Why Do Bearded Dragons Wave? 7 Reasons + Misconceptions

It is a very cute yet peculiar behavior to watch bearded dragons wave their hands. So, why do bearded dragons wave? In this article, we will discuss the reason behind this gesture and what exactly it means.

Bearded dragons wave due to many reasons. Waving their arms is usually a sign of fear and submission, although it can also be a precursor to mating. Bearded dragons waving can also be a simple greeting but is more likely to be a way to communicate discomfort for your beardie. You should see if they have sufficient room in the enclosure, and get the right environment to live in.

Waving is just a way of communicating with your bearded dragons. They might wave their hands at your or another bearded dragon. It is a common sign to establish dominance or to show submission. When two bearded dragons meet each other, they will wave to establish who is the dominant one.

The bearded dragon who will wave more vigorously is considered the dominating one, while the other submits to the dominant dragon. Your pet might even wave at you to communicate it is feeling unsafe and threatened. When a bearded dragon feels threatened, it will raise its hand and constantly wave. 

Your bearded dragon might also wave just to say hello or to grab your attention. This is generally seen with bearded dragons who have a great bond with their pet owners. When a bearded dragon waves at you or licks you, it is a good sign of great trust and affection

What Does a Bearded Dragon Waving Mean and How Does It Look?

Why do Bearded Dragons wave

Bearded dragons are known for their unique personality one such peculiar trait is waving. Your pet beardie can wave for various reasons, and understanding this behavior can help you communicate better with your bearded dragon.

Waving is considered a submissive gesture that a bearded dragon uses to communicate with other dragons or humans. When a bearded dragon waves, it shows its respect and affection for you. It is also a way to say hello or that they are not a threat to other bearded dragons.

A bearded dragon’s wave looks like a vigorous hand motion which might be to greet you or to establish dominance amongst other bearded dragons. Waving can be done by both male and female bearded dragons, although this is more commonly seen in males during mating season.

It is also essential to note waving is not the same as arm waving that bearded dragons do when they feel unsafe and threatened. Arm waving is done between male bearded dragons to establish dominance and is a sign of aggression. Whereas waving is just a simple way of greeting and showing affection for your bearded dragon.

If your pet is waving around you, it is a great sign of trust and affection. You can respond by waving back to your beardie, which will reinforce the bond with your pet beardie. You should notice these small behavioral patterns to provide them with the right care and affection for your pet.

Editor’s Note
Bearded dragons might also bob their heads and puff up their beards while waving at you or a female bearded dragon. These are just friendly gestures and nothing to be paranoid about.

7 Reasons Why Bearded Dragon Wave

Waves are nothing but a way to show submission for many bearded dragons. If your pet beardie is waving around you, it is just to show its love and affection for you. However, there are various reasons why bearded dragons wave.

Submissive Behavior

Bearded Dragon waving right hand

Bearded dragons use their body language to communicate their submissive behavior. Every beardie owner loves to see their pet wave at them, as it is a joyful sight to witness. Bearded dragons will wave to show they are not a threat to humans and other dragons. At the same time, head bobbing is considered more aggressive as it is used to communicate dominance in bearded dragons.

If a bearded dragon is waving at you when you approach the enclosure, it is surrendering to you and establishing trust. A beta-bearded dragon will wave its hand to the other alpha dragon to acknowledge its status. If the lower-ranked beardie does not want to fight for dominance over the environment, it will simply wave its hand to surrender.

Waving will signal the end of combat and bring peace within the dragons. Waving is an instinct amongst bearded dragons, and there is nothing to be worried about.

Being Scared

If your bearded dragon is waving at you now and then, it is just trying to reinforce its bond with you. Although excessively waving every day signifies it is feeling scared and threatened. If your bearded dragon is feeling scared, you should solve the problem immediately. A long period of stress can affect their health and even cause a loss of appetite.

If you have other pets like cats and dogs, they might be getting too close to the enclosure. This can cause extreme stress and discomfort for your bearded dragon. Your pet beardie will perceive these pets as potential predators and will start waving to try and seek your help.

If you notice this happening, place the bearded dragon’s enclosure somewhere far from the pets. This will help your pet beardie feel better and reduce the amount of stress they were feeling.

Editor’s Note
The presence of other bearded dragons or pets is not the only reason why your beardie is feeling unsafe and threatened.  Make sure you are providing them with enough water, food, and a clean environment.


5 Bearded Dragons in one tank

Bearded dragons like to stay independent, placing too many dragons in the same enclosure might result in waving behavior. Male bearded dragons like to establish dominance over their surroundings.

When too many male beardies are placed in the same tank, it can lead to aggressive behavior. This can often result in violence, less dominant dragons will wave their hands to surrender. You should never keep two male bearded dragons in the same enclosure.

Baby Bearded Dragons

Baby Bearded Dragons

Baby bearded dragons are curious and playful. They will wave at you after you have developed a good bond with them. But always make sure, if they are waving at you as a sign of affection or are stressed out.

When you introduce a bearded dragon to a new enclosure, it might feel unsafe and wave at you to communicate the stress. This is a common instinct and can continue from anything between a day and a week. 

If a bearded dragon is lasting for more than a week, then the real cause of the problem is something else. Bearded dragons’ stress can cause a sudden loss in appetite and when they are young, they will lose out on their growth.

Seeing their reflection

Bearded Dragon waving looking at its reflection in the mirror

Bearded dragons might panic or get scared when they see their reflection. When a bearded dragon will see its reflection, it will fail to recognize itself. Bearded dragons will get anxious about another bearded dragon in the enclosure and wave at you.

A dominant bearded dragon might scratch or try to bite the tank in protest of their reflection. Your bearded dragon might get upset seeing another beardie in the enclosure as they are no longer the dominant one.

Editor’s Note
Invest in a good wallpaper to minimize reflection in your dragon’s cage. You can also buy a non-reflective tank to get rid of this problem.

Mating Behavior

Bearded Dragon mating

Bearded dragons also wave during mating season. Female bearded dragons will wave at the potential male bearded dragons they are interested in. If you have only one bearded dragon in the tank, the chances of this happening are very low. But if you have a female bearded dragon with other males, this might be the reason your beardie is waving.

Bearded dragons will also bob their head and walk around the tank to put themselves as potential mates. If you do not see these mating signs, something else might be the reason for your beardie waving.

Environmental Changes

Environmental changes are one of the biggest factors for bearded dragons waving. Bearded dragons will wave at you if you have made any recent changes to the tank. This can also be caused due to recent temperature changes or by placing a new toy inside the enclosure.

Bearded dragons do not know what toys are, so if you place a big object in their space, they might get very stressed. Make sure you remove the objects causing stress to your bearded dragons. 

You can also gradually introduce new things to your bearded dragon and let them get used to it. Doing so will help avoid waving and getting scared of new changes inside the environment.

Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Is Waving Excessively

Bearded Dragon in tank waving

Bearded dragons wave due to many reasons. While waving occasionally can be treated as an affectionate gesture excessive waving is something to be concerned about. Here are some of the reasons why bearded dragons wave excessively.

Territorial Display

Aggressive waving is a way to show territorial dominance over the enclosure. If you have two male bearded dragons, they will get aggressive and try to establish dominance. This behavior is more common in male bearded dragons, especially around the mating season.

You should never keep two male bearded dragons inside the same enclosure. Aggressive behavior can lead to stress and cause health problems for your beardie. If you see any of the bearded dragons waving and getting aggressive separate them to solve the issue.

Stress or Fear

Excessive waving can also be a sign of stress and fear in bearded dragons. If your bearded dragon is not getting the right food, environment, or lighting it will wave at you to communicate its distress.

You should try and note their behavioral patterns to know what is upsetting them and fix that problem immediately. You should also check the temperature inside the enclosure to provide them with the right environment to live in.

Other signs of excessive stress in bearded dragons are stress marks and their body puffing up.

Illness or Injury

If your bearded dragon is going through an injury or a health issue it will wave its hand and puff up its beard. Check for any signs of loss in appetite, digestive impaction, or discharge from the mouth.

If you see any of these signs, make an appointment with the vet immediately. The vet will perform an examination and find the illness. They will also suggest treatment and medication for your bearded dragon. 

Temperature Regulation

You should provide the right lighting and temperature setting for your bearded dragon. Maintain a temperature of 95-110 degrees Fahrenheit inside the enclosure. This will maintain the perfect basking temperature inside the tank. Bearded dragons require heat at night as well, however, the temperature at night should be lowered to around 70-75°F

If your bearded dragon is not getting the right temperature or UVB lighting, it will wave excessively to communicate discomfort. Lack of UVB lighting can also lead to metabolic bone disease or MBD. Therefore give your bearded dragon a comfortable environment; so they do not get stressed or upset.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

If your bearded dragon has the right environment and is still waving excessively, then it is trying to grab your attention. This behavior will be more prominent if you are not spending much time with your pet and leaving it alone.

To avoid this behavior, try to plan small enrichment activities and play them with calm nature noises to build up a great bond. This will help lessen the waving with your bearded dragon.

Misconceptions About Waving in Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon in enclosure about to wave hand

There are different reasons why your bearded dragons wave. Because of this, there are many common misconceptions about waving in bearded dragons. Here are a few of the things pet owners misunderstand when their pet beardie waves at them.

Waving Is Always a Sign of Aggression

One of the few misconceptions about waving behavior is that it is an aggressive response by your pet. Your bearded dragon will indeed wave when it comes to territorial dominance. Waving can also be a sign of submission or affection. Bearded dragons will wave at their owners just to gain their attention. 

Only Male Bearded Dragons Wave

Female bearded dragons wave more often than males in the mating season. It is a sign of showing interest in male bearded dragons. Female bearded dragons might also bob their head and roam around the tank systematically. Waving is an instinct to show affection, stress, and submission and can occur in both sexes.

Waving Is Always a Sign of Concern

Excessive waving might be a way to communicate something is wrong. Although, waving from time to time is normal behavior for your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons might wave at you to grab your attention or to communicate discomfort. 

Bearded dragons waving is not always a sign of health issues. Try to note any behavior changes to confirm that they do not have a digestive impact or facing any health issues.


Why is my bearded dragon waving at me?

The common reason for bearded dragons to wave is to show submission. Bearded dragons will look up to you and wave to show affection to their pet owners. Many bearded dragons might also wave to show submission to other bearded dragons.

Is it bad for a bearded dragon to wave at you?

No, it is normal if your beardie is waving at you occasionally. Excessive waving can be a sign of stress, illness, or discomfort with your bearded dragon. Make sure they are getting the right environment and well-balanced food.

Final Thoughts

Bearded dragon waving is an instinct and nothing to be worried about. Although, if your beardie is waving excessively, make sure you find out what is causing them stress and solve it immediately.

If there are no environmental issues, make sure they have no signs of illnesses. If they have a loss in appetite or digestive impaction, then take them to a vet immediately.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *