Your bearded dragon hisses, arches its neck, and looks angry. You’re afraid to move or talk in case it hisses at you again.
But what does it mean when your bearded dragon hisses? Can you trust your pet? Should you get out of the tank and leave the room?
The answer is no, not necessarily. Hissing is a behavior that bearded dragons use when they feel threatened. It’s a warning sign that something triggers the lizard to think that it might be attacked.
Hissing isn’t a bad habit but rather an instinctual behavior that serves as a protective mechanism. When your bearded dragon hisses at you or another person or animal, there is probably good reason for this action.
It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your pet or that it dislikes you. Of course, there are times when hissing could indicate illness or stress as a result of over-handling by humans or other negative factors in its environment.
Bearded dragons have excellent senses and they can become agitated by certain smells (like ammonia) and sounds (like clicking cameras).
Bearded Dragon Hissing – What Does It Mean?
If you hear your bearded dragon hissing, there are a few reasons behind it. If you’ve just acquired your pet, it may be afraid that you’re going to harm it.
In this case, you should give it some time to become familiar with you and your surroundings. Let it get used to the new cage, surroundings, and the other animals or people in the house.
And don’t make sudden movements or loud noises. Bearded dragons are territorial by nature and will defend their environment against other lizards. If you have another bearded dragon in the same tank, there may be a fight on the horizon.
Bearded dragons are territorial and will fight to defend their environment. Another reason for hissing is sexual behavior, which bearded dragons also engage in via hissing. They’re not trying to be mean. They’re merely showing their intentions.
Strategies to Deal with Hissing Bearded Dragons
If your bearded dragon is hissing at you but seems otherwise healthy and content, try to figure out the reason for the hissing. If you always clean the cage in the same manner and you’re not introducing new potted plants or scented cleaning products, the culprit may be something inside the cage.
If your bearded dragon is hissing because it’s being territorial and you have a second dragon in the cage, clean out the entire cage, removing any uneaten food and feces.
This will help your animals feel more confident and secure in their surroundings. If one of your bearded dragons is being aggressive toward the other, separate them into individual cages.
If your bearded dragon shows signs of sexual behavior, remove him from the cage and place him in a separate tank.
Check for Signs of Illness or Injury
If you’ve cleaned the cage, you’ve removed the scented items, and nothing seems out of the ordinary, it could be that your bearded dragon is ill and hissing is one of the symptoms.
You may notice changes in behavior, energy levels, appetite, and/or signs of injury. These could be signs that your bearded dragon is sick. If you notice these symptoms, take your bearded dragon to a veterinarian.
Confine Your Pet to Determine Cause of Stress or Aversion
If your bearded dragon hisses at you but you’re certain you’ve done nothing wrong, confine him to a separate tank. This way, you’ll know for certain if he’s sick or if something about you or your approach is triggering the hissing.
If he’s sick and you’re caging him away from the other animals, you can treat the reptile without it infecting the others.
If your bearded dragon stops hissing, you can reintroduce it to the other animals in the home, but if he continues hissing, you’ll know he’s healthy but stressed.
Try Environmental Changes to Find Trigger for Hissing
If your bearded dragon continues to hiss and shows signs of illness or injury, you may need to make changes to the environment. This can be difficult because bearded dragons are very sensitive to changes.
Try to change as few things as possible at a time so you can determine what’s triggering the hissing. If you’ve recently changed the temperature, changed the lighting, or added a new cage decoration, you may have triggered the hissing.
Make sure your bearded dragon is eating well and get its vitamins
If your bearded dragon isn’t eating well, it will probably show signs of poor health, like diarrhea or lethargy, which could trigger the hissing. Make sure you feed your pet a healthy diet and give it vitamins if it’s not eating well.
Hissing is a normal behavior among bearded dragons, but it should be kept to a minimum. If your bearded dragon hisses at you frequently, you may want to try to change your approach.
It may be just an instinctual behavior or it could be a sign of health or habitat issues. Bearded dragons are complex animals that you should know how to properly care for.
Reading about their habits and studying the way they communicate will help you to better understand your pet.
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