Why does my bearded dragon hiss at me? I received this question recently. I know some possible reasons why beardies hiss at their owners sometimes. In this post, I will share with you some causes.
Bearded dragons are intelligent animals. As a result, they are able to convey their message in a very unique way. But only their message makes sense if the owner knows what the beardie wants to say.
So, why does my bearded dragon hiss at me?
The most common reason why bearded dragons hiss at their owners or at someone is when they feel threatened. Hissing is just one indicator. In most cases, they also show a black beard and tend to puff to make them look bigger.
As mentioned, hissing is a sign that your beardie is threatened by something bigger than him/her. However, there are times when bearded dragons tend to hiss without being threatened.
Why Does a Bearded Dragon Hisses?
Sometimes bearded dragons hiss without anything that could possibly threaten them. You probably see this when their beards blacken. That’s the sign that they are not comfortable.
Something must be causing it. As mentioned earlier, there are many reasons why beardies hiss. Let me share with you some of those potential reasons.
1. When A Bearded Dragon Sees Its Own Reflection
It is alarming to see a bearded dragon hissing without apparent cause. But actually, a reptile does not react like this without a certain reason.
One of the not so obvious reasons might be its reflection. This commonly happens in bearded dragons housed in a glass tank. When beardies see their own reflection, they might consider it like other animals looking at them.
As a result, they feel threatened. This is so because bearded dragons are loner animals. They live well when alone than with other beardies.
In fact, when bearded dragons are housed together, they tend to fight each other. The weaker ones will most likely get bullied and the stronger ones get most of the resources.
When beardies see their own reflection on the glass, they hiss to scare the intruder. But because the reflection will not go away, they constantly feel threatened which will in turn cause them stress in the long run.
If this condition lingers, it will badly affect your beardies’ health. You need to do something here to eliminate the reflection. One thing you can do is to give your beardies hides and plants inside the tank. In addition, you may also move the lighting so that it minimizes the reflection.
What I found is that the hides are very important inside the tank. They will serve as beardies haven if they are scared of something.
You don’t need an expensive hide for your reptile. You can be creative and customize things available at home. As long as it provides a place for bearded dragons to hide or to feel relax and safe, it will be fine.
You can also buy beardies’ hide online (click here to check my recommended hide for beardies on Amazon). This is the quickest route you can choose especially if you don’t have enough time to make one.
2. When A Bearded Dragon Feels Exposed
Another reason why a bearded dragon hisses without apparent reason could be the habitat setup. This happens where there is no hide, plant, or substrate inside the tank.
The setup like this makes the beardie feel exposed. Your beardie feels vulnerable to other animals and even people because there are no places for the reptile to hide.
A habitat like this will most likely trigger stress in bearded dragons. Hissing is definitely a sign that your beardie is not comfortable in his/her tank. If this is the case, you need to make some amendments.
What you can do is to place hides and plants inside the tank to make your beardie comfortable inside. Plants and hides also help block the beardies’ view of the outside.
With an almost empty tank, bearded dragons can see pretty much what is happening around them. Remember that they have a very good vision and hearing capability. As a result, other pets such as dogs and cats around can definitely scare your beardie.
What I learned from my years of having bearded dragons is that they do not only need food and other physical necessities but also they need a comfortable place to live.
So, as an owner, it is your responsibility to make a safer and comfortable habitat for your reptile. Make sure that your beardies feel protected and safe.
3. Your Bearded Dragon Sees Other Bearded Dragon
As mentioned, bearded dragons are solitary animals. They are happy when alone and feel threatened when along with other reptiles.
If you housed two or more bearded dragons in one tank and you hear them hissing, it suggests that they don’t like their companion. If this is the case, I recommend that you immediately separate them into different tanks.
This is because sooner or later, they fight and probably injure each other. You need to be careful.
So, Why Does My Bearded Dragon Hiss at Me Without Apparent Reason?
Well, actually, there is a pretty good reason why your beardies hiss at you. And that is, your bearded dragon probably thinks that you are a predator. In most cases, this happens when you have a new beardie in the house.
Or, sometimes, a bearded dragon hisses at its owner when it sees something new on the owner’s face. A mustache probably. I remember when I was out for two weeks for a vacation and my mustache grew a little bit. When I came home, my beardie felt threatened when he noticed the new feature on my face.
I had no idea at first. But then I realized that he got scared because he might think I was the unfamiliar guy.
If you have a new bearded dragon, it is normal for him/her to hiss. It is because he/she is not yet accustomed to your presence. But don’t worry, everything will be fine. Just give your new reptile a few days to get accustomed to his new living space and feel comfortable.
At this point, be careful. If you handle your beardie the wrong way, it may cause aggression. An example of this is when you grab your reptile from above. This will irritate your reptile and causes aggression.
Hissing is just a warning that a bearded dragon does not like what he/she is seeing or experiencing. If the threat persists, the bearded dragon will bite or slap with its tail. So be careful.
Final Thoughts on Why Does My Bearded Dragon Hiss at Me
One of the most common reasons why a bearded dragon hisses is when it feels threatened. This could be due to other bearded dragons in the tank or because of beardies’ own reflection.
This commonly happens when a beardie is housed in a glass tank. The quick solution to this is to add hides and plants inside the tank to provide the bearded dragon something to stay and relax.
Bearded dragons will be stressed out when placed in an uncomfortable habitat. So make sure that you provide your beardie not only food but also a good place to live well.
I hope this helps. Thank you for reading.
How do you get your bearded dragon to like you?
The best way to make your bearded dragon like you is to build a bond between you and him/her. You can do this by bathing, feeding, and playing with your reptile.
How do you know when a bearded dragon is mad?
There are many signs that a bearded dragon is mad. It includes hissing, tail twitching, and biting. Any of these behaviors is an indication that your reptile is mad. Your job here is to know why.