Why Do Bearded Dragons Flatten Out?

Bearded dragons flatten out because of different reasons such as they need to increase their body temperature, respond to fear, or even an illness.

Why Bearded Dragons Flatten Out to Increase Body Temperature?

Like other reptiles, bearded dragons are ectothermic. They only rely on the temperature of their surroundings. Beardies can’t raise their own body temperature even if needed.

That will be a problem when digesting their food. It can cause complications such as gut rot. It’s when the food just rots inside the stomach instead of digesting it.

This reason alone will trigger the bearded dragon to flatten out its body. It will help them to digest their food when their temperature increases. This will ensure the reptile reaches the optimal temperature it needs to stay healthy. There are other situations where they need to increase their body temperature.

1. Flatten Out In the Morning

It’s common for bearded dragons to flatten in the morning. This is due to the lower temperature of their bodies while sleeping at night. It should be between 70 -75 F but sometimes it can drop further. When your beardie wakes up, they need to reach their optimal temperature fast.

They need to do this so that they can move freely and make their bodily functions normal. Beardies have two ways of reaching their normal temperature fast. The first way is to flatten their bodies. The other one is to turn their beards and bodies darker or black.

2. Incorrect Tank Temperature

Another reason why beardies flatten its body is because of the incorrect temperature inside the tank. You will find your pet doing this randomly throughout the day. If the tank temperature is too low, your pet’s beard or body will turn black.

That means you need to increase the temperature inside their enclosure to prevent this behavior.

The bearded dragon tank temperature should be corrected. If you’re a new bearded dragon owner, you can consult the vet as well. It’s crucial for your bearded dragon’s health.

For the basking area, it should be between 95 -100 F. The cool spot’s temperature must be around 75 – 80 F. At night, it should be between 70 – 75 F.

Bearded dragon owners should make sure that the temperature inside the tank is always right. It’s recommended to use a contactless thermometer.

That’s the best way to ensure that the temperature is correct in the tank. Old-fashioned dial thermometers are not accurate. It will not provide the correct reading inside the enclosure.

Use a high-quality thermostat as well to regulate the temperature all the time. That will help you to avoid the need to adjust any dials.

It’s also going to make it easier for you to monitor the temperature inside the yank. That will ensure that your bearded dragon will not end up flattening out because of the wrong temperature inside the enclosure.

3. Beardie Flatten Due to Outside Temperature

Taking your bearded dragon outside its tank is a good idea. Allowing it to wander around the garden can provide great health benefits. The bearded dragon needs to get its exercise as well as some mental stimulation.

But you have to also consider some things before letting your beardie out. If the temperature is too cold, your pet will flatten out.

When taking your reptile outside, you have to consider the temperature around your area. If you live in a country where it’s usually cold or it’s winter, avoid taking your bearded dragon out.

Wait until summer when the weather is not too cold for bearded dragons. It will flat out right away when the temperature is too low for your pet.

If you notice that the beardie flattens out, you have to take it back inside immediately. They will not enjoy being outside anyway if it’s too cold for them.

If you let your dragon out and it seems to be fine at first, observe if it will start to flatten out. If it did, you have to take it back inside. Don’t leave it outside for more than 15 minutes if it’s a bit cold.

When your bearded dragon starts to feel cold, it will find a warmer area. That will wander off and cause it to get lost around the garden.

Use a leash when you plan on taking out your bearded dragon. You can do this the first few times until it’s used to the garden. It’s also a good idea to train your beardie to come when you call its name.

Bearded dragons are smart and they can be trained to respond to their names. If you do this, it will be useful to locate your pet all the time.

Especially if you’re planning to let it out and play in the garden. It will come running to you when you call its name which is very helpful. When it flattened out, check the surroundings for predators.

4. What Helps Bearded Dragons to Increase Their Body Temperature

Bearded dragons will look for warm places and even objects to increase their temperature. They lick the objects around them to learn if they are useful for the beardie. It helps them to also know the temperature of the objects. Their licking behavior allows them to be familiar with their surroundings.

Beardie will also lay on top of the object with their body flat. They may also be close to the place where they sense the heat.

There are common places and objects that beardies will use to generate body heat when they flatten out their bodies. When indoors, they go for the basking rock, chairs, cooker, and humans.

Outdoors, they go for the rocks, fence posts, paving stones, tables, chairs, benches, and more. As a beardie owner, you are also included on its list to provide some body heat.

Bearded dragons can absorb the heat from you or other objects. Paving stones can hold some heat from the sun as well so you might find your beardie there.

These reptiles are very resourceful especially when it comes to finding heat sources. They can find a way to absorb heat from their surroundings to stay warm.

It’s best to allow the bearded dragon to roam around to absorb its needed heat. Make sure you also install a heater for the enclosure to make your pet comfortable staying there.

Bearded Dragons Flatten Out When Feel Threatened

When bearded dragons feel threatened, their response is to flatten out. It’s their way to respond from fear or intimidation. Bearded dragons will normally run and hide from predators. If they can’t run away, they will flatten out to make themselves appear bigger. That tactic can sometimes scare off predators.

Bearded dragons may also puff up their beards and make them appear black. It will make them look bigger and nasty for predators trying to attack them.

This is their common method to also intimidate bugger animals. They will flatten out their stomach as well to look bigger than the animal trying to eat them. It usually works and helps them survive back in the wild.

This intimidation technique works for bearded dragons. When they use both techniques, it will make them appear larger than the predator.

Although sometimes, beardies often mistake some situations as threatening. If you have other pets who seem to like to get friendly with the bearded dragon, it might flatten out its body to warn the pet.

Common Reasons for Bearded Dragons to Flatten Out When Feel Threatened

Household Pets

Cats and dogs may look intimidating and even threatening for bearded dragons. They are bigger and can become a threat for them. But you can find a way to make them comfortable with one another.

Introduce your beardie to other household pets. When the beardie sees that they are not a threat, it will not be too defensive anymore.

If the bearded dragon shows signs of fear when other pets are around, make sure to provide several hiding places around its tank.

It will help the beardie to feel safe inside the enclosure. Once it gets used to other pets around the household, it may no longer hide from them anymore. Just give it time to get used to other animals around.

Their Owners

Bearded dragons may also feel scared of their new owner. Baby beardies will be scared to see new faces around them.

The best thing to do is to spend some time bonding with your beardie. Allow them to get used to their new surroundings as well.

Create a habitat as natural as possible for the reptile. Give it some time to also get used to you.

Toys and Ornaments

Bearded dragons may mistake children’s toys or even tank ornaments as predators. If you have kids around the house, they might leave their toys near the beardie’s tank.

It can trigger the dragon to be on defense mode and see it flattening out its body. They don’t know what they are seeing so you can just put the toys away from their sight.

If you have a new ornament, it can also threaten the bearded dragon. Simply move it away if you see your dragon flattening out. It may think that it’s a predator waiting to attack them.

But the bearded dragon will eventually get used to that new ornament. Let it settle down and allow it to realize that there’s nothing to worry about. Move the ornament far from the beardie to avoid stress.

Placed by the Window

If you place the bearded dragon’s enclosure near the window, it will see other animals. Birds and cats can scare your bearded dragon. Seeing them outside the window can stress your beardie. These are their natural predators back in the wild. It’s natural for them to fear seeing these animals.

Bearded dragons flatten out its body to appear bigger than their predators. Try to move the tank away from the window to see if the behavior stops.

It will be a good idea to place the enclosure away from the window. It will stress the bearded dragon every time it sees other animals.

Illness Cause Bearded Dragons to Flatten Out

Bearded dragons don’t only flatten out their bodies when they need to increase their body temperature. They also do this to make themselves look bigger to predators.

It’s not as common as the other reasons but they flatten their bodies as well when they feel ill. This is something you have to consider if you see your beardie with this behavior.

When the bearded dragon is not eating because it’s sick, the stomach will also appear flat. Lack of food will make their stomach look flatter than normal.

If the beardie feels ill, it will lay still in one position. Calcium imbalance is also the reason why the beardie is laying flat on the floor.

If you notice that your bearded dragon looks unwell, it’s time to visit the vet. Your beard may look flat on the floor not because of the temperature or a predator.

It’s not easy to miss since it will look sick and don’t eat when you feed it. Bring it to the vet to get treated immediately.


Why do my bearded dragons suddenly turn black?

Bearded dragons turn black for them to regulate their temperature. They are ectothermic like other reptiles and they can absorb heat better this way. Another reason is they turn their beard or body black to scare off predators nearby.

Why do bearded dragons puff out?

The main reason beardies puff out its body is to look bigger and more aggressive. It will scare off the potential predators around. They also do this to attract their potential mate during the mating season.

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