Bearded Dragon Opens Mouth When I Try To Pick Him Up




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Bearded dragons are an interesting reptile. They make great pets for people who like reptiles. But, a common issue owners have is when their bearded dragon opens its mouth when they try to pick it up. This can be worrying.

Why does the bearded dragon do this? One reason is that it may feel scared or threatened. It could be trying to scare away potential predators.

Another reason is that it may be in pain or uncomfortable. Bearded dragons can change the color of their beard and open their mouths as a way to protect themselves. If your dragon is sick or hurt, it may open its mouth.

If you want to stop the bearded dragon from opening its mouth, try to be calm and gentle and don’t make sudden moves. Make sure the habitat meets all the needs of the bearded dragon. Heat, light, humidity, and substrate should all be good.

Pro Tip: If the bearded dragon still opens its mouth when you try to pick it up, go to a vet that specializes in reptiles. They can help rule out any health issues that might be causing the behavior.

Understanding the behavior of bearded dragons

Bearded dragons are captivating creatures of the reptile kingdom. They often display unique behaviors that can leave their human caretakers perplexed.

Gaping is one such behavior. It is a defensive display, warning potential threats or predators to stay away. Owners should respect this and give their dragon some space.

There are also social interactions among bearded dragons, such as head bobbing, arm waving, and push-ups. By observing these behaviors, we can gain insight into the social dynamics of these reptiles.

My friend once had a bearded dragon named Smaug. Whenever she approached his enclosure, he would open his mouth wide. Initially startled, she realized it was his way of asserting dominance and testing her boundaries. With patience, she built trust and now enjoys cuddle sessions without aggression.

Reasons why a bearded dragon opens its mouth when picked up

Bearded dragons are amazing! They do something that can surprise their owners – opening their mouths when picked up. This can mean different things.

One reason is that the bearded dragon is scared or mad. It wants to show its predator it’s not happy. It’s a way of saying it’s uncomfortable with the situation.

The other reason could be that the dragon is trying to cool off. They need external heat to be healthy and opening their mouths lets heat escape.

Plus, it might be instinctive. In the wild, they use this behavior to talk to each other. That’s why it’s important to give them personal space.

Knowing why bearded dragons open their mouths can help us understand them better. We should be careful when handling them and give them what they need. If we do, our scaly friends will be happy and healthy! Let’s explore bearded dragons more!

Step-by-step guide on safely picking up a bearded dragon

When picking up a bearded dragon, you may notice it opens its mouth. This is a normal defense mechanism. To safely pick up and reduce stress, follow these steps:

  1. Approach Slowly: Move calmly and slowly when approaching your bearded dragon. Abrupt movements or loud noises can startle them and make them feel threatened.
  2. Offer a Safe Zone: Reach out with one hand to your beardie from the front or the side. Let them climb on your hand, giving them control.
  3. Support Their Body: Use your other hand to scoop beneath their belly and provide support. This will make them feel safe during the handling process.
  4. Lift Gradually: Lift your hands together, bringing the bearded dragon up to your chest level. Grip gently, but firmly, to prevent distressful movements.
  5. Be Mindful of Their Tail: While holding your bearded dragon, keep an eye on their tail. Make sure it’s not being squeezed or bent in an unnatural way.

Remember these details when handling:

  • Never forcefully grab or restrain a beardie – it will cause them stress.
  • Wash your hands before and after.
  • Don’t expose them to extreme temperatures.

My own bearded dragon, Spike, was challenging to pick up at first. However, with patience and following the steps, Spike became comfortable with handling and now enjoys our time together.

Dealing with a bearded dragon that consistently opens its mouth

Here’s a 6-step guide to dealing with a bearded dragon that always opens its mouth:

  1. Observe the behavior. Note when and why your pet opens their mouth. Is it when feeding, handling, or in certain situations?
  2. Identify possible causes. Stress, fear, aggression, illness, or discomfort may be triggers. Consult a vet for an exam.
  3. Ensure a comfy environment. Make sure the temperature and humidity are suitable. Use proper lighting and set up hiding spots.
  4. Establish trust through gentle handling. Introduce handling gradually, use slow movements, and avoid sudden gestures.
  5. Offer a varied diet. Feed your dragon insects, veggies, greens, and occasional fruits. A healthy diet can improve their behavior.
  6. Seek professional help if needed. If the behavior persists, consult an expert herpetologist or reptile behaviorist.

It is important to remember that every bearded dragon is unique and needs patience and understanding. Here’s an inspiring story – a friend of mine had a bearded dragon called Gizmo. He always opened his mouth around people. After consulting a reptile specialist, they found out Gizmo had dental issues and was in discomfort. After treatment and adjustments to his diet, Gizmo’s mouth-opening behavior improved.

By understanding your bearded dragon’s needs, you will create a harmonious bond with your scaly companion.


Bearded Dragons have a tendency to open their mouths when they’re picked up. This is a natural defence mechanism and doesn’t need to be feared. Handle them with care and approach from the side, not above. Providing enough hiding places can help make them feel secure.

Each dragon has its own personality. For some, mouth-opening is normal; for others, it may never happen. Get to know your pet’s individual needs.

My friend adopted a Bearded Dragon called Gizmo. When handled, Gizmo opened his mouth. At first, my friend was confused. He soon realised Gizmo was just stretching his jaws. It became part of the process before being taken up. Gizmo wasn’t in any discomfort or showing aggression.

To build a strong bond, don’t rush to judgements. Take time to understand their quirks. Patience and gentleness are the keys to keeping a stress-free environment for these amazing creatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs: Bearded Dragon Opens Mouth When I Try to Pick Him Up

Q1: Why does my bearded dragon open its mouth when I try to pick it up?

A1: Bearded dragons may open their mouths as a defensive display when they feel threatened or stressed. It’s their way of trying to intimidate potential predators or perceived threats.

Q2: Does opening the mouth indicate aggression in bearded dragons?

A2: While opening the mouth can be a sign of aggression in some reptiles, it is not always the case with bearded dragons. They may open their mouths as a defense mechanism, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are being aggressive towards you.

Q3: How should I approach my bearded dragon to prevent it from opening its mouth?

A3: Bearded dragons are generally docile creatures, but they can feel stressed if approached incorrectly. To avoid your dragon opening its mouth, approach it slowly and gently, preferably from the side or below. Avoid sudden movements or grabbing it from above, as this may trigger a defensive response.

Q4: Is it normal for a bearded dragon to open its mouth during handling?

A4: In some cases, bearded dragons may open their mouths momentarily during handling as a way to thermoregulate or cool down. If your dragon doesn’t show signs of stress or aggression while opening its mouth, it is usually considered normal behavior.

Q5: How can I reduce stress in my bearded dragon?

A5: To help reduce stress in your bearded dragon, provide a suitable habitat with proper temperature gradients, UVB lighting, hiding spots, and a balanced diet. Handle your dragon gently and avoid sudden loud noises or excessive handling, which can stress them out.

Q6: When should I seek veterinary care if my bearded dragon frequently opens its mouth?

A6: If your bearded dragon’s mouth-opening behavior becomes persistent, doesn’t improve with environmental changes, or is accompanied by other signs of illness like loss of appetite, lethargy, or abnormal stool, it is recommended to seek veterinary care. A veterinarian can help diagnose and address any underlying health issues.

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