Why A Bearded Dragon Will Open Its Mouth At You

Have you ever wondered why a bearded dragon will lay for hours with its mouth open? Or more specifically, why it seems to be opening its mouth at you?

The good news is, it’s often nothing to worry about. It’s a trait of the species that they do naturally for many different reasons. Keep reading to find out what these are.

7 Reasons Why a Bearded Dragon Keeps its Mouth Open

1. They are Shedding

If you’re already the proud owner of a bearded dragon, you’ll know all about shedding.

Up to the age of 6 months, they will shed a layer of skin around once per month, then a couple of times each year once they reach adulthood.

While they are shedding, you may notice they are moving and stretching more than usual, including opening their mouths.

This is perfectly normal as the skin around their face is generally more tricky to shed. Beardies often open their mouths to stretch this skin to help the process along.

shedding ease

If you find that your beardie is really struggling to shed, then there are a few things you can get to help the process out. One thing you could consider investing in is a shedding aid which will help remove any persistent bits of shed.

You can find more tips to help with your bearded dragons shedding process here.

2. They are Yawning

Bearded dragons get sleepy too! Don’t worry, they’re not bored of your stories (on the contrary – they’re very good listeners!).

They are just letting out a yawn to show they’re tired and getting ready to turn in. They will sometimes team this with a beard stretch, which can look fairly dramatic to the untrained eye.

But it’s just one of the quirks you’ll get used to when owning a bearded dragon.

3. They are Angry

One of the appeals of owning a bearded dragon is being able to handle them. It’s key though, to assess their character first. Having them sitting on your shoulder while you watch tv is great, but not always the right thing to do.

If they open their mouths at you when you are near their tank or when you put your hand in, it may be a sign they are defensive or aggressive.

If you have an angry bearded dragon you can find out how to calm your beardie down here.

If your beardie isn’t exactly warming to you – don’t worry, he’s not about to channel his inner dragon and breathes fire at you.

Their docile nature usually means they will come around eventually. However, you can take some steps to make them feel more at home.

You could try improving their tank by adding more hiding places.

Overall, beardies are a laid back species that won’t be phased by much. Keep their stress levels down and they should slowly warm to you.

It’s unlikely you’ll ever lose a limb, but they’re capable of inflicting a nasty bite if they want to.

4. They are Gaping

Gaping is one of the main reasons your bearded dragon will lie with its mouth open. Just as dogs pant or humans sweat, bearded dragons will open their mouths to regulate their temperature.

Bearded dragons use this method to remove excess heat through their mouth, cooling them down to a comfortable temperature.

They’ll usually do it when they’re relaxing or basking to get back to their optimum temperature.

To help with this, ensure you’re keeping their tank at the appropriate temperature and that they have a place to cool off when they need to.

baby bearded dragon temperature

5. The Presence of Other Dragons

Bearded dragons are generally solitary creatures and are best kept on their own. If you have two in the same tank, one will always try to assert themselves as dominant.

They do this by opening their mouths and acting aggressively towards their roommate.

If this is happening, it’s recommended to separate them, as the less dominant one will become stressed and may stop eating.

bearded dragon cohabitation

6. The Presence of Other Pets

Other pets could also be the reason they are opening their mouths more than usual.

While your dog strolling past may be none the wiser, your dragon may see them as a threat.

They will have no problem letting the unwelcome house guest know that although they are small, they certainly don’t lack bravery.

They can become stressed by other pets in the home, if this is the case, keep your other pets out of the room where you keep your bearded dragon.

7. There Could be Respiratory Issues

If your bearded dragon is opening its mouth at you constantly, it maybe they have a respiratory problem.

If it’s not doing it for any of the above reasons, or you get a feeling that something isn’t right, there could be an issue.

This usually happens when they are exposed to high humidity for prolonged periods. They aren’t built to breathe in moist air, so to keep the humidity at bay, try doing the following:

  • Move the water bowl away from heat sources
  • Switch to a different substrate
  • Stop misting until the humidity is at the correct level
  • Use a hygrometer to assess humidity levels

Inkbird ITH-10 Digital Thermometer

If you’re concerned that your bearded dragon may be opening their mouth because of a respiratory infection, signs to look out for are:

  • Lack of Appetite
  • Black Bearding
  • Weight Loss

Respiratory infections are usually the only reason they will open their mouths that raises any real cause for concern.

If you spot any of these signs, contact a vet as soon as possible to ensure your bearded dragon is nursed back to health.


It’s no secret that bearded dragons make great pets with many endearing qualities, mouth opening being just one of them.

They are amazing creatures with unique personalities and nine times out of ten, having their mouths open is perfectly normal – and provides a great photo opportunity!

If you need any more information or want advice on bearded dragon ownership, simply contact me, I’d be happy to help.

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bearded dragon mouth open

  • About Matthew Cantell

    I was just 15 years of age when I first met a bearded dragon. It was at my friend's house and I instantly grew an immediate attraction to, what has now become, my favourite animal on the planet! Making fantastic pets for both children and adults alike, they each have their own personality and are certainly full of character. There are, though, some important things that we should all know when it comes to caring for these amazing animals!
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