Music brings a lot of joy to a lot of people. Recent studies have shown that mammals, primarily cats and dogs, respond positively to music. It might be the case that reptiles are no different.
This raises the question: Do bearded dragons enjoy music? It depends. Some bearded dragons enjoy music while others don’t.
In this post we’ll talk about the auditory structure of bearded dragons, the various kinds of noise that some bearded dragons enjoy, and most importantly how to tell if your bearded dragon likes music or if they don’t like it at all.
Contrary to popular belief, a lot of animals do indeed like music. Recent research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has discovered that animals do share our love for music and enjoy what the study calls “species-specific music”, which are tunes designed for specific species.
Since humans enjoy music that falls under our vocal and acoustic range, it makes sense that animals would enjoy tones as well so long as it falls under their specific vocal and acoustic range.
While the study right now is tailored only to mammals (most of the study focuses on cats and dogs) and designing tones that fit them, it does make sense that if other mammals enjoy the sounds of music, reptiles probably do, too.
So let’s talk more about reptiles, bearded dragons, and what their hearing structure is like.
Take a close look at your bearded dragon’s head: do you see anything that resembles ears?
Even though your bearded dragon doesn’t have ears that look like yours or mine, they do have ears. If you look further back in their head, you’ll see a small hole that is covered by a thin, sheer membrane called the tympanic membrane, which humans have as well. Actually, bearded dragons have a very similar internal ear structure to our own.
Both our ears and theirs rely on small bones and membranes to transmit sound from ear fluid to transmitters to the brain. In general, the average lizard can hear a range of 100 to 4,000 hertz. The human ear can pick up a range from about 20 to 20,000 Hz.
Can they hear you and the music you play? Absolutely. They can hear remarkably well.
But does this mean that what sounds pleasurable to humans sounds equally pleasurable to your bearded dragon? Let’s talk more about different kinds of sounds that work for bearded dragons and which ones don’t.
Different Types of Sound
Again, there are no studies yet on what type of noises bearded dragons do or don’t like so all of the information we have is based on how they react to various types of music and sounds.
Like humans, every bearded dragon has their own personality. Some are more easy-going and relaxed while others can be more tense, stressed, and generally require a calmer environment. Even the lizards who do seem to enjoy music have individual tastes and preferences, usually preferring a specific genre over others.
In fact, many bearded dragon owners have reported seeing their lizards become visibly happier when listening to music. Some owners have reported seeing their lizards walking towards the music and becoming more active and playful and overall becoming more energetic when their owners put on their favorite jams.
While each bearded dragon is different and does have their own unique preferences, generally bearded dragons do not like loud, abrasive noises. Abrasive noises oftentimes put bearded dragons on edge. It can startle them, stress them out, and upset them.
On the flip side, too soft a noise can startle them as well since predators in the wild often make very soft sounds. The key is to find a happy middle ground for both you and your lizard to enjoy.
Softer noises are much easier on bearded dragons. Some owners have reported that their bearded dragon seems to enjoy classical music, Celtic music, acoustic guitar, singing, and humming.
While it is rare, it is not unheard of for a lizard to like louder, aggressive music like metal or rock. That being said, it doesn’t happen often. The most important part of experimenting with different kinds of music and sounds is to keep an open mind and be very attentive to what your lizard likes or dislikes.
How to Tell When Your Bearded Dragon Likes Music
To tell what types of music our bearded dragons like we have to rely mostly on our intuition and read the signals and cues our lizards give us. The good news is the more you get to know your lizard the easier it will become to figure out what they do like and what they don’t like.
There are lots of great indicators that can tell you if your bearded dragon is liking whatever you’re doing. Here are some signs that your bearded dragon is happy:
- They show their happy colors (bright, light colors)
- They become more playful and active
- They attempt to get closer to the music speaker or even climb onto the speaker.
If you put on some music and your bearded dragon does one or more of these signs, chances are they are digging whatever music you’re listening to.
How to Tell When Your Bearded Dragon Is Stressed
But what about signs that your bearded dragon is unhappy or stressed by the sounds? How can you tell if they are enjoying Marilyn Manson as much as you are?
When you start playing music and then your lizard starts displaying these signs, it may be time to switch up the sound.
Glass surfing is a big indicator that your lizard is stressed out. Glass surfing is defined as when a lizard runs so quickly against the glass its belly rubs over it and it looks like it is surfing. While glass surfing can be an indicator of a lot of things (the tank is too small, general stress and malaise, not enough outdoor time), if you notice that once you put on your music and then your bearded dragon starts to glass surf it may be time to turn the music down.
Colors changing to darker colors. It’s no secret that bearded dragons change color based on their mood. If you notice your bearded dragon is changing to darker colors, especially around its beard area, this is a pretty big indicator that your bearded dragon is upset about something.
Hiding. If your bearded dragon hides as soon as you put on music, it’s most likely hiding from the noise and you should definitely turn off your music.
If your bearded dragon begins to act aggressively to you or to any other animals around this is a big sign that he or she is upset and you should consider switching the noise to something else or turning the music off altogether.
It is important to note that if your bearded dragon is sensitive to music and noise you should not ignore this and do everything you can to accommodate your lizard. Too much long-term stress can lead to health and psychological problems.
Just as long-term stress is bad for the human body it is bad for your lizard so be sure to pay attention to what makes your lizard happy and what upsets your lizard.
For humans, listening to music can have a variety of positive effects on the body. Listening to music can reduce stress, improve memory, and can even lessen pain.
While there are no official studies on reptile health and music, if your bearded dragon seems to enjoy the types of music you play, who is to say that this couldn’t bring unforeseen health benefits to your lizard? So long as your bearded dragon enjoys music, it seems to stand that there could be major physical and emotional health benefits involved.
When it comes to deciphering what your bearded dragon likes, pay close attention to how your bearded dragon reacts when you put on the music. If your lizard perks up and moves towards the music then they are probably enjoying it.. But if your bearded dragon reacts by acting aggressively, hiding or running away, glass surfing, or seems generally upset, it’s safe to say your bearded dragon does not like whatever you’re playing.
In these cases, it’s best to try different types of music by playing gentler music, turning the volume down, or simply removing the sound all together.
Music is a wonderful thing that brings joy to a lot of people and animals. Bearded dragons can be no different. When you find music that your lizard likes let them enjoy those sounds as much as possible. You never know: it could bring more benefits than you may think.