Bearded Dragon Defense Mechanism {8 Ways They Defend Themselves}

My bearded dragon hated me. At least that’s what I thought when I got near him at first. What is a bearded dragon defense mechanism?

Bearded dragons are territorial and defensive as they remain alert against any potential threats from above, below or head-on.

Let’s discover bearded dragon defense mechanisms in detail with this article.

Bearded Dragon Defense Mechanism

Bearded dragons use their beard as a kind of defense. When my bearded dragon is afraid, he expands his jaws wide, extends his throat and puffs up his beard, which turns jet black in an instant.

This startling appearance would probably make predators reconsider interfering with this usually gentle lizard.

A bearded dragon may also blend in (camouflage), gape with their mouth, bob their head and use a few other special defense mechanisms that we would like to share in this article below.

Bearded Dragon Behavior Adaptations

The behavior adaptations of bearded dragons save them from potential harm. This is what they utilize for their advantage to defend themselves or escape any harm:

  • Inflated throats
  • Protruding neck
  • Open mouth
  • Expose triangular teeth
  • Hiss
  • Fluff up beard spikes
  • Bobbing their head
  • Blend in with their habitat
  • Flatten their bodies
  • Third eye detecting light changes from above

If you notice any of these behavioral and physical causes, you are aware that your bearded dragon is flexing

  • Defending
  • Posturing
  • Sensing a potential threat
  • Not as ease

Do Bearded Dragons Hide?

Yes. My bearded dragon would rather go unseen than enter any possible altercation with what he thinks are threats all around him. The hiding spaces in his enclosure give him comfort.

A bearded dragon’s colors mix in with their natural surroundings to protect them from predators such as:

  • snakes
  • birds
  • dingoes
  • goannas
  • crocodiles

Bearded dragons, playfully known as Beardies, have skin just like the sand and rocks where they reside that is:

  • gray
  • yellow
  • brown

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Angry?

Bearded dragons get stressed easily. They believe they are in harm’s way and really on ther defense mechanisms to avoid violence or attacks.

Here are some reasons why beardies get annoyed, angry or stressed in your home:

  • Loud noise
  • Outside traffic
  • Dogs barking
  • Yelling
  • TV
  • Music
  • Crying baby

Your bearded dragon may be bothered by vibrations and rumbling almost as much as the noises itself. A new family member or pet can upset your beardie too.

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Do Bearded Dragons Bite?

Yes. I have been bit by my beardie before, but adult bites hurt more than my juvenile bearded dragon at the time.

Even though they occasionally snap or pinch their owners, bearded dragons are safe pets. Bites are uncommon and have a pinching sensation.

There is also no need to fear because your lizard is not poisonous or hazardous.

Do Bearded Dragons Have Venom?

Recent research reveals that bearded dragons possess rudimentary venom glands, although it is unknown if these glands are used for defense.

Bites from bearded dragons aren’t thought to be dangerous for people and have no lasting consequences on health.

Do Bearded Dragons Camouflage?

Yes. The bearded dragon, which is found throughout central Australia, is believed to be able to change its colors for:

  • camouflage
  • a signal to other dragons

This territorial reptile can reflect color in the following range

  • creamy
  • golden
  • orange 
  • dark brown
  • gray
  • black

What Is Normal Bearded Dragon Behavior?

Adult bearded dragons are known for:

  • being aggressive to each other
  • territorial
  • battle for food
  • compete for females
  • fight other males

If females don’t act in a subservient manner, some males may also attack them.

In a comfortable and spacious enclosure in your home, this reptile could live a happy solitary existence where they are much more docile and tranquil once they:

  • settle into your home
  • trust your presence

How Bearded Dragons Defend Themselves

Although bearded dragons are not often violent, they can become upset and exhibit aggressive behavior. They feel threatened, if you mistreat them, or if they perceive an act of aggressiveness.

8 Ways Bearded Dragons Defend Themselves

  1. Using their Beard
  2. Gaping Their Mouth
  3. Biting
  4. Hissing
  5. Head Bobbing
  6. Camouflage
  7. Flattening Their body
  8. Bearded Dragon Third Eye

1. Using the Beard

Bearding is the process which enlarges your lizard’s neck and it may develop a darker or even black complexion in this area. Additionally, they may fluff their beards to expand them.

Under their lower jaw, bearded dragons have an expandable pouch. When startled, bearded lizards may drastically enlarge their beard, giving the impression that their head is much bigger than it actually is

2. Gaping Their Mouth

Bearded dragons frequently exhibit their beards by gaping, which is when they open their jaws wide. The bearded dragon can and will bite severely if a predator or competitor lizard approaches too closely, hence this is employed as a threat.

3. Biting

Put on a pair of gardening gloves when handling your bearded dragon if you’re unsure whether it’ll bite you. Just be aware that they could find it tougher to recognize you. They rarely bite, and when they do, it’s usually just as a last option. Young dragon bites are only slightly painful compared to adult dragon bites, which are far more painful due to the stronger jaws of older dragons.

4. Hissing

One of the frequent actions your beardie will exhibit when threatened is hissing. This is an indication that they are uneasy or threatened. It may be rather startling and is typically accompanied with an open mouth and a flaring beard.

5. Head Bobbing

Head bobbing is typically an indication of territorial aggressiveness between males or dominance over females, especially if it is done repeatedly fast.

Sometimes you’ll have to figure out a way to stop your dragon’s reflection from being seen on the sides of their tank for this reason because it can cause constant stress that is bad for your dragon.

They are unable to distinguish between another dragon and their reflection so may also do this when they see themselves in the mirror or glass.

6. Camouflage

Bearded dragons have colors that closely resemble those of the environment in which they live, and their body is covered in bumps and spikes, which further elongates them.

Bearded dragons are rarely seen moving since they are immobile for extended periods of time.

Unfortunately for the lizards, camouflage doesn’t always work against birds or predators that hunt by smell, such dingoes and goannas.

7. Flattening Their Body

The bodies of bearded dragons will become flatter. This gives the bearded dragons a considerably bigger appearance, presumably scaring off any potential predators.

Even while the spikes are not sharp, they have the appearance of powerful weapons, which may cause predators to avoid such a thorny beast.

8. Bearded Dragon Third Eye

On the top of their heads, bearded dragons have a third eye. They can detect predators from above because it senses a shift in light rather than seeing pictures like the other two do.

Although it lacks an eyelid, the “third eye” is covered with a scale that serves as protection.


Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.