Why Do Bearded Dragons Hiss and Make Other Sounds? All Explained!

In general, bearded dragons only hiss as a sign of aggression or warning whenever they feel threatened. Nevertheless, constant and erratic hissing in bearded dragons usually points at a bigger problem that you should resolve immediately.

If you’re worried about your beardie’s hissing, read on to learn the various reasons for the behavior. In addition, we’ll look at the best ways to stop your beardie from hissing incessantly along with other common bearded dragon noises and their respective meanings.

10 Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Hiss

As we’ve already seen, bearded dragons are known to make a variety of funny noises, and hissing is one of them. Although it’s typical for beardies to hiss from time to time, erratic hissing tendencies such as strained or constant hissing are often signs that something is wrong.

Thus, it’s crucial that you assess, learn, understand, and resolve the reason for your beardie’s hissing to help them thrive. Here are the commonest reasons for bearded dragons to hiss:

1. Their Own Reflection

If your bearded dragon stays in a glass tank, there’s a high chance that they’ll see their reflection on the glass walls. This is a common reason for beardies to hiss as they see their reflected image as another bearded dragon.

Since bearded dragons are solitary and competitive creatures, they usually see other beardies as a threat. Thus, they might get aggressive or scared and hiss at the ‘other’ beardie that’s their own reflection.

Possibly the best way to stop tank reflections from causing your bearded dragon to hiss is to set a fitting background around the tank. Moreover, avoid extremely bright and colored lighting at night to stop casting reflections on the tank’s walls.

You can also enrich your beardie’s cage with sufficient hiding spots where they can dash underneath instead of hissing whenever they feel threatened.

2. Unfamiliar Surroundings

Like other pets, bearded dragons are uneasy in a new environment. As such, they may take some time to take in and get used to the new surroundings. Before then, they’ll interpret most of the unfamiliar area, creatures, and objects as potential threats, and might therefore become defensive and hiss to show aggression or fear.

Often, beardies experience unfamiliar surroundings when you:

  • Take them to a new home.
  • Relocate their tank to  new spot with new scenery.
  • Bring in visitors near their terrarium.
  • Change or upgrade the interior décor and other furnishings around the terrarium.

If you’ve just acquired a new bearded dragon, it’s normal for the lizard to keep hissing at you. You’re both new to each other and, like you, the pet needs some time to know and get used to you and its new environment.

Luckily, there’s another simple way to stop your beardie from hissing due to unfamiliar surroundings. Making visual and sound changes around the terrarium gradually allows the beardie sufficient time to adjust to and be comfortable with the new surroundings.

Further, ensuring that the tank has enough hides allows the lizards to feel unexposed, safe, and comfortable in their new artificial environment.

3. Improper Handling

Although bearded dragons love playing and sight-seeing, they eventually get agitated, bored, or stressed by too much attention.

Remember, they love their personal space and interpret any undue interruption as a perceived threat or discomfort. Thus, they’re likely to hiss at you due to constant handling.

Further, grabbing your beardie from above can make your beardie perceive you as a predator and hiss at you. To prevent this, simply acquire a tank with side doors to enable you grab the beardie from the side.

Remember t keep a balance between the privacy and attention you give to your bearded dragons to keep them healthy and happy.  Besides observing them constantly, ensure you leave them sufficient personal space to stay comfortable and lively.

4. Insufficient Hides

You’ll agree with me that bearded dragons, like other lizards, love staying concealed. It’s part of their natural defense against perceived and potential threats such as unfavorable weather conditions and predators counting larger animals and hawks.

Therefore, lack of sufficient hiding spots for a caged beardie makes them feel uncomfortable and vulnerable to multiple threats, and they end up hissing in response.

And that’s not all. Absence of sufficient hiding places for the bearded dragon allows the lizard to observe everything that’s happening around their cage.

Keep in mind that these lizards have excellent eyesight that allows them to see potentially stressful surroundings; thereby eliciting constant hissing that can stress out your pet.

But here’s the good news: introducing multiple hiding spots such as plants, hides, substrates, caves, branches, and logs offers beardies sufficient concealment against external elements.

As a result, your bearded dragon can hide as they assess the situation for any threat without hissing.   

5. Hunger or Thirst

Just like any other creature, bearded dragons act up when they feel hungry and thirsty. Malnourishment, undernourishment, and severe dehydration all cause anxiety in these lizards, and they’re more likely o hiss at you in return. This is their simple language to tell you to feed them as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, bearded dragons will also hiss at you if you threaten to interrupt them when feeding. As territorial reptiles, beardies are extremely protective of their food.

Thus, disturbing beardies while feeding is a direct challenge on their meal and will most likely receive an unfriendly hiss. The best thing is to let them be when enjoying their delicacies.

On the other hand, resolving the diet conflict is the only way to stop starving or dehydrating bearded dragons from hiss relentlessly.

And it’s easier than it sounds- just feed your lizards with a sufficient amount of balanced-out diets containing vitamins, insects, meats, and fruit and vegetable crumbs such as apples, melons, grapes, and sweet potatoes.

We can all agree that a bearded dragon that enjoys sufficient amounts of balanced diets and water is more likely to be healthier, bigger, happier, and more active. Besides, nobody wants an emaciated, sickly, and boring pet.

6. Mating and Egg-Laying Seasons

Male bearded dragons are exceptionally territorial. Similarly, female and gravid beardies are overly anxious and protective especially when the time to lay eggs comes.

During the mating season, male bearded dragons can hiss repetitively as a sign of dominance, aggression, and anxiety as they try to seek out mates.

Therefore, your characteristically cool and composed beardie could be on heat if they suddenly started hissing during the mating season.

Unfortunately, there’s little you can do to stop a bearded dragon from hissing due to the onset of the mating season. Unless you’re willing to find the pet a mating partner, the best you can do it to let them be until the season passes.

7. Sudden or Unexpected Moves

Any abrupt movement around your bearded dragon’s tank can cause anxiety, fear, and stress to the pet. In response, the lizards may hiss at you as they act out of nervousness in response to the perceived threat.

For instance, sudden movements, bright lights, and unfamiliar sounds are potential reasons for your beardie to start hissing abnormally. In the cases, the lizard’s hissing not only signals potential threat but also shows that they’re displeased and stressed with the surroundings.  

The bright lights, the sudden movement around the tank, or the different positions of the tank itself, would be more than enough to lead to the disturbance and the significant changes in your pet’s mood.

The best way to stop such hissing is by upgrading the tank surroundings to favor your pet’s health and comfort.

8. Pain

Sometimes, a bearded dragon may hiss at you due to pain. Like other animals, beardies can get hurt from a variety of reasons such as:

  • Injury or illness
  • Shedding
  • Mishandling
  • Unfavorable conditions in the artificial habitat.

In most cases, bearded dragons like being left alone whenever they’re suffering some form of pain. In such instances, interacting with them by playing or picking them up would only aggravate the situation and cause more pain. Thus, the lizards may hiss at you as a warning to keep off. 

Further, extreme heat inside the tank and shedding often leave bearded dragons feeling itchy and sore.

As a result, the reptiles may turn snappy, anxious, and stressed thereby hiss uncharacteristically to show discomfort and pain. It’s best to leave them alone at such times.

Moreover, performing a close observation on your beardie for other symptoms is the surest way to identify why they’re hissing.

Common thing to look out for include the beardie’s appetite, movements, sounds, and other behavior patterns. Alternatively, you can schedule a vet visit for a more precise diagnostic.

9. Untamed Bearded Dragons

Wild and untamed bearded dragons are usually aggressive. Thus, they hiss whenever they feel scared or anxious as part of their natural response to danger and challenge.

Since untamed beardies are unused to interactions with humans, artificial habitats, other creatures, and surroundings, they’re most likely to hiss instinctively at any strange situation.

This phenomenon is common in baby bearded dragons and those that have been re-homed from a previous owner who wasn’t too friendly.

One of the easiest ways to help an untamed bearded dragon get used to their new home is making their habitat as friendly, comfortable, and natural as possible.

Enriching the tank with sufficient hiding spots, favorable temperature and humidity, and a suitable background is sure to make the lizard adjust easily into their new home.

Besides, offering your new bearded dragon food directly is a sure way to spark friendship and trust. With time, the pet will associate you with food and learn that you don’t mean them any harm. Consequently, they’ll stop hissing at you altogether.

10. Presence of Other Bearded Dragons or Other Pets

Since bearded dragons are solitary, competitive, and territorial creatures, it’s common to see them hissing at each other if you keep them in the same room.

In most cases, they see other beardie as competition and possible threat, so the hiss to try and scare them away from their turf.

When a beardie becomes territorial and hisses repetitively for too long, they could become stressed or ill. Thus, it’s advisable to keep bearded dragons in separate tanks and rooms to prevent rivalry and aggression-bred hissing.

What’s more, a beardie may hiss at the sight of other household pet such as cats, dogs, and parrots. Basically, the lizards are intimidated by larger animals as they see them as potential predators.

As a result, the beardies might hiss at the animals to show agitation, aggression, or fear.  In such cases, the hissing is an inbuilt defense mechanism. 

Probably the best way to prevent beardies from hissing at other pets is keeping them in separate terrariums and rooms.

However, you can introduce other pets into the room gradually and cautiously to allow your beardie sufficient time to adjust o their presence. In time, the lizards will get accustomed to your other pets and will eventually stop hissing.

How to Stop a Bearded Dragon from Hissing at Me?

As we’ve already established, bearded dragons can hiss for numerous reasons. In most cases, they hiss when they’re agitated, scared, or anxious. Likewise, there are various ways to calm down a hissing bearded dragon depending on the reason for the hissing.

Here are sure ways to stop caged bearded dragons from hissing at you:

  • Remove any object that’s agitating or stressing out the beardie from its tank or surroundings
  • Keep other bearded dragons and other household pets in separate cages and rooms to prevent your beardie from feeling threatened and hissing in response. Keep in mind that beardies are extremely competitive and territorial, so they see most other beardies or other pets as a threat  
  • Provide enough hiding places for your beardie to hide. This will help the lizard to feel concealed, safe, and to calm down  instead of hissing as they assess situations in and around their tank
  • If your beardie is hissing at you and showing a lot of aggression, it’ best to back off for a while. Give them enough time to cool down as you observe from a distance to figure out why they’ve turned aggressive towards you. It could a simple matter like invading their space during the mating or egg-laying season. Additionally, ensure they have sufficient hide spots to retreat to as they assess their surroundings. After about an hour, you can try talking to the beardie softly, watch their reaction, and then take it from there.
  • In case your beardie is hissing but doesn’t display any aggressive traits, you can calm them down by softly stroking their head as you talk to them in soft soothing tones.
  • If a hissing bearded dragon isn’t aggressive, you can try to give them a gentle bath to relax them. Nevertheless, remember beardies can bite, so it’s best t keep your hand away from their mouth, especially if they show any signs of aggression.

Other Bearded Dragon Noises that Accompany Hissing

Besides hissing, bearded dragons are known for many other intriguing behaviors. Some of them include:

  • Panting
  • Standing taller on their hind limbs
  • Flaring (puffing out) their beard
  • Fast head-bobbing
  • Scratching the tank walls, corners, and floor
  • Keeping their mouth open

In most cases, bearded dragons accompany hissing with one or more of these behaviors to signal boredom, anxiety, agitation, or stress.

Thus, it’s best to always investigate the reasons for your beardie making any weird gestures as they could be signaling at a serious underlying problem.

9 Bearded Dragon Sounds and What They Mean

In addition to hissing, bearded dragons make a variety of other fascinating noises. Here are some of the household noises you can expect on our journey as a bearded dragon pet owner:

1. Burping Noises

Like hissing, burping noises are fairly common among bearded dragons. Similarly, burping is an instinctive and natural reflex from the lizards’ gut.

Usually, beardies burp when their stomach is full from a recent meal, so it’s often no cause for alarm when it happens immediately after feeding.

Nevertheless, relentless burping from your beardie after meals or throughout the day could mean that the pet’s stomach has excess gas.

Such gas is slowly broken down and the reptile then expels it periodically through burps.

On the other hand, burping due to excess gas could mean the beardie isn’t getting enough air into the lungs while feeding. In dire cases, this could result in complex breathing complications. 

Close examination of your pet can help you root out the reason for their burping noises. If they persist, along with other symptoms of anxiety, agitation, or discomfort such as labored breathing, then it’s time for a reptile vet visit.

A food particle lodged in the beardie’s throat could be causing it difficulty in breathing and the consequent burping noises.

2. Huffing Noises

Huffing, like hissing and burping, is commonplace in the world on bearded dragons. It resembles coughing sounds, except huffing is distinct as it’s more anger-driven and involves the lizard holding a lot of air in their lungs before expelling it in one mighty huff.

However, unlike hissing that could signify different emotions, huffing always means that your beardie is trying to intimidate, show dominance, and scare away another bearded dragon, pet, animal, or human from its tank.

Constant huffing from a beardie means the pet has limited ways to communicate their anxiety or fear apart from intimidation. Thus, it can quickly escalate into aggression or stress if you don’t resolve the root problem fast.

Bear in mind that bearded dragons are solitary creatures, thus protective of their territory. As a result, introducing another pet or creature into its space most certainty breeds competition, rivalry, and aggression that plays out through constant hissing, huffing, and puffing.

3. Chirping or Chattering Noises

Compared to hissing, huffing, and burping noises, chirping isn’t very common in bearded dragons. Nonetheless, you might hear it from time to time, especially when your beardie yawns. In most cases chirping noises in beardies are signs of elation and happiness. 

Chirping noises from bearded dragons are soft and almost identical to hissing. Experts argue that these noises could constitute part of the natural language used by bearded dragons to communicate their emotions.

Chirping and chattering noises are rare in caged bearded dragons, so you might never hear yours make such noises. Regardless, that’s perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

4. Clicking Noises

Clicking sounds are not normal in bearded dragons. Therefore, they’re definite signs that your beardie could be suffering from either of these situations:

  • A upper respiratory infection (URI)
  • Their teeth are grinding into each other or jaws are snapping hard during feeding

Moreover, clicking noises in beardies are often accompanied by coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and labored breathing among other symptoms. In such cases, your beardie most probably has an upper respiratory infection (URI).

Upper Respiratory Infections result from dirty and wet habitats, luckily, your reptile veterinarian can prescribe medication and care to cure your beardie and stop the clicking noises.  

On the other hand, frequent clicking noises from a bearded dragon could mean that the lizard requires better dental hygiene and care.

The snapping teeth and jaws could provide a suitable environment for disease-causing bacteria t thrive. As a result, your beardie might end up with a gum disease or worse health complications. 

5. Croaking Noises

Croaking noises are uncommon in bearded dragons. They are similar to clicking sounds but only come out when beardies are breathing. In most cases, a croaking beardie means they’re suffering from a respiratory illness.

Croaking noises in bearded dragons arise from the lungs as they contract and expel air. Moreover, they sometimes result from the inflammation or irritation of a swollen throat due an illness such an upper respiratory illness.  

To diagnose the croaking noises in bearded dragons, you must observe the presence, magnitude, and frequency of other accompanying symptoms.

For instance, relentless sneezing, coughing, wheezing, labored breathing, and scratching their nose and mouth could mean that the croaking is caused by an URI. In such cases, an immediate veterinarian examination is required to diagnose and resolve the underlying complication.

6. Purring Sounds

Unlike cats, bearded dragons lack vocal cords. Thus, they naturally don’t produce putting sounds to show affection or gratitude even when you hold and pet them.

However, beardies sometimes produce purring-like sounds due to a throat or respiratory problem such as infection.

Equally, beardies can produce purring noises from their mouth when breathing due to problems such as infections in their nose or nasal cavity.

Either way, a visit to a pet reptile vet is the best approach to solve purring-related complications in bearded dragons.

7. Squeaking Noises

Squeaking noises are not normal in bearded dragons. Nevertheless, a beardie can produce squawking noises for a number of reasons. For instance, the noise might arise from its leg pads, claws, and belly scratching the surface as the beardie paddles across a tile, glass, or ceramic floor.

On the contrary, squeaking noises could indicate breathing problems or other respiratory diseases in bearded dragons.

In such cases, respiratory infections block the normal flow of air into and out of the mouth, nose, and lungs. As a result, your beardie might produce queer noises such as hissing, squeaking, croaking, or purring. 

Watching out for other symptoms such as a dwindling appetite, a foul mood, abnormal aggression, and other weird noises can help you to easily determine why your beardie is squeaking.

Again, it’s best to book a complete check-up vet appointment for your reptile pet to weed out all squeaking-related problems.

8. Gagging or Chocking Noises

Gagging sounds are abnormal in bearded dragons and a clear indication that something is seriously amiss. In most instances, they mean that your lizard pet is choking on something and is in serious distress.

When a bearded dragon eats something and it gets stuck in the throat, the lizard might produce gagging sounds. That’s why it’s advisable to always feed your beardie with correctly-sized food crumbs to prevent chocking.

Further, beardies sometimes produce gagging sounds due to allergies or infections in their moth, nasal, throat, and other respiratory surfaces.

In such cases, looking out for other symptoms can help you to easily determine the cause and remedy for the gagging noises. Still, it’s best to seek vet services in case the symptoms persist beyond a day.

9. Wheezing Noises

Wheezing noises are uncommon and abnormal in bearded dragons. Nevertheless, your beardie could be wheezing due to a respiratory infection or allergic reaction.

Both respiratory infections and allergies can develop from multiple sources such as presence of pollen-rich plants near the terrarium or improper beardie tank hygiene.

In case you detect wheezing noises from your beardie, it’s possibly best that you take them to a reptile pet veterinarian for assessment and treatment.

Keep in mind that some respiratory infections are complex, thus a qualified vet is best placed to handle them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do All Bearded Dragons Hiss?

No, not all bearded dragons hiss. Mostly, those that hiss do so for a variety of reasons, from feeling threatened, exposes, agitated, or stressed out. In most cases, a beardie that’s healthy, comfortable, and feels safe will hardly hiss.

Is it Healthy for My Bearded Dragon to Hiss?

Normally, pet bearded dragons hiss to signify that something is amiss in their tank or around their artificial habitat. Thus, their hissing is a significant response mechanism that can help you to identify and resolve any potentially stressful situation before it worsens.

Nevertheless, relentless hissing from a bearded dragon often shows that something is seriously wrong. The lizard could be extremely agitated, stressed, or hungry.

Thus, it’s best to approach a constantly hissing beardie with caution as they can bite, especially when they’re extremely agitated or hungry.

Besides, taking your bearded dragon for professional veterinary examination and treatment is the best route to drive out erratic hissing.

What Do Bearded Dragons Do After Hissing?

In most cases, a bearded dragon’s hiss shows underlying agitation, anxiety, or stress. It’s one of the most aggressive warnings from a beardie to keep off their turf.

Therefore, the lizards resort to hiding from, slapping with their tail, or biting anything or anyone that doesn’t heed their hissing warning.

Moreover, the lizards can pant, flare their beard, bob their head, stand taller, or scratch their surroundings frantically as they hiss. In most cases, these symptoms portent extreme agitation or stress and should be resolved as soon as possible.   

Further, experts recommend that you should always use gloves when handling bearded dragons that are overly aggressive to prevent beardie-borne infections.

Can You Befriend or Tame a Bearded Dragon?

Yes, there are numerous ways to tame and cool down a bearded dragon. However the easiest approach is to build a trust and friendship bond between you and your pet by feeding, bathing, petting, and playing with them.

Over time, the lizard will stop perceiving you as a threat or potential predator and warm up to your presence.

Eventually, the bearded dragon will even be comfortable enough to want to come out of their tank to play or spend time with you. 

Conclusion: Why Do Bearded Dragons Hiss or Make Other Noises?

In most cases, bearded dragons hiss when they feel threatened. They are territorial and solitary lizards that love their private space.

As such, they interpret their reflection, other beardies or pets, and other creatures as intruders and threats their food and lives and hiss to try and scare the danger away. 

Moreover, beardies may hiss or make other noises repeatedly as a sign of piqued aggression during the mating or egg-laying seasons.

Such aggression-bred hissing might also arise from pain due to mishandling, shedding, or injury. Regardless, it’s crucial that you resolve the underlying issue or take the pet to a reptile vet immediately to stop the erratic hissing along with the other relentless noises.

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