How Smart Are Bearded Dragons? A Closer Look

Many people are fascinated by the unique appearance and behavior of bearded dragons, but have you ever wondered about their intelligence?

While reptiles have a reputation for being less intelligent than mammals, research has shown that bearded dragons are actually quite clever creatures.

The Evolution of Reptile Intelligence

Reptiles have been on Earth for millions of years, and their brains have evolved to help them survive in their environments. Unlike mammals, reptiles have a different type of brain structure that is less complex and more specialized for certain tasks.

For example, a reptile’s brain is better at detecting movement and detecting temperature changes, but not as good at processing complex information.

Bearded Dragon Intelligence

Despite their different brain structure, bearded dragons are capable of a variety of behaviors and tasks. They are known for their quick reflexes and agility, and can even be trained to perform simple tricks.

Bearded dragons are also able to recognize and remember their owners, and can be trained to respond to certain commands. In terms of cognitive abilities, they have been shown to be able to solve simple problems and make decisions based on past experiences.

When comparing their intelligence to other reptiles and small mammals, bearded dragons fall somewhere in the middle. They are not as intelligent as some species of birds or mammals but are more intelligent than many other reptiles.

What Studies Have Been Done on Bearded Dragon Intelligence?

Researchers have conducted several studies on bearded dragon intelligence and found some fascinating results. One of the most notable studies was done by researchers at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom.

They trained a female bearded dragon to open a screen door with its claws and head to reach a mealworm. Then they showed a video of her doing this to eight other untrained bearded dragons. All eight were able to open the door too after watching the video. A control group of four untrained bearded dragons was unable to open the door.

This study showed that bearded dragons can learn by observation, a skill that is rare among reptiles and usually associated with higher mammals. The researchers suggested that this ability may have evolved as an adaptation to living in complex social groups in the wild.

Factors Affecting Bearded Dragon Intelligence

Like any animal, the intelligence of a bearded dragon can be affected by various factors such as age, diet, and environment. As they grow older, their cognitive abilities may improve with age and experience.

A balanced diet that includes vitamins and minerals can also help support their cognitive development. And providing them with a stimulating environment with plenty of toys and enrichment activities can help keep their minds active and engaged.


In conclusion, bearded dragons are intelligent creatures with the ability to learn and adapt to their environment. While they may not be as intelligent as some mammals, they are certainly smarter than many people give them credit for. Further research on reptile cognition can help us better understand the unique ways in which these animals think and learn.

Filled under: Lizards

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