Are Bearded Dragons Smart? Complete Guide

Yes, bearded dragons are smart and they know what’s happening around them. They are aware of their surroundings. You will be surprised at how smart these reptile areas are if you spend more time with your pet. If you have had a bearded dragon for some time now, you might have noticed different reactions.

This reptile may even look excited as you approach it especially when it’s feeding time. Bearded dragons will be able to also remember what you did to them in the past.

If you have been nice to your beardie since day one, it will be happy to see you. Of course, if you treat it badly, it will react differently.

Bearded dragons are known to be the smartest than other reptiles. Although some lizards may be smarter, bearded dragons are equally intelligent.

These reptiles can learn to solve problems by imitating other lizards around them. They can display intelligence like mammals with higher cranial features.

The best thing about bearded dragons is that they can recognize their owners. They can tell who’s feeding them.

Beardies can also feel emotions towards their owners. They can be happy or sad whenever they see you. Bearded dragons can be trained such as doing a head pat or even doing push-ups.

How Smart are Bearded Dragons?

Based on new research, some lizards such as bearded dragons are similar to human intelligence. In the past, humans were the only beings who were capable of imitation.

To understand the intelligence of bearded dragons, The University of Lincoln in the UK researched imitation testing for beardies.

The terrariums of bearded dragons were studied. There was a wire door from their habitat to get into some mealworms. Here’s a short video of the research.

  • First Group – the bearded dragon was shown to be opening the wire door from the left.
  • Second Group – another beardie was shown to be opening the wire door from the right.
  • Third Group – a bearded dragon was shown a video of a person opening the site door.
  • Control Group – a group of bearded dragons that did not see any video instruction on how to open the wire door from the enclosure.

What’s the Conclusion of This Experiment?

Bearded dragons are smart reptiles since they can learn through imitating each other. They can use their intellectual abilities to do the same thing as other bearded dragons are doing. They can better imitate their kind than humans. In this experiment, the bearded dragons present took three weeks to learn from the video and initiate the action.

What are the Signs of Bearded Dragon’s Intelligence?

1. Recognize Owners or Feeders

Bearded dragons can recognize their owners or those who feed them. They also remember their feeding time routines. These lizards are very smart since they do this using their sense of sight and smell. If they feel happy or angry towards the person, it will help them recognize that feeling.

2. Can Imitate Other Beardies

Based on the research, they can imitate other bearded dragons. That made them smart since not all reptiles can do that. If you have been a bearded dragon owner for some time, you should be aware of it by now.

Most pets can learn about routines and patterns. Bearded dragons are very smart and can easily be motivated by food or mealtimes.

3. Smells Owner’s Presence

Bearded dragons can smell their owners’ presence. They use their sense of smell to also recognize you or whoever feeds them.

As the bearded dragon’s owner, you will notice that your pet looks excited even before you get closer to its enclosure.

4. Enjoys Being Handled

Beardies can relax and also enjoy being held. When their owners hold them, they will not resist being petted. They are most excited when it’s mealtime. These lizards will go to the same spot when it’s time to eat. They will be waiting where their food bowls are located.

5. Respond to Their Name

When you have a pet, the first thing you do is to name it before anything else. Bearded dragons can be trained to come to you when you call its name.

Do this before mealtime so that your beardie will get used to being called by its name. They associate eating and playing with their owners as happy moments.

6. Acknowledge

Being smart lizards, bearded dragons will acknowledge you. They will wave or nod with other beardies and humans.

It’s amazing how they seem to know these polite gestures. Beardies may not be able to speak but they can understand actions. It’s better to show your pet how nice you are.

7. Feel Anger

Like other animals, bearded dragons can also feel anger. That may happen when there is an intruder near their enclosure.

This can also happen if they have a bad experience with their owners. It might attack or run away from you or the person who feeds it. Put a cover or your beardie’s enclosure so it can hide.

Can You Train a Bearded Dragon?

Yes, bearded dragons can be trained and it’s also not that hard. They are smart creatures and can even do well with their potty training. But it may take time so you better be patient. Bearded dragons are not as smart as iguanas. But this lizard can be trained in things like opening a door or getting its food.

Training a bearded dragon can be done by putting it with a trained one. The untrained beardie can imitate those skills from the trained ones.

These reptiles can learn from watching their own kind. Although the timeframe may vary on when your bearded dragon will learn a lot of things.

Bearded dragons can be trained by keeping them away from negative emotions. Pain, fear, or anger are caused by negative experiences.

Give your beardie positive attention and take care of it well. Feed it some superworms or mealworms to stay happy. It will help your beardie to easily learn from other lizards.

How to Tame a Bearded Dragon?

Bearded dragons can be stressed because of different issues. They might be hiding from other beardies which makes it hard for them. These reptiles may change the color of their beards and turn dark or expand. Another sign of stress is bobbing their head.

You can tame your bearded dragon to avoid it from being stressed out. That way, it will respond according to the activities you want them to do. You can train your beardie to do the following actions:

  • Recognize its name or sound.
  • Access the place where to put their food.
  • Recognize you as its owner or people who feed them.
  • Locate a place to poop or excrete.
  • Wave to other people or visitors.
  • Escape danger.

For the bearded dragon to learn new skills, you should train it one at a tone. Don’t make it do everything right away.

These reptiles can master all the skills above. Give your dragon some time to learn these skills to achieve better results.

However, bearded dragons are shy creatures. They can’t be trained until you form a close bond with your pet first.

So make sure to create that bond before attempting to train it. If you have a new beardie, there are different ways to make it comfortable.

How to Train Bearded Dragons?

When you take home a new beardie, make sure to give it some time to get used to its surroundings. Don’t touch it right away and feed it from a safe distance.

That will avoid creating tension and make sure that the bearded dragon will not be scared of you. The enclosure should be big enough for it to hide.

1. Hand Feed the Bearded Dragon

It should allow the bearded dragon to get closer to you. When it walks towards your hand to eat, try to touch it gently. When it’s comfortable enough, it will trust you to hold them.

Don’t worry as bearded dragons are harmless. It will not attempt to bite your hand while feeding them.

2. Spend Time Near the Enclosure

After bringing home a new bearded dragon, try to spend as much time as you can near its enclosure. You can watch your bearded dragon and feed it every time.

That will help it to recognize you as its owner. Seeing your face will make them excited especially when it’s feeding time.

3. Allow the Bearded Dragon to Move Around the Enclosure for Few Hours

It should be done by setting up food bowls at different points of the enclosure. This will attract their movements.

Allow it to walk around and watch from a distance. Make sure that there are no signs of stress such as making an aggressive posture before going near the bearded dragon.

4. Pick It Up with Your Hand and Rub its Back Softly

When the bearded dragon seems to be more comfortable, it’s time to pick it up. Rub its back gently to ease the tension it may be feeling.

Never lift it from behind or you may scare or anger the bearded dragon. Don’t raise its tail since you might startle it. Instead, gently pick it up from its front.

5. Let the Bearded Dragon Calm

If the bearded dragon seems to be aggressive, allow it to calm down. When it already looks relaxed, try to hold it and see its reaction.

If it didn’t react, that means that you can already start training your bearded dragon. This will be easier since it’s already relaxed and ready to do some tricks.

6. Wash Your Hands After Handling the Bearded Dragon

Make sure to do this every time you’re done holding your bearded dragon. Wash your hands to avoid Salmonella from it. Beardies have high pain tolerance. Avoid grabbing its tail or restraining it.

Their tails don’t grow back when they fall off like other lizards. Stroke its back to assure your pet that it’s alright.

How Much Care Bearded Dragons Need?

Unlike other reptiles, bearded dragons require a specific environment. They also need to have a consistent feeding schedule. Bring your pet to the vet regularly as well. The vet will give you tips on how you can take care of your bearded dragon better.

Make sure to provide 12 to 14 hours of UV light daily. Get both basking and UV light for the basking area. The temperature should be 95F for adults and 110F for baby bearded dragons.

The enclosure must be 40-gallons at least for one dragon. It can grow up to 24 inches from head to tail.

Aside from giving it enough room, add 2 to 3 inches of sand from the bottom of the tank. You can also use a carpet for reptiles if you prefer it.

Take out the waste from the tank every day and change the sand every week. You can place a rock or branch under the basking light to provide a hiding spot.

Avoid using heated rocks since they can burn your bearded dragon’s skin. Put a screen on the top of the enclosure to prevent bearded dragons from escaping.

They also need to have the perfect temperature and humidity. Beardies will be well with 20 to 40% humidity, the same as their desert habitat in Australia.

Finally, make sure that the basking end should be between 95 to 110F. The colder end should be at 74 to 85F. You can let the enclosure cool down at night between 65 to 75F. It may sound tricky but when you get the right environment, the bearded dragon will be comfortable in its new habitat.

What to Feed Bearded Dragons?

Bearded dragons are omnivores which means they eat both animal and plant-based foods. Adult bearded dragons can eat 25 to 50% of chopped greens, yams, carrots, and about 5% of fruits. You should provide their veggies every other day. Give your pet fruits once a week as a treat.

Commercial pellets can be fed daily. You can supplement their diet with crickets, mealworms, or wax worms.

Add some calcium powder to their food once a week as well. Make sure to give them fresh water all the time to stay hydrated. If your beardie seems like it’s not drinking, spray it with some water twice a week.

How to Know If Your Bearded Dragon Is Doing Well?

Bearded dragons can live as long as twelve years. It’s a huge commitment and responsibility to take them home. They’re not the easiest reptile to care for since they have different needs. If you decide to take care of a bearded dragon, make sure to visit the vet if you notice these issues below.

  • Skin discoloration or flaking
  • Swollen joint
  • Refusing food or water
  • Hiding excessively
  • Nose or eyes discharge
  • Runny feces for more than a day

Are Bearded Dragons Good Pets?

Yes, bearded dragons are good pets to have. They don’t show aggression unless threatened. If you are too close to them, they will try to get away from you instead of attacking. Bearded dragons don’t bite people and they can be trained easily. They will curl or turn to display their pleasure.

It’s a good pet even with children around. Bearded will not attack them even if they invade their enclosure. They are not hostile towards other pets.

Beardies can have another pet in the same enclosure. When they become aggressive, you will see them hissing, staring, opening their mouth, bobbing their head, and puffing their beards.


Can Bearded Dragons Get Potty Trained?

Yes, bearded dragons can get potty trained easily compared to other pets. Although some may not quickly learn how to use their litter. Most beardies can do this in one spot between a week or two. Just give your pet some time to adjust.

They hate the sight and smell of their poop so they will avoid it being all over the enclosure. Bearded dragons may even get out of their cage to poop outside. But if they have a litter area, they will go to that spot.

Will Bearded Dragons Attack?

They may bite but bearded dragons don’t attack unless they are threatened. When an adult bearded dragon bites you, it’s going to hurt more than a juvenile’s bite. When you get bitten, clean the area right away. Bearded dragons carry different bacteria that can infect the wound if not treated.

Are Bearded Dragons Affectionate?

Yes, they are affectionate compared to other reptiles. They usually wait eagerly for their owners to show up. Bearded dragons will look like they are warming up when you approach the enclosure. It’s a sign of their affection towards you. They like to be held and petted by their owner.

Beardies prefer to be fed by hand rather than using their food bowls. They are very affectionate especially as they grow older. It likes to be close to its owners as much as possible. They may even climb up to you to show their affection and to have fun.

Are Bearded Dragons Nocturnal?

No, bearded dragons are not nocturnal therefore they are not active at night. They are diurnal which means they are active during the day and sleep at night. Beardies are docile but they will get active when the temperature rises. They recognize it as a sign daytime to go hunting or move around.

The light can make them wake up and when it’s dark, they will sleep. You can control their sleeping habits by switching the lights off when it’s time to rest.

When you turn the lights in, they will automatically wake up. Be careful at night when checking your pet since the lights will disturb them.

Will Bearded Dragons Respond When You Call Its Name?

Yes, they will respond when you call your beardie’s name. Although they don’t respond like humans do when their names are called. You can train it by associating their name with something. Call the beardie’s name when you’re giving it food. Your pet will remember it when you mention its name again.

Start doing it whenever you are about to feed them. Bearded dragons are a feature of habit so they will connect your voice and itself with meal times.

It takes some time and a lot of repetition. But your beardie will finally learn to respond when you call its name. Even without the food, it will respond with the name you gave to the bearded dragon.

Can You Keep a Bearded Dragon in Your Room?

Yes, you can keep your bearded dragon in your room if you prefer it that way. But make sure to avoid having the lights on all the time. Your pet needs darkness to sleep and rest. It’s best to keep the bearded dragon in a room where it’s dark at night but bright during the day. That will avoid ruining its sleep cycle and make sure it’s getting enough sleep.

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