It is natural to feel scared or worried when they hiss at you. Bearded dragons have certain behaviours that can puzzle the minds of their owners.
If your bearded dragon is hissing, it can be because it saw its reflection. They are threatened and need more space or privacy. They also hiss when they are hungry, need water, or experience anxiety.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Hissing?
It can be hard to understand certain behaviors of your pet. Unlike humans, they can not express it through words and use sounds or actions to convey their problems.
Similarly, bearded dragons display certain behaviors and make sounds that can be hard for pet owners to comprehend what they want to say or why they are behaving in a certain manner.
One such behavior of a bearded dragon is hissing. They rarely hiss, and that is the reason pet owners can get worried when they hear them hissing.
P.S. Have you never heard your bearded dragon hiss before? Check out this video to see how they hiss.
When your bearded dragon hisses, it is definitely not for good. They are not happy or comfortable about something, and they need it to stop. Hissing is a way of showing their aggression or warning you to step back.
If your bearded dragon is hissing at you, it is always better to take a step back and let them be. Try to analyze the situation to understand what made them hiss.
Top 9 Possible Reasons for Your Bearded Dragon Hissing
Here are a few possible reasons why your bearded dragon is hissing.
- Temperature Changes
For bearded dragons to stay calm and happy, they need to live in an enclosure that has accurate temperature levels.
If the heat is too high in their enclosure, it can stress them out, lead to a bad temper, and then them hissing.
Even if they do not have a proper basking spot in their space, they can start hissing because their body temperature is not at the level it is supposed to be.
- Not Enough Hiding Space
Bearded dragons like to feel safe and comfortable and love privacy. They like to have spaces in their enclosure where they can hide. Hiding spots help them relax their mind and hide when they feel threatened.
If there are no hiding spots in their enclosure, they tend to get stressed quickly. They start hissing when they are stressed and do not know what to do.
- Strange Items in the Tank
Bearded dragons take time to adjust to change. Let us take two scenarios to under why they are hissing.
When you bring your pet bearded dragon home, it is difficult for them to adapt to change quickly.
They are moving into a new environment, and that means through their eyes, everything looks strange. So, when you put them in their new enclosure, they will start hissing to defend themselves in the new environment.
Once your bearded dragon is adapted to a certain space, moving them from there or adding new things into its space can cause hissing.
Let us say you have changed the room in which your bearded dragon was previously staying. You have moved them into a new room. This means it is equal to moving them into a new environment. Since there is a change in their surroundings, it can make them uneasy and can start hissing.
Or, you have added new items to their enclosure or redecorated the room in which their enclosure was placed in. Even these two situations can make them anxious and be the reason for them to hiss.
When their surroundings change, they can hiss at you, the new objects, or your pets because they are uncomfortable.
Animals or humans, anyone will act out if they are malnourished. Malnourishment can be a possible reason for your bearded dragon to hiss.
When they are not getting proper nutrition, it can lead to hunger pains and dehydration. Since they do not know how to express it, they do it through hissing.
Hissing could be a way to ask you for water or food and sometimes their way of pleading for better food.
- Anxiety or Fear
Hissing is a way of showing they are anxious or scared. When they feel something is not right in their familiar surroundings or proximity, it can cause them stress. Stress can lead to hissing.
Sudden movements around their enclosure, change in the position of their tank, bright lights, or a new home can make your bearded dragon anxious and scared.
- Spotting Their Reflection
Since they live in a glass enclosure, you might think that they are hissing at you, but in reality, their reflection could be scaring or freaking them out.
Wrong angles and glare from sunlight through your window or dim lights can make your bearded dragon assume that there is another bearded dragon in the enclosure and feel threatened. Feeling threatened can lead to hissing.
- Other Bearded Dragons
When your bearded dragon feels threatened looking at their own reflection, imagine what could happen when there is another bearded dragon in the same tank or room.
If there is another bearded dragon in the room or the same tank, it can lead to both of them hissing at each other.
Remember, bearded dragons are extremely territorial!
- Other Pets in the House
Even other pets in your house can cause your pet bearded dragon stress and aggression. This can lead to them hissing.
For example, if you have a dog or a cat, your pet bearded dragon can get intimidated or scared when they walk into the room your bearded dragon is in. Your bearded dragon can see or assume your other pet as a predator. When this happens, they go into defensive mode and start hissing to protect themselves and also as a warning to your other pet or pets.
Is Hissing Harmful?
Hissing can help you understand what is wrong with your pet bearded dragon.
For example, they hiss when you are overhandling them or when they have an injury or have fallen sick. Hissing indeed can be helpful but sometimes it is not good as well.
If your bearded dragon is hissing on a regular basis, then it can affect its health. Constant or regular hissing means they are constantly stressed, and stress is not good for your bearded dragon.
Other than them being stressed, regular hissing stresses them out even more.
Hissing regularly is unhealthy and harmful. That is why you must understand what is making them hiss.
For example, if your bearded dragon is hissing every day while looking at the glass because they see its reflection, try and solve the issue immediately. You can close the windows, draw the curtains or avoid dim lights. As mentioned before, they are territorial, and their reflection is stressing them out.
Another example is if your bearded dragon has been hissing at your other pet over a few weeks now, it clearly indicates that their presence is stressing them out, and they are feeling threatened. Living in a space where they constantly feel threatened can affect them mentally as well. You must prevent these situations from happening.
Try to figure out how to make your bearded dragon comfortable with your other pets. It will be beneficial.
Overall, when they hiss every now and then for a short period of time, it is alright, but when your bearded dragon starts to hiss daily, it can be harmful to their health. It can affect them mentally and physically.
Do You Need to Be Cautious If Your Bearded Dragon Is Hissing at You?
Your bearded dragon can hiss at you if you are constantly holding them. Overhandling can make them uncomfortable. You must remember that bearded dragons like to be alone.
If your friends or family have come over, try to minimize handling your bearded dragon. Be cautious when they hiss at you. Take a step back and let them be alone in their enclosure.
Also, when your friends and family are over at your place, try to teach them how to handle your bearded dragon. This will prevent hissing.
How to Pacify Your Bearded Dragon?
Here are a few ways to calm your bearded dragon.
- Consider opting for a glass enclosure that does not reflect your bearded dragon’s image.
- Provide as many hiding places as you can in their enclosure. Hiding brings their stress levels down.
- Use a thermometer to check the heat in their enclosure. You can also keep a humidifier to keep the atmosphere in the tank moist.
- Provide them with good quality and highly nourished meals.
- If you have two bearded dragons, do not keep them in the same tank.
- Do not overhandle them.
What to Do in Case Hissing Persists?
If your bearded dragon is hissing daily, you must know the root cause. Understand what is bothering them and make the changes.
If you have done everything possible such as providing hiding spots, setting the temperature, and providing them enough water and food, but the hissing is continuing, it is recommended that you visit your vet. We found a great article that explains why your bearded dragon might be hiding.
Your vet will be able to check if your bearded dragon is ill or has any other problems. They will also provide you with suggestions.
Do not ignore the hissing if it persists, as it is not healthy for your bearded dragon.