One of the many distinctive qualities and attributes of bearded dragons is their propensity for head bobbing and arm flailing. Many of their behaviors have evolved from their wild predecessors’ behaviors and are a product of evolution. Your beardie may have done something that has you scratching your head, like opening their lips.
You could have observed your bearded dragon expanding and shutting his jaws while sunning on a rock or when hiding. Even while it’s not usually a bad indication, you should figure out when he’s doing it to see whether he’s in discomfort, anxious, or just trying to regulate his body temperature.
Here are nine explanations for why your bearded friend’s mouth could be open.
Reasons Your Bearded Dragon Has His Mouth Open
Even while keeping your lips open is generally not a bad indicator, you should find out when he does it to determine whether he’s uncomfortable, worried, or simply attempting to control his body temperature.
Here are 15 causes for your bearded dragon’s mouth to be open.
They’re Regulating Their Temperature
Actually, it’s not uncommon to see a bearded dragon with its jaws open, and this is typically due to the first factor on our list. A bearded dragon frequently maintains its mouth open to control its body temperature. This behavior is so typical, in fact, that it even has its own name: gaping.
Your beardie is more likely to gape while they are sunbathing. A beardie will open its lips, where heat may escape, after it has attained the ideal temperature to avoid overheating.
There is no need to be alarmed if you see your lizard with its mouth open while it is sunbathing; this is most likely typical behavior. Similar to how people perspire to control body temperature, bearded dragons open their jaws to cool themselves down.
Use the proper lighting and control the temperature in your bearded dragon’s enclosure. Your bearded dragon will struggle to regulate their body temperature if the tank is too warm.
Once your beardie has achieved their ideal body temperature, you need to provide them a cool spot to hang out in addition to a place to bask. Your beardie’s tank is too warm if they like to hide a lot and won’t bask.
They’re Stretching Their Beard
A bearded dragon gets its name from the beard that grows around its neck. They can make their beards puffy, and some of them have the ability to alter the hue or the intensity of their beard’s color. While he feels threatened or when acting aggressively, a beardie, as they are nicknamed, frequently stretches his beard.
This beard will frequently also become black at this point. The beardie may act in this way at any moment, despite the fact that it is an innate response while being hostile. In order to practice and exercise their beard, they also stretch it.
There are several ways to extend a beard. Your bearded gentleman may extend his neck, lift his head, smile, and alter the color of his beard. This would suggest that he is yawning. Furthermore, it is not a reason for alarm that bearded dragons yawn because they do, like the majority of animals.
Exactly why does my bearded dragon’s mouth open and close?
He may be training and expanding his beard by repeatedly opening and shutting his mouth, according to your bearded dragon.
It’s A Sign of Aggression
The behavior of bearded dragons is often calm. As long as they have adequate room to walk around and don’t have too many other beardies to worry about, they are not naturally aggressive.
They can, however, become irritated by a number of things that we people would not notice since they are territorial animals.
Standing erect, a bearded dragon is more likely to make a submissive hand motion. An open mouth is one method to express aggressiveness, though, if one chooses to maintain their ground.
There are a few more signals you might check for if you believe that your dragon’s gaping mouth is a sign of their anger.
If your dragon is bobbing their head, it is a strong sign that they are demanding authority. If the need arises, they are willing to go physical. Along with the head-bob, an open lips emphasizes the intention.
Aggression is also indicated by a puffed-up or darkened beard, hissing, and a towering posture.
Give your beardie enough places to hide so they may retreat there to relax in order to help them regulate their aggressiveness.
Your dragon’s rage might be brought on by a number of factors. Understanding this enables you to determine the cause of your dragon’s wide mouth and provide assistance if necessary.
Provide Both Basking Area & Cool Spot
We’ve previously touched on this briefly, but just as crucial as the basking area is the necessity to offer a cold space for your dragon to maintain their body temperature.
If your temps are off, your dragon can be gaping because it is unable to leave the warm warmth of basking when it needs to.
Here, I provide all of my favorite lighting equipment along with the best sources to get it if you want to know what I advise for your Bearded Dragon.
You may have peace of mind knowing that your dragons have the correct habitat by checking the table above and making sure their tank has temperatures that are near to these in both the basking region and the chilly location.
A respiratory condition is a less frequent but possibly dangerous issue related to gaping. The dragon must thus breathe through an open mouth. If you experience this behavior repeatedly, it might be time to take your friend in for a checkup. This is rather more frequent and serious in other reptiles, such snakes.
It’s necessary to visit the vet if your bearded dragon keeps its mouth open and exhibits additional symptoms including lack of food, aversion to movement, mucous around the eyes or nostrils, coughing, wheezing, or crackling sounds when breathing.
They’re Responding To Another Bearded Dragon
Responding to another bearded dragon is another reason why your bearded dragon could open its jaws.
Bearded dragons are lonely animals by nature. Problems are likely to arise if you try to house two of them in the same tank.
One of the bearded dragons will typically try to dominate the other when you try to house two of them together. To assert their dominance over the other, the dominant individual will open their mouth. The little beardie may experience extreme stress, cease eating, and not even be permitted to sunbathe close to the greater lizard.
If you see this, you must divide your bearded dragons into two separate tanks. The tanks may even need to be in separate rooms since if your beardies can see one another, the struggle for supremacy may still occur even if they are in different tanks.
Territorial bearded dragons are a species. When you house two together, the more dominant lizard may hold its mouth open to guard particular regions of the tank from the other (this doesn’t always happen, though). These places will feature caverns, hiding places, and the sunbathing area.
Bearded dragons can be startled by anything, not only people, of course. One beardie, often the male, may be acting aggressively toward the other if you maintain more than one in the same cage, which is generally not advised. The female may become startled by this and react by hissing and opening her jaws.
If you have other animals, they could be startling the dragon by entering the cage, attempting to swat at the bearded dragon, or making loud sounds. If your bearded dragon’s cage is next to a window, it may even be the commotion of nearby dogs or passing automobiles that is inciting aggression.
Look for measures to reduce any noise or other activities that could be the cause of the response. If it will help, move the cage to a more peaceful location or away from the window.
Other Pets Causing Aggression
If you keep cats or dogs or other pets in your house, it’s also possible that your bearded dragon will grow hostile to them.
The majority of the time, a Bearded Dragon that feels uneasy around a larger pet at home will be scared or intimidated, but some Dragons can really turn hostile.
It’s really not an issue if your bearded dragon occasionally opens its jaws in an aggressive manner at your pets; it might just be anything as simple as the fact that your dog got overexcited and made your dragon feel uneasy in its presence.
On the other hand, if this behavior persists every time your pet enters the room, you may want to consider taking action since the ongoing stress levels in this circumstance can become too high.
Really, there are only two options available to you. The first is to prevent your pet from entering the room where your bearded dragon is.
It might be challenging to do this, particularly if your bearded dragon is in the primary family space, like the living room.
Moving your dragon to a different room in the house where your pet is less likely to enter is another option.
Depending on the size of the tank and if you can put it in another room, this can occasionally be difficult.
You must decide what is best for both you and your animals. What matters most is that they be both content and secure.
Dogs and bearded dragons can play together, and I’ve published a fantastic essay here that explains the various risks you should be aware of.
Keeping Mouth Open Due to Mating Season
Bearded dragons often get hostile during mating season and may leave their mouths open. During this time, bearded dragons get angry when people or pets get come anywhere near their enclosure.
You can’t really do anything about this because it’s just natural behavior. The good news is that when the mating season is done, things should go back to normal.
Small Object & Children’s Toys
It may seem ludicrous at first, but minor things like socks and toys may make your bearded dragon hostile.
A bearded dragon regularly displays angry behavior, like keeping their jaws wide, and may very easily mistake a little toy for a predator.
If your bearded dragon thinks a toy is a predator, the gaping mouth is frequently followed by hissing.
Your dragon could also see new furnishings and other stuff as unfriendly.
The Tank is Near The Window
It can be quite beneficial for your bearded dragon if you place the tank close to a window. The outer world has a lot to offer in terms of stimulation.
It can be easier to simulate their natural habitat if you notice things like how the clouds move and how the trees rustle in the wind.
It may also be a frightening area depending on where you live, and you frequently witness your dragon acting aggressively toward anything it sees outside the window.
Your dragon may feel scared by cats and birds and may then act violently by opening their mouth.
Again, if this just seldom occurs, there is no need to be concerned, but if it occurs frequently, you may want to think about removing them from the window.
As you can see, it’s often not a problem if a bearded dragon keeps its mouth open. You’ll see this behavior very frequently as the years go by since it typically takes place while they are basking (also known as gaping).
In some circumstances, though, it could point to something more grave.
It is your responsibility to address the issue if your bearded dragon has an open mouth as a result of persistent stress or a respiratory infection. Take them to the vet if they are ill. If their living arrangement need modification, make it as soon as possible!
Once you’ve got everything just right, you won’t ever worry about having your mouth open again.