As a pet owner, you sometimes notice your bearded dragon’s open mouth or that your bearded dragon mouth opens slightly. And I’m sure that a lot of questions will pop up in your head, and you may ask “why is my bearded dragon’s mouth open”.
But first, don’t panic as this behavior may be normal in some cases but it is also of aggression or health issues.
In this article, we would like to give you 4 main reasons to find out “why is my bearded dragon’s mouth open” as well as useful tips so that you can tackle or at least mitigate problems.
Therefore, don’t hesitate to have a look at this article.
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The first and most common reason for a bearded dragon’s open mouth is called “gaping.”
As these reptiles are so clever, and always have ways to transcend all sorts of situations, gaping is one of the efficient ways to help them regulate their body temperature and stop them from getting any warmer when they get their optimal temperature.
In specific, when a dragon reaches an optimal level of temperature, as he can’t sweat like humans, he has to gape in order for excess heat to be vented out of the mouth to defend himself against overheating.
You can often see your bearded dragon mouth open under the light when basking for a couple of hours.
However, this behavior isn’t a sign of discomfort so just throw your worries out the window.
1. Making Sure The Tank Temperature Is Correct
Although we all know that that “gaping” is a perfectly normal behavior in most cases, we still need to attach great importance to providing your pet with the correct temperature.
This is because if his tank is too hot, this will make his process of regulating the temperature difficult.
Also, a cool area is as very important as a basking area, which allows him to cool down once he has reached his optimal temperature.
If you are curious about the lighting equipment, we highly recommend you a list of our favorite equipment below and the best places to get it from.
- UVB Bulb – Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO Lamp, 24 Watts
- UVB Bulb Fixing – Sunblaster 904296 NanoTech T5 High Output Fixture Reflector Combo, 2-Feet
- Basking lamp – Zoo Med Repti Basking Spot Lamp 2 Bulb Value Pack 75W
- Ceramic Heat Emitter – Exo Terra Ceramic Heater, 110-Volt
- Digital Thermometer – Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 1080
- Thermostat – Hagen Exo Terra Electronic Day/Night Thermostat (600 Watt)
- Timer – BN-LINK 7 Day Heavy Duty Digital Programmable Timer
Read more: https://www.thepettime.com/
This table below gives information about what temperatures you should be providing for your Dragon at the different ages of its life.
Baby Juvenile Adult Basking Area 100°-110°F Basking Area 95°-100°F Basking Area 95°-100°F Cool Spot 80°-90°F Cool Spot 75°-80°F Cool Spot 75°-80°F Night 70°-75°F Night 70°-75°F Night 70°-75°F
Beard Stretching And Yawning
Another reason when you catch your bearded dragon open their mouth is that they are just stretching their beard, puffing, or flaring.
Despite the abnormal behaviors such as the freakish head movements, frog-like beard puffing, and erratic opening and closing of the mouth, there is no need worrying as this is simply how a dragon stretches his/her beard.
It is also normal for your lizard to yawn, which is sometimes accompanied by a small beard stretch.
Beardies also stretch their beard when they are about to shed their skin.
In specific, they need to puff up their beard in further attempts to loosen the skin around their beard and head, which helps facilitate the shedding process.
Aggression And Defense
It is common that these reptiles are placid, friendly reptiles but sometimes they may show aggressive or defensive behaviors when they feel nervous or angry for some reason.
And opening their mouth is a sign of aggression.
If your beardy is acting aggressively, he may display some other behaviors below:
If you think your bearded dragon’s open mouth is to show a defensive or aggressive behavior, providing your pet with a habitat containing lots of hiding places can limit aggression.
For example, you can get some plants and cover two or three sides of his enclosure with plants, which may help prevent your lizard from seeing what´s going on around his tank and calm down an aggressive or scared dragon.
A hide is also highly recommended as your pet can hide whenever he is threatened or scared
We would like to give you some situations that help explain the reason “Why is my beardy aggressive?” and “why is my bearded dragon’s mouth open?”
1. Another Beardie
A lot of problems may arise if you have two or more lizards in the same tank as they prefer to be alone and sharing their living space with another one seems impossible.
To assert his dominance and have a hold over the other, the bearded dragon’s open mouth in an aggressive way is quite effective.
Therefore, in case you have two Beardies housed together and you see this happening, you had better split them up as soon as possible as this will result in your dragon getting very stressed, losing his appetite, and even not being allowed to bask by the more dominant one.
However, make sure that you split them up into different rooms as they can still see each other, and the fight for dominance can carry on.
And, in case you simply don’t have enough space for 2 tanks in your house or you can’t do it for some other reason, the best choice is giving one of the dragons away.
2. Other Pets
It is quite common for you to have other pets in your home such as cats or dogs besides your lizard but sometimes your beardy may become aggressive towards them or in some cases, they will be frightened or intimidated.
If you notice your bearded dragon opening and closing mouth in an aggressive way towards your pets, you should immediately take some steps to tackle this problem as if this behavior happens regularly, this will cause constant stress levels for your beloved beardy
There are some measures that you could take to deal with this issue.
Firstly, you can try to stop your pet from coming into the room that your Dragon is in.
However, it would be hard if your lizard is in the main family room such as the living room.
The second way is moving your dragon to another room in the house that your pet is less likely to go in.
The chief aim is to make sure that they are both happy and safe.
3. Small-Object & Children’s Toys
Some things such as children’s toys and small objects that you consider as harmless may sometimes the culprit for “why is my bearded dragon’s mouth open”, which seems quite bizarre.
However, it’s very easy for a lizard to mistake a small toy for a predator, which drives him aggressive, and a bearded dragon’s open mouth may be part of that behavior.
For example, new ornaments that are often placed in one spot and stay there can be something that your lizard can find threatening.
Therefore if you suspect that it’s causing a problem for a long period of time, you had better consider moving it.
4. Placing The Tank Near The Window
Placing your tank near the window can be wonderful for your dragon to explore the outside world such as seeing the clouds moving or seeing the trees rustle in the wind, which can help emulate their natural habitat.
However, in some cases, it would not be as wonderful as you expect as your lizard can see scary things outside the window such as cats, birds, feeling threatened, and getting aggressive towards them it is seeing on the outside of the window.
Another circumstance is that they can aggressively open their mouth when they see their reflections on the glass window.
The final explanation for “why is my bearded dragon’s mouth open” is that your beardy could have a respiratory infection which is usually due to the humidity in the tank.
As this kind of lizard is animal of the dry woodlands of Australia where they are used to low humidity in the wild, high humidity which exceeds 40% for a prolonged period in their tank can cause this problem.
There are some factors that you should consider as they can increase the humidity of your dragon’s tank.
However, keeping it small and away from heat sources such as the basking bulb is highly suggested.
The best way to monitor the humidity in the tank is to get a hygrometer. It allows you to accurately check the humidity in the tank at all times. Generally keeping humidity levels low may depend on where you live and your home.
Therefore, if you are still struggling after implementing the tips above, trying to add more ventilation or buying a dehumidifier to place in the room can prevent the problem completely.
If you are still worried, we advise you to go and get advice from a Vet who can see give you a useful opinion.
1. How To Tell If Your Dragon Has A Respiratory Infection
The first sign of a dragon with a respiratory infection is that he may gape all day. This means that he is attempting to breathe through his mouth.
Other symptoms that you should notice are mucus in or around the mouth and nose, labored breathing, wheezing, or crackling with each breath.
Additionally, he may become lethargic and lose appetite.
In that case, you should contact a vet immediately as there’s no effective way to treat it at home.
Otherwise, fluid will build up in the lungs, eventually suffocating the lizard.
Commonly Asked Question About Beardie’s Mouth
1. What Does It Mean When A Bearded Dragon Licks You?
There are many reasons why dragons lick you.
Firstly, they are just smelling you or getting a feel for their environment.
The second reason is that they may smell something they like on you. Or they may be acquiring your scent as they feel comfortable with you.
2. How Do I Get My Bearded Dragon To Open His Mouth?
If you want to force your pet to open his mouth, just apply pressure to the sides of his mouth to force it to open.
In specific, use your thumb and forefinger, slide your fingers about three centimeters back from the top of the nose and apply pressure to the crease between the upper and lower jaw.
3. How Do You Know When A Beardie Is Mad?
If you handle your beardie improperly, he may display signs of anger such as biting, hissing, or tail twitching.
Seeing these indications means that your beardie doesn’t like being handled that way, and you should try a different approach.
4. Do Beardies Enjoy Human Contact?
Most dragons quickly get used to being held by their owners and are comfortable with the human touch.
While fully-grown beardies are more easy to approach, the younger ones might be a little jittery.
Therefore, handling your beardie helps you bond with your pet.
Additionally, when your pet already gets used to you, he will love, cherish, and recognize your touch.
5. How Do You Treat Mouth Rot In Bearded Dragons?
Using injectable antibiotics as well as rinsing the mouth with antiseptic solutions will be an efficient way to cure infectious stomatitis or mouth rot.
I hope this article has answered your question: “why is my bearded dragon’s mouth open”. And you have a profound understanding of your bearded dragon’s open mouth behavior. This will give you some useful ideas when making a decision in every situation to keep your pet happy and healthy.