Petting is an excellent way to show love and develop a mutual bond with your pet. You may have seen almost all pet owners (especially dog and cat owners) petting their pets. However, as a bearded dragon’s owner (or if you are contemplating getting one), you may be confused “should I pet my bearded dragon or not?” “Do bearded dragons like petting or not” or “Do bearded dragons really need to be petted.” Let’s look for the answers.

Do Bearded Dragons Like To Be Stroked/Petted?

“YES” bearded dragons do like petting. However, petting a bearded dragon is not as simple as petting a dog or cat. Bearded dragons are such solitary creatures that even don’t like other bearded dragons in their habitat, and they don’t crave social and physical contact like dogs, cats, or other mammals. In addition, every beardie has its own distinct personality, so don’t be surprised if your friend’s beardie likes to be stroked but your beardie doesn’t . Or depending on their individual liking and disliking, they may prefer to be stroked in a particular area. So you must know what your beardie likes and handle him accordingly.

Whatever the case, do remember that bearded dragons will only enjoy petting if they are well socialized and accustomed to handling, and you are doing it the right way.

Handle Your Bearded Dragon Rightly

Unlike dogs or cats (which you can pet with one hand while doing some other task with the other), bearded dragons need your full attention and both hands to handle them properly. It’s crucial because if you don’t handle them properly, they will get stressed and more likely to resist petting or biting you. So a step-by-step guide is given below about how to handle or lift a bearded dragon for petting or any other purpose.

How To Lift Or Handle A Bearded Dragon?

You must follow the following instructions to acclimate your beardie with handling, lifting, remaining comfortable, and enjoying the procedure.

  • Before approaching your beardie, check for the signs that he is willing to be stroked, and ensure that he is not busy eating, hunting, or sleeping. 
  • Divert beardie’s attention toward you. 
  • Wear gloves to avoid getting bacteria (Salmonella) that bearded dragons usually carry.
  • Insert your hand slowly in the cabin/cage, and always approach from the front. Approaching from behind or above will scare your beardie, as he will take it as a predator approaching him. 
  • Gently stroke your bearded friend with an index figure on the head and sides of the face.
  • If your beardie looks comfortable and relaxed, he is ready to be picked.
  • Slowly and gently slide your hand under his body in the scooping fashion, and lift him slowly.
  • While lifting, ensure that you equally support his body and tail.
  • Some bearded dragons (especially baby beardies) can become panic at this stage. Supporting their chin with a finger will calm them.
  • Once your hand (holding your pet) is out of the cage, keep it close to your body at chest level. This way, your beardie will feel content, safer, and secure.
  • Now you can stroke your pet gently with your other hand. 
  • Once your finish stroking, put it back in the same way. Slowly move your hand down until it touches the ground. Then lift your elbow first to provide a slope for the easy landing of your pet.
  • After release, you can provide crickets or a piece of his favorite vegetable to associate handling with a treat.

Where To Pet A Bearded Dragon?

Generally, most bearded dragons like to be stroked on the head, tail, sides of face and belly, legs, toes, back, and feet. However, remember to move from head to tail and stop immediately if he looks uncomfortable, stressed, or scared.

Signs That Your Bearded Dragon Is Ready For Petting

Before you approach your beardie to pick, you should look for some behavioral signs that indicate that your pet is comfortable and ready, like

  • Your bearded pet will welcome you at the glass
  • Not afraid or aggressive (signs given below)
  • Look relaxed and seems to give a smile with a closed mouth.
  • Rub his head or body with your fingers

Signs That Your Bearded Dragon Is Not Ready For Petting

If your bearded dragon shows the following signs, it means he is not willing to be stroked. So you should delay your plan and first try to develop a good bond with him.

  • Hissing
  • Expand its beard
  • bobbing head 
  • Closing  eyes 
  • Trying to escape(Glass surfing)
  • Mouth gaping
  • Puffing its body up
  • Arm waving
  • Try to hide in its burrow
  • Running away from you