Why Do Bearded Dragons Wave – The 5 Reasons

Why do bearded dragons wave? It’s actually a very common question, and today we’re going to answer it. So, let’s figure out why bearded dragons wave!


bearded dragon waving


Why Is My Bearded Dragons Wave? 

Bearded dragons can be very peculiar sometimes. If you’ve repeatedly seen your bearded dragon lifting its arm and asked yourself – Why is my bearded dragon waving? – we’ve got the answer for you! Read on to find out the five possible reasons behind bearded dragon arm-waving.


What Is Bearded Dragon Waving?

Bearded dragon waving is when your beardie lifts one arm and hovers it in a circular motion.  Although most humans would regard an arm wave as friendliness, bearded dragons wave when they’re scared or frightened for the most part.




Why Do Bearded Dragons Wave – The 5 Main Reason

The answer to “why is my bearded dragon waving” isn’t as simple as you might think. In fact, there are 5 main reasons why your beardie is waving. So, let’s jump in and take a look!


1. It’s a Sign of Submission

Bearded dragons wave to others as a sign of submission. It’s the lizard equivalent of how a dog might roll over for a belly scratch in front of its owner. However, this sign of submission won’t be directed at you for the most part. You’ll likely only see this sort of arm-waving when you have multiple bearded dragons in the same tank!

Like many other animals, bearded dragons have an alpha/beta system. If your bearded dragon is waving its arm at another dragon, he/she might be regarding the other one as the alpha.




2. Your Bearded Dragon is Frightened

Is your bearded dragon waving all the time? That may be your dragon crying for help. Whereas intermittent arm-waving is normal, you should be concerned about your bearded dragon’s mental health if their arm is always in the air. This is a sign that your bearded dragon is scared of something either inside or outside of its tank.

What changes have you made recently? Have you put another beardie in the same tank, got a new pet, or moved their tank? Chances are, a change you made has caused your beardie to become frightened. Figure out what is scaring your beardie and remedy the situation. Once you have, the waving will likely stop or at least decrease!


bearded dragon frightened


3. They’re Looking for a Mate

It’s the lizard version of a wink – female bearded dragons will wave to males that they’re interested in. This is a fairly rare reason for arm waving, as you don’t normally keep more than one dragon in the tank. However, if you do happen to keep a couple of dragons together, the female might wave her arm at the male. In return, the male will show other signs of mating readiness in return. Such as a black beard or head bobbing.


Naturally, if you don’t have two dragons, it’s safe to assume this isn’t the cause of your bearded dragon arm waving. Unless they’re waving at their reflection, in which case you can scroll down to #5 on our list.



4. They’re Acknowledging Other Animals or Humans

It’s hard to tell whether your bearded dragon is arm waving out of fear or out of respect. One way you can investigate is by observing its habitual behavior. Does he/she wave whenever a certain person or animal is nearby? Or does you beardie wave for everyone and everything?

Some bearded dragons are friendlier than others, so it can be hard to tell if your dragon is startled by everything or just wants to show respect to you or another animal.

Start recording your bearded dragon’s ordinary behavior with a camera if you’re puzzled. Is there a trigger for the arm waving – like a loud sound? If so, your beardie is likely scared. But if she waves at people and animals for no apparent reason, it’s probably just acknowledgment.




5. They’ve been deceived by their own reflection

It happens to even the smartest of bearded dragons. Every so often, they mistake their reflection as another bearded dragon and wave to them. As far-fetched as it may seem, bearded dragons can get stressed, aroused, or terrified by their own reflection!

It’s best to surround the sides of your dragon’s terrarium with sheets of paper if you think your bearded dragon is getting tricked a little too often. It might sound silly, but reflections can even cause stress marks to form on your bearded dragon.

To tell whether your bearded dragon arm waving is because of their reflection, use a camera or video recorder. Tape your bearded dragon’s behavior overnight, or a couple of days if you can. Next, review the footage. If your dragon’s waving at seemingly nothing at all, you have your answer –  he/she’s probably waving at their reflection.


Baby Bearded Dragon Waving

Young bearded dragons are curious and playful. However, it’s critical to discern being playful from being stressed out. Sometimes the difference can be hard to spot.

Baby bearded dragon’s wave when they’re introduced to a new environment. This is completely normal and can last up to a week. If arm waving persists for more than a week, it’s not the new environment that is causing your baby bearded dragon to wave.

Getting to the root cause of your baby bearded dragon arm waving is especially important as baby dragons lose their appetite when stressed. This loss of appetite can be detrimental to your baby bearded dragon’s growth since bearded dragons grow to 90% of their adult size in the first year.

Find out why your bearded dragon is waving using the camera method aforementioned and resolve the issue!


Bearded dragon


Male And Female Bearded Dragon Waving

Female and male bearded dragons wave for various reasons. Female dragons wave to convey their interest to male bearded dragons.

On the other hand, male bearded dragons wave when they’re frightened, when they’re submissive, or when they’ve been tricked by their reflection.

Unsure of your bearded dragon’s gender? Check out how to sex your bearded dragon here!



In most cases, if your bearded dragon is waving its arm, it’s probably a sign of stress – either it’s being submissive, waving at its reflection, or it’s frightened. That is unless your bearded dragon is a baby or a female, in which case it’s slightly more complicated.

Did you find this post helpful? If so, why not share with some fellow lizard lovers!

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