Yes, bearded dragons do yawn. Yawning is a common behavior in many reptiles, including bearded dragons. While the exact reason they yawn is not fully understood, it’s believed that yawning may be a way for bearded dragons to regulate their body temperature or communicate with other dragons.
Additionally, yawning may also be a sign of stress, so it’s important to observe your bearded dragon’s body language and behavior to determine whether their yawning is normal behavior or a sign of discomfort or stress.
Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Yawn
One possible reason why bearded dragons yawn is to regulate their body temperature. Like all reptiles, bearded dragons are ectothermic, which means they rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. If they become too hot, they may yawn to release excess heat.
By opening their mouth wide, they increase the surface area of their body and allow heat to escape more quickly. Conversely, if they become too cold, they may close their mouth and seek out a warmer spot to bask in the heat. This ability to regulate their body temperature through behavior like yawning is essential for their survival in the wild.
Another possible reason why bearded dragons yawn is to communicate with other dragons. Yawning is a common behavior in many animals and can be used to convey a range of messages.
For example, in bearded dragons, a dominant dragon may yawn to assert its dominance over a subordinate dragon. The dominant dragon may yawn to show off its sharp teeth and aggressive posture, which can intimidate other dragons and establish dominance.
Yawning can also signal submission or show that a dragon is relaxed and not aggressive. When a dragon yawns and displays its tongue, it may be communicating to other dragons that it is not a threat and that they can approach it without fear. This type of communication can be particularly important during social interactions between dragons, such as mating or territorial disputes.
Stretching is another possible reason why bearded dragons yawn. Like how we yawn and stretch when we wake up, I observed that bearded dragons might yawn to stretch their jaws and muscles after a long rest period. This can be particularly important for dragons that spend much time in small enclosures, as they may need more space to move around and stretch as much as needed.
Yawning can also be a way for bearded dragons to prepare their bodies for activity. When they yawn, they may signal to their muscles and organs to prepare for movement, much like how we might stretch before a workout or physical activity.
Stress is another possible reason why bearded dragons may yawn. Bearded dragons can experience stress from various factors, including environmental changes, improper handling, illness, or even interactions with other animals or people. When stressed, a dragon may yawn to release tension or communicate discomfort to others.
In addition to yawning, other signs of stress in bearded dragons may include a lack of appetite, lethargy, changes in behavior, or physical symptoms such as diarrhea or respiratory distress. Therefore, it’s important for bearded dragon owners to monitor their dragons closely and to provide a stress-free environment that meets their physical and emotional needs.
Dealing With Yawning of Bearded Dragon
If your bearded dragon is frequently yawning or seems to be yawning more than usual, it may be a sign that something is wrong. Yawning can be a sign of respiratory infections common in bearded dragons. Other signs of respiratory infections include wheezing, discharge from the nose or mouth, and difficulty breathing, according to VCA Animal Hospital.
Yawning can also be a sign of stress or discomfort. If your bearded dragon is yawning and seems restless or agitated, it may be a sign that something in its environment is causing stress. This could be anything from a too-small enclosure to too much noise or activity in the room.
- Monitor their behavior: Look at your bearded dragon’s behavior and look for signs of stress or illness. If you notice any changes in their behavior or health, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in reptile care.
- Check their environment: Ensure your bearded dragon’s enclosure has adequate space, temperature, and humidity. Provide plenty of hiding spots and climbing structures, and avoid placing their enclosure in high-traffic or noisy areas of your home.
- Adjust handling: Bearded dragons can become stressed if handled too frequently or inappropriately. Ensure you’re handling your dragon gently and only when necessary, and avoid picking them up by their tails or limbs.
- Provide opportunities to stretch and move: As mentioned earlier, yawning can be a way for bearded dragons to stretch and prepare their bodies for activity. Providing opportunities for your dragon to move and stretch can help reduce stress and promote overall health.
- Consider seeking professional help: If you’re concerned about your bearded dragon’s yawning or behavior, consider consulting with a veterinarian or reptile specialist who can provide further guidance and support.