Bearded Dragon Keeps Licking Me: What Does it Mean?

Bearded dragons exhibit a variety of behaviors, some more peculiar than others. One of them is their tendency to lick their owners.

This may seem incidental at first because bearded dragons tend to flick their tongues consistently to smell their environment and gauge various perceived threats.

So, you may think that your beardie isn’t licking you on purpose but rather on accident. And you would be wrong. Today, we will discuss bearded dragons’ licking tendencies and why they sometimes use their tongues to interact with their keepers.

Reasons Your Bearded Dragon is Licking You

There are 3 primary reasons why most bearded dragons would lick you:

1. Exploring the Environment

Simply put, bearded dragons use their tongues to explore their environment. They also use other senses, like their hearing, sight, and smell, but the tongues play a more deciding role.

Tongues allow dragons to analyze their habitat more intimately and they tend to resort to licking behavior more in an unfamiliar environment.

So, expect your bearded dragon to lick you more incessantly during the first 2-3 weeks or so after purchasing it. In fact, you should expect the dragon to flick its tongue constantly during this accommodation period when everything is still new.

Bearded dragons are shy and docile and prefer to keep a low profile when finding themselves in an unfamiliar habitat.

So, make sure they have at least one hiding spot to claim as their safe space. They will assess their environment from there at first and come out to explore their closed ecosystem in short sessions over the following days.

Try to give your beardie space during this time, and don’t hold or pet it too aggressively or too often.

Try to feed your dragon by hand for a while, as this allows the reptile to lick your hand occasionally to gauge your scent. This way, the dragon will soon associate you with food and will begin to exhibit excitement whenever you approach its enclosure.

This is the moment you know acquaintances have been made.

2. Looking for a Snack

Bearded dragons may also lick your hand to inform you of their empty belly. Especially if the lizard is already associating you with its food bringer. If that’s the case, consider providing it with some food to solve the problem.

Your bearded dragon should have a stable meal plan, but things may not always remain within schedule.

Some bearded dragons eat more often than others and may prefer more food in one sitting. Also, your beardie’s appetite will always change with time as the reptile grows and requires more sustenance to support its higher nutritional needs.

Always adjust the feeding schedule to your beardie’s needs and preferences.

Naturally, you should always be wary of the risk of overfeeding the reptile. Lizards are prone to becoming overweight because they tend to eat more than they should.

3. Showing Affection to You

This may sound wrong because bearded dragons are reptiles, and reptiles aren’t known for being too affectionate, to begin with. But bearded dragons are a bit different. There’s a reason why they are so popular among reptile owners.

These lizards can be quite affectionate at times, as they can recognize their owners and interact with them in ways that we would describe as affectionate.

Some of these situations are just the lizard loving your hand’s warmth or begging for food. But, other times, it simply wishes to express its affection, and one way it does that is by licking you.

Don’t get too used to it, though, because you are dealing with a reptile, after all. So, take what you can and be happy with it.

Problems with Bearded Dragon Licking You

I understand your exhilaration whenever your pet beardie licks your affectionately, but you should be aware of the dangers that come with that, not for you, but for your beardie.

These reptiles are notoriously sensitive to chemicals and contaminants that could impact their health quite easily.

This is why you should always wash and peel off any veggies or fruits before feeding them to your lizard. And it’s also why you should always wash your hands before interacting with your lizard.

You never know what contaminants or oils could be on your skin and how these will affect the dragon.

Plus, always clean and sterilize your hand after interacting with the lizard as well. This prevents you from contracting parasites or bacteria, some of which can actually make you fall sick. A clean, robust, and healthy bearded dragon can still produce salmonella in its poop, which can then transfer to the animal’s skin and enclosure.

You can’t tell because the dragon won’t become infected, but the bacteria will transmit to you via touch. And salmonella can infect and kill humans in some cases.

Beware of Bearded Dragon Licking an Open Cut

A well-kept, healthy bearded dragon shouldn’t pose any threat if it licks an open wound. These are known to be clean animals, aside from their salmonella-infested poop, as they don’t carry any dangerous parasites or bacteria in their saliva.

That being said, you can never be cautious enough. You should always clean your wound thoroughly with water and soap if you have an open wound that your dragon has just licked.

If, despite washing it, you showcase worrying symptoms like inflammation, redness, pain, and even fever, contact a medical professional. You may be dealing with an infection, in which case antibiotic treatment may be necessary.

I suggest preventing this problem altogether by covering any open wounds and wearing gloves when handling the dragon.


Bearded dragons are known to be more affectionate than other reptiles but don’t get too used to it.

They are lizards, after all, so they’re not quite famous for their emotional depth. If your beardie is licking you every time you meet, consider some of the potential explanations I’ve provided.

Robert from ReptileJam

Hey, I'm Robert, and I have a true passion for reptiles that began when I was just 10 years old. My parents bought me my first pet snake as a birthday present, which sparked my interest in learning more about them. read more...