How Do You Calm An Aggressive Bearded Dragon?




Does your bearded dragon show signs of aggression? Do you have trouble approaching it, grabbing it or simply feeding it? 

Discover in this article the main causes of aggression in Bearded dragon and how to solve this type of problem.


Signs of aggression in the bearded dragon


It is rather easy to recognize an aggressive or defensive bearded dragon. The bearded dragon swells its throat (it is a natural means of self-defense), opens its mouth wide. It blows or even attacks your hand or fingers if you try to get inside the terrarium. 


It may bite or try to scratch you. These signs of aggressiveness are often consecutive to a more or less important stress or to a feeling of danger for the bearded dragon.

Sometimes, the bearded dragon can also open its mouth as a sign of aggression but it can also use this technique to regulate its body heat. 


Other bearded dragons scratch at the window to signify their displeasure. In any case, these different signals should alert you because the aggressiveness of your bearded dragon is linked to an imbalance, whether in its terrarium, its diet or its state of health (intestinal problems, diseases …).


How to react to an aggressive bearded dragon?


Above all, you have to be patient and understanding. Getting upset or fussing around an aggressive bearded dragon will only make the situation worse. 

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On the contrary, be calm and look for what can hinder your bearded dragon. These sensitive reptiles can be affected by changes that seem harmless to us, for example:

  • A particular smell (perfume, food, on your hands, cleanser, etc.);
  • A change in temperature – a cold-blooded reptile, the bearded dragon needs a well-separated hot and cold spot
  • Excessive stress, lack of hiding places or fallback zones
  • A change in its diet: new types of crickets, different plants, unknown delicacies… The bearded dragon’s diet must be adapted and any change must be made gradually!
  • An attitude towards a particular person – maybe your bearded dragon is more aggressive when your mate or mate is around?
  • The arrival of a new animal in your home (reptile, cat, dog, mouse, etc.) can also disturb your bearded dragon.
  • health problem: difficult shedding (in which case a hot bath can be beneficial!), ingestion of substrate, nervous fatigue, difficulty defecating (constipation?).
  • A change in his terrarium: addition or replacement of a room, new colors or decorative elements, new substrate.


The causes can of course be multiple but, in any case, if your bearded dragon who used to be docile suddenly becomes aggressive, there is bound to be a reason for it! 

So take the time to reflect on recent changes that may have affected it, and try to roll back. This is the best way to find, by elimination, the cause(s) of the problem. 

In most cases, a change in the environment of the bearded dragon disturbs it and you must correct it.


Are there bearded dragons more aggressive than others?


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Even if all the domestic bearded dragons today are born in captivity, the fact remains that the very DNA of the bearded dragon is of course linked to its wild ancestor, who lives in the Australian desert. 

We cannot therefore characterize all bearded dragons as sociable, even if it is a reptile that adapts very easily to the presence of man.

If some bearded dragons are noticeably more aggressive than others, it is above all the degree of stress of your reptile that can influence its behavior. 

Some bearded dragons are indeed shyer or more subject to stress than others, so it is important to know your animal and avoid sources of worry. 

It only takes a trifle for the bearded dragon  to feel attacked: the presence of a fly or a small insect in its terrarium can put it in all its states!


The times when the bearded dragon can be more aggressive


Certain periods of the life of the bearded dragon are more conducive to signals of aggression, in particular:

  • When the bearded dragon is less than 10/12 months old, it is a juvenile and can have a more instinctive behavior;
  • During the juvenile bearded dragon/adult bearded dragon transition, the gradual change in diet can disturb your reptile somewhat;
  • Finally, any noticeable change in its terrarium (moving to a larger terrarium, new decorative elements, new smells) can also disturb your reptile and exacerbate its aggressiveness.
  • Before or after a bath, some bearded dragons can be particularly aggressive. Baths are also not ideal unless medical advice to the contrary (especially for difficult shedding).
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Remember that the bearded dragon is not aggressive without reason. Your duty, as master and protector of your reptile, is to find the main sources of stress for your pet and to eliminate them if possible.


Do not rush your animal, be patient and give it time to trust you. You will be able to build a solid and lasting relationship. 

Finally, do not forget that it is a sociable reptile but that you don’t have to pet it like a cat or a dog.