Are Bearded Dragons Smart: A Look at Their Intelligence and Abilities

Yes, bearded dragons are smart. Bearded dragons are intelligent reptiles and are often considered one of the most intelligent reptile species kept as pets. They can recognize their owners and learn to associate them with positive experiences like feeding or interaction. Bearded dragons also display problem-solving skills, such as figuring out how to reach food placed in hard-to-reach locations. 

While some argue that reptiles generally lack the intelligence of mammals, others believe that bearded dragons possess a certain level of cognitive ability. Studies have shown that they can solve problems, learn socially, and recognize their owners, and have also been observed imitating other reptiles and learning routines.

So, are bearded dragons smart? The answer may be more complex than a simple yes or no. However, one can form their own opinion by examining the available evidence and considering individual experiences with these fascinating creatures.

Bearded Dragon’s Intelligence

Bearded Dragons are fascinating creatures that have captured the hearts of many reptile enthusiasts. One of the most common questions about these animals is whether they possess intelligence. So let’s explore this question in more detail.

Instinctual Behaviors

Like all animals, bearded dragons have instinctual behaviors that they are born with. These behaviors are essential for their survival in the wild. For example, they instinctively bask in the sun to regulate their body temperature. They also have a strong hunting instinct and will chase after insects and other small prey.

Cognitive Abilities

Studies have shown that bearded dragons have cognitive abilities that allow them to learn and problem-solve. They can recognize their owners, imitate other reptiles, and learn routines. They can also learn by watching other bearded dragons, a mark of intelligence once thought to belong only to higher mammals.

Bearded dragons have also been shown to have problem-solving skills. For example, they can figure out how to open a latch or climb over obstacles to get to the food. They can also learn to associate certain behaviors with rewards, such as learning to come to their owners when called.

Social Behaviors

Bearded dragons are not social animals and have been observed to show signs of stress, happiness, and even affection toward their owners. They can form strong social bonds and may even grow to recognize their owners and respond to their presence. They can also learn from other bearded dragons and adjust their behavior accordingly.

Identifying if Your Bearded Dragon Is Smart

Bearded dragons are intelligent creatures that can display a wide range of behaviors that indicate their level of intelligence. Here are some ways to tell if your bearded dragon is smart:

  • Recognition of their owner: Bearded dragons are social creatures who recognize their owners. I remember once I got home, my bearded dragon, even in his enclosure, walked in my direction to greet me. They may scratch at the glass of their enclosure or rush to greet their owner when they enter the room.
  • Problem-solving skills: Smart bearded dragons can solve problems and determine how to get what they want. They may use tools like pushing objects to reach food or finding creative solutions to environmental obstacles.
  • Learning from observation: Observational learning is a sign of intelligence, and bearded dragons can learn from watching other bearded dragons or their owners. They can pick up new behaviors and skills by observing and imitating.
  • Communication: Bearded dragons can communicate with their owners through body language and vocalizations. They may wave their arms or bob their heads to initiate communication, according to VCA Animal Hospital.

It’s important to remember that not all bearded dragons are the same, and some may display more intelligence than others. However, by observing their behavior and interactions with their environment and owners, you can understand how smart your bearded dragon is.

Training a Bearded Dragon

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a training technique that involves rewarding your bearded dragon for good behavior. This can be done by giving your pet a treat, verbal praise, or a gentle pat on the head. Positive reinforcement is an effective way to train your bearded dragon because it encourages your pet to repeat the behavior that earned the reward.

When using positive reinforcement, it’s important to be consistent and patient. Your bearded dragon may need to help to understand what you want it to do immediately, so it’s important to keep training sessions short and frequent. Over time, your bearded dragon will learn to associate good behavior with rewards.

Clicker Training

Clicker training is positive reinforcement training that uses a clicker to mark good behavior. Clicker training involves making a clicking sound with a small device called a clicker when your bearded dragon does something you want it to do. A treat or verbal praise follows the clicking sound.

Clicker training is an effective way to train your bearded dragon because it helps your pet understand exactly what behavior is being rewarded. The clicking sound is a clear signal to your bearded dragon that it has done something right.

Teaching Tricks

Teaching your bearded dragon tricks can be fun to bond with your pet and show off its intelligence. Some tricks you can teach your bearded dragon include waving, playing dead, and walking on a leash.

When teaching your bearded dragon tricks, starting with simple behaviors and working your way up to more complex ones is important. Be patient and consistent, and reward your bearded dragon for good behavior.