bearded dragon blending in with a rock

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Hissing? [What To Do About it]

Bearded dragons will typically hiss when they feel threatened or are being aggressive. Hissing is a warning sign to keep your distance. They may hiss if they are being handled excessively, if they perceive you as an intruder in their environment, or if they see their own reflection and mistake it for another bearded dragon. Bearded dragons may hiss in order to be left alone and given space and privacy.

To keep your bearded dragon from feeling threatened, provide a safe and comfortable environment, allow them time to adjust to a new environment if necessary, handle them gently, and keep them away from reflective surfaces.

Reasons for Bearded Dragon Hissing

Feeling Threatened

Several things can threaten a bearded dragon, the most common is being in an unfamiliar environment and feeling exposed. When a bearded dragon is afraid, they will hiss. It’s also worth noting that bearded dragons can feel threatened in situations that aren’t necessarily dangerous. In the following section, we will discuss how to handle this situation to make your bearded dragon feel safe and secure.

Being Handled Too Much

Bearded dragons may hiss if they are handled excessively. This is especially true during mating season, when they are very territorial. Hissing is their way of telling you to leave them alone.

See You as an Intruder

Bearded dragons may hiss if they perceive an intruder. It is important to remember that these lizards are extremely territorial and will not hesitate to express their displeasure if their territory is violated. Allowing the dragon time to adjust to any new environment or people before attempting to interact with them is the best way to avoid this situation. If you are already interacting with the bearded dragon, be gentle and cautious so that you do not startle them and cause them to become defensive.

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Seeing Their Own Reflection

For a bearded dragon, seeing their own reflection can be frightening because they may not recognize what they are seeing. While it is critical to provide a safe and comfortable environment for them, this also includes avoiding reflective surfaces such as glass tanks.

If your bearded dragon is in a glass tank, it may be able to see its own reflection and is hissing to frighten the “intruder”. However, because the reflection will not go away, they may become increasingly stressed.

If you notice your bearded dragon hissing and suspect it is due to their own reflection, try moving them to a location without reflective surfaces. If the tank must remain where it is, you could try covering the sides with fabric or paper to prevent them from seeing their reflection. This will help your beardie relax and adjust to their new surroundings more quickly.

Want to Be Alone

A bearded dragon may hiss simply because it wants to be left alone. When you try to handle your bearded dragon, he or she may hiss at you, indicating that they are not in the mood for social interaction. Respect your pet’s boundaries and provide a safe and comfortable environment where they can relax without feeling threatened.

How to Address Bearded Dragon Hissing

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  • The most important aspect of dealing with bearded dragon hissing is to provide a safe and comfortable environment.
  • It’s critical to give them time to adjust to their new surroundings because they can be quite fearful.
  • Handle them gently. Rough handling can cause stress and anxiety.
  • It is best to keep them away from reflective surfaces because they may mistakenly believe they are seeing another dragon and become scared or aggressive.


Provide a Safe and Comfortable Environment

The number one thing you can do to prevent hissing behavior is to provide an environment where your bearded dragon feels safe and secure. Bearded dragons are easily stressed and anxious, so it is important to ensure that the enclosure is large enough to prevent overcrowding, that the temperature and humidity levels are appropriate, and that it is free of other environmental stressors.

It is also important to provide a secure hideout and give the bearded dragon their own space so that they feel safe in their enclosure. If done correctly, this should help to prevent hissing behavior caused by a sense of safety in their enclosure.

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Give Them Time to Adjust to a New Environment

When bringing a new bearded dragon into your home, you must give them time to adjust to their new surroundings. When threatened or scared, bearded dragons may hiss as a sign of distress. Allow them to adjust to their surroundings before handling them. Ensure that the environment you provide them with is not too loud or bright, as this can cause additional stress. Allow enough time for your bearded dragon to adjust and explore their new environment before expecting them to be comfortable.

Handle Them Gently

Handle your bearded dragon with care, especially if it has been hissing at you. Hissing can indicate that your bearded dragon is feeling threatened, so handle them with care and respect. Gently stroking their back or sides can help them feel safe by demonstrating that you are not a threat.

When handling them, support their body weight and avoid putting too much pressure on their underside. Taking the time to handle your bearded dragon gently can help to prevent future aggressive behavior.

Keep Them Away From Reflective Surfaces

When bearded dragons in captivity see their own reflection in a glass tank or other reflective surfaces, they may become stressed. This is because they perceive the reflection as an intruder and are alarmed.

To prevent this, keep reflective surfaces away from your bearded dragon’s enclosure. This can be accomplished by including enough hiding spots and plants in the tank, as well as avoiding any mirrors or reflective items near the tank.

Seek Help From a Veterinarian if Needed

If you take all these steps and your bearded dragon continues to hiss, you should consult a veterinarian. A veterinarian can help you identify any underlying medical conditions that may be making your dragon feel threatened or anxious.

They can also advise you on how to create an ideal environment for your dragon, including enclosure setup, diet, and any other potential stressors.

Two Common Signs of Aggression Along With Hissing

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  • In addition to hissing, bearded dragons may exhibit two other common signs of aggression when threatened or uncomfortable.
  • Tail flicking is a sign of agitation and may indicate that the dragon is uneasy or uncomfortable.
  • Lunging is another aggressive behavior displayed by bearded dragons when they are angry or feel threatened.
  • Tail flicking and lunging are both indications that your beardie is feeling vulnerable and requires space to feel safe.
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Tail Flicking

Another common sign of aggression in bearded dragons is tail flicking. Tail flicking is commonly observed in the presence of other bearded dragons when they are threatened or attempting to establish their dominance. If your bearded dragon is tail flicking, remove them from the situation and provide them with a safe and comfortable environment.


Lunging is another sign of aggression in bearded dragons. This is when the dragon moves quickly towards the perceived threat, appearing to bite. This behavior is typically preceded by puffing up the body and tilting to one side to appear larger. When threatened or scared, bearded dragons may exhibit this behavior. It can also happen when a bearded dragon sees its own reflection and misidentifies it as another dragon.

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  • Bearded dragons hiss when they are threatened, aggressive, or lonely.
  • Feeling threatened, being handled excessively, perceiving someone as an intruder, and seeing their own reflection are all common causes of hissing.
  • To address hissing, give the bearded dragon a safe and comfortable environment and handle them gently.
  • Allow the bearded dragon time to adjust to its surroundings by keeping it away from reflective surfaces.
  • If the problem persists, consult a veterinarian.