As more and more bearded dragons are being adapted as pets, new, better, and authentic information regarding their traits is being accumulated and shared in publications and forums. This is greatly helping the pet owners to care well for their loved animals.
Why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them? One such trait observed and agreed upon by all is that when a bearded dragon is petted it sometimes closes its eyes. It feels stressed and is telling to stop the petting. It is scared and wants to be left alone for the time being.
In this blog we discuss questions like why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them, why is my bearded dragon closing one eye, and similar requests.
Read on to find more on this topic. Hope you enjoy this review and will let us know.
Do Bearded Dragons Like To Be Petted?
Generally, the answer is yes, but in some cases, it is no.
It is accepted that the bearded dragons are an animal of solitude. They don’t like to be handled much. However, if a bond is developed with its caregiver, then they would like to be petted and will also show affection towards their caregivers.
By bonding, they have accepted you and the environment and associate you with food provider and caregiver. When being petted, they are accepting of your scent and touch.
If they are stressed for any other reason, any external event or environment, they will not like to be petted for the time being.
By coming near them, stroking, or picking them up in such a situation, you are adding to their stress. This is only a temporary phase. As soon the external distraction is over they will be normal.
The stressed bearded dragon will return to normal as soon the external distraction is gone or removed which could happen in a couple of minutes or a little more.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Closes One Eye
Besides the query why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them, bearded dragon owners also report their bearded dragon closes one eye.
A bearded dragon closing one eye occasionally is not considered any serious issue to be worried about. It is just reacting to some small things.
Observations and experiences by pet owners and vets for the bearded dragon closing one eye are discussed below.
- Infection : Bearded dragons are prone to have eye infections from bacteria or a tail rot. Difficult to detect by a common man, besides there could be other symptoms like swelling or discharge. Consult a vet specializing in lizards, as this can get serious.
- Mites or parasites : These are tiny creatures that infect the eyes and ears. Irritation can force the bearded dragon to close its affected eye.
- Concentrating : When paying more attention to have a better focus. This is often when the bearded dragon is eating or looking at prey.
- Dehydration : Bearded dragons don’t drink water like most other pets. They get their water from the greens and vegetables. Lack of water in the body also results in the bearded dragon closing one eye. Additional signs are the eyes are sunken and the bearded dragon is lethargic. Remember, beardie can still watch with its third eye
- Lighting : Overexposure and wrong lighting in the bearded dragon’s tank can also make the bearded dragon close one eye only, the side receiving more radiation. One can observe the bearded dragon while basking in sun, it will close one or both eyes to protect them from the strong solar rays.
- Intrusion : Any foreign object will naturally make the bearded dragon close its affected eye. It can be any small thing of dust or debris from its tank substrate or surroundings. It could also be a stuck shed. It is difficult for the bearded dragon to get rid of the skin shed near its eyes, which may be intrusive.
- Low Humidity : It is observed that due to low humidity the bearded dragon will often close one eye.
- Scared : The bearded dragon may close its one eye or both when something approaches it very close.
Like when petting, when the hand or fingers are close to eyes, it will close that eye and when the hands move away it opens the eye or eyes. It is just a reaction to safety.
These eight points explain the reasons for a bearded dragon one eye closed.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes When You Pet Them
A common question asked by many bearded dragon owners is why does my bearded dragon closes his eyes when I pet him.
In simple words, it is a soft massage from the bearded dragon to its owner that please do not disturb me now. You can pet another time. The bearded dragon does not mean to say I don’t like you.
Eye contact in living beings is very crucial for communication. It can convey many feelings and
messages. A stare can mean aggressiveness or threat. This is also the case with bearded dragons.
Despite having strong bonds, there are times when the bearded dragon is stressed and won’t like to be disturbed. Their stress could be due to any factor they might have observed in the surroundings.
They don’t want to challenge their large predator (the owner or caregiver) so they close their eyes. Closing its eyes is not a submission sign, rather a stressed animal, who can’t fight or flight.
Closing their eyes is a sign of discomfort. This is the body language of the bearded dragon.
Closing of eyes is more common in baby beardies, as they have very little exposure and experience of the environment, resultantly are easily stressed.
Bearded dragons have also been observed lying on their owner’s lap, chest, or shoulder and sleeping or relaxing with both eyes closed.
This is entirely different from the situation of ‘why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them’.
Here while getting warmth from their owner’s body and relaxing and closing eyes, they are showing their bond and affection. The bearded dragon is not stressed at all.
Do Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes While Sleeping?
Besides the question why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them, people ask is the bearded dragon closing eyes when it sleeps.
This is because when the owners flash their light in dark to check the bearded dragon, it will open its eyes immediately and would be disturbed a lot, and the owner would see the bearded dragon is sleeping with open eyes.
The answer is yes, bearded dragons sleep with their eyes closed. They go to sleep as soon it gets dark. Too much light disturbs them from going to sleep.
For this reason, it is recommended to provide ample hiding places for your bearded dragon in its tank with the right temperatures. Alternatively, you can darken the area where its tank is located.
What Does It Mean When Bearded Dragon Closing Eyes When Held
Bearded dragon owners want to know why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them, but then they have observed their bearded dragon eyes closed when being held by them.
This is a worst-case than ‘why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them’, because in this case it is only being held in arms and not being stroked, yet it closes its eyes.
This simply means the bearded dragon is stressed and is scared of you, and wants to be left alone.
The bearded dragon can get aggressive in the final stage, but because of the bond, it may not show such aggressiveness and just closes its eyes. It may be disturbed due to any external influence.
It is recommended when it closes its eyes to show unhappiness with you, to immediately put the bearded dragon down.
The bearded dragon may be tamed by you and have a good bond with you, but in this situation, it may be stressed due to any outside factor and is asking to be left alone for some time.
Bearded Dragon Laying Flat With Eyes Closed
Other than the query why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them, there are other times also for why do bearded dragons close their eyes, besides sleeping at night.
When basking in sun or under a light in its tank, a bearded dragon is often seen closing its eyes. This is normal behavior. Nothing to worry about. Closing its eye could mean it is trying to limit the extra strong light from damaging its eyes.
Basking and closing eyes, in fact, means the bearded dragon is relaxing and not on the outlook of predators. This is entirely different from bearded dragon closing eyes when stroked.
One thing is to make sure is to check the basking lamp position is ok. It should neither be too close nor far off.
Too close a lamp can burn the skin, or blind the bearded dragon as reported by some pet owners.
Sometimes while basking, a bearded dragon will flatten its stomach just like a pancake to gain more heat.
Sometimes a bearded dragon will suddenly flatten its stomach as a sign of being frightened. This is just a defensive move to appear larger and stronger to its predator.
Why are my bearded dragon’s eyes half-closed?
Besides the usual question, why does my bearded dragon close his eyes when I pet him, people, sometimes also report bearded dragons with half-closed eyes.
This is somewhat different from the case of why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them.
Half-closed eyes can reflect disinterest in things but generally, it is a sign of stress and also can be due to some infection or illness. This stress factor can be temporary but the infection can get serious.
Some other reasons for the squinting or half eyes closed can be due to the following.
- Injury to the eye. Like scratch to the cornea, bright light, dust particles, infection
- Shedding. Stuck piece of skin
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Bites. Cricket, prey insect, or other pet biting the beardie eye.
- Mites and other small parasites
- Improper humidity
Check for other signs like lethargy, food intake, other signs of sickness. Consult a vet if the condition persists for many days and keep up their husbandry.
Final Verdict On Why Do Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes When You Pet Them
By nature bearded dragons are calm, solitary lizards, easily stressed by predators. Generally, they don’t like to be handled much and will indicate so by their body language.
They develop good bonds with the caregiver and like to be held and cuddled and will show affection to their owners.
Pet owners have many questions regarding the observed behaviors of the bearded dragons and want to know answers. One such query is why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them.
By closing their eyes when the owner is petting them, they are displaying displeasure and softly indicating leave me alone I am stressed at the moment. It does not mean anything else.
Besides the query why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them bearded dragon pet owners also have observed and ask why do bearded dragons close one eye.
Closing one eye is not due to stress or fear. It is mainly due to different other reasons not related to handling stress.
These are not signs of illness, only the bearded dragon is trying to tell softly to let him have solitude for some time. The bearded dragon should be left on its own immediately in such a situation.
One may check for any external signs which could be disturbing the bearded dragon, and try to remove them. One can attend to its bearded dragon after a lapse of some time and would find him ok.
We hope this answered your question why do bearded dragons close their eyes when you pet them and why does my bearded dragon close one eye.