Reptile Maniac

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why do bearded dragons smile

Many wonder why bearded dragons smile. Is it because they’re happy? Or, is it something more?

A large part of keeping a Bearded dragon is understanding their body language. The only problem is that beardies often display certain behaviors that we can’t quite wrap our heads around.

If you are looking to become a good pet parent, you should be able to differentiate the negative behaviors from the positive ones and vice versa. That way, you will be able to tell whether your pet lizard is comfortable in its environment or if any changes need to be made.

Some behaviors are constant across the board, while others mean a different thing from one beardie to another. This means that it is your responsibility to know all the basic things about your Bearded dragon.

As such, you will have an added advantage when providing the needed care, thereby improving the overall wellbeing of your bearded friend.

With proper husbandry, Bearded dragons will not only stay strong and healthy but will also bond with their owners. A healthy Bearded dragon is a happy beardie, so ensure that your pet is getting the right care.

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So, Why Do bearded Dragons Smile?

If you are an observant pet parent, you may have noticed that your Bearded dragon sits with a gaping mouth most of the time. Due to the unique shape of their mouths, beardies may appear as if they are smiling, which is never the case. Bearded dragons and other reptilian species open their mouths to aid in temperature regulation.

Although it may be adorable, bearded dragons “smile” – or keep their mouths partially open – when they are basking. When they keep their mouths open, it shows their body temperature has risen to optimal levels.

Through gaping, Bearded dragons can dissipate the excess heat to the surrounding through their mouths, resulting in a gradual cooling effect.

This process is essential for Bearded dragons and other lizards because they don’t sweat as we do. Humans sweat in order to regulate their body temperature – bearded dragons do not have this ability.

Therefore, gaping is just but a countermeasure against overheating, so you shouldn’t be worried if your bearded buddy keeps its mouth open as if it is smiling.

Besides, this process allows your pet to achieve the most favorable internal body temperature, thereby improving digestion and other biological processes.

In a nutshell, although it may look like your bearded dragon is smiling, it’s really just regaulting their body temperature.

What Else Can Cause A Bearded Dragon To Keep Its Mouth Open?

It is important to note that Bearded dragons may keep their mouths open due to several reasons.

As such, you should be able to differentiate gaping and other behaviors that may look like it. If you notice that your birdie is gaping when it’s chilly, there could be a problem.

Respiratory Tract Infections

Like we said earlier, Bearded dragons only gape when their bodies absorb excess heat during basking.

Nonetheless, beardies may also gape when they have respiratory infections. This will force them to breathe through their mouths, meaning your pet may end up gaping all day long.

Respiratory infections like pneumonia can occur in bearded dragons that aren’t receiving the proper care.  However, it can be due to a number of things, some outside of your control. Although, typically, it has to do with unhygienic conditions and improper temperatures. Consider getting a teamperature gun to ensure your enclosure is the perfect temperature for your beardie.

If you’re worried for your reptiles health, you should consider taking them to the vet’s to get a detailed diagnosis.

Additionally, you can self-adminster several antibiotics that can treat illnesses in bearded dragons.

Gaping As A Sign Of Aggressive Behavior

Bearded dragons can also keep a gaping mouth when they are showing aggression or being defensive.

The only difference is that the beardie may puff its chin, and at the same time hiss, so this behavior cannot easily be mistaken for normal gaping.

How Long Do Bearded Dragons Gape?

The time that is taken when gaping may vary depending on the lizard’s internal body temperature.

When the body temperature is high, your Bearded dragon will gape for an extended duration. The reverse is true when the body has absorbed low amounts of heat.

You can encourage normal gaping behavior in your Bearded dragon by installing a reliable heat source inside the enclosure.

As a result, your pet will get just the right amount of heat and will also be able to dissipate the excess through gaping.

Final Verdict

To answer the question as to why Bearded dragons smile; you need to understand the process of thermoregulation in lizards.

Since they don’t sweat, beardies dissipate the excess heat from their bodies through gaping. With their mouths open, Bearded dragons may appear as if they are giving you a happy smile.

However, gaping is an instinctual behavior that allows Bearded dragons to stay cool even when faced with extremely high temperatures.