Bearded Dragon Puffed Up?

Much like the hair that stands up on a cats tail or a dog baring its teeth bearded dragons puff up their beards to typically show aggression towards someone or something.

Now, with this being said, bearded dragons have occasionally been seen to puff up in their bath in an attempt to float! Dragons puffing up isnt always out of aggression, fear, or discomfort and as such, often times shouldnt be worried over.

Bearded dragons can sense when an upcoming shed is near and as such, can often times try to hurry the process along. If you notice waxy or dull-looking skin around his or her head, then an upcoming shed is likely the culprit behind the puffing up. Some owners have actually found their dragons to puff up as a sign of happiness and have attributed it to them showing off.

Opening their mouth wide, puffing up their chest and beard all potential signs that your dragon is simply trying to stretch their neck muscles a little. Just as we might yawn to try and pop our ears while climbing elevation, bearded dragons can open their mouth to try and relieve small pressure too. It is important to remember that just because your dragon is puffing up, it doesnt mean that something is necessarily wrong or that there should be cause for concern.

Pay attention to your dragons beard and watch whether it turns black or not and then consider what around them could be causing it.

Why is my bearded dragon puffed up?

bearded dragons puff up their beards to typically show aggression towards someone or something. By making their beard black and puffing up, a bearded dragon is essentially trying to intimidate something they feel is threatening to them.

Why does my bearded dragon puff up his beard in the morning?

It is probably due to either her shedding, or just morning stretches. When they shed they puff their beard and bodies to try to “pop” the shed, so it’s common in male and female. A lot of them will also do morning stretches, where they puff out their beard a few times in the morning.

Spend a little time around a bearded dragon, and you will eventually see them puffing up. What is the reason for this? Could it be a sign of stress, aggression, or sickness?

If you have to bathe your bearded dragon, do it because he or she is impacted (constipated), as this can help things get moving easier. Bear in mind this is not something that ALL beardies do, but it could help you explain why your dragon is doing it if no other factors are present.

Your bearded dragon perceives a threat and may feel like they are going to be attacked by a predator at any given moment. Avoid touching your beardie these little guys do bite when upset and hurt fingers arent fun. One of the more common reasons that a bearded dragon might puff up is because he is trying to attract one of your female beardies over.

Male bearded dragons are notorious for puffing up on a regular basis as a means of showing the females that they are ready to mate and attractive. If a male and female bearded dragon see each other and want to mate, there is a good chance you will see some puffed up necks on either side. One theory states that puffing up aids the reptile in creating more room in their stomach so they can eat a larger amount of food.

After all, in the wild, bearded dragons have to fight for their food, and whatever is around to be eaten can help them stay satiated for a longer period of time. If you suspect this is the reason your bearded dragon is puffing up, try this out: Lower the amount of food you give at your next mealtime and see if your beardie still puffs up. Even though your bearded dragon does not have to compete with other reptiles or animals for his meal, he may be doing it as an instinctive habit.

In the wild, a beardie has to feed himself, and to make himself look stronger and larger is one way to keep others away from the food you found. If you notice that your bearded dragon is puffing up during playtime or treat time, this could simply be a way of showing how happy they feel at that moment. After all, these little guys cant speak in the same way dogs, cats, birds, or even guinea pigs can, so they have to express how they feel in some way.

Once the reptile comes to the realization that you mean no harm, he can start to feel safe in his surroundings and stop puffing up his neck so much. Make sure your baby beardie feels at home and has a habitat with a good substrate (I advise against carpets, paper towels, and sand with too much calcium). I recommend ZooMed Excavator Clay Burrowing Substrate because the babies can indulge their natural need to dig and create their own spaces.

Make sure to examine the environment and remove objects until the beardie stops puffing constantly.

Most of the behaviors the beardie displays mean that it is trying to tell you something. Now, what could be the reason for the bearded dragon puffing up?

More often, bearded dragons will puff up to show dominance, threaten predators , enhance shedding, or due to fear. Sometimes the beardie could be expressing this behavior because of simple things that are around like toys or an item of clothing which it sees as a threat.

It will help you to act expectedly and address the situation to prevent constant threats and intimidation to your pet because it could lead to a severe problem. Bearded dragon breeds throughout the year, after brumation, they will be ready for mating roughly after one month. If you provide live insect feeders to your beardie pets, there is a high chance that you will see them puffing up.

The beardies in captivity will also display this behavior to look big and intimidating towards live food. Bearded dragons also tend to puff up during meals to make more room to help them eat more. It happens more regularly with wild bearded dragons to eat more food that can sustain them for quite a long time.

If you didnt know, a bearded dragon should not bath in water that is too deep to submerge its shoulder. Fortunately, through puffing up, bearded dragons get more air into the body, which makes them buoyant and able to float. It is common for bearded dragons to bask in the morning to warm the body after the cold temperatures at the time.

When the body temperature goes beyond optimal, the dragons in most cases open its mouth , and sometimes this is accompanied by puffing up the beard. If its treat time or playtime, and you notice your friend puffing up, the beardie is trying to tell you that it is delighted, but some owners think of them to be showing off. Every time the beardie puffs up, and nothing is startling or stressing it, and it is not shedding, your friend is just feeling good.

Be happy when your friend seems comfortable participating in its favorite activity because it means you are a great owner. After sitting down for a long time, sleeping or relaxing, you will need to stretch up the body to increase the activity of the muscles. However, this is not something to worry you; allow the beardie to spend some days exploring the new home, and it will eventually adapt to the place.

But if the baby beardie keeps on puffing up and displaying other signs like black bearding , refusing to go to the bathroom, declining food, and seems sluggish, you must be concerned. It helps them deal with predators, save themselves when in deep water, support some biological processes, and sort out many problems perceived. Remove all those objects you suspect until when you see the beardie stops puffing perpetually.

Bearded dragons are an excellent pet to have. Except there are some tips that you should be aware of. Be in the know about what ticks them off. Some like to be held while others dont like the idea of physical affection. What does it mean when your bearded dragon puffs up like a balloon? Lets find out the possible reasons in this article.

Like dogs and cats, bearded dragons shed their skin. Bearded dragons feel threatened by larger animals and puff up.

Once your bearded dragon enables you to move your hand closer to him, place it underneath their body. Typically, they dont like to share space with other bearded dragons of the same sex or size. Its a great idea to give your bearded dragons separate cages, so as not to battle off with one another.

However, if they must share a cage, make sure the tank is large enough to give each animal sufficient space to feel comfortable. If the water is too deep, the bearded dragon will puff up in an attempt to float. Bearded dragons dont experience mating season at a specific time of the year.

In the wild, bearded dragons fight for their food, which may sometimes be difficult to find. If you see a similarity between your bearded dragon puffing up and mealtime, give them a smaller portion for the next meal. After youve had an opportunity to see if these contrasts feed the rest of their regular portion a few minutes later.

Its a good idea to bond with your bearded dragon but dont go too overboard. Because bearded dragons are native to the desert, heated environments make them feel more at home. If there is a specific area or object in a room that your bearded dragon does not take a liking to, take them away.

The first month with your bearded dragon should be dedicated to spending at least 30 minutes a day with them. Instead of angrily cleaning the skin they shed off from their cage, there are more helpful things that you can do.

Reason 1: It’s Bath Time

Your beardie could be doing this puffing as a response to being in the bathtub.The water may well be too deep for the dragon to enjoy. As a rule of thumb, I don’t advise you bathing your bearded dragon often-unless he or she has dirt or fecal matter that will not come off or needs some help with impaction or shedding.The puffing in the bath comes as a response to the fear of drowning. They puff as a means of trying to float.If you have to bathe your bearded dragon, do it because he or she is impacted (constipated), as this can help things get moving easier. Bath time may also be used as a means of remedying dehydration or helping him shed.Check out my article for some helpful info.

Reason 2: Getting Prepared to Shed

Puffing up will help loosen the skin on his neck and body. After all, bearded dragons know when they are going to shed and will take necessary measures to make the process easier.Bear in mind this is not something that ALL beardies do, but it could help you explain why your dragon is doing it if no other factors are present.

Reason 3: Your Beardie Feels Threatened

Bearded dragons will puff up if they feel threatened or in danger. Your bearded dragon perceives a threat and may feel like they are going to be attacked by a predator at any given moment.Thus, they puff up their necks to feel and look bigger than they really are. It is a means of scaring off the real or perceived predator.It is a common behavior when it comes to animals – the use of a defense mechanism. If you see your beardie doing this, take steps to remove whatever is bothering him and gently speak with him to calm him down. Look for him turning black – this is also a signal that something is wrong.Avoid touching your beardie – these little guys do bite when upset and hurt fingers aren’t fun.

Reason 4: Attracting the Opposite Gender

One of the more common reasons that a bearded dragon might puff up is because he is trying to attract one of your female beardies over.Male bearded dragons are notorious for puffing up on a regular basis as a means of showing the females that they are ready to mate and attractive.This tactic is also an indicator of dominance over the female bearded dragon. He is more or less requesting that the female gives in to his advances.This behavior isn’t just for the guys, though. Females may also puff up their necks to show that they are attracted to males. However, you will mostly find this technique being used by male bearded dragons.The bottom line? If a male and female bearded dragon see each other and want to mate, there is a good chance you will see some puffed up necks on either side.

Reason 5: It’s Mealtime

Has your bearded dragon ever puffed up before, or after, they ate their meals?
One theory states that puffing up aids the reptile in creating more room in their stomach so they can eat a larger amount of food. After all, in the wild, bearded dragons have to fight for their food, and whatever is around to be eaten can help them stay satiated for a longer period of time.If you suspect this is the reason your bearded dragon is puffing up, try this out: Lower the amount of food you give at your next mealtime and see if your beardie still puffs up.You can then give him the rest of the food a few moments after, once you find out if there was puffing behavior or not.Another reason he could be doing this goes back to the prey/predator reason we talked about earlier. Even though your bearded dragon does not have to compete with other reptiles or animals for his meal, he may be doing it as an instinctive habit.In the wild, a beardie has to feed himself, and to make himself look stronger and larger is one way to keep others away from the food you found.It may also happen if you feed your bearded dragon live meals like crickets.

Reason 6: They Are Feeling Happy

Your bearded dragon might be puffing up because they feel happy.If you notice that your bearded dragon is puffing up during playtime or treat time, this could simply be a way of showing how happy they feel at that moment.After all, these little guys can’t speak in the same way dogs, cats, birds, or even guinea pigs can, so they have to express how they feel in some way.If everything is good and nothing is bothering your beardie that you can see, chances are his puffing behavior is just a way of showing how good he feels.The owner of the beardie in the video below stated in the video description that her bearded dragon does that every morning when the lights switch on. Since there is not really a thing that seems to be bothering the bearded dragon (except the camera, maybe) it seems to be happy!(Warning: The music in the video is pretty loud and kind of irritating, haha)

Reason 7: Babies Need to Feel Safe

Seeing a baby bearded dragon do the puff can be funny and cute, but why do they do this?Firstly, it is a matter of keeping themselves safe. They are in a new habitat, in a new home, and like anybody else, don’t understand that there is nothing for them to fear.As a result, they will usually stop puffing up once they realize there’s nothing to be afraid of.The thing to do here is to bond and get to know your baby beardie as soon as you can. Once the reptile comes to the realization that you mean no harm, he can start to feel safe in his surroundings and stop puffing up his neck so much.Make sure your baby beardie feels at home and has a habitat with a good substrate (I advise against carpets, paper towels, and sand with too much calcium).I recommend ZooMed Excavator Clay Burrowing Substrate because the babies can indulge their natural need to dig and create their own spaces.

Should I Be Concerned About Puffing?

Great question. I will settle your fears right away and tell you, NO.Puffing up is not harmful to the bearded dragon. It is a natural ability they can use to help themselves feel safer when threatened.It helps them deal with problems that are real or perceived, such as being in too high of water or dealing with a predator.That being said, it is not okay for your beardie to puff up constantly. If this is the case, something in your home or environment is causing him to feel stressed out. Would you like to constantly feel stressed all the time?The answer is a clear no, so make sure to look around for objects that might be bothering your reptile. It could be a trinket, piece of clothing, or other toys that is making your beardie stressed.Make sure to examine the environment and remove objects until the beardie stops puffing constantly.

Reason 8: Comfort

Sometimes, you will see a beardie puffing up as a means of making himself comfortable. What does this mean?First, your beardie may be trying to pressurize his ear canal. Just as you have yawned as a means of making your ear pop when going up a hill or riding in an airplane, this is a way for bearded dragons to help themselves feel relief.Stretching is one way us humans feel comfortable, and bearded dragons do it too. You might see them puffing up even when in a relaxed environment as a means of stretching. It may be accompanied by opening their mouth up wide, too.

Understanding Puffing Up in Bearded Dragons

An aggressive cat will typically hold its tail vertically with the hair raised and have dilated pupils. A cat displaying these signs warns you to stay away because it could be dangerous.As for the bearded dragons, they will also show that they are aggressive through the behaviors they exhibit. If you have ever noticed a dragon distending its beard, it was merely puffing up.A bearded dragon puffing up could be due to a couple of reasons; it can be due to a stressful situation or a non-stressing one.The fact that the beardie can puff up in an environment that is not threatening makes this behavior even more confusing. And that is why you may want to know why bearded dragons puff up.Bearded dragons are not limited to puffing up the beard, but they can also puff out other body parts, including the belly. Having that in mind, let’s now see the situations where bearded lizards are likely to puff up.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Puff Up?

As a dragon owner, I believe you have seen your pet puffing out its beard or body for a couple of times. Puffing up can never harm a beardie, but it is one way it uses to communicate. So, the beardie is doing that for a purpose.Puffing up is a natural ability in lizards, and they portray it anytime they see fit. More often, bearded dragons will puff up to show dominance, threaten predators, enhance shedding, or due to fear.Sometimes the beardie could be expressing this behavior because of simple things that are around like toys or an item of clothing which it sees as a threat. So, it is best if you understand any situation that can cause puffing behavior in beardies.It will help you to act expectedly and address the situation to prevent constant threats and intimidation to your pet because it could lead to a severe problem.Let’s discuss intensely the reasons why a bearded dragon puffs up.

Bearded Dragon Puffing Up to Show Dominance

If you house a male and female bearded dragon together, you will not miss seeing them puffing up. It is common in male dragons to show the females that they are dominant and therefore asking the females to submit to them.Puffing up is also more common in males during the breeding season. Bearded dragon breeds throughout the year, after brumation, they will be ready for mating roughly after one month.During this period, male bearded dragons will puff their beard up to attract females; this is how they show that they are ready for mating. Then females will respond to the males through arm waving or head bobbing.In rare cases, female bearded dragons puff up their neck when they are attracted to the males, but this is always a technique seen in males. So, the males puff up their beard to impress a beardie of the opposite sex when they are kept together and not out of fear.

Puffing Up as a Sign of Shedding

Bearded dragons are smart lizards, and they are always aware when the time for shedding is nearing. So, when preparing to shed the old skin, the beardies tend to puff up to hasten shedding by loosening their skin.When your lizards begin by puffing up their neck and body more frequently and then getting into the shedding, they take a short time to shed. This proves that puffing up plays a significant role in the shedding process.However, not all bearded dragons puff up before going through the shedding process. If you have not seen your pet puffing up during this period, don’t worry, it is normal.

Bearded Dragon Puffing Up During Bath Time

Another typical circumstance where bearded dragons puff up their beard is when they are bathing. If your dragon has a habit of puffing up when taking a bath, it means that the water is too deep for it.If you didn’t know, a bearded dragon should not bath in water that is too deep to submerge its shoulder. Always keep that in mind.When the beardie is puffing up during bath time, it is trying to find a way of floating. Fortunately, through puffing up, bearded dragons get more air into the body, which makes them buoyant and able to float.In case you happen to notice that your pet is puffing up regularly when you are bathing it, try and reduce the bathing water. Watch how it will behave in the shallow water and see if there will be any changes.

Bearded Dragon Puffing Up While Basking

It is common for bearded dragons to bask in the morning to warm the body after the cold temperatures at the time. The beardies are cold-blooded animals, and therefore, through basking, they warm themselves.When the body temperature goes beyond optimal, the dragons in most cases open its mouth, and sometimes this is accompanied by puffing up the beard. In case your pet is behaving like this, you will need to check if the temperatures in the tank are within the expected range of 95-110℉.

Bearded Dragon Puffing Up When in Danger

Bearded dragons will not just wait to be caught by their predators; of course, they will also defend themselves just like any other animal.Presence of a predator or anything that resembles a predator, it could be a hat, socks, or any material around will scare the beardie. The only thing it can think of is that the predator will attack at any given time.So, puffing up the beard and turning them black helps the dragon to look bigger than usual as a way to frighten the predator. Bearded dragons, especially in the desert, change their posture when running away from the predators.If you see that happening to your pet, make sure to check if there is anything around scaring it and remove it right away. However, don’t try to hold the beardie in such a condition because it might bite or injure you.

Puffing Up Due to Excitement

A bearded dragon can puff up when it feels happy. So, this is a good sign to show that bearded lizards will not only puff up in threatening situations but also in good ones when they are engaged in their favorite activities.If it’s treat time or playtime, and you notice your friend puffing up, the beardie is trying to tell you that it is delighted, but some owners think of them to be showing off. After all, there is no other way the beardies can speak to you except through its behaviors.Every time the beardie puffs up, and nothing is startling or stressing it, and it is not shedding, your friend is just feeling good. It should not trouble you at all, as long the beardie is healthy.Be happy when your friend seems comfortable participating in its favorite activity because it means you are a great owner. It shows that you have brought up a happy dragon, kudos for it.

Puffing Up as a Sign of Stretching

After sitting down for a long time, sleeping or relaxing, you will need to stretch up the body to increase the activity of the muscles. It is the same with bearded dragons; they need to stretch their body to make themselves comfortable.We yawn to wake our bodies, increase blood flow, and increase alertness. Also, yawning helps to pop our ears when riding the elevator in a high-rise building or airplane. Similarly, bearded dragons puff up to relief themselves by pressurizing their ear canal.When the beardie is stretching through puffing, you will also notice that it is opening its mouth. It can do this even when relaxing in a quiet environment.

Why Do Baby Beardies Puff Up?

Puffing up the beard occurs regularly in baby bearded dragons especially, when they come into a new home where everything is unfamiliar to them. They will do that to show that they don’t feel safe in the new environment.However, this is not something to worry you; allow the beardie to spend some days exploring the new home, and it will eventually adapt to the place. Puffing of the beard should decrease once the pet learns that you are not a predator, and the environment is safe for it.Sometimes you may wish to bond more quickly with your new dragon and make it settle as soon as possible into its enclosure.You can succeed in that by buying the right sized tank, provide plants, decors, and other accessories to make the tank look like a natural habitat for bearded dragons.When everything is right, your pet will feel comfortable after a few days. It will also make them happy and feel safe.But if the baby beardie keeps on puffing up and displaying other signs like black bearding, refusing to go to the bathroom, declining food, and seems sluggish, you must be concerned. Don’t be silent about it; you can talk to your reptile vet to hear his opinion.

Should I be Worried about Puffing Up?

This is a good question, the simple answer to that is No. Puffing is not something to worry you because:It is an ability that is given to the beardies by nature. So, it is healthy and helps the beardie to cope up with different situations.It helps them deal with predators, save themselves when in deep water, support some biological processes, and sort out many problems perceived.However, if your pet is continuously puffing, you may be concerned about it. If that is happening to your dear friend, it means that something around is stressing it. Maybe it is something in the tank or your surroundings.I know you don’t want your pet to experience constant stress, right? So, ensure you examine the surroundings to check for anything that could be bothering your lizard. Remove all those objects you suspect until when you see the beardie stops puffing perpetually.