"Pet Bearded Dragon Care & Information (Pogona vitticeps)"


Bearded Dragon Open Mouth Behavior


Bearded dragon open mouth behavior can be either normal, or indicative of environmental problems.

Bearded Dragon Behavior Open Mouth

A Bearded dragon with open mouth can be quite intimidating and frightening at the same time. That is exactly what a Bearded dragon owner should feel when seeing this behavior. A normal form of open mouth behavior is when your see your Bearded dragon basking with open mouth.

The most obvious reason for Bearded dragon open mouth behavior is when these animals feel threatened. They might show this intimidating act as part of the aggressive behavior towards a perceived predator or generally when feeling threatened. Other signs of threatening behavior includes the fast form of Bearded dragon waving, making hissing sounds, dashing forward and by flattening of the body. Some of these signs might also be part of the territorial behavior.

Although uncommon, aggressive individuals may appear from time to time in captivity. Bearded dragon handling on a regular basis might reduce this behavior.

a Bearded dragon open mouth behavior b      

 Figure 1  Bearded dragon open mouth behavior. a A Bearded dragon with a threatening open mouth; b A Beardie showing threatening behavior after the introduction of a new cage mate.


Bearded Dragon Basking With Open Mouth

A second form of Bearded dragon open mouth behavior is when it is done while the dragon is basking. The open mouth behavior also part of the thermoregulatory behavior, where a Bearded dragon tries to get rid of body heat. This Bearded dragon basking with open mouth behavior is normal as long as the Bearded dragon spends a lot of time in the basking area. If not, i.e. when it spends most of its time hiding or on the cooler side of the vivarium, it can be indicative of too high environmental temperatures.

Bearded Dragon Open Mouth Breathing

A third reason for open mouth behavior is that the environmental temperature is too warm. This is the part where the owner should feel frightened! The overall area of the vivarium might be higher than the recommended 40 C / 104 F hot spot on one side with a 24 - 34 C / 75 - 93 F temperature gradient towards the other side. This form is more a form of open mouth breathing. It is far more serious than Bearded dragon open mouth behavior and the Bearded dragon basking with open mouth  mentioned above and can be life-threatening if not rectified immediately.

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