Bearded dragons are much different from other pets (like dogs, cats, etc.); not only in their appearance and living requirements but also in the way they behave in different situations. Though it appears a bit strange to those who have never kept a bearded dragon as a pet, it’s true that bearded dragons can sleep on their owners, provided that they are properly socialized and have developed good bonds with their owners.
If your bearded dragon often sleeps on you, it indicates that he likes you, is comfortable with you, trusts you, likes your body’s scent or wants to enjoy your body’s heat. So let us delve deep into the subject.
An Expression Of Love, Trust And Comfort
Naturally, it’s easiest for any predator to catch its prey when the prey is sleeping. So in the wild conditions, every animal (especially small animals like bearded dragons, cats, etc.) takes extra precautions to avoid falling prey to any predator. The same is the case with bearded dragons in captivity. If your bearded dragon is not happy with you or doesn’t see you as a trusted friend, he will appear scared, try to avoid and may behave aggressively when you try to handle him.
There is no big medal than a sleeping bearded dragon on you, and you should feel proud, as it indicates that your bearded friend is comfortable with you, trust you and not feeling any threat from you. In addition, you should also be appreciative that your efforts are going in the right direction. Because of the level of bonding and trust you have developed with your beardie, it never develops easily; rather, it develops gradually over weeks or even months.
Your Body’s Heat Attracts Your Beardie
Have you ever thought why we install basking lamps or other heat sources in our beardie’s enclosures? Actually, bearded dragons are ectothermic (cold-blooded) animals that rely on external heat sources to maintain their body temperature because their bodies can’t produce heat on their own. For the same reason, it is advised by the experts not to take them out of their tanks when it’s cold outside.
However, when you take your beardie out for any reason, soon they will search for a heat source. And naturally, your body is the nearest source, and your beardie will love to lay on it. Your body’s heat will make him feel relaxed and comfortable enough that he may fall asleep. So again, it’s an honor that your bearded friend thinks you are worthy enough to sleep on you.
Your Beardie Enjoy Your Scent
If you take care of your bearded friend yourself and feed and handle him appropriately, they will start associating your smell with food, security and safety. So naturally, when they snuggle up to you, they are surrounded by your aroma (they associate with love, peace, and protection), which can make them sleepy.
So for a novice beardie owner, the aroma can be a powerful tool to develop a good bond with his bearded friend. For this purpose, you can place a piece of your shirt in your beardie’s enclosure for a few days to make him familiar with your scent and make him understand that this smell doesn’t mean any harm. Experts also recommend hand-feeding to your bearded friend; however, don’t make it a habit.
Things To Notice: If your Bearded Dragon Sleeps On You
1. Time For Last Meal
The first and most crucial thing to notice before allowing your bearded dragon to sleep on you is when he last ate food. As we already know, beardies can’t produce their own body heat and depend on external heat sources. Therefore, every bearded dragon needs to bask for 90 to 120 minutes at least immediately after every meal to digest the food properly. If they don’t bask after the meal, prolonged stay of undigested food in the gut cans lead to many health complications.
So never take your bearded friend out of the cage immediately after a meal for 120 minutes at least unless it becomes unavoidable due to some reason.
2. Signs Of Bowel Movement
It’s really difficult to guess when your beardie will defecate because a lot of variation is found in the frequency of defecation among bearded dragons.
For example, a bearded dragon may defecate once daily, while the other may defecate once a week. This depends on individual personality, activity level, water intake and type of diet. So it’s crucial to know your beardie’s routine and if you notice that a lot of time has passed since he pooped, give him a warm bath (as most beardies pass stool while bathing) before allowing him to sleep on you.
In addition, you should also observe your bearded friend closely when he defecates to know how they behave just before passing stool, like lifting his tail etc.
3. Height And Fall Hazard
The height of your bed or sofa, plus your body’s height, is enough for a bearded dragon to get hurt or injured if they fall. You should be alert and attentive all the time when beardie is sleeping on you because a sleeping bearded dragon can wake up any time and may decide to walk around, unaware of the fact that danger is a few steps ahead. So if you doubt that you may go to sleep yourself, it is better to shift your bearded friend to his cage to avoid any damage.
Should I Allow My Bearded Dragon To Sleep On Me?
Allowing your bearded dragon to sleep on you is safe, in fact, a great way to develop a bond with your beardie and win his trust. However, you should make sure that you don’t fall asleep yourself (for the reasons mentioned above). In addition, you should also know your beardie’s defecating routine and how he behaves just before passing the stool and if you feel that it’s stool time, put him in warm water or back in their enclosure. Furthermore, it’s not advised to let your beardie sleep on you for the whole night because they need a specific environment and temperature and can’t spend too much time outside their enclosures.
Since bearded dragons can’t make sounds like dogs, cats or other pets, they have their own unique ways of communicating with their owners and expressing their emotions and love for the owner. Sleeping on you is one of the beardie’s ways to express his love for the owner. If your bearded dragon sleeps on you, it indicates that he trusts you, feels secure and comfortable with you, and like your scent. Since beardies always need an external heat source to meet their body’s heat requirement, they may also lay on you to absorb your body’s heat when outside their enclosures. However, you should make sure that at least 90 minutes have passed since his last meal and that you know the signs of bowel movement to avoid any mess.
In short, it takes weeks or even months to develop such a great bond with a bearded dragon that he starts feeling that you are worthy enough to sleep on you. So if your beardie sleeps on you, you should feel honored and proud to achieve this milestone.