Why Is My Bearded Dragon Closing Eyes When Stroked?

Bearded Dragon Closing Eyes When Stroked

It is common for you to see your Bearded Dragon Closing Eyes When Stroked, and you wonder why?

While some people think that this behavior is a sign of happiness, actually he is expressing his discomfort.

However, eye closing also happens for other reasons.

And if you are not knowledgeable about it, you can misunderstand your beardie.

Therefore, in this article, we would like to give you a more profound understanding of this behavior as well as your beloved pet.


Why Do Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes?

There are many reasons for your bearded dragon closing his eyes.

It is commonly said that when a beardie is threatened or challenging a predator, he will show this behavior to avoid troubles.

In specific, in nature, intensive eye contact or long staring is meant as a threat or challenge to these lizards and other creatures.

Therefore, this behavior is a sign displaying that he doesn’t want to engage in this situation.

You can also see this behavior in pet shops, in which they keep beardies in large groups.

As they are loners and territorial, male dragons can´t get along with other male ones and this behavior is to tell that he just wants to submit the others.

However, there are other answers to why is my bearded dragon closing his eyes.

For example, it is possibly a result of infection or poor habitat setup.

Therefore, we would like to give you explanations for your bearded dragon closing his eyes.

1. When Being Stroked

If you see your bearded dragon closing his eyes when stroked, and you think he is enjoying it, you will be wrong. 

Most people believe that this behavior is a sign of comfort as the way humans do when we feel good.

However, humans also do that when they are scared or frightened.

Similarly, in the case of your bearded dragon closing his eyes when stroked, he is just uncomfortable and wants to be left alone.

In this case, you had better give him space and time, and it may not be the perfect time to pet him.

If you see eye-closing followed by a black and puffed beard, your dragon may be very stressed and you should stop right away.

Petting your pet is one of the easiest ways to display your love to your dragon, which helps to establish a bond between the two of you.

However, it’s not easy at all as you have to use slow and careful movements to avoid startling him.

You also need to make sure that you stroke him with your fingers from head to tail, picking up your pet from underneath if he looks relaxed and happy.

One important thing that you have to remember is washing your hands after handling your dragon, and watching out for body language that indicates your pet might not be in a mood to be pet.

Lower your hand slowly towards the lizard: 

To avoid startling your pet, you can move slowly. Try not to threaten him by getting his attention. Make sure that he is not eating or hunting before you reach for it.

Stroke your pet gently using 1 or 2 fingers:

In specific, using your index finger is the easiest. You just need to slowly stroke the dragon’s head and sides of the face, going slowly and using gentle pressure.

There are some cases you position yourself right over the bearded dragon’s head as you’re petting it, which makes your pet feel threatened by movement above him.

To encourage interaction, probably you should use food.

However, never stroke a lizard from the tail to the head.


Pick up the beardie if he appears to be relaxed. 

If you see your pet’s eyes become droopy, this means he is relaxed and probably wouldn’t mind being picked up.

All you need to do is to slide your hand under him, carefully scooping him up while making sure to support the weight of his body and tail.

While picking up him, try to keep him calm and keep one finger under his chin. Grabbing or holding a dragon by his legs or tail should be avoided.

Hold the bearded dragon close to your body.

This will make your pet feel safer and more secure. You can rest his tail on your forearm and gently stroke the dragon, and he will be happy and content.

Let the dragon walk from hand to hand as they move.

In case your pet is restless and doesn’t want to sit calmly in your hand, let him stretch his legs a bit and allow him to walk from your right hand to your left, or your left hand to your right.

Release him back to the tank after you pet him.

You just need to slowly move your arm away from your body and lower him into the habitat.

Once your hand has touched down, lift from your elbow to give the dragon a ramp down into his home.

2. When being hold

Cre: (How to Pet a Bearded Dragon)

Like the situation of your bearded dragon closing his eyes when stroked, your pet just wants to show that he doesn´t like being held, which can cause him stress.

In specific, when being held, your dragon has no means of escaping from this situation so he is more likely to be aggressive and bite you.

In contrast, if he stays calm and eyes open, he is just fine and comfortable when being held.

Sometimes, it takes time for your pet to get familiar with you and create a friendship so you just need to be patient.

3. When Basking

The fact that your pet shows this behavior when he is basking is normal and common as he just feels relaxed.

However, if your bearded dragon keeps closing his eyes while basking, there will be something wrong.

This is due to the lighting equipment being too powerful or close to him, which can damage your pet’s eyesight.

In this cage, you had better move the light farther away from the resting spot.

Also, bad lighting bulbs may be the culprit for this issue so you had better choose high-quality ones for your beloved pet.

BDs also display this behavior when sleeping, and this usually happens only in the dark.

Therefore, you should move the UVB light away from the basking spot so that your beardie can rest.

Read more: Can Bearded Dragons Get High?

4. An Eye Infection?

Another possible reason for your pet’s behavior is infection.

If you see this behavior happen all the time, even before you pet or hold him, it would be an issue, and you should pay close attention to your beardie.

In this cage, I highly recommend that you bring your pet to a licensed vet for verification as a physical condition like this may complicate sometimes.

Why Does My Bearded Dragon Close One Eye?

Closing one eye in beardies often indicates that they are suffering from a health issue or even from parasites.

In case of an infection, a beardie has to display this behavior to protect the infected tissue inside the eye.

Also, dragons that have parasites or currently get treated for parasites show this behavior very often so you had better have your pet, his body, and skin, checked for potential parasites to prevent them from harming your pet.

Another reason is that he could have something in his eye, and this happens when there is a loose substrate in the tank as these tiny pieces can be stuck in them, causing irritations.

In this case, you should immediately remove objects or bring your lizard to a vet.

Still, if your beardie doesn´t stop doing this, it is best to let your reptile vet check your pet.

Chances are, that it is suffering from parasites.

Why Do Baby Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes?

The fact that baby bearded dragons display this behavior has the same meaning as that of adult dragons due to possible reasons that we have discussed above.

Especially, this behavior is quite common in baby beardies so you should take care to bond with them, and keep them calm to avoid this.

Do Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes While Sleeping?

As a human, beardies show this behavior while sleeping at night as soon as it is dark.

If there is too much light in the room while they are sleeping in, they tend to open their eyes.

Therefore, you shouldn’t disturb them with a cellphone light or a flashlight as they can sense and awake.

You also need to give your beloved friend enough hides to sleep or make sure that the room where you have put the tank in is completely dark during sleeping time.

Commonly Questions About “Bearded Dragon Closing His Eyes When Stroked?”

1. Do Bearded Dragons Like To Be Pet?

Of course, your beardie will love being petted as long as he has bonded with you and gets used to the environment.

He will show his comfort to respond to your scent and presence rather than the act of being touched.

However, if your pet feels stressed, he will not want to be petted and there must be something wrong.

There are some reasons for this situation such as a change in light in the room, another pet coming by the tank, noise, or just his wanting to poop.

In this case, you will raise his stress levels if you pet him.

2. Do bearded dragons get attached to their owners?

Although they are solitary reptiles, beardies can become attached to their owners.

You can notice how they often approach you or seek out small gestures of affection from time to time due to their tame and relaxed nature.

3. How can I tell if my bearded dragon is relaxed?

A lizard will show happiness through his behaviors that indicate trust and comfort.

You can see him pressing against you, licking the surrounding air, coming to you, laying flat when you’re near, and basking often.

4. Can bearded dragons move their eyes independently?

Source: reddit

The answer is yes, they can move them independently. Although they have poor depth perception, the range of their peripheral vision is much greater than animals with eyes located in the front.

5. Do bearded dragons like to be stroked?

Most of them enjoy being petted despite the fact that they are not the most sociable animals.

However, knowing how to stroke your pet is really important.

In specific, you had better gently stroked his head and to make sure that you only pick him up by the belly, making sure that you move slowly and avoid scaring your beardie as much as possible.


Eye closing is normal for most animals but it would be a different story in beardies as this behavior will indicate that they feel uncomfortable, threatened or maybe it would be a sign of a health issue or infection.

After reading this article, you now can answer the question “Why is bearded dragon closing his eyes when stroked?” and know what to do to keep your pet strong and healthy. In case this could be an indication of eye infection, parasites, and foreign objects stuck, you should immediately take your pet to the vet for checking.

Further Reading:

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