We love bearded dragons because of how affectionate they are. Once they are comfortable they are known to cuddle and even fall asleep on us.
Why does my bearded dragon fall asleep on me? If your bearded dragon falls asleep on you it’s more than likely because they trust and love you enough to do so or simply because they enjoy the natural heat that emits from your body.
This is always a great sign that your bearded dragon trusts and loves you when they fall asleep on your body. There are other reasons, too, such as the amount of heat your body produces and the scent you give off. In this post we will talk about all of that as well as how to build trust and handle them correctly.
Sleeping is the most vulnerable state a creature can be in as this is when predators usually hunt them and this is why animals in the wild take such strong precautions to make sure they are safe before they catch some sleep.
The fact that they are curling up on you and falling asleep is a huge testament to how much they trust you! You should be very proud of the bond you and your bearded dragon have achieved because this amount of trust probably grew out of weeks or even months of gradual bonding time and trust.
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded, which means they are usually the same temperature as the temperature in the room. This is why they require a lot of external heat from lamps and other heat sources like heating mats or anything else that gets their body temperature to a higher level.
This goes for the heat your body emits as well. We are warm-blooded animals, which means we generate our heat from the inside. Your bearded dragon may find it very soothing and comforting to fall asleep on your chest since you are producing the heat they need.
This can cause them to cuddle up and fall asleep on your chest. It’s still a big testament to your bond with your bearded dragon and you should take it as a very serious compliment that your bearded dragon likes you enough to fall asleep on you.
Your scent is very powerful to your bearded dragon. Once bonded, bearded dragons associate your scent with protection and safety. If they are cuddled up to you and are surrounded by your scent and they have a good relationship with you, chances are the comfort from your smell will relax them and help lull them to sleep.
Luckily, it’s easy to get them used to your scent. Simply put soft articles of clothing that you have worn into their tank. They will want to snuggle up to the T-shirt or shirt since it’s soft and it will help them get used to your scent. Feeding them is another great way to get them used to your scent and to also help them associate your scent with positive things like being fed.
How to Get Comfortable With Your Bearded Dragon
Being close to your bearded dragon is so fun it’s hard not to rush right into it and scoop them up. While this may work for some bearded dragons, usually it takes more work than one touch to get them comfortable with being held by you.
Here are some steps to building trust with your bearded dragon:
- Feed them by hand: feeding them by hand is a great way to establish trust. This is because they will associate your scent with receiving food. They will become increasingly excited to smell you and see you over time because they will associate you with positive things like being fed. It is also generally a great time to bond.
- Bathe your bearded dragon: while you should be doing this regardless as it helps to keep them free of bacteria as well as it keeps them hydrated, bath time is also a great way to bond. Bearded dragons become very relaxed in the tub so if they associate being relaxed and taken care of with spending time with their owner, this will only help to positively reinforce that you love them and are here for them, which in turn helps build trust.
- Play time: bearded dragons love to play. Taking the time out of your day to walk them around the neighborhood or play ball with them will make them happy and will help them get used to your presence. Plus it will be really fun and cute.
- Pick them up in small incriminates: When you are first starting out it may be a good idea to only hold them for small periods of time. Get them used to being held but also let them know that the safety of their tank is only a few feet away. Feeling trapped or held against their will is a sure-fire way to make them lose trust in you so make sure you pay close attention to what they’re feeling when you first start to handle them. If it seems like they are uncomfortable listen to that and put them somewhere they are more comfortable.
How to Handle Them
Before you hold them make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with warm soap and water. This will prevent you passing off any germs from your body to theirs. Always remember to wash your hands after as well to prevent the transmission of diseases or bacteria like salmonella.
Also consider wearing gloves while you hold them as this can prevent your skin from getting scratched by their rough skin.
Always approach your lizard slowly and calmly – especially when your lizard is getting to know you. Make sure not to reach in above your bearded dragon as they have a third eye on the top of their head that picks up light changing and shadows. If you put your hand over their third eye this will scare your bearded dragon.
Also, remember not to pick up your bearded dragon while they are eating (this could result in them becoming territorial). In addition to that, do not corner your bearded dragon as this could lead to them feeling stressed.
It is a good idea to pet them gently before picking them up – especially if they are just getting to know you. This will help them get used to your scent and also to your touch. If a bearded dragon displays angry colors (darker colors or black) then it is best to leave your bearded dragon alone and try again later.
Once you do pick up your bearded dragon, make sure to support its body fully. Never pick it up from the tail or from a limb as they are fragile and can break off. Unlike other lizards, a bearded dragon’s tail will not grow back so make sure to never do this.
Don’t squeeze your bearded dragon too tightly to make him anxious or stressed but also don’t let your grip be so relaxed that they are unsupported and fall. If your bearded dragon wants to roam around on your body, let him.
Pay attention to what your bearded dragon is telling you. If your bearded dragon seems upset make sure to put them back in their tank where they feel most comfortable.
If your bearded dragon is turning stress colors, if his mouth is gaping, if he is bopping his head, or has a raised tail, put him in his tank. Any or all of these behaviors are signs that they are upset and you should put them back immediately.
Can I Let My Bearded Dragon Fall Asleep on Me?
Yes! You can absolutely let them fall asleep on you. And, luckily, bearded dragons don’t urinate so there’s no worry that they will pee all over your shirt.
However, we wouldn’t recommend sleeping with your bearded dragon in bed with you. Make sure if you fall asleep with your bearded dragon you are never in a position where you could roll over and accidentally crush your bearded dragon.
It is also not a good idea to let them sleep with you throughout the night as they need their specific environment to get the most amount of sleep. Disruptions in sleep can be very harmful to a bearded dragon’s health as they release important stress hormones during sleep and a long-term disruption in sleep can result in physical problems down the road.
If your bearded dragon has fallen asleep on you, take this as a sign that your bearded dragon is very comfortable with you. Great job! It also helps that your body produces a large amount of heat which feels good on a bearded dragon and can relax them and cause them to get sleepy.
If you are wanting to reach that level with your bearded dragon, try putting in more bonding time to get them used to your presence and scent. When you do pick up your bearded dragon make sure to do it on his terms, support his body fully, and be on the lookout for signs of being uncomfortable. If you see that they are uncomfortable, make sure to put them back in their tank and try again later.