Is A Waving Bearded Dragon Normal?

There are many pictures and videos on social media that show a bearded dragon waving. These videos have drawn a lot of attention to beardies because of how cute and funny they look.

Have you ever seen your bearded dragon waving? The good news is that its completely normal, your beardie hasn’t just lost the plot! There are times though, that waving could be concerning but before we look at that let’s understand why bearded dragons wave.

Why Do Beardies Wave?

Many people believe that beardies are actually waving at us, or welcoming their owner home. As cute as this would be, it is sadly not strictly true.

A Sign of Submission

The wave is mainly a sign of submission which can come about for a number of reasons. A bearded dragon that sees themselves as smaller compared to others around them, will often wave. If your bearded dragon is waving as you approach the tank, it’s giving you a sign that he realizes you are the bigger and more dominant than them.

They are Scared

They are waving because they are scared of you. To prevent this from happening, you will need to help to establish an affectionate bond between you and your beardie. This is easily done through the use of food, try feeding your beardie by hand (or with feeding tongs if you don’t like holding the worms).

bearded dragon feeding tongs

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Note: If your beardie turns from submissive to angry then you can find out how to calm down an angry bearded dragon here.

Other Causes of Bearded Dragon Waving

There are a couple of other reasons why bearded dragons wave. These particular reasons may require some action to ensure that your beardie is not suffering. Keep reading to find out what these are.

1. Self Reflection

When beardies see their own reflection in the side of the tank, they often mistake themselves for another beardie. Seeing their own reflection can make them feel threatened, often their response is to wave in submission.

There are some things which you could do to prevent this. Try redirecting the lamps so that the glass isn’t quite as reflective. Combine this with introducing some extra tank decor for your beardie. One of the best solutions is a terrarium background. Often it is the back of the tank that gives the most reflection and this you should look to cover.

 tank background

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2. Emotional Exploration

Similar to teenagers, juvenile bearded dragons are going through a whole new set of emotions on a daily basis. This can see mood swings occur, and one of the mood swings maybe that of submission. This is why a juvenile bearded dragon will quite frequently be seen waving.

3. Mating

In the world of bearded dragons, it is the male who initiates the breeding process. They will often bob their heads at the female to indicate that they are ready to mate. This usually occurs a month or so after emerging from brumation.

The female response to this may be a wave, this is an indication that they are submissive to the male dragon. This more often than not results in the male continuing the breeding process.

4. Environmental Changes

Beardies really are creatures of habit. They like things to be ‘just so’. Changes to their regular environment can really throw them. Simply placing a new piece of decor in their view can make them quite restless and more prone to arm waving if they become frightened.

Other changes to the environment can trigger this behavior too. The emergence of other new pets in the home are common reasons so it’s wise to keep this in mind when introducing something new into a beardie’s surroundings.

Other Things To Keep In Mind With Beardies

Tank Size

Some other reasons that your bearded dragon could be frightened, or stressed could be the wrong size enclosure. A tank that is too small may make your beardie feel trapped, or a tank that is too large may make them feel exposed and vulnerable, causing them stress. For a baby bearded dragon, a 40-gallon tank is suitable however they will quickly outgrow this.

Adult bearded dragons require a minimum tank size of 55-gallons but 75-gallons would be far better.


As mentioned above, a large tank comes with a lot of open space. Beardies originate from the Australian deserts, large open spaces make a beardie feel vulnerable to predators who could easily spot them. Therefore it is a good idea to ensure your beardie feels safe and protected.

This can easily be achieved through some decor in the tank which is also quite aesthetically pleasing. Decor such as terrarium plants can be a good way to provide the cover that your bearded dragon needs to feel safe.

tank decor plant

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Note: If you want some more ideas for your beardie’s tank, you can find some tank decor ideas right here. 


Bearded dragons are generally solitary creatures and live alone in the wild. They will only pair up to mate, then the male and female will part ways. It is generally good advice to keep your beardies in separate tanks, doing so will prevent some significant risks to health both mentally and physically.

If you keep your beardies together in one tank then they will constantly be assessing who is the most dominant of the two. The more submissive dragon will be seen to wave quite frequently as a result. Where you own more than one dragon, it is best to invest in a second tank and keep your beardies separated.


Bearded dragons are all different, each with their different quirks, habits, and personalities. Only you will know when something isn’t quite right. But hopefully, now you are able to identify the reason for your bearded dragon waving and make any necessary changes to make them feel more protected and less scared.

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bearded dragon waving

  • About Blake Hamilton

    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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