Bearded dragon behaviour is interesting and is one of the reasons they make such cool pets. It’s often hard to decipher why your bearded dragon is doing certain things.
They’re intriguing and much more difficult to understand than other animals like dogs or cats. One thing you might have noticed is staring. Yes, bearded dragons can often stare and in this article, we’ll look at the reasons behind this behaviour.
So, to answer the question: why does my bearded dragon stare at me? The simple reason is curiosity. Bearded dragons stare instinctually because they seek to understand what’s going on around them. Anything that moves – like you! – will be an object to study. Ultimately, they’re studying you to understand you and keep themselves safe. Secondly, observing you is a source of entertainment for your bearded dragon. They will often stare when they are bored in order to occupy themselves.
Let’s take a look in more detail at the reasons why bearded dragons stare.
The reasons why your bearded dragon stares at you
If you’ve been around or owned other pets in the past, you’ll have been able to understand them pretty easily. You can tell when pet dogs or cats are bored, angry or hungry, for example.
With a bearded dragon, however, it is so much more difficult to decipher their behaviours into feelings. Staring is a behaviour that gives us an insight into how your bearded dragon might be feeling.
When you see your pet staring, you might feel unnerved or uncomfortable. Some people might find the staring amusing even! However it makes you feel, staring is typically harmless.
That said, staring can be linked to restlessness and boredom, so you might want to consider how you can keep your bearded dragon entertained. You need to prevent restlessness and boredom as much as possible to keep your pet happy.
Staring to understand you
As mentioned briefly above, staring is a way for bearded dragons to understand their environment. When they stare, they take in everything about you or the thing they’re staring at. They stare in order to analyse the person, animal or object so that they know how to respond to them.
If we analyse this behaviour in the context of bearded dragons in the wild, we can understand why this makes sense from a survival point of view. In the wild, bearded dragons are prey and there are potential predators around all the time.
In addition, bearded dragons often live in unpredictable environments where there are dangerous or unforeseen events and they need to be ready to act. In this sense, the act of staring is how they calculate what they are going to do next so as to protect themselves and keep safe.
Aside from survival instincts, though, staring is simply an activity that they can do.
Bearded dragons have much more space in the wild so you can imagine how he must feel in his terrarium day in day out. Another sign of boredom is scratching at the terrarium glass.
Like all pets, your bearded dragon needs enough stimulation each day to be happy. If you notice staring (or glass scratching), try to provide more enriching activities. Your bearded dragon will be more content and you’ll probably notice the staring lessens.
How to entertain your bearded dragon if they’re staring due to boredom
There are lots of ways you can provide enriching activities for your bearded dragon to beat the boredom.
- Let them have a wander around – if you’re uncomfortable allowing him to roam free in your home, there are specials leashes you can buy to keep them close. If you do let your pet loose, make sure they are in a safe room with no dangers and close all doors and windows.
- Provide a ball – bearded dragons don’t play with toys like other pets but they will still find a small ball like a ping pong or bouncy ball entertaining.
- Take him out for a swim – no, we don’t mean a trip to the local leisure centre! Your bearded dragon will love to have fun in water. You don’t need anything fancy; a bucket or bowl that is twice his size is adequate. If you have a children’s swimming pool or baby bath, that’s great too. Or even your own bath or sink! You should make sure that the water temperature is at least 27°C. Secondly, you need to ensure the water is not deeper than your bearded dragon’s elbows. If you use tap water, make sure you de-chlorinate it or use bottled spring water instead.
- Play with him – handling your pet for around an hour or more every day will encourage him to be trusting of you. You should begin this from when your pet is young. As long as you handle him safely, this is the best activity for your bearded dragon to beat the boredom. It’s also really rewarding for you!
Do bearded dragons recognise their owner when they stare?
You will know if your bearded dragon likes you and recognises you by his behaviour. When comfortable, he will come towards you and press up close. You’ll see that his muscles are relaxed and he might lick you. These behaviours show that he trusts you and recognises you.
Bearded dragons do recognise their owners, which means if they stare at you, they definitely know who you are. You’ll know if your pet recognises you if he gets excited and approaches the class when you come in the room or bring food.
If this doesn’t happen, you can work up to this by spending time with him and talking to him. You might need to be patient as he gets to know and trust you.
Conclusion – why does my bearded dragon stare at me?
Bearded dragons staring at their owner is really common and, as we’ve discussed, is pretty harmless most of the time.
You don’t need to worry if you notice this behaviour but you might want to ensure that your bearded dragon isn’t staring because he’s bored or unstimulated. Most of the time, however, bearded dragons stare to understand and learn about their environment.
If you’re unsure whether he is staring due to curiosity or boredom, make sure you provide stimulating things for him to do. This could be handling, letting him out, or letting him splash around in the water.
In the terrarium, you could provide a small ball to entertain him. If your bearded dragon was staring for boredom, you’ll notice this behaviour reducing when stimulated.
You should also notice signs indicating if he is happy or not. Over time, you’ll be able to decipher what his body language and behaviour means and respond accordingly.
If he approaches you, has relaxed muscles and licks you, you’ll know he trusts you and is happy. As long as you ensure he is happy and has the right level of attention, you don’t need to worry about staring.
Finally, if you are staring at your bearded dragon and waiting for him to move or do something when he’s staring at you, he might be waiting for the same!
My name is Andy Baines and I am the owner and writer here at Super Crazy Pets.
For the last 20 years I have been the carer/parent of many exotic pets, from reptiles to amphibians I have cared for and looked after them all.
I created this website to share my knowledge of looking after pets with other fellow owners.
My works and articles have been shared on many online publications including The Spruce Pets.
You can read more about my story by visiting the about me page.