Why Do Bearded Dragons Wave: What Bearded Dragons’ Waves Mean and What to Do if They Do It Too Much

Bearded dragons may wave as a form of submissive or appeasement behavior. This behavior is often seen when a bearded dragon encounters a larger or more dominant animal, such as a human or another bearded dragon.

During a submissive wave, the bearded dragon will raise one of its front arms and move it in a slow, deliberate motion. This movement can be accompanied by other submissive behaviors, such as flattening their body or tilting their head down.

Submissive waving is thought to be a way for bearded dragons to signal their submission and avoid conflict with a more dominant animal. It’s also possible that waving may be a way for bearded dragons to communicate with each other, although more research is needed to understand this behavior fully.

What Bearded Dragons’ Waves Mean

A Sign of Submissiveness

As mentioned, bearded dragons are known for waving in submission to display their dominance in the social hierarchy. Waving for submission is essential for bearded dragons because it helps them avoid conflict and maintain social harmony in their environment. 

Bearded dragons are social animals and can live in groups in the wild, which means that they need to be able to communicate and establish social hierarchies. By waving for submission, a bearded dragon signals to a larger or more dominant animal that they are not a threat and are willing to defer to its authority. This can help prevent aggressive or violent behavior and promote social harmony within the group.

In addition, waving can also help bearded dragons establish and reinforce social bonds with each other. For example, two bearded dragons that frequently wave at each other may indicate a close social relationship or bond.

Scared of Other Pets or Kids

Bearded dragons may wave when they are scared of other pets or kids because waving is a form of submissive behavior that can help them avoid conflict and defuse potentially threatening situations. Waving can help the bearded dragon communicate to the other animal or person that they are not a threat and should be approached calmly and slowly.

When a bearded dragon feels threatened or scared by another animal or person, it may raise one of its front legs and wave it in a slow, deliberate motion. In the case of other pets or kids, bearded dragons may perceive them as a threat because they are larger or more energetic than the bearded dragon. 

If you notice your bearded dragon waving frequently or in combination with other signs of stress, monitoring their behavior and providing them with a calm and secure environment is a good idea.

Their Reflection Is Tricking Them

When a bearded dragon sees its reflection, it may interpret it as another bearded dragon and engage in territorial behavior, including waving. However, bearded dragons are naturally territorial animals and may perceive their reflection as a potential rival for resources, such as food or territory.

This behavior is most commonly seen in young or inexperienced bearded dragons who are still learning to navigate their environment and understand socialization and may be more easily confused by their reflection.

If you notice your bearded dragon waving at its reflection, it’s essential to remember that this behavior is normal and not usually a cause for concern. However, you may want to provide your bearded dragon with a more secure or enclosed environment to minimize the likelihood of them seeing their reflection and becoming agitated.

They’re Acknowledging Other Pets Or People

Bearded dragons may wave when acknowledging other pets or people, but this behavior is not necessarily specific to other animals or humans. Waving is a form of submissive behavior in bearded dragons, and it can be used in various social contexts. 

When a bearded dragon waves, it is usually a sign that it recognizes the presence of another animal or human and is trying to communicate in a non-threatening way. For example, if a bearded dragon is introduced to a new pet or person in its environment, it may wave to acknowledge its presence and avoid conflict. 

Similarly, if a bearded dragon is handled by its owner or caretaker, it may wave to communicate its submission and reduce stress or anxiety. While waving can be normal behavior in bearded dragons, it’s essential to observe your animal’s behavior and body language to ensure that it is not displaying signs of fear or distress.

What to Do if a Bearded Dragon Is Waving Too Much

Waving is a normal behavior in bearded dragons and is not usually a cause for concern. However, notice that your bearded dragon is waving excessively or responding to certain stimuli, such as a particular person or pet. It may be a sign of stress or anxiety. If your bearded dragon is waving too much, there are several steps you can take to help reduce stress and promote a healthy environment:

  • Provide a comfortable and secure enclosure: Ensure your bearded dragon has access to a suitable, well-maintained enclosure that provides adequate space, temperature, and lighting. The enclosure should also be free of any potential hazards or stressors.
  • Limit handling: While bearded dragons can be social and interactive pets, they may become stressed or overwhelmed if handled too frequently or inappropriately. Limit handling to brief and gentle sessions, and support your bearded dragon’s body properly to avoid causing discomfort or injury.
  • Reduce exposure to stressors: If your bearded dragon is waving in response to a particular person or pet, try to limit their exposure to that stimulus. For example, if your bearded dragon is waving in response to a barking dog, try to keep the dog in a separate room or provide a barrier to limit their contact.
  • Consult with a veterinarian: If you are concerned about your bearded dragon’s behavior or health, it’s always a good idea to consult a veterinarian specializing in reptile care. They can advise on addressing health or behavioral issues and ensure your bearded dragon receives the best care.