What Does It Mean When a Bearded Dragon Waves?


Bearded dragons are gentle reptiles, but they can be both quirky and kooky creatures.

Because they can exhibit different traits from puffing their head, digging, fluffing their head, gaping for an extended period to twitching their tail.


However, they can amaze you when you observe them waving thinking that it is waving at you by coincidence or deliberately. But what if it waves repeatedly in a row, what does it mean?

Don’t misinterpret this behaviour as coincidence or your beardy is waving at you because it waves deliberately as a sign of communication, stress, submission, and acknowledgment. Below is a detailed explanation to help you understand what your beardy tries to tell when it waves;


Acknowledgement of Another Being’s Presence 

A bearded dragon can wave its arm to acknowledge the presence of another being like a pet or human in a non-fear-based way that the being is harmless.

However, you should observe the frequency of the waving because it may help you know whether it is a fear/passive-driven wave or a non-fear-based wave to stress.


If it waves its arms occasionally, then it is not scared or stressed. But it does it repeatedly then it is actually nervous about the being’s presence.

Therefore, we recommend you limit the pet or human movement near the beardies enclosure. Or you may consider putting the enclosure in a safe spot with limited outside movements nearby from other creatures or people. If you still notice your beardy waving after this diagnosis, then another being’s presence might not be the issue.

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They are Confused by their Own Reflection

If your beardie’s sidewall enclosure is made of glass or plastic, your beardy may see its reflection and perceive that there is another beardie within.

Due to this, it can wave to signify they acknowledge their presence and even make them wave from time to time.


If you suspect their reflection is tricking them, it is advisable to make subtle tweaks to the lighting positioning to control how the light falls in the rooms on your beardie’s cage.


A Sign of Submission

A beardy can also wave its arms to display submission if it acknowledges the presence of another dominant beardy or larger animal. That’s because they understand they are not dominant creatures within the space and aren’t interested in dominance fights. Hence, helping them to stay safe from unwanted or unnecessary fights.


When a female bearded dragon displays a waving signal followed by a slow head bob while moving around the enclosure it sends a signal that they are ready to mate. Besides, the submission may also be a sign that it acknowledges the owner is in charge. It may communicate this signal from time to time when you are around.


They are Threatened or Stressed

If you keep more than one beardy of the same sex in the cage, this behaviour would be common and it indicates they are stressed or threatened.


Therefore, do not house several males or females together as it may result in extreme aggression because bearded dragons are territorial creatures. Besides, extreme aggression may lead to a fight for dominance causing them to get injured.

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Suboptimal Habitat/Wrong Enclosure

A suboptimal habitat is not conducive and comfortable to keeping your bearded dragon because it can make them feel threatened or frightened.

Due to discomfort in such an environment, your beardy will display excessive waving behaviour. To fix this, we strongly recommend checking the enclosure setup and auditing if the issue is related to;

  • Size of the habitat.
  • Heat
  • Humidity
  • Lighting/Window view
  • Natural surroundings.
  • Their Reflection.

Juvenile Behaviour

As the young ones of mammals, juvenile bearded dragons are curious creatures about their new surroundings. They will wave frequently as a way of experimenting with their surroundings.


Besides, they tend to wave their arms longer than adult bearded dragons.

Despite juveniles being submissive and harmless, you should be cautious. Indeed, it could be a sign they have started becoming territorial.

If you notice the waving behaviour in juvenile beardies is followed by aggressive behaviour, we recommend separating them to avoid territorial fights and injuries.



Well, the waving behaviour from your bearded dragon shouldn’t be a concern to worry about. But it is worth observing any signs of aggression and stress in them.

These signs indicate your beardy is not comfortable with its surrounding or other bearded dragons. This is due to their territorial nature and suboptimal habitat.

Besides, you should overrule the following misconception about waving behaviour in bearded dragons.

  • When your bearded dragon waves, do not perceive it telling you “Hello”. Indeed it tries to communicate something else other than hello to you.
  • All bearded dragons can wave. Waving is not a necessary behavior in all bearded dragons regardless of their sex. And, it is normal if your beardie does not wave especially if it is alone. It does not have other company to challenge them for territorial or dominance fight. Besides, it may not wave because it does not feel the need to wave. Therefore, if it does not wave don’t conclude something is wrong with your beardy.
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