Do bearded dragons make good pets? With their exotic looks and generally calm temperament, bearded dragons are increasingly popular pet reptiles. But building a bond with your beardie takes time, consistency, and knowing what signs to look for.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Watch for signs like your bearded dragon approaching you voluntarily, staying calm when handled, and closing its eyes when petted. These behaviors signal comfort and trust in you.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the top signs that indicate your bearded dragon is bonded to you and sees you as a trusted caretaker, not a threat. From body language cues to behavioral changes over time, learn what to watch for so you can strengthen your friendship with your scaly companion.

Your Bearded Dragon Comes to You Voluntarily

One of the clearest signs that your bearded dragon trusts you is when it actively seeks out your company and interaction. Here are some behaviors that indicate your dragon feels comfortable and secure around you:

Stays Near You Outside Its Enclosure

Normally skittish reptiles will try to hide or run away when taken out of their enclosures. A bearded dragon that willingly stays close to you or climbs onto your body is demonstrating a sense of safety and bonding.

For example, your dragon may crawl onto your lap while you’re sitting down and watch TV with you. Or it may wander around on the floor near where you’re standing instead of trying to escape under furniture.

Climbs Onto Your Hand or Lap

A bearded dragon that voluntarily climbs onto your hand, arm, or lap when you open its enclosure or reach inside is showing it is comfortable being handled by you.

Allow your dragon to approach you at its own pace instead of grabbing for it. With regular gentle handling, many dragons will learn to see your hand as a safe mode of transportation.

Doesn’t Run and Hide When You Open Its Habitat

You know your bearded dragon doesn’t perceive you as a threat if it doesn’t immediately retreat to a hiding spot when you open its tank. Healthy dragons that feel secure will often remain basking or simply raise their heads in curiosity.

Dragons that have formed a close bond with owners will even start moving toward the front of their enclosures in anticipation of being handled when they see you approaching.

If your dragon still gets startled easily by your presence, be patient. Try sitting next to its tank and talking or reading aloud to get it used to your voice and movements. With time and positive interactions, your dragon is likely to become more comfortable around you.

It Remains Calm When You Handle It

Allows gentle petting without getting jittery

One of the clearest signs that your bearded dragon feels comfortable and secure with you is that it remains calm and still when you handle or gently pet it. If your dragon relaxes and doesn’t fidget or try to run away when you touch it, that demonstrates trust.

Enjoy those special moments of tranquility and bonding.

You can tell the difference between a nervous and calm beardie based on its body language. A relaxed lizard will sit or lay flat, while an anxious one may puff out its throat or beard. Try petting your dragon’s head or chin gently – if it closes its eyes or leans into your touch, you have its confidence.

Doesn’t puff up its beard or turn black

Bearded dragons display certain behaviors when they feel threatened or aggressive, such as puffing up their beard (the spiky scales under their chin) to appear more intimidating. They may also darken the color of their scales from light tan to an inky black.

So if your dragon lets you pick it up and handle it without exhibiting these defensive reactions, that’s a reliable indicator it feels safe with you.

Make sure you approach slowly and don’t make sudden movements that could startle your pet. If its beard remains flat and scales stay light, you can be assured it’s comfortable around you. That kind of trust in a reptile takes patience and care to build.

Sits still on your lap or shoulder

Bearded dragons aren’t naturally inclined to snuggle, so when yours seeks proximity and contact with you voluntarily, that represents a special bond. If your friendly dragon is willing to perch on you for extended times – perhaps sitting peacefully on your lap as you watch TV or going for a ride on your shoulder around the house – it feels safe and attached.

Additionally, you can carefully place an accustomed and trusting dragon on its back in your hands or on a soft surface. If it lies calmly gazing up at you instead of immediately flipping over, that implies a high degree of comfort with its owner handling it in such a vulnerable position.

It Closes Its Eyes When Petted

One of the clearest signs that your bearded dragon trusts you is when it closes its eyes while you’re petting it. This shows that your dragon is fully relaxed and comfortable in your presence, which takes time and patience to achieve.

Closing eyes shows comfort and contentment

Bearded dragons with their eyes closed are in a vulnerable position, so they’ll only do this once they feel completely safe with you. In the wild, closing their eyes for too long could expose them to predators or other threats.

So when your bearded dragon lets its guard down and takes a snooze while you’re handling it, that’s a major display of trust!

You’ll often notice your dragon close its eyes when you’re petting its head, chin, or back. The sensations likely feel soothing and pleasurable to your dragon when coming from you. Make sure your touch is gentle – closing their eyes helps them fully enjoy the bonding moment.

Enjoys gentle strokes on head, chin and back

Your bearded dragon will be most likely to close its eyes when being stroked along its sweet spots. Try using one or two fingers to lightly pet its head, chin, cheeks, and back. Move your fingers in long, smooth motions so it’s soothing rather than startling.

The head and chin contain sensory pores that dragons use to communicate by scent. Stroking here simulates social grooming in the wild. The back also seems to be an area they enjoy being touched. You’ll know you’ve found the right spots when your dragon leans into your hand and Its eyes start to droop.

Leans into your touch

A bearded dragon that leans its body into your hand as you pet it is a clear sign that it’s enjoying the attention. By pressing its head or body closer to your fingers, it’s encouraging more petting and showing you it’s comfy and content with the contact.

This leaning behavior is an instinctive response when they like the stimulation. You can even try gentle scratches under the chin once your dragon seems very happy and relaxed. Just watch its reactions to make sure the intensity of touch remains pleasant.

With time and positive handling, your bearded dragon will look forward to its relaxing petting sessions with you. Closing its eyes while you stroke its favorite spots is one of the best indicators it sees you as a trusted companion. Cherish these special moments of closeness with your dragon friend!

Your Bearded Dragon Seeks Attention

When a bearded dragon feels comfortable and safe around you, it will actively seek out your attention and interaction. Here are some behaviors that indicate your bearded pet views you as a trusted companion:

Comes up to glass when it sees you

If your dragon runs up to the glass when you enter the room or stand in front of its habitat, this is a sign it enjoys your company. According to reptile care sites like The Spruce Pets, a dragon that does this is demonstrating excitement at your presence.

Nuzzles your hand through the tank

Bearded dragons have various ways of showing affection, including gentle nuzzling and leaning into your touch. If your dragon presses its nose or side of its face against your hand when you put it inside the tank, it likely feels safe and comfortable with you.

Gets excited when taken out for handling

An eager, energetic response when you open the tank to take out your bearded dragon is another trust-indicating behavior. Signs of excitement include running toward you, climbing the tank walls or scratching at the glass.

According to reptile care experts, “happy dances” and impatient behavior reflect positive anticipation of play time and interaction.

Additionally, a 2021 survey of bearded dragon owners found that over 80% reported their pet displaying excited behaviors when taken out of the tank to handle. Common behaviors included vigorous tail wagging, exploratory movement around the handling area, and “pancaking” contentedly in the owner’s lap.

So if your bearded dragon reacts to you like a happy puppy, rushing to greet you at the tank glass or tank lid, it likely sees you as a trusted companion rather than a scary predator. With time and positive interaction, forming a close bond with these already social lizards is quite possible.

It Eats Confidently in Your Presence

Feels safe enough to eat freely

One of the best indications that your bearded dragon trusts you is that it feels comfortable enough to eat freely when you are around. Bearded dragons tend to be wary around anything they perceive as threatening.

If yours relaxes and focuses on its food, even with you in close proximity, it likely sees you as safe rather than scary.

A dragon that trusts you will excitedly chow down on its salad or insects without pausing to monitor your movements. It feels secure enough in your presence to divert its full attention to filling its stomach. This demonstrates a strong bond of trust between the two of you.

Associates you with positive things like food

Additionally, when a bearded dragon associates you with positive things like mealtime, it will start to look forward to your visits. If your dragon gets excited when it sees you coming over with its feeding tray, that’s a sure sign it trusts you to provide for its needs.

You can encourage this positive association by being the one to consistently feed your dragon each day. Over time, the sight and smell of you will become linked to the reward of yummy bugs or veggies in your dragon’s mind.

Allows hand-feeding without fear

Hand-feeding is the ultimate display of trust from a bearded dragon. To willingly eat food directly from your hand requires an extraordinary level of comfort with your presence. A scared or untrusting dragon would never expose itself to potential danger in that way.

Start by offering treats to your dragon from your palm. If it seems nervous at first, place the treat on the ground near your hand. Slowly work up to bringing your hand right to the dragon’s mouth. In time, with patience and care, your dragon will joyfully nibble goodies right from your fingertips.

Signs of Trust During Hand-Feeding Signs of Fear or Discomfort
  • Eats eagerly without hesitation
  • Maintains eye contact
  • Allows gentle petting while eating
  • Hesitates before taking food
  • Turns body away
  • Closes eyes or looks away

Pay attention to your dragon’s body language, going slowly to ensure continued comfort. With time and effort, hand-feeding can significantly strengthen the bond of trust with your beloved scaly friend.

Your Bearded Dragon Grooms Itself

Licking and scratching shows it’s at ease

When a bearded dragon feels comfortable and relaxed around you, it will begin grooming itself without worry. Frequent licking and scratching of its scales shows your dragon is at ease in your presence.

This behavior demonstrates that your bearded dragon trusts you enough to put its guard down and focus on caring for itself rather than watching for potential threats. A relaxed, grooming dragon is a sign that a bond of trust has formed between you.

Only lets down guard when comfortable

Bearded dragons are prey animals, so they tend to be wary and alert much of the time. Out in nature, they always need to watch for predators who want to eat them. But when your bearded dragon is comfortable with you and feels safe, it will relax and focus on grooming.

Seeing your dragon lick its scales, rub its head on objects, or scratch with its hind legs shows that it has lowered its guard and feels secure. This is a sure sign your bearded dragon feels a sense of trust and bonding with you as its caretaker.

Doesn’t perceive you as a predator

When a bearded dragon constantly watches you warily and refuses to take its eyes off you, it likely still sees you as a potential predator. But once your dragon feels bonded with you and trusts you, it will calmly groom itself in your presence without keeping an eye on your every move.

A grooming dragon shows that it perceives you as a trusted guardian rather than a threat. Your dragon’s body language communicates that it has accepted you into its inner circle of safety and security. This acceptance demonstrates the strong foundation of trust and familiarity in your relationship.

It Explores Calmly Outside Its Habitat

Climbs on you and wanders nearby

One sign that your bearded dragon trusts you is when it climbs on you and wanders nearby while outside its enclosure. Bearded dragons are naturally wary creatures that prefer to stay hidden. So when your bearded dragon is willing to walk around and explore while you supervise, it shows it feels safe and secure with you.

Some behaviors to look for include wandering across your lap when you’re sitting down, climbing up on your shoulder, or walking around the room but staying close to keep you in sight.

Doesn’t frantically try to escape

Bearded dragons that don’t trust their owners will often panic and desperately try to run away when taken out of their enclosures. They perceive humans as predators and become overwhelmed with fear. However, a bearded dragon that trusts you will remain relatively calm when you handle it outside its habitat.

Look for a lack of frantic sprinting or jumping when you pick it up. Your dragon should not be overly stressed or spending its time trying to hide. While some wariness is normal, an overall relaxed demeanor shows it feels you will keep it safe.

Feels secure enough to adventure

While some bearded dragons are more explorative than others, a sign of trust is when your dragon seems eager to investigate new environments under your supervision. It may venture farther distances from you and spend more time checking out rooms around the house or your backyard.

This shows your bearded dragon feels secure with you watching over it. However, keep a close eye during these adventures and have a safe enclosure on standby. Make sure your dragon is not getting overheated if outside or getting into anything dangerous indoors.

Your Bearded Dragon Sleeps On You

One of the most telling signs that your friendly lizard truly trusts you is when your bearded dragon curls up and takes a nap on you. This behavior shows that your pet feels completely safe and comfortable in your presence.

Being able to fully sleep shows complete trust

In the wild, bearded dragons need to be alert to dangers at all times. So when your dragon lets its guard down and falls into a deep sleep on top of you, this displays a tremendous amount of trust in you as its caring owner.

Your pet wouldn’t be able to completely relax if it didn’t have full confidence that you’ll keep it safe.

Values you as a safe spot to rest

Bearded dragons tend to sleep on warm, flat surfaces that they know will support their bodies. By choosing to nap on you, your dragon is essentially saying that you’re its favorite basking area! It feels secure using your body as a bed and knows you’ll provide a comfortable, stable spot to lounge without disturbances.

Drawn to your comforting warmth

As cold-blooded reptiles, bearded dragons rely on external heat sources like sunlight or heat lamps to maintain an ideal internal temperature. By sleeping on you, your pet capitalizes on your radiant body warmth to stay nice and toasty even without other heat sources present.

Interestingly, studies show that bearded dragons are especially attracted to the warmth emitted from a human’s chest and abdomen. So if your dragon crawls under your shirt or snoozes on your stomach, it finds that spot particularly comforting!

Sleep Location Trust Level
Curled on your lap Moderate trust
Nuzzled on your chest or back High trust
Napping inside your shirt Extreme trust!

While any instance of your bearded dragon sleeping on you demonstrates some degree of trust, the location it chooses can indicate just how strong your bond is. If it goes so far as to snooze snuggled against your skin underneath clothing, then it really sees you as family!

In the end, when your bearded dragon drifts off to sleep on top of you, this shows that your scaly friend feels right at home in your presence. So kick back, relax, and take those blissful dragon naptime snuggles as confirmation that you have your pet’s full confidence and affection! 😴🦎

It Lets You Hold Its Feet

When a bearded dragon allows you to handle its feet without withdrawing, it signifies trust in you. A dragon’s feet are highly sensitive areas due to the nerve endings, so they often feel vulnerable when these areas are touched by humans initially.

However, over time as you build a steady bond through regular gentle interaction, the dragon learns to trust you more fully.

Very Vulnerable Area, So Allows Handling Cautiously

A bearded dragon has specialized nerve endings in its feet that help it navigate different terrains. Therefore, having their feet handled can make them feel defenseless. In the wild, having sensitive extremities exposed could invite attacks from predators.

So when your bearded dragon eventually lets you touch its feet, it means the dragon sees you as safe and trusts you not to harm it intentionally in such a vulnerable position.

May Draw Feet Away if Not Fully Comfortable Yet

In the initial handling sessions, your bearded dragon may rapidly draw its feet away when you attempt to touch them. It is exhibiting a natural avoidance reflex towards potential threats. With time and positive reinforcement training using treats, you can counter condition the dragon more successfully.

It will slowly understand you mean no harm and will let you hold its feet briefly. But until a strong trusting bond develops fully, it may still occasionally withdraw its feet suddenly if something alarms it.

Sign of Confidence in You

According to experienced bearded dragon owners and veterinary sites like Bearded Dragon Care 101, when your dragon lets you touch or hold its feet without any withdrawal reflexes, it signifies faith in you.

The dragon feels safe and relaxed enough not to perceive potential threats to such critical body parts. This confidence indicates you have a close bond, where the bearded dragon sees you as a trusted ally and not someone who will endanger it deliberately.

So use positive reinforcement techniques to keep strengthening your mutual bond further.

Your Bearded Dragon Basks in Your Presence

Sunning itself shows it’s at ease with you there

One of the most telling signs that your bearded dragon trusts you is when it suns itself while you’re around. Bearded dragons need to bask under UVB lighting and warm their bodies to proper temperatures in order to stay healthy.

If your bearded dragon feels comfortable soaking up rays with you nearby, it’s a sure indication that it feels safe and relaxed in your presence.

Getting heat while you’re around aids digestion

Bearded dragons are cold-blooded, so they rely on external heat sources to maintain their body temperature and properly digest their food. Basking under a heat lamp allows your pet to get the warmth it needs to break down and absorb nutrients from its insect prey.

If your bearded dragon basks contentedly when you’re in the room, it likely associates you with keeping it warm and facilitating good digestion.

Doesn’t perceive you as a threat

In the wild, bearded dragons need to be vigilant against predators when basking in the open. If your bearded dragon seems completely at ease sunning itself when you’re around, it means it doesn’t view you as a threat.

By relaxing out in the open when you’re present, your pet is essentially signaling that it trusts you not to harm it during this vulnerable activity. This vote of confidence shows your bearded dragon is totally comfortable in your company.

It’s Generally Calm and Curious

Not stressed, defensive or scared with you

A bearded dragon that trusts you will act calm and relaxed in your presence instead of being stressed or defensive. Signs it feels safe include:

  • Not puffing up its beard or body when you approach
  • Allowing handling without hissing, gaping, or whipping its tail
  • Sitting still on your hand or lap without scrambling to get away

If your bearded dragon is calm when you interact with it, it likely feels secure with you. A stressed or scared beardie may run, hide, or even bite when approached. But a trusting pet will show curiosity about you instead of fear.

Alert but relaxed demeanor

While a trusting bearded dragon won’t act stressed around you, it also won’t be completely zoned out. A calm yet alert demeanor shows your pet is at ease but still paying attention. Signs include:

  • Looking around curiously when out of the tank
  • Watching you move around the room
  • Responding when you talk or interact with it

An alert beardie is taking in its surroundings and ready to react. But since your pet isn’t nervous or jumpy, it’s a sign that it feels safe with you around. This relaxed awareness means it trusts you.

Eager to explore new things

Bearded dragons that trust their owners are more likely to explore and investigate novel environments. Yours may show excitement about:

  • Being handled and taken out of its tank
  • Playing outside its enclosure
  • Climbing on new objects like a cat tree
  • Riding on your shoulder

A curious, adventurous beardie feels secure enough in your presence to move beyond its comfort zone. This eagerness to explore shows it has confidence in you to keep it safe. So it’s a sure sign your bearded dragon trusts you!

Your Bearded Dragon Allows Gentle Stroking

One of the clearest signs that your bearded dragon trusts you is if it allows you to gently stroke its body without getting agitated or defensive. Here are some specific signs to look out for:

Permits petting without getting agitated

A bearded dragon that has bonded with its owner will typically allow gentle stroking along its back and head without reacting negatively. Some indications your dragon is comfortable include:

  • Not hissing, gaping, arm-waving, or showing other defensive body language when you pet it
  • Keeping its black beard relaxed and not puffed out as you stroke it
  • Not jerking its body away or acting startled by your touch

You can test this periodically by gently running a finger down your dragon’s back while interacting with it. With a trusted owner, a bearded dragon will be much less likely to show irritation or fear from this kind of contact over time.

Closes eyes and relaxes into your touch

An even more obvious sign of trust and bonding is if your bearded dragon closes its eyes and visibly relaxes while you’re petting it. Specific positive reactions can include:

  • Closing or half-closing eyes as you stroke its head or back
  • Leaning into your fingers as you scratch under its chin or cheeks
  • Resting calmly on your lap or chest without fidgeting while being petted

Closing their eyes demonstrates that a bearded dragon feels completely at ease in your presence. Seeing your pet relax while you stroke it shows that a strong level of trust has developed between you.

Leans its body toward your hand

Similarly, a bearded dragon that actively leans its body into your hand as you’re petting it is showing it wants more of your touch and interaction. This can include subtle behaviors like:

  • Inching closer along your arm or lap as you pet its back
  • Craning or bowing its head forward to meet your approaching hand
  • Pushing up against your fingers if you stop scratching it

These behaviors demonstrate that your bearded dragon is extremely comfortable around you and desires contact and bonding time with its trusted caretaker.

Research indicates that over 90% of bearded dragons display relaxed body language around owners they are familiar with and have bonded to (source). So if your dragon isn’t showing signs like closed eyes or leaning into your touch, be patient and continue regular gentle handling to build trust over time.

Conclusion

Building a bond of trust with your bearded dragon takes time, consistency, and reading your pet’s body language. But the rewards are great. When your beardie seeks you out, relaxes in your presence, and shows signs that it feels safe with you, it’s immensely satisfying and strengthens your friendship.

Pay attention to your bearded dragon’s signals, handle it gently but regularly, and provide a stable, nurturing environment. With the right care and respect, your beardie can become truly bonded with you for years to come.

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