Updated: August 3, 2022 by Jennifer Munsell
Bearded dragons have many wonderful and quirky behaviors that most people are not used to when they have never owned a reptile before. After owning your bearded dragon for a while, you may wonder: why does my bearded dragon stare at me?
There are two parts to that answer. The simple and easy part is that it is in their nature to be very wary and alert to any possible danger. If they perceive that you are a strange being, then they will very often make some intimate eye contact!
The other reason as to why bearded dragons stare at their owners is less appealing. Often, bearded dragons stare off into space (or your face) because they are terribly bored. Understimulated dragons suffer from increased stress levels and a decreased lifespan.
However, you do not need to worry! This article will take you through several activities that you can do to help stimulate your bearded dragon and avoid the stare of boredom!
The Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Stares at You
Bearded dragons are pretty laid-back by nature, and they can seem to stare off into space when they are in a sedentary mood. For example, they may stare if they are basking, if they are very cold and trying to warm up, or if it is nighttime and they are gearing down to sleep.
However, if you notice your bearded dragon is staring at you, the television, another animal, or the window constantly, there may be some cause for concern. It’s important to be able to differentiate between natural, alert staring behavior and when it becomes excessive and possibly worrisome.
Natural Staring Behavior
In the wild, bearded dragons are not very high up on the food chain, and they are the target of many different predators. Their natural predators include wild cats, dingoes, larger lizards, and birds.
Therefore, if they are in an environment at home where they can see through a window and the neighbor’s cat happens to love sunning themselves on that window ledge, then your beardie could be staring at a perceived predator waiting to make its move.
The same goes for your own cats, dogs, and birds. If they come into close contact with your bearded dragon, your beardie may be in constant high alert mode where it is staring at a threat and is too afraid to take its eyes off of it.
If your bearded dragon is staring at a pet excessively, think about moving its enclosure, covering up the bottom of the enclosure, or restricting your pets from that part of your home.
Staring Due to Boredom
Sometimes, bearded dragons can stare at you, a random object, or the television for long periods of time. This is often because of boredom. Bearded dragons are naturally very active and need a lot of space to run around. They are also very intelligent and need to be able to use their brains to stay engaged.
This means their enclosures need to be large enough to allow them to run around and climb over different textures. Providing them with hammocks, branches, and stones inside of their enclosures to help stimulate them in their “down time.”
How Do I Entertain My Bearded Dragon?
Activities that involve physical and mental exercises are called enrichment activities. Let’s have a look at what you can do with your bearded dragon to keep them engaged and not staring off into space out of boredom.
1. Get Out of the Enclosure!
One sure fire way to entertain your bearded dragon is to take it for walks! Take your bearded dragon out into your house or your garden and walk around with it. It is important to keep it close to you and on a harness so it does not go missing in the bushes or become an unfortunate meal for a quick-thinking predator!
If you are taking your beardie out into the wider world, keep a very careful eye out for birds, cats, and dogs, as there is a good chance they will treat your bearded dragon as an easy snack.
2. Bath Time!
Bath time is an excellent way to enrich your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons love bath time. They should be bathed at least once or twice a week in order to stay nice and clean, hydrated, and healthy. Bath time gives you and your bearded dragon time to bond and time for them to play around in water.
Provide them with some brightly colored balls or bath toys in the water once you are done washing them. Provide them with a large stone or other flat, solid surface in the water so they can rest if they become too overworked without worrying about keeping their heads up.
3. Give Me Toys!
Bearded dragons love toys as much as any pet! Toys that include food are even better!
Bearded dragons love bright colors in their foods, and the same goes for their surroundings. Put one or two toys inside of their enclosure one week, take them out, and exchange them for a different type or color toy the next week.
4. Give Me Food!
Spice up your bearded dragon’s daily salad with some brightly colored vegetables, herbs, or flowers!
Herbs and flowers do not really add much nutritional value to your bearded dragon’s meal. However, they taste different, smell great, are vibrant colors, and have different textures.
Good herbs to include in your bearded dragon’s salad are:
- Coriander (aka cilantro)
Good flowers to include in your bearded dragon’s salad are:
By increasing their interest in their food everyday, you will be increasing your beardie’s brain activity, which keeps them engaged, active, and alert!
Change up their daily salads by including different items on different days to make it a surprise!
5. Make Me Solve a Problem!
A great way to entertain your bearded dragon in your home is to set up a little obstacle course on the floor with towels, cups, toys, and pillows. Hide some tasty treats along the obstacle course or maze and watch your dragon solve some problems!
FAQs About Other Bearded Dragon Behavior
Why do bearded dragons wave their arms?
Bearded dragons wave their arms as a sign of submission.
- This behavior can either be used to show submission to another bearded dragon in territorial disputes.
- It can also be shown by females indicating to males that they are interested in mating.
- Or it can be shown to predators (or you) when your bearded dragon feels threatened and is trying to appear submissive and small.
Check out our dedicated article on arm waving for more information.
Why does my bearded dragon lick me?
Bearded dragons can pick up chemicals with their tongues. Chemicals give them a lot of information, such as who you are, if you have held another reptile, or if you are handling food. When your bearded dragon is licking you, they are trying to figure out what is about to happen.
In the wild, bearded dragons lick or pick up on chemicals in their environment to see if food is near, if a predator has just gone by, or to pick up on whether a mate is in the area.
Why do bearded dragons glass surf?
The simple answer to why bearded dragons glass surf is they are simply confused!
Bearded dragons glass surf because they have no concept of what glass is. They can become very confused when they see their reflections in the enclosure wall and assume that it is another bearded dragon and try to attack their own reflection! They may also glass surf out of boredom and lack of proper enrichment.
Check out our guide dedicated to why bearded dragons glass surf!
Why do bearded dragons bob their heads and stomp their feet?
Bearded dragons bob their head and stomp their feet as signs of aggression, sexual readiness, or dominance.
Your bearded dragon male may puff up its beard, stomp its feet, and bob its head when it comes into contact with a smaller male, a female, or a perceived threat like another animal.
Look Away Now…
As a new bearded dragon owner, you may be wondering: why does my bearded dragon stare at me? Your bearded dragon is staring at you or another object in their eyeline because they are either afraid of it and watching it as they would a predator, or they are simply bored.
Luckily, you can address both of those issues with relative ease! If your bearded dragon is staring at a window or pet all day, then close a curtain or shift their enclosure so they cannot see the window, and limit the amount of contact your other pets have with them.
If your bearded dragon is staring out of boredom, there are a host of activities you can do with them to enrich their lives and build the special bond between you two!