Why Do Bearded Dragons Wave? 7 Reasons

Why Do Bearded Dragons Wave

Bearded dragons are great pets to keep. They are easy to care for and are very friendly. Decoding bearded dragon behavior and knowing what it means is important. If your bearded dragon is trying to communicate with you, you should be able to understand its needs and provide them accordingly. 

Waving is a common habit of bearded dragons and can often be mistaken as a sign or symptom that they might be sick or hurt. But this might not be the same. In this article, we will talk about bearded dragon waving, why do bearded dragons wave, and what it means. 

Bearded Dragon Hissing

7 Reasons Why My Bearded Dragon is Waving

1: A Sign of Submission

The common reason for a bearded dragon waving is submission. They are surrendering themselves. Waving is a bearded dragon’s way of saying, yes, you are in charge and the dominant one, and I am ok with that. They are being passive. 

2: Seeing Its Reflection 

If you have a mirror near their enclosure of any shiny objects, the bearded dragon will see its reflection in them and think it is another bearded dragon because it cannot tell the difference between what is real and fake. To the reptile, it just looks like another lizard in its territory. It will feel threatened by this image and therefore show submission to it and say peace by waving.

3: Fear of Other Pets Inside or Outside the House

Your bearded dragon might feel uncomfortable and threatened if you have another pet in your house, like a dog or cat. They will wave at the said pet to communicate that it is not aggressive and is submitting and surrendering in fear. 

Bearded dragons will also wave to know the presence of their pets in the house. Sore of saying I know you’re out there, and I can see you. Similarly, if your bearded dragon habitat is near a window and there can see outside. They will see birds, people walking by, and all sorts of unpleasant things. They will wave as a result of this uneasy feeling. 

4: Experimental Behavior by Young-Bearded Dragons 

Baby bearded dragons often wave at other baby bearded dragons. It is because they are trying to interact with each other without the intention of picking a fight. It is experimental because they still understand their body and how it moves. Picking up their arm and rotating it is something very fascinating for them.

5: Crowded Enclosure with Too Many Dragons 

Bearded dragons prefer solitude by nature or by territorial animals, especially male bearded dragons. If you are housing 2-3 male bearded dragons in the same enclosure, their waving will be a common sight. Each male is trying to assert dominance over the other and show aggression. 

6: Unfamiliar Enclosure Can Disturn Them

Your bearded dragon will wave when it finds itself in a place it does not like. So many things could be the problem. The tank size is too small, and they feel tapped, or if the space is too big, they will feel vulnerable and exposed with no hiding spots. 

New sights, sounds, and smells will overwhelm them and stress them out. It could lead to them waving because they are nervous and anxious.

7: Mating Behavior and Signal 

Female bearded dragons will usually wave to male dragons to tell them they are interested and they are engaging in mating behavior. 

Male bearded dragons will also wave at other males when feeling threatened by their behavior because other males will become aggressive and show dominance towards the other male bearded dragons to get the female to himself.  

Why Do Bearded Dragons Wave Their Arms?

Bearded dragons wave their arms as a sign of submission toward other male or older bearded dragons. The waving signifies that they do not want to fight or show aggression, and waving is their way of communicating with their body; they give up.

3 Common Misconceptions about Bearded Dragon Waving

Bearded dragons can wave for various reasons, such as to express their emotions and what they are feeling at that moment. Some are the reasons mentioned below. Next time you see your bearded dragon waving, try observing why they are waving. 

1: They Are Saying Hello

It often gets misunderstood that when you see a bearded dragon waving, it is saying hello to you. But no, this is not the case. However this idea may seem cute, but bearded dragons have no concept of greeting. Bearded dragons can recognize their owners and show their affection differently; unfortunately, waving is not one of them. 

2: Only Females Do it

Nope, male bearded dragons also wave as much as female bearded dragons. Both genders wave their hands to show submission among groups. Waving is a normal behavior for bearded dragons, and this is how they communicate with others. 

3: Every Bearded Dragon Waves

Again, this is not true. Not all bearded dragons wave and display this sort of behavior, which could mean they are not feeling submissive and do not feel like waving. Another reason could be that they feel comfortable and cheerful. So they don’t wave.

They wave when they feel intimidated or spooked. Otherwise, when they are friendly and kind, they will not wave.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Wave Their Arms

Should Bearded Dragon Waving Be a Concern?

Excessive waving can lead to aggression, and they could end up attacking and picking a fight with other bearded dragons

If you share a bearded dragon enclosure with two or more lizards and notice one of them excessively waving at the other, it is best to remove them from the enclosure and keep them in solitude for some time, which will allow them to calm down. Otherwise, waving is a natural response and behavior for bearded dragons and is not a major concern. Suppose you don’t see your bearded dragon waving at all of them. That is a good sign; it means they are happy and comfortable in their habitat.


To summarize, why do bearded dragons wave? Bearded dragons wave to show submission towards other pets, or bearded dragons when they feel threatened or scared. It is natural for them to do this; it is their way of saying, don’t hurt me; I surrender. 

Bearded dragons waving can often be confused for something else, like they are waving hello to you. It is not the case, and you should educate yourself on the signs of bearded dragons waving. Waving is their way of communicating with each other. Other reasons they might wave are because their enclosure is not proper. They can feel stressed, and waving can become a nervous tic.


Is arm-waving considered a greeting for bearded dragons?

No, it is not a form of greeting but a sign of submission.

Do bearded dragons wave at people?

Sometimes, if they feel scared or threatened by people, they will wave at them.

Is head bobbing the same as waving for bearded dragons?

No, head bobbing is not the same as waving, and head bobbing is to show their dominance and the opposite of waving.

My bearded dragon never waves; is this normal?

Yes, it means they are happy and comfortable where they are and don’t feel the need to show submission.

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