When bearded dragons open their mouths longer than usual, it can be due to a health issue. It may also be because of a stressful situation they are experiencing. If you see your bearded dragon’s mouth open for some time, check out its cause. Keep on reading to learn more about why bearded dragons open their mouths for a long time.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Open Their Mouths?
One of the most common reasons is to regulate its body temperature. Bearded dragons don’t sweat as humans do. Opening their mouth can help them to avoid overheating. It helps them to stay cool while basking under the heat lamp.
This behavior is also known as gaping or yawning when bearded dragons open their mouths. Most of the time, bearded dragons need to bask and the temperature can be too warm for them. By opening its mouth, it can thermal regulate and cool down right away while basking.
1. Regulating Body Temperature
Bearded dragons are intelligent and they can overcome different types of situations. They may display unusual behaviors but it can help with their survival.
Gaping or opening its mouth for a long period is one of these behaviors. As reptiles, bearded dragons can’t regulate their body temperature automatically.
They need to do something to help them thermoregulate and stop their body temperature from increasing. Opening their mouths will help them to reach their optimal body temperature.
It’s the common reason why bearded dragons open their mouths longer than usual. Don’t worry if you see your beardie gaping since it’s normal.
Beardies can’t sweat to help them to keep their temperature at a safe level. If they don’t open their mouths, the beardie may overheat which can be bad for its health.
That’s why you need to provide both a basking and cool area around the enclosure.
How to Provide the Right Temperature?
Make sure to provide a cool area for your bearded dragon. It will help to cool down after basking under the UVB light.
Bearded dragons need to bask properly but the temperature on the basking area is warmer than the rest of the enclosure. The enclosure should have a temperature gradient.
If the temperatures are not right, the bearded dragon will keep on gaping. It needs to open its mouth all the time to avoid overheating.
Not having an option to cool down after basking can be bad for bearded dragons. They need to have the ability to bask and cool down afterward.
Make sure to set up different temperatures inside the beardie’s enclosure. Provide your bearded dragon with a basking area as well as a cool spot.
It will help you to provide the right tank requirements. Try to copy their natural habitat where they can bask under the sun and cool down in the shade.
2. Stretching Its Beard
It’s another reason why a bearded dragon will open its mouth for an extended period. They display this behavior often when they are about to shed.
Bearded dragons may also puff their beards to loosen the skin around their heads. It’s perfectly normal for beardies to do this before shedding.
However, beardies may stretch their beards, not due to the shedding process. It can also be because they feel like stretching their beards.
Bearded dragons need to do this sometimes like how we have to stretch our muscles. Opening their mouths will help them to stretch their beards.
3. Aggressive Behavior
When bearded dragons suddenly become aggressive, they will open their mouths to show their dominance. It’s their way to display aggression and a warning before they attack.
If the bearded dragon feels threatened, it may suddenly show aggressiveness. They will display other behaviors such as head bobbing, hissing, tall stance, puffed, and a black beard.
Bearded dragons commonly open its mouth to show aggressiveness. They may not show some of their aggressive behaviors but they will open its mouth when it feels threatened.
The best thing to do is to provide your beardie with a lot of hiding places. It will avoid your reptile from becoming aggressive if the beardie feels unsafe. They can just hide until it feels safe to come out again.
4. Presence of Another Bearded Dragon
Housing more than one bearded dragon in the same enclosure can cause different issues. Bearded dragons are territorial and like to be alone.
It’s not a good idea to put another bearded dragon on the same tank. The bigger beardie will dominate the other and can cause problems.
If you put male bearded dragons on the same tank, they will try to dominate each other. Opening the mouth is a display of aggression for bearded dragons.
The stronger beardie will show the other dragon who’s the boss inside the enclosure. It’s best to separate them to avoid further conflicts.
The submissive bearded dragon will become stressed and lose its appetite. The dominant beardie will not allow the other to bask which can affect its health.
Even if you decide to separate them, if their tanks are in the same room, the stronger beardie will continue to bully the other.
If you can’t get a separate tank or don’t have enough space for two enclosures, you can only keep one beardie with you. The other reptile should be returned or have it adopted.
That’s the best thing to do than to watch the other beardies suffer from the dominant reptile. It may even die from not being able to bask or eat properly.
5. Household Pets
Having multiple pets around the house may sound fun but not for bearded dragons. It may feel threatened if your beardie saw your cat or dog.
The beardie may feel the need to defend itself so it will open its mouth to show aggressive behavior. If they feel threatened, beardies will show aggressive behavior to intimidate potential predators.
However, once the bearded dragon becomes comfortable with other household pets, they might live in harmony. But beardies are small and can get scared of bigger animals.
When frightened, beardies can become aggressive too. It may open its mouth to attempt to scare other pets. But sometimes, the beardie just needs some time.
If the bearded dragon always displays this behavior when seeing other pets, it may be in constant stress. It will be scared whenever it sees the other pets around the house.
Make sure to do something about this problem to avoid harming the beardies’ health. The best thing to do is to don’t let the other pets go to the room where the bearded dragon is located.
It can be challenging if the beardie is located in the living room. That’s where everybody around the house goes. Relocate the beardie to a different room where other pets don’t have access to go.
It will help to avoid stressing the bearded dragon. Relocating the tank can be hard simply because of its size and weight but it’s the best thing to do.
6. Objects and Toys
Weirdly, some objects and toys can make bearded dragons behave aggressively. Even if it looks harmless to humans, beardies can feel threatened with different objects.
They can mistake a toy for a predator and will feel scared. It will cause them to behave aggressively and open their mouth as their primary reaction.
Sometimes, bearded dragons may hiss to an object as well. They might also display a black beard, bob their head fast, and other aggressive behavior.
New things around the house can also scare bearded dragons. They will see it as a threat and they will feel the need to defend themselves.
However, toys and clothes don’t usually cause too many issues for them. These items are being used most of the time so they will not see them for long.
But objects that stay in one spot can cause them to see it as a threat. It can stress the bearded dragon for a long time so it’s best to take it away.
7. Tank Near the Window
Putting the enclosure near the window can provide mental stimulation for your beardie. It will allow your pet to see the outside world from the tank.
Seeing trees and other things from the window can simulate their natural habitat. This will avoid the bearded dragon from getting bored and lonely.
However, the view from the window is not always pleasant for bearded dragons. They will see other animals such as birds, cats, and more.
It can pose a threat to them and make the beardie feel unsafe. When the beardie sees other animals, it will open its mouth and show aggressive behavior.
If it’s a daily occurrence, the bearded dragon may feel stress all the time. It’s not good for their health to always feel uncomfortable.
Moving the tank away from the window may be a good idea. That way, the beardies don’t have to feel threatened anymore and just relax in the enclosure.
8. Mating Season
During the mating season, bearded dragons may become aggressive. They may have their mouths open and show aggressive behavior.
Even with their owners, the bearded dragon may show aggression if they attempt to hold them. In this case, make sure to give your beardie some space.
When people or other animals go near the enclosure, the bearded dragon may become territorial. Their hormones affect their behavior and it’s natural for them to act this way during the mating season.
Once their hormones get back to their normal level, your beardie will be friendly again.
9. Respiratory Infection
If you notice that your bearded dragon seems to keep its mouth open for a long time, it means that the reptile is trying to regulate its body temperature.
Although it may be suffering from a respiratory infection. Keep an eye on your beardie and observe how it behaves.
A respiratory infection can be caused by the humidity inside the tank. In the wild, bearded dragons live in a low humidity habitat.
Make sure to monitor the level of humidity inside the enclosure. Use a hydrometer to ensure that the humidity level is not too high for your reptile.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Have His Mouth Open?
Gaping is when a bearded dragon opens its mouth for an extended period. Doing this will help the bearded dragon to regulate its body temperature. It will avoid their temperature from becoming warmer and ending up overheating. Bearded dragons are smart and they will find a way to ensure that they will have their body’s optimal temperature.
Bearded dragons can’t sweat as humans do so they will gape. When they open their mouths for some time, it will allow the excess heat to come out from their mouths.
It will help them to avoid overheating especially after basking. The beardie will move to the cool area of the tank. It will cool down while its mouth is open.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Keep Opening His Mouth at Me?
Bearded dragons will open their mouths to reach their optimal temperature. Gaping helps the bearded dragons to get rid of the excess heat from their body.
They have to bask which makes them absorb heat from the basking light. After basking, they need to cool down and open their mouths for an extended period to regulate their temperature.
Gaping happens when the bearded dragon reaches its thermal maximum. It will try to regulate its body temperature to avoid overheating.
Opening the beardies’ mouths will help them to reach their ideal body temperature. Bearded dragons need to reach 90 F which is their optimal temperature. They will sit with their mouths open for a long time.
When bearded dragons sleep, they may also have their mouths open. It’s normal for them to do this while they are resting. Make sure to observe your beardie before concluding that your beardie has an issue with thermal regulation.
Sometimes, they just open their mouths while sleeping. If the bearded dragon’s mouth is closed, it may be too cold.
Like other reptiles, bearded dragons are cold-blooded. They have to reach their optimal thermal maximum before increasing the temperature.
When the bearded dragon’s mouth is open, it means that the temperature is too hot. Check the tank’s temperature since they can’t cool down through gaping if the heat is too much for them.
1. Opening the Mouth On Mealtime
During mealtimes, you can see that the bearded dragon’s mouth is open. It’s because of its eagerness to eat their food.
Don’t worry if you see your beardie’s mouth open. It means that it’s already hungry and can’t wait to have its meal. This is normal behavior during feeding time.
2. Potential Problems
If you see your bearded dragon is gaping with no apparent reason, there might be a problem. Observe your beardie and try to see what’s wrong with its behavior. Below are some potential problems that your beardie might have.
- Check the Enclosure
When your bearded dragon is gaping but not basking, check the tank’s temperature to ensure that it’s right for your reptile. Gapping is common during basking and a good sign.
But it can also mean that the temperature in the enclosure may be incorrect. If the bearded dragon is opening its mouth too much, that means that it’s too hot.
If the bearded dragon’s mouth is open, showing its teeth, and dark beard, that’s a sign of aggression. Find out what’s wrong and solve the issue for your beardie.
Give it some space and leave it alone for a while. The reptile may feel threatened by something and solving it will avoid it from displaying aggressive behavior.
- Respiratory Disease
It can be a serious issue if your bearded dragon is suffering from respiratory disease. The beardie may be breathing from its mouth that’s why it’s always open.
If you suspect that your pet may be suffering from a respiratory infection, visit the vet right away to have your bearded dragon treated. It can save the reptile from a possible illness.
Is It Bad If My Bearded Dragon’s Mouth is Open?
No, it’s not usually bad when your bearded dragon’s mouth is open. It’s normal behavior for beardies to open their mouth. When the bearded dragon’s mouth is open, it usually means that it’s trying to regulate its body temperature.
Opening their mouths helps them to get rid of the excess body heat. However, gaping may also mean that there’s something wrong with your beardie.
Consult a veterinarian if you suspect that your pet may have an illness. The symptoms may be unclear at first but abnormal behaviors mean something is going on inside the beardie’s body.