Reptile Maniac

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bearded dragon laying on back

Any bearded dragon laying on its back all the time should catch your attention. It’s not a regular occurrence and your bearded dragon could be laying on its back for several different reasons.

So, the question is – what makes a bearded dragon lay on its back?

bearded dragon could lay on its back when it is ill, suffering from infections, dehydrated, or under attack. Bearded dragons could lay on their back for different periods based on the extent of their illness or apparent threat. It is important to seek medical attention for your bearded dragon whenever you notice it laying on back often.

In this article, we’ll get to see why bearded dragons lay on their back. We’ll also check out why your bearded dragons flatten out (or sometimes known as sploot-ing) as a bonus.

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Bearded Dragon Laying on Back: What are the Reasons?


Captive reptiles like bearded dragons are not free from infections as some pet owners may have you believe. These reptiles could become open to infections like Yellow Fungus Disease (YFD), salmonella, and other bacterial infections.

Some bearded dragons will experience significant changes in skin color; random, growing crusts, and other symptoms if infected.

Poor hygiene is a major cause of infections that may affect bearded dragons. If you house more than one bearded dragon in a tank, both your reptiles could suffer from the same infection.

One of the most notable symptoms of an infected bearded dragon will be laying on its back. If you notice your beardie is sometimes turning over, it could be ill. Take your pet to the vet when you notice it always wants to rest on its back.

Response to Threats

If a bearded dragon feels defenseless in the presence of a predator, they are sometimes known to play dead by turning over. This defense mechanism could prove effective as most prey won’t want to eat a ‘dead’ animal.

Read More: Bearded Dragon Brumation or Dead

Head Trauma

Bearded dragons may get exposed to swelling, bruising, and lumps if they fall from high surfaces. For example, if a bearded dragon hits its head on a concrete floor, it could lay on its back. Avoid putting your beardie in places where it may fall as head trauma could be fatal.

Keep your bearded dragons’ tank at a low point where it’s less likely to experience trauma from major falls. Whenever you’re outdoors, keep it on the floor or a low bench to prevent head injuries.

If you refuse to care for your bearded dragon and it experiences repeated head trauma, it may die. Recent medical evidence has proven that beardies may get Aneurysm Syndrome from excessive head trauma.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Flatten Out?

Besides laying on their back, bearded dragons could flatten out on their stomach. In most cases, bearded dragons flatten out:

Whenever your bearded dragon flattens out, it is most likely a sign that it is not receiving enough heat. Be sure to provide ample heating in your tank and keep track of the temperature of your enclosure with a high quality thermometer. The standard non-digital thermometers that you get from Petsmart or Petco are usually inaccurate.

How to Help Your Bearded Dragon if It Flattens Out

Bearded dragons need to flatten out on warm objects to help them retrieve heat. However, if you notice your bearded dragon stretching out constantly, it may be a sign that your beardie needs additional heat.

As you probably already know, you should provide your bearded dragon a heat lamp to help regulate their body temperature. However, you should replace your heat lamp every few months to ensure your bearded dragon is receiving the proper amount of heat.

Furthermore, you can use a slate rock as a basking platform in your bearded dragons enclosure. The slate will absorb the heat emitting from the basking bulb.


Why Is My Bearded Dragon Laying on His Back?

Vitamin absorbance is one reason why bearded dragons lay on its back. Bearded dragons bask under natural light or heat lamps to help digestion and absorb Vitamin D3. Loss of balance may also cause a bearded dragon to lay on its back.

What Does It Mean When a Bearded Dragon Lays Flat on You?

A bearded dragon lays flat to display its stomach to ward off attacks. The posture makes bearded dragons have a stronger and larger appearance and helps prevent fights.

Why Is My Lizard on His Back?

Wild lizards use lying on their backs as a defense mechanism against attacks. When on their backs, the lizard plays being dead if an autotomy doesn’t do the trick. Some domestic lizards will lay on its back if you grab it by the tail.

Can Bearded Dragons Breathe on Their Back?

Bearded dragons find it hard to breathe when lying on their back. Bearded dragons may suffer respiratory problems when they lay on their backs too often.

Final Thoughts: Bearded Dragon Laying on Back? (Here’s Why)

Whenever a bearded dragon begins laying on its back, it is important to check it out. Get proper medical attention for your bearded dragon and ensure you follow up until it is better.

Don’t stress out your dragon or leave it open to poor hygiene. You don’t want to have a seriously ill or dead dragon to deal with any time soon.

Secondly, provide your bearded dragon correct heating whenever it flattens out on its stomach. It could help regulate their temperature, boost their digestion, and heat absorption capacity.