bearded Dragon will usually display. It’s also worth mentioning that these behaviours aren’t just related to being aggressive and a Bearded Dragon can produce them for multiple reasons if needed.
- Puff up
- Black beard
- Head bobbing
- Stand tall
- Pointy tail
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