Beardies First

Can Bearded Dragons Smile?

Can bearded dragons smile? Do they smile when they’re happy? Is there something more behind that cute smile of your beardie? One of your responsibilities as a proud owner of a bearded dragon is to learn and understand its body language. However, the main concern here is that these reptiles often display some behaviors that their owners cannot even comprehend in the first place.

can bearded dragons smile

Since your goal here is to become a good pet parent, you must know how to distinguish positive behaviors from negative ones and the other way around. This way, it will be easier for you to tell if your pet lizard finds its environment cozy enough, or if you need to make any necessary changes to ensure better comfort.

Several behaviors are consistent across the board although others may be different for every bearded dragon. It means that you have to make sure that you are aware of all the basic things about your beardie, including its unique behaviors.

Through this, you will gain an advantage when offering the care and attention that your pet needs and deserves, thereby improving your bearded friend’s health and wellbeing in general.

With proper husbandry, a bearded dragon will not just stay strong and fit but will also form a great bond with you. Since a healthy beardie is a happy beardie, make sure that your pet gets all the right care and attention.

Do Bearded Dragons Smile?

If you have been keeping a close eye on your pet dragon, you have probably noticed how your beardie often sits with its mouth gaping open most of the time. However, bearded dragons don’t really “smile” in the same way that humans do.

Due to the distinct shape of the mouth of bearded dragons, they look like they are smiling but the truth is that it is not the case. Beardies and other species that belong to the reptile family open their mouths to help regulate the temperature of their body.

Even though the sight may look cute, bearded dragons keep their mouths partially open, or something that resembles a smile, every time they are basking. If your beardie’s mouth is open, this only implies that their body temperature has already reason to optimal levels.

Gaping allows bearded dragons to disperse any excess heat to the environment through their mouth and this results in a gradual cooling effect.

The process is important not only for bearded dragons but also for other lizards since they can’t sweat in the same way that humans do. Humans produce sweat to help regulate body temperature. This is something that bearded dragons can do.

This means that gaping is only a countermeasure to prevent overheating. As such, you don’t have to worry if your bearded dragon always has its mouth as if your pet is smiling.

In addition, this process also lets your pet reach the most favorable internal body temperature, which improves digestion as well as other important biological processes.

In short, even if it seems like your beardie is smiling, it is simply regulating its body temperature.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Keep Their Mouth Open?

There are several common reasons why bearded dragons sometimes keep their mouth open. Once again, you need to learn how to differentiate between gaping and other similar behaviors that might resemble it. When you see your beardie when its mouth gaping even if it is cold, it might mean that something is wrong.

Respiratory Tract Infections

Bearded dragons gape only when their bodies absorb too much heat while basking. However, these reptiles may also gape if they are suffering from respiratory infections. When this happens, it will force the animal to breathe through its mouth, which means that your bearded dragon may gape throughout the day.

Respiratory infections such as pneumonia can also occur in a bearded dragon that doesn’t receive the proper care and attention it needs. But these infections can also be the result of many other things, some of which might be beyond your control.

Most of the time, however, it has something to do with improper temperatures and unhygienic conditions. You might want to use a temperature gun to make sure that your enclosure has the right temperature that is comfortable for your bearded dragon.

If you are concerned about the health of your reptile, you might want to take it to the vet right away to get a detailed and proper diagnosis for its condition. In addition, you can also try to self-administer some antibiotics that will help treat some illnesses in these reptiles.

A Sign of Aggressive Behavior

Your bearded dragon may also keep its mouth gaping open every time it is being defensive or showing signs of aggression. However, the main difference here is that a defensive or aggressive beardie may also puff its chin and hiss at the same time. This means that it will be impossible for you to mistake this behavior for normal gaping.

How Long Does a Bearded Dragon Gape?

The specific length of time that it takes for a bearded dragon to have its mouth gaping open may vary according to the internal body temperature of the lizard.

If the body temperature of your bearded dragon is high, it will gape for a long period. The complete opposite is true if the body of your beardie has absorbed minimal amounts of heat.

You can install a reliable source of heat inside your bearded dragon’s enclosure to help encourage normal gaping behavior. Through this, your beardie will be able to get the correct amount of heat and dissipate any excess by gaping as well.

The Bottom Line

So, can bearded dragons smile? While it may seem like your beardie is smiling, it is not doing it because it is happy. To understand why beardies smile, you have to understand and be familiar with the thermoregulation process in lizards.

Since these reptiles don’t produce sweat, they dissipate their body’s excess heat through gaping. When their mouths are open, your beardie may look like it is smiling happily.

But gaping is only an instinctual behavior that helps your pet stay cool during extremely high temperatures.