Bearded dragons are unique not only in their physical appearance and habitat requirements but also the way they communicate their emotions, mood and feelings. In addition, bearded dragons are not as common pet as dogs and cats so one of the most enjoyable aspects of owning a bearded dragon is getting to know their personalities and learning about their various behaviors.
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Especially first-time beardie owners have to spend their first few weeks of ownership searching on internet about different behaviors and gestures of their bearded friends. Sticking their tails up is one of many unique gestures breaded dragons usually exhibit, like changing their body color or the color of beards, arm waving, head bobbing, etc. If you have recently seen your beardedie for the first time with its tail curved upward and now wondering what it means, continue reading because we have explained different reasons for this gesture below.
In short, generally, bearded dragons stick their tails up when they are in a state of excitement or vigilance. This happens typically when beardies are in a new place, see some other lizard or pet near them, are trying to establish dominance, are busy exploring their surroundings or hunting, etc.
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5 Reasons: Why Bearded Dragons Stick Their Tails Up
Let’s discuss different reasons in detail.
Reason 1: Your Bearded Dragon Is Exploring
Most seasoned beardie owners may have observed that bearded dragons frequently stick their tails up when they are left free to roam around in the house or backyard. Usually, when lizards are in a new place and free to roam, they usually explore or investigate everything in their surroundings. Exploring new things is a thrilling experience for your bearded pet, and they remain alert while doing so to avoid any possible danger (therefore, keep their tails curved upward, a sign of alertness).
Similarly, if you have recently adopted a bearded dragon, he may exhibit this behavior because he is in a new vivarium, and everything in its surrounding is new to him. Furthermore, baby bearded dragons express this behavior more frequently than adult beardies because baby beardies are new in this world, and everything around them is a new object to explore.
Adult bearded dragons stick their tails up less frequently however you can expect your adult beardie to express this behavior if you add a new accessory in their vivarium or let them roam in a new room or place they have not visited before (or at least don’t remember it).
Reason 2: Your Bearded Dragon Is Hunting
Most novice (or first time) beardie owners observe their bearded dragons with their tails stuck upward for the first time when they put insects inside the enclosure. So if you are one of such owners, keep your nerves calm and don’t worry, because what you observed comes naturally to them. When you put insects in your beardie’s vivarium, its hunting instinct takes over. Naturally, any animal is extremely alert when he is ready to capture a prey. So whether in the wild or captivity, bearded dragons exhibit this same behavior while pursuing insects or other prey.
Reason 3: Expression Of Dominance Or Aggression
It is also possible that a bearded dragon with its tail curved up may be trying to express its dominance or to appear aggressive. Since bearded dragons are territorial animals by instinct, if they see another beardie or lizard in or near their vivarium or other pet moving around their enclosure, they feel threatened, become alert, and have their fight mode turned on. So they stick their tails upward to express their dominance or to appear aggressive as if giving a message to the intruder to stay away. This behavior is also observed when you put two beardies in one enclosure together. Sometimes, bearded dragons mistake their reflections in the glass as intruders and will try to express their aggression or dominance by sticking their tails up.
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Reason 4: Your Bearded Dragon Is Excited
Our bearded friends can also stick or curl their tails up when they are excited. In captivity, this generally happens at mealtime. Beardie owners who strictly follow feeding routine frequently observe that their bearded dragons become excited and stick up their tails when it’s mealtime. In fact, in this sort of situation, beardies are both alert and excited because they know that their prey will be here soon. On the other hand, it is also observed that beardies keep their tails curled up while eating in the wild, too; this is because beardies remain alert while eating because their instinct tells them that predators can take advantage of the temporary distraction.
Reason 5: Your Bearded Dragon Trying To Keep Its Tail Dry
Don’t be concerned if you observe that your bearded friend keeps its tail curved upward while bathing, as it is perfectly normal. This could mean that your bearded dragon enjoys bathing or is excited about it. In addition, he may be simply trying to keep its tail dry. Though this behavior is not frequently observed, especially in adult beardies (who mostly keep their tails down), because the energy level of older beardies is usually not as high as young beardies.
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So the take home message is that sticking their tails up is one of many strange or unique behaviors or body gestures that bearded dragons commonly exhibit. We have explained different reasons for this behavior in detail, and now we hope you will enjoy seeing your beardie’s tail curled up instead of worrying.