Do Bearded Dragons Get Depressed? Complete Guide

Yes, Bearded dragons can be depressed, especially in captivity. If they lack stimulation around their enclosure, it can be boring. Unlike in the wild, pet beardies have their owners to feed them. They don’t have to worry about predators since they are safe in the tank.

In the wild, it will be less likely for them to feel depressed. Bearded dragons are busy surviving in nature. They don’t have time to be depressed out there.

Most of the time, they have to hunt for their food. They also need to bask in the sun while ensuring no predators around.

If you think about it, bearded dragon’s life in the wild is very different. It’s pretty hectic and hazardous.

They need to work hard to eat and survive in the wild. Everything around them gives them no chance to be bored. There is just too much stimulation around nature.

Bearded dragons can become depressed in captivity. That’s why you have to provide them with the most natural-looking enclosure.

It should mimic their natural habitat to keep them happy. But it’s not always the reason why your bearded dragon ends up being unhappy.

Do Bearded Dragons Get Depressed In Captivity?

No, Not all beardies in captivity become depressed. However, it can happen on rare occasions. If your bearded dragon lacks enrichment and mental stimulation, it may feel boring. Prolonged boredom can cause depression in your pet. You have to find out what’s causing them unhappiness.

Bearded dragons need to have a good-sized tank, natural-looking habitat with many accessories, and mental stimulation. That’s how your reptile can avoid boredom and depression. But after offering them everything and the beardie still seems sad, you have to do something about it.

Most bearded dragons in captivity seem to be happy. But if they lack mental stimulation, they might start to show signs of depression.

It’s not hard to know if your pet is unhappy. If the beardie begins to feel bored, they will show some unusual behaviors that don’t usually display.

How Do I Know If My Bearded Dragon is Unhappy?

Being unhappy is not something that often happens to bearded dragons. They usually thrive even in captivity. But if your beardie is depressed, you should see the signs of their depression.

It’s similar to humans, so it’s not hard to miss. Beardies signs of depression include lack of appetite, not drinking, lethargy, and even weight loss.

However, not just because your bearded dragon shows one or all of those signs means it’s depressing. Those signs can also be symptoms of illnesses. It can even be a natural occurrence if the beardie goes through brumation and shedding. When you notice those signs, you have to be concerned for your pet since it might be sick.

It’s recommended to visit the vet right away if you see your bearded dragon showing those signs.

Chances are, you beardie might be suffering from a disease. Be vigilant about your beardies health and find the reason behind its behavior. That will help to solve the problem your pet might be having.

What Are the Possible Signs of Depression in Bearded Dragons?

If you think that your bearded dragon seems to be behaving abnormally, it might already be a sign of depression. You need to know when your beardie is feeling unhappy. That way, you can do something about it right away.

1. Not Moving

If your bearded dragon seems to be not moving, it can be a sign of depression. It can last for several days, and it’s pretty concerning if your beardie appears to lose interest in moving; it may go through depression.

2. Stops Eating

Another sign is when your bearded dragon suddenly stops eating. It seems that it loses its appetite for no apparent reason, or so you think. If your bearded dragon seems to lose its appetite and it’s not sick, it might be due to depression. Beardies can also go through a sense of loss.

If you have more than one bearded dragon inside the enclosure and one of them suddenly dies, it can be depressing for the other beardie. Feeling the sense of loss can be bad for your bearded dragon. It’s recommended to bring it to the vet immediately before it gets worse.

3. Discolored Belly

Another thing that you will notice is the blackening of the beard’s belly. A healthy bearded dragon has typically white. When a beardie is depressed, it can gradually turn black. It’s not normal for them to have. If you start to see your pet’s belly is turning dark, consult the vet immediately.

Is It Unhealthy For My Bearded Dragon to Be Depressed?

Yes, depression can be bad for your bearded dragon health. It can affect the bearded dragon physically. If your pet is depressed for a long time, it can be bad for its health.

Long-time depression can lead to stress and other physical issues. Weight loss is one of them since the beardie will lose its appetite. It’s best to find out the cause of the bearded dragon’s depression. You want your beardie will live a happy and healthy life as soon as possible.

If you provide your bearded dragon with the basic things they need, depression will not be a problem. Giving the right tank size and stimulation inside the tank will avoid boredom.

It’s also better to allow your bearded dragon outside sometimes. That will provide enough stimulation in the bearded dragon to prevent depression.

Can Bearded Dragons Feel Sadness?

Yes, bearded dragons can feel sadness from time to time. Although it doesn’t happen often, they can get depressed as well. The main reason for beardies depression is lack of stimulation. It can be either no stimulation inside or outside the enclosure. Both can cause boredom and depression for your bearded dragon.

Below are the other reasons why bearded dragons feel sadness. It’s best to learn all of the possible causes of depression. That way, you can easily make adjustments and solve the cause of your beardie’s unhappiness. Keep reading to learn more about them to avoid your pet feeling sad.

1. Tank is Too Small

As mentioned, bearded dragons become depressed because they lack stimulation. They also need enrichment to stay happy.

If the bearded dragon’s tank is too small, it can cause your pet to get bored and depressed over time. When they bare in the wild, they hunt for their prey and stay away from predators.

A small tank will not be enough for your bearded dragon to walk around. It needs plenty of space to stay healthy and happy.

Choosing the right size of tank for your beardie is essential. They need to have enough room to get some exercise. It’s also crucial for them to catch feeder insects.

You have to get the correct tank size depending on your bearded dragon’s age. When it comes to the bearded dragon’s ideal tank size, the bigger is always better. For babies, they need to have a 20 to 40-gallon tank. The juveniles tank’s size should be 50 to 75 gallons. At the same time, adult beardies need to have 75 to 120-gallon tanks.

Like choosing the right sized tank, it’s also essential to find a high-quality tank. It should be good enough for your bearded dragon.

Make sure to select the best tank that you can afford. That will ensure that your beardie will stay healthy and happy with its enclosure. It can also minimize the chance of your pet feeling bored and depressed.

2. No Stimulation Inside the Tank

Having the right sized tank for your beardie is essential. Providing a natural-looking habitat is also crucial for your bearded dragon. If the tank is plain, it will be boring for your pet. The beardie will be under stimulated and will most likely feel depressed. Adding tank decorations will help to stimulate your pet.

Provide your beardie with a habitat that will mimic its natural environment. Make it look the same as much as possible.

It should include hiding places, caves, plants, branches, and rocks. Bearded dragons need to have places to explore, climb, and hide. It will keep your pet busy and happy as well.

Having different decorations inside the enclosure will prevent your beardie from being depressed. They need to explore and climb on the decorations to feel like their natural environment.

Provide hiding places if they feel scared of other pets around the house. It will make them feel safe and comfortable in their enclosure.

3. No Stimulation Outside the Tank

Aside from providing stimulation inside the beardie’s tank, it would help if you also did the same outside. When the bearded dragon is inside the tank and not coming out, it can also be a sign of depression. That means that it’s boring outside the tank, so it will stay inside than going out.

Play with your beardie every day to provide its needed mental stimulation. Create an enrichment pod for your pet as well.

It’s a playpen for your beardie to play with toys and other objects. You can also allow the bearded dragon to hunt for its own food outside. Have a safe place for your beardie to do this.

An enrichment pod will keep your bearded dragon busy. Beardies are curious creatures, and if it has a place to explore, they will not have time to feel depressed.

They will only feel this way if they are bored and have nothing to do. You can also train your bearded dragon to keep it preoccupied.

4. Losing Another Bearded Dragon

Many bearded dragon owners experienced this with their pets. Beardies can get depressed when another beardie on the same tank passes away.

It’s not recommended to house another bearded dragon in one tank because of territorial issues. But some bearded dragon owners do this as long as the tank is big enough for two beardies.

Many bearded dragon owners successfully housed two beardies together. Unfortunately, if one bearded dragon passes away, the other will feel depressed.

But it’s believed that even if the bearded dragons are in separate tanks, they can still communicate with each other.

It can be why bearded dragons feel depressed when their tankmate suddenly passes away. Like humans, they also feel a sense of loss.

It can be depressing for the beardie to know that their friend is no longer around. When this happens, it’s best to consult the vet right away.

How Do You Cheer Up a Bearded Dragon?

Now that you know that bearded dragons can feel depressed at times, it’s time to learn how to cheer your beardie up. They need to have enrichment from toys and activities.

That will keep them happy even in captivity. Below are some ideas to keep your beardie stimulated.

  • Allow the beardie to hunt for their own food
  • Use a laser pen and let the beardie chase the laser
  • Let it chill in a hammock
  • Play with a small ball
  • Take the beardie for a walk
  • Put a mirror in their tank to see their reflection
  • Give the beardie some cat toys
  • Tunnels
  • Hides
  • Look out of the window
  • Have a cuddle time
  • Take insects inside a ball and let it try to get the insects out

How Do You Know a Bearded Dragon is Happy?

1. It’s Not Running Away from You

When the bearded dragon is not running away from you, that means it’s comfortable around you. But you have to know that new beardies usually run away and hide. When the beardie gets used to your presence, it will no longer do that. It’s normal for the bearded dragon to feel scared at first.

If you want to pick it up, place your fingers under its chest. The bearded dragon might climb on you when you try doing this. It means that the beardie likes you and doesn’t mind if you hold it. But if it keeps on squirming and trying to get away from you, give it some time and try again.

2. Sit on Your Shoulder for a Long Time

The bearded dragon may lay down on your chest or even sit on your shoulders for some time. It means that it likes you and is happy. When a bearded dragon is comfortable with its owner, it will enjoy being around the person even for a long time.

Laying with their person means that they feel happy and content around them. If the bearded dragon falls asleep, you stroke its head, which means that your beardie trust you a lot. It also means it’s comfortable around you.

3. Don’t Mind Getting Picked Up

It’s q good sign when you pick up your bearded dragon, and it seems to be okay about it. That means that your beardie likes you. It’s also happy to be around you. If not, the bearded dragon will not allow you to pick it up. It may also hiss on you as a warning to keep your hands off.

However, even if your beardie likes you, some days, it doesn’t like getting picked up. Don’t worry. It’s normal for them. It does mean that it’s unhappy. Beardies have their own personalities, and they might want to be alone sometimes. It usually happens during the breeding season or shedding.

4. Don’t Show Aggression and Calm

When bearded dragons don’t show aggression and look calm, it is happy. It will usually show affection to its owners when nothing is bothering them. A happy bearded dragon will not show defensive behavior. It will attempt to bite, bob its head, or puff its beard when you approach it.

5. Eating, Basking, Defecating, and Sleeping Normally

These are normal bearded dragons’ behavior when they are happy and healthy. Sleeping, eating, Basking, and defecating normally show that the beardie is happy.

When bearded dragons fulfill their daily needs and feel comfortable, there’s no reason for them to feel depressed.

6. Enjoys Being With Their Owners

When the bearded dragon feels comfortable in its habitat and owner, that means it’s happy. They will enjoy sitting on their owners outside the tank. Some beardies will stand on their legs and scratch the glass for their owners to let them out.

Some beardies enjoyed being outside their tanks and used to doing it every day. It can be a part of their routine and wait for their owners to let them out. They like spending time with their owners and cuddling with them. When bearded dragons show affection, that means they’re happy.

7. Looks Healthy and Alert

If the bearded dragon looks Healthy, that means it’s also happy. They are always alert and move around, eat well, and defecate regularly. The beardie will also look curious about their surroundings. You can see it looking around and exploring inside their tank.

When the beardie feels sick or unhappy, you can see it from their eyes. A sick beardie will look lethargic and not curious about the surroundings.

When they feel stressed, beardies will hide, breathe heavily, and display aggressive behavior. Their beard or belly will also turn black.

8. Displays Positive Body Language

Bearded dragons can show clear body language. That’s why their owners can easily understand them. But beardies can also display both negative and positive body language.

It can be challenging for new beardie owners to understand it at first. But over time, you will learn the difference between negative and positive body language.

When the beardie’s eyes are wide open, and their pupils are dilated, that means it’s interested and relaxed. They can also wave, which implies friendliness and submission.

If the beardies mouth is curved and closed, it’s happy and exciting. But if it’s curved and open, it’s scared or curious. If it’s displaying positive body language, it’s content.

Can Lizards Become Depressed?

Yes, lizards can become depressed like humans. They can also feel sadness from loss. If another pet is gone or passed away, your beardie will realize it.

That will affect their emotions and feel sad about it. When a family member or anyone who lives around them is gone, they will know about it.

Bearded dragons are intelligent creatures, and they can realize this type of information. Losing a loved one, either a human or animal, can cause the reptile to feel depressed.

They can love and care for someone. Losing a friend can be challenging for bearded dragons. They can sense grief and sadness when a family member is gone.

Reptiles can feel that their owners are sad and feel sad about it. They care about the people and animals around them. That’s why it’s possible for them to become depressed well.

They feel sad when they get attacked by other animals. If they witness their owners being attacked, it will upset their ability to control their emotions.

Do Changes Make Bearded Dragons Sad?

Bearded dragons can become depressed because of their owner’s life changes. When they have to move to a new location, they can be sad. If you get a new pet, it can also affect you negatively. When you have a baby can also cause them to become depressed. The beardie gets all your attention before having children.

A new baby around the house will take the attention away from the bearded dragon. It will make the beardie sad because of that. They have to get used to the new situation but might feel depressed for some time.

It’s best to try your best to provide your pet still the attention it needs. The reason for bearded dragons’ depression may be linked with the reasons why humans may be sad as well.

In some cases, your beardie may be depressed because of an underlying condition. If the beardie didn’t experience loss, changes, or distressing events, there might be a different reason.

It can be either a physical or emotional ailment. Maybe the bearded dragon is suffering from a disease. The best thing is to bring your beardie to the vet to solve the problem.


Do bearded dragons like cuddling?

Yes, bearded dragons like to cuddle with their owners. Beardies cuddles in the form of snuggling. They might do this with their owner or other pets.

Bearded dragons like cuddling in warm spots of their owners, such as your lap or neck. It’s a form of beardies showing affection to you. You have to welcome it if you want to be closer with your pet.

How to help stressed bearded dragons?

Offer live food to your bearded dragon if it looks stressed. It can make a lot of difference to your bearded dragon if you do this.

Offer them food even if the beardie looks uninterested. Make sure also to take out uneaten insects inside the enclosure.

How to know if your bearded dragon likes you?

When your bearded dragon likes you, it will show how much it trusts you. The beardie will close its eyes or press closer to you. It will also lick you like how dogs show their affection.

The beardie will also come to you when you approach the enclosure. The bearded dragon’s relaxed body muscles are also a sign of trust. Spend time and bond with your pet to get closer.

Why do bearded dragons look sad?

Bearded dragons can be depressed due to lack of stimulation. They can get bored in captivity if nothing happens around them. In the wild, beardies are always busy surviving.

They have to hunt for their food and look out for their predators. Provide your beardie with more stimulation to prevent it from looking sad. Check if it’s not suffering from a disease by going to the vet.

How to make sure my beardie is happy?

If you want your beardie to be happy, spend more time with your pet. You can also feed your pet from your hand to build trust. Give your beardie baths to keep it hydrated. Make sure also to feed them healthy food regularly.

Provide a shallow water dish and keep the temperature inside the enclosure ideal. Their tank should be at least 50 to 75 gallons with a UVB basking spot as well.

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