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How to Calm An Angry Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons have a wide variety of looks and different personality types

One thing new reptile owners are not familiar with is what to do about an Angry Bearded Dragon!

An angry bearded dragon is going to be a bit weird to deal with because you may not know why they are acting that way

By the way, if you’re completely new to bearded dragons check out this guide

There are a few things you can do to first understand what they do when they’re angry and then what to change or sometimes not change

They will show their anger in many different ways like puffing up o showing a black beard

When a bearded dragon gets angry it can actually bite you and it can draw blood

Don’t let that scare you though, you just need to know what to look for

In this article, i will tell you everything you need to look for when trying to understand your angry bearded dragon

What an angry bearded dragon looks like?

Angry bearded dragon
Angry Bearded Dragon

they will usually show a black beard and open their mouths a bit

but there are many other things they will do when they’re angry

Bearded dragons will show these as well

An unhappy bearded Dragon

You should know what other signs of unhappy bearded dragons look like so you can understand

  • Refusing food – this happens when they are unhappy. They might be suffering from impaction or they might be brumating
  • They will show a dark beard – Dark beards are common for upset bearded dragons
  • Lethargic behavior – This is also common with brumation as well. They wont move much. This happens when they shed as well
  • Strange poop behavior – The poop may be too hard or too runny. A bearded dragons poop can tell you a lot about their health

These things are quite common and if you look hard enough and long enough you will see these things

now sometimes over a few days, your angry bearded dragon might just calm down but don’t just assume things will pass every time

sometimes you may have to step in and change something

here are some other things to look out for

Tail Twitching

Tail twitching is a sure sign of an angry bearded dragon. It’s just like it sounds. They twitch their tail when they are distressed and upset.

When a bearded dragon isn’t used to you they may do this as well.

Bearded dragons are going to be a little squeamish when you bring them home for the first time. That is when tail twitching tends to happen the most

it also happens when someone else is in their tank vicinity and they don’t know them. if you’re nearby they might not do it though

They will do this if you aren’t holding them right during handling

if children are going to handle your bearded dragon make sure you’re supervising


They will do this as a cat would

They are trying to tell you they’re upset and don’t like what’s going on right now

if they begin hissing just put them down in their enclosure and let them chill out for a while

They will also hiss if they’re in the presence of another bearded dragon sometimes. They don’t like roommates too often

Head Bobbing

Bearded Dragons show their dominance. Bearded Dragons will do this while mating to show they are the best ones to choose from

The strongest bearded dragon will be able to make all the other bearded dragons around them submit and then mating can begin

They may also try doing this with you

you need to spend a little more time around them forming a bond and they will see you as their caretaker.

Especially after they notice you always giving them food and stuff

how long could an angry bearded dragon stay angry after that!


biting can happen pretty early in the bonding period of your relationship

if you think about it. You are huge compared to them. They won’t know you mean to be peaceful with them until you’ve shown them they can trust you

They especially don’t like it when you come from above as a predator would

it’s especially important that you think about how they think

Now I would highly suggest you handle them slowly which would look like 5 minutes a day for a week or two

then increase the time throughout the weeks

when you give them food stick around and hang out with them for a while

Let them hear your voice and see your face

Over time they will begin to trust you and think about you as their caretaker

When this happens they won’t trust many other people besides you. sort of a loyalty thing

IF they are still biting at you put on some gloves that are thick. Leather gloves or gardening gloves will work nicely

they won’t be able to bite through that and they will eventually understand you mean them no harm

Puffing their beard

They do this to appear bigger, stronger, and more threatening to predators. They may view you as a predator for a while until they learn to trust you

Puffing up isn’t always a sign of anger or distrust though so make sure you check out the article I linked to so you can understand more

Now if they look at you with an open mouth it might mean they’re about to bite or nip at you

Give them some space and then come back later on when they cool off

if you come back and they’re still like that I would see if there is something in the room around you that is triggering them

Glass surfing

This is basically when your bearded dragon starts pacing back and forth in their tank

New owners might actually be amused by this behavior but it actually means they are anxious about something

It’s important you figure this out because you want your bearded dragon to be relaxed and happy

When a bearded dragon is glass surfing they will also be scratching at the wall of the tank and trying to escape

Sometimes they actually do want to get out of the enclosure because something around them or inside the enclosure is making them angry or upset

If you see this kind of behavior try changing the room they stay in

if it continues after that something inside the tank could be bugging them out

get rid of something out of the tank or room they’re in and just do trial and error

Mouth Open Bearded Dragon

When your bearded dragon has his mouth open it’s a sure sign of them being an angry bearded dragon

They do this for the same reason they puff up their beards which is they’re trying to look more threatening

when they do this just leave them alone and let them chill out. They will eventually calm down when they again realize you’re not a threat

What could trigger an Bearded Dragon to be angry?

There are a few reasons your bearded dragon might be angry and you can use this list as a way to do a process of elimination to find the cause of them being an angry bearded dragon


Bearded dragons can get angry when they begin to shed their skin

They want to be alone while going through this process

A lot of the time your bearded dragon will be shedding and it will be over pretty quickly

However, they can get their shed stuck and it can be irritating

This irritation will affect their mood and they won’t want to be touched or handled during this time frame

If you noticed their shed isn’t moving too smoothly you can help them along but they may hiss at you or show a black beard

However, they may be okay with you handling them. If so you can help them shed with a bath

If you do this make sure you don’t pull off the skin, let them rub against you and it will come off itself

Increasing the humidity will help as well. You can do this by misting them and their tank often

Their habitat isn’t properly set up

Bearded dragons need the right proper setup for them to be happy

you have to mimic the wild as much as possible

this means the right lighting, humidity, food requirements, space, etc

When things are off they will show signs of unhappiness or discomfort

usually, there is something missing for them to get as upset as they do

My bearded dragon was upset because of something actually outside the cage

He didn’t like this stuffed animal we had in his room

one mistake we made as well was not giving our bearded dragon a place to hide

Reptiles like this especially at night because they would do this in the wild

Bearded dragons are from Australia so they will want to have a good setup that mimics something they would find in the wild there

Too much noise or music near their setup

Many people don’t realize the angry bearded dragon could be angry because of the noise

I actually heard this from a friend of mine because they had their bearded dragon tank near their home entertainment system

so whenever they watched a movie or listened to music the bearded dragon would show a black beard and be angry

it actually took them a while to notice until they had the bearded dragon on them during a movie once that was too loud and he hissed and puffed up with a black beard

They are sensitive to loud noises and vibrations. Especially sudden loud banging noises

The best thing you can do is keep them in their own room that has some sound dampening inside it

I like to watch movies and listen to music a lot so I didn’t want to sacrifice that

They are sharing a tank with another bearded dragon

it’s not a good idea to have two or more Bearded Dragons together in the same

In the wild Bearded dragons live alone

Bearded Dragons will try to dominate their environment and be the alpha so to speak

establishing dominance is priority one for them unlike a dog and a cat might try to be friends

whoever the alpha is will get all the best spots

They will control the basking spots and the hiding spots more often

Its just a much better idea to keep them alone.

As much as we humans like being social it doesn’t always mean its a good idea to impose that on reptiles

The tank/enclosure is too hot

Another thing that turn a bearded dragon angry is when the enclosure is too hot

Whenever something is out of whack bearded dragons get upset.

People themselves don’t like it when its too cold or too hot but unlike bearded dragons we can regulate our temperature on our own.

Bearded dragons can’t as they are cold blooded creatures

They need external factors to warm them up and cool them down

Basking lights will help warm them up. They use heat and light for aiding digestion

The heat needs to be within a certain temperature for them to be happy

There is something called a temperature gradient inside your tank that you want to set up

You want it to be cool on one side and slowly get warmer until you reach the other side where it will be hot

Basking lights need to be between 95 – 105 degrees Fahrenheit

the warm middle will be about 85 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit

the cool side will be about 80 to 84 degrees

Sick and injured Bearded Dragon

when a bearded dragon is sick or hurt they will puff up and show a black beard. They will be more aggressive as well

they do this to show they aren’t weak

predators will go after weaker prey simply because its easier

If you notice they are completely fine for a while and then they want to bite or scratch you they may be sick or hurt

if you’re ever unsure just bring them to the vet just to be sure

They aren’t used to their new tank

When you first bring your bearded dragon home they will show you some reluctance because they really do like familiarity

humans do too but you might see an angry bearded dragon when you bring them home

give them time to relax into their new home and environment.

Focus on hanging out in the room they are in as well so they get to know your voice

This will accelerate the bonding process

always remember that you are huge compared to them so think about that

Some bearded dragons are cool right off the bat

Some bearded dragons can be mean

patience is a big key factor with lizards

Other animals around the house or tank

This could make an angry bearded dragon appear!

other animals are a huge risk to their safety at first just like you are

dogs, cats, even birds are going to set off your bearded dragon

A strong willed bearded dragon will think that your pets are trying to take their home or territory from them in which the bearded dragon will just bob his head

If you want them to get used to pets just give them time in their new home first.

This is important because they will be dealing with two threats at the same time. New home and pets

So take your time and let them get used to your home and then introduce the pets later on

You pick them up too much

Bearded dragons don’t mind being picked up too much but sometimes they will get sick of it if too many people are doing it or you do it too often

Bearded dragons are solitary creatures and do like their alone time

let them have this

Its true that you and your bearded dragon can develop a relationship so trusting they will eventually fall asleep on you

But again let them be alone in their own space sometimes

you also might experience an angrybearded dragon when you’ve picked them up after eating some food

they don;t like this because they need to properly digest food first and they do this in their basking spot

the basking spot is the hottest spot in the tank and in the wild they would have done this in the sun around noon hour

so its best to feed them in the morning time so they can digest properly

Mating time

When bearded dragons get older they will start wanting to mate

Its kind of like when a teenager starts getting wild. They get moody and they might even be mad for no reason

this is normal and it will pass

this will happen around 1 year mark give or take as they reach adult hood

there is honestly nothing you can do about this and all you need to do is wait it out

you need to be especially aware if you have a male bearded dragon as they will be the more aggressive angry bearded dragon vs the female

You invite someone over that they don’t know

my bearded dragon will become angry when i bring someone around him he doesn’t know

him and i have a great relationship to the point where he will fall asleep on me

when a friend of mine or friend of my wife comes into the room he will get angry until i show up

when i show up and it makes him feel comfortable

so make sure they he is comfortable with you first be cause he will think you’re his protector

again some bearded dragons wont get angry and some will

habitat change

bearded dragons hate change… a lot

if you move them to another room or move their tank decorations around too much they will be an angry bearded dragon

sudden changes should be avoided

however, sometimes it might be out of your control and they will just have to deal with it. like moving to a new house or something

they will settle in eventually. Its just one of those things that you just have to deal with in owning a bearded dragon

Summary, FAQ’s and stuff you might not know

This will be an ongoing thing. i will add more info here as the site ages 🙂


Bearded dragons have big personalities and being angry can happen for many different reasons as you can see

the number one thing i learned was just be patient with them

it takes them time to adjust and acclimate to their environment and you

having some empathy will help also because if you put yourself in their shoes you will understand why they are angry bearded dragons better

you can check out this video as well

How to calm an angry bearded dragon