What Does It Mean When A Bearded Dragon Licks You
Do bearded dragons show affection? The answer to that is a resounding yes! One of the ways these reptiles tell their owners that they like and trust them is by licking them. But licking can also mean a few other things.
If your pet reptile is licking you a lot, we suggest you keep reading to understand the different possible reasons for this behavior.
Why Your Bearded Dragon Licks You
Many new bearded dragon owners may fear that their pet reptile will bite when it licks them. But this is hardly ever the case. Beardies rarely bite humans unless they have to defend themselves when they feel extremely threatened.
You don’t have to worry or fear if your lizard buddy licks you. Licking is a normal beardie behavior. And when your bearded dragon licks you, it could mean any of the following:
Your Bearded Dragon Wants to Understand You Better
Humans observe their surroundings through the five senses to understand what’s happening around them. Bearded dragons use their tongue to get a better understanding of their environment.
It is normal for a new pet dragon to lick the owner a lot. Your bearded dragon will be very curious about its environment, especially if you recently adopted it. You are part of its new environment, which means it will lick you out of curiosity to collect information that will help it know you better.
Also, the licking frequency may increase when you begin to handle the new pet lizard. It is trying to know your scent and possibly use it to tell you apart from other household members.
And yes, bearded dragons can recognize their owners. Also, they have favorite people, especially those who handle them often and treat them well.
Your Bearded Dragon Feels Safe Around You
Licking is one of the surefire signs that your bearded dragon feels comfortable being around you. It is the pet’s way of telling you that it is enjoying quality time with you.
Although reptiles are very expressive when it comes to showing affection, licking their owners is one of the ways to seek affection or express their affection.
Some people may argue that bearded dragons cannot express love or affection, especially to humans. Regardless of what anyone thinks or says, the fact remains that your lizard buddy likes your scent, or else it wouldn’t lick you.
Your Beardie Smells Something Nice on You
Another reason your lizard buddy may lick you is if it likes what it smells on you. It might sound strange to learn that these reptiles “smell” with their tongue, but that’s part of how they gather information about their environment.
We’ll cover that in greater detail in a bit. For now, know that your pet dragon can use its tongue to collect tiny particles on your body if it likes how they smell.
In a nutshell, there is nothing to be worried about if your bearded dragon licks you often. You can rest assured that your pet could be trying to understand you better, feels comfortable around you, or likes something on your body.
Bearded dragons are intelligent enough not to continue licking what they don’t like. In other words, your beardie must like you or something about you if it continues to lick you.
Other Reasons for Bearded Dragon Licking Behavior
Bearded dragons also lick other objects and animals around them. It is also common to see them licking the air. This licking behavior means a few different things, depending on the situation.
Your Bearding Is Gauging the Temperature
Bearded dragons are incapable of regulating their body temperature because they are cool-blooded animals. This means they depend on the temperature in their environment to maintain their body temperature.
The lizards often lick the air to figure out the temperature in their environment. This behavior allows it to sense what part of the bearded dragon tank will provide optimal heat to help it remain active.
The Bearded Dragon Is Marking its Territory
Territory marking is common with most animals, including household pets. For bearded dragons, marking territory is done by licking.
Although there is less competition in captive situations, most male bearded dragons still exhibit this behavior once in a while. This is especially the case if you have more than one beardie in the same enclosure. The more dominant pet dragon will lick to show dominance over the rest.
As a side note, you should consider separate tanks or enclosures if you have more than one bearded dragon. It is even more important to provide separate cages if you have male bearded dragons.
Your Beardies Probably Wants to Eat
Another reason bearded dragons licks is when it is hungry. These reptiles hunt for food using their sense of smell in the wild. But they don’t just follow a smell by relying on their noses. Instead, they “smell” their food using their tongues – they lick the air to track down food.
As household pets, bearded dragons lick their owners more around feeding time. This behavior is common if you have a consistent feeding schedule. The pet is expecting to eat, so it licks the owner or the air anticipating food.
It is Mating Time or Breeding Season
Bearded dragons may lick other beardies to show dominance and mark their territories, but licking other bearded dragons is not always an aggressive sign or sign of dominance. It could also be a pre-mating behavior, signifying the beginning of the breeding season.
Usually, the breeding season for bearded dragons starts around the warmer months after the reptiles come out of “hibernation for cool-blooded animals” – better known as brumation.
Bearded dragons in captivity tend to lick their owners more during mating season. Mature males in the wild will use licking to seek out potential mates. Females will often follow this with arms waving and a slow head bob to show their interest and readiness to mate.
If you plan to breed bearded dragons in captivity, it is usually a good idea to have at least two beardies of the opposite sex. House them in separate enclosures until breeding season.
How Bearded Dragons Sense Their Environment
Bearded dragons are prey animals that are constantly alert about what’s happening around them.
One of the ways they sense their environment is by licking. They lick the air, surfaces, and objects to gather sensory data that helps them determine whether or not there is danger lurking around the corner.
The sensory data collected using the tongue can include air particles, sweat, liquid, and pheromones. A bearded dragon can analyze all these pieces of information using an organ on the roof of its mouth.
This organ is known as the Jacobsons organ (vomeronasal organ). It helps them to get accurate and detailed information about their environment rather than merely relying on sight and hearing.
The next time you see your bearded dragon reaching out with its sticky, pink tongue to lick you, the air, or any surface, you now know what it is trying to do. It isn’t trying to hurt you in any way. This is normal bearded dragon behavior.