Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing: 5 Reasons Why They Do It

Have you ever noticed your bearded dragon head-bobbing and wondered what it could mean? Unlike dogs and cats, deciphering the body language of a bearded dragon can be a bit of a challenge. But don’t worry, there’s always a reason behind their behavior!

Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Bob Their Heads

Bearded Dragon HEAD BOBBING

Head bobbing, or the repeated action of rising and lowering head, is a very common behavior in bearded dragons that can have multiple meanings, but mostly you can assume that it has something to do with either show of dominance or mating behavior both of which are more commonly seen in males.

Male bearded dragons will use head-bobbing as a way to show their readiness for mating, and also as a display of dominance towards other males.

Below are the most common reasons for why bearded dragons bob their heads.

1. Breeding Season

When a human man wants to impress a lady, he might take her out for a romantic dinner and give her a bouquet of flowers. But when a bearded dragon wants to show its interest in mating, it bobs its head vigorously. This head bobbing signals to other bearded dragons that it’s ready and willing to mate.

If you have a female bearded dragon, she may also show her interest in mating by performing a modified version of the head bobbing. Her head bobs will be slower and less noticeable than a male’s, indicating her willingness to submit to his advances.

If there is both a female and male around (or multiple males and females), you can assume that the dragon is bobbing to show his dominance to the female. It is a common display of power during times of breeding and courtship to show that the male is suitable mate.

Normally, this type of head bob is accompanied by other behaviors such as waving, pushups, or even bearding, and can be met with a submissive bob from the female.

2. Territorial Supremacy

One of the main reasons why bearded dragons bob their heads is to show dominance and strength over their territory. This can be in a glass tank or in the wild environments of the Australian outback.

Both male and female bearded dragons may exhibit this behavior, but it is most commonly seen in males.

In an attempt to show territorial supremacy, they will begin bobbing. This behavior serves as a warning, and is often accompanied with circling, biting and fighting poses.

It is indicative that a dragon is willing to battle for its territory. It is not uncommon in these circumstances for bearded dragon head bobbing to turn into fights that often go on until both are injured or one has been killed.

A more violent bob, which is normally much faster and more threatening, is the type you’ll see when the gesture is for territorial reasons. The bob will go hand in hand with the blackened beard, as well.

3. Submission

When you have more than one bearded dragon together, they might try to figure out who’s boss. The bigger bearded dragon will often show their strength by making quick head bobs. If the smaller bearded dragon feels scared or thinks it’s not worth it to fight back, it will show submission with a slow bob and wavy arms.

It’s not a good idea to have two male bearded dragons in the same tank because they might get too rough. Make sure all your bearded dragons are safe by giving them their own space.

Bearded dragons might show this same submissive behavior towards other animals and even people. If you have bigger pets that walk by their enclosure, your bearded dragon might just be trying to avoid a fight. And, if you just got your bearded dragon and they’re not used to you yet, they might show this behavior towards you. But don’t worry, it will probably go away as they get more comfortable with you and you spend more time with them.

4. Acknowledging Another Animal

Have you ever noticed your bearded dragon doing a non-threatening head bobbing that seems to have no real reason or target? Well, if you take a closer look, you might see that it happens when your bearded dragon is around another bearded dragon or pet.

Bearded dragon owners are divided on what this mild head bobbing means. Some think it’s a bearded dragon greeting ritual, while others believe it’s a subtle way of saying, “I’m watching you, so don’t do anything silly.”

The truth is, we may never know for sure what the head bobbing means. But we do know that bearded dragons prefer to live alone and usually acknowledge each other from a distance.

5. Intimidating Another Bearded Dragon

As mentioned earlier, bearded dragons will often bob their heads to intimidate others of their kind. In the wild, they make themselves look more threatening to deal with potential danger. This behavior also applies to their tank setup, where they may try to show dominance over their territory.

The purpose of this behavior is to let other bearded dragons know who’s in charge, especially if there’s a female nearby or if they want to assert their dominance as the alpha male. This is usually done through rapid head bobbing and sends a clear message for the others to submit or face a possible confrontation.

However, if you only own one bearded dragon or keep them in separate bearded dragon enclosures, this behavior won’t apply to you.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing at Nothing? 

Many new bearded dragon owners believe that when their pet is bobbing its head, it’s focused on something. But actually, this isn’t always the case.

Think of it this way: your bearded dragon is bobbing its head to express a feeling, rather than focusing on something specific.

They may do this to show dominance over you, their new surroundings, or another animal. It could also be because it’s mating season and they’re feeling more “romantic.” In both cases, your bearded dragon is expressing a feeling through head bobbing.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Bob Their Heads at Humans? 

If you’ve recently gotten a bearded dragon, you may notice it bobbing its head towards you. This is just your pet trying to show that it’s the boss and you should respect it. However, as your bearded dragon gets to know you, it will stop bobbing its head as much, unless it’s mating season. If you want to bond with your bearded dragon faster, there are steps you can take. Just click below to learn more.

Why is My Female Bearded Dragon Head Bobbing?

While head bobbing is more common in male dragons, females can do it too. Female bearded dragons will usually bob their head in a slower, less aggressive way. They may do this to show dominance or submission, whether to you or another dragon.

What If My Bearded Dragon is Head Bobbing While Sleeping?

If your bearded dragon is bobbing its head while sleeping, don’t worry. This is normal and just means that it’s falling in and out of sleep. However, if there’s a bright light in the cage, like a red light, it could disrupt your pet’s sleep and make it harder for them to rest comfortably. So, it’s best to keep the cage dark at night.

Should I Worry If My Bearded Dragon is Always Head Bobbing?

If your bearded dragon is always bobbing its head but is otherwise healthy, you don’t need to worry. However, if your pet is black bearding (turning its beard black) and head bobbing, it may be because of stress, such as a new habitat or a new pet, or it could be mating season. It’s also possible that your bearded dragon is trying to assert dominance over you, another pet, or its new surroundings.


Most of the time, if your bearded dragon is bobbing its head, it’s not a cause for concern. It could be because they’re feeling romantic, asserting dominance, or just a bit stressed. Consider the time of year, their surroundings, and if they’re showing any signs of poor health.

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