A bearded dragon is one of the most fascinating pets you can have. Bearded dragon size is ideal, which makes handling easy. These pets do not need much space, they are quiet and beautiful. Additionally, bearded dragon lifespan is long among other unique traits. If you have had your beardie for some time, you might have experienced some behaviors like your bearded dragon tongue sticking out.
Why does my bearded dragon keep sticking his tongue out? Is it a normal or an abnormal thing?
The main reason why your bearded dragon tongue sticks out is to reduce the body temperature to an ideal level. This commonly happens during gapping. Read the rest of the guide to find out more about your beaded dragon sticking his tongue out.
How Does A Bearded Dragon Tongue Look Like?
Before we understand why beardies stick their tongue out, it is good to know bearded dragon tongue anatomy. Many bearded dragon owners have concerns when they see their pets have white tongues or else white at the tip of their tongues.
This is a normal thing, and it should not worry you. Bearded dragon tongue tip is commonly white, yellow, or light pink. Any of these colors should not be a concern because it is normal. The bearded dragon tongue tip has a light color and a sticky hue to help them get hold of their prey effortlessly. Their catch sticks on their tongue and then they eat it.
Apart from the tongue, if you notice the entire mouth is grey or white, then this is a sign of a health problem. Some of the common unhealthy bearded dragon tongue could be because of the following:
- Mouth rot
- Respiratory tract infection
If you see the outside mouth area of your bearded dragon starts to become pale, it shows your pet is near to shed.
Why Does A Bearded Dragon Open His Mouth?
One of the common things you will notice with your beardie is opening their mouth. The main reason why they open their mouth is for temperature regulation. This process is called gapping. Bearded dragons do not sweat like a human so they have their own way of regulating their body temperature. They open their mouth and release excess heat from their body hence reducing the body temperature.
They mostly open their mouths when basking, especially on a rock, tank, or other cool places. Another common question is whether bearded dragons can keep their mouth open while sleeping. This is not a usual thing with bearded dragons. It can be a trait of an individual beardie.
However, if your beardie sleeps with their mouth open at night, this means that it is too hot at night. It is great to maintain cooler temperatures for their cage at night, especially the area where they sleep.
While opening their mouth is a normal condition, there are some instances when it can be a problem. For instance, it can show that your bearded dragon is suffering from a respiratory infection. If you notice open-mouthed breathing, shallow breathing, or reduced appetite, it can be a sign of respiratory infection. If you notice such symptoms, it is good to look for veterinary help.
What Does It Mean When A Bearded Dragon Tongue Sticking Out?
After staying with your bearded dragon for some time, you will notice some behaviors like sticking his tongue out. There is a number of reasons why your bearded dragon sticks their tongue out. This is a normal thing, and you should not be worried. Let’s look at these reasons deeper.
As mentioned above, this is the main reason why you will probably see your bearded dragon sticking its tongue out. It shows that they are regulating their body temperature to keep them cool when it is hot. Your bearded dragon can also leave his tongue out when basking. They thrive at body temperatures of 95-110 degrees F.
When they are basking and they have reached the right temperature, they will keep their mouth open to release some heat. If they do not gape when basking, they can get overheated and feel uncomfortable. It is good to maintain a temperature gradient in their living environment so that they can switch to various temperatures as they need.
To Examine their Surroundings
Apart from temperature regulation, beardies also stick their tongue out to examine the surrounding. They have scent receptors in their tongues like the rest of the reptiles. For instance, if you place something new in like a log in their enclosure, they flick their tongue out. This is a sign that they are checking some things. This is a common behavior you will notice with snakes too.
Bearded dragons open their mouth to catch their prey like crickets. Their tongue features a sticky saliva layer that enables them to hold their prey. This is the same way a chameleon eats. When they find their prey, they remove their tongue and then retract it to their mouth when the bug is stuck. The difference between a chameleon and a bearded dragon is that beardies have a small tongue.
While bearded dragons utilize their tongues in strange settings, they do not use their tongues to determine if a particular food is good for eating. For instance, it is unlikely to see a bearded dragon stick his tongue on plants or insects. If they need to determine the right food for them, they use their eyesight while other reptiles use their tongue.
Metabolic Bone Disease
This is another reason why your bearded dragon can stick their tongue out, although it is a rare case. If it happens, this is an indication that your bearded dragon is suffering from MBD condition, leaving their tongue open. This condition affects their bone structure which makes them flexible and softened. As a result, they experience trouble closing their mouth. The condition is rare and you can tell your beardie has MBD if they have other symptoms like:
- Lumps on their body
- Bowed legs
- Reduced appetite
- Walking or moving difficulties
If you see these symptoms and you are worried that your beardie is suffering from MBD, it is good to consult a professional reptile veterinarian to get the right treatment for your beardie.
When it is the breeding season, bearded dragons stick their tongue out to lick. Their tongues have receptors that help them determine pheromones from the other bearded dragons who are ready to start mating. Some of the pre-mating behaviors you can experience include licking, males changing color, and head bobbing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Why Does A Bearded Dragon Lick?
A: If you have a bearded dragon, you have probably noticed they lick almost everything. They lick food, substrate, or even air. Bearded dragons are just like other reptiles and they lick to get information about their surroundings. Bearded dragon has many receptors that help them detect micro-particles on the surfaces they lick to understand more about their surroundings.
Q: What Purpose Do Bearded Dragons Use Their Tongue For?
A: Bearded dragons commonly use their tongues to lick. When they are in their juvenile stage, they are curious to understand more about their environment. The more they get information, the more they stay healthy and safe. If you see them, licking their lips, it is an indication they are thirsty.
Q: What Does It Mean When A Bearded Dragon Licks You?
A: If your bearded dragon licks you frequently, this is a sign of expressing their affection to you. it shows they are comfortable in their surroundings. They express their affection to humans by licking and this shows you and your bearded dragon spend some good time together.
Q: What Objects Can A Bearded Dragon Lick?
A: Bearded dragons can lick different things like air, food, substrate, or other pets. They also lick humans to show affection or lick their fellow bearded dragons to show dominance to hierarchy.
Bearded dragon licking air is strange, but is helpful for beardies. Before they eat food, they also lick it first. This is similar to how humans smell food before eating. They lick other pets because they are curious to understand them since beardies are not social creatures. So, if you have cats and dogs, beardies will lick them to determine if they are a threat.
Q: Should I Be Worried If My Bearded Dragon Opens His Mouth?
A: Beginners are always worried when they see bearded dragon opening their mouths. This is not something to raise a concern about because it is normal. Opening their mouths can indicate a number of things like a respiratory infection interfering with breathing, he is aggressive or scared. It could also mean your beardie is regulating body temperature by opening his mouth.
Q: Do Bearded Dragons Show Aggressive And Defensive Behavior?
A: Bearded dragons are known to be friendly, and calm. They relate well to their owner and strangers alike. However, they can show aggressive and defensive traits if they feel threatened. Since they understand human beings better, they rarely show aggressive behavior towards them.
However, if you upset him, he will show an aggressive response like wide mouth opening or beard stretching. All these are meant to frighten or scare you. while they hardly show aggressive behavior, when they are aggressive they open their mouth, hiss, charge, and in some cases bite.
Bearded dragons make good pets and they have some unique characteristics. If you are a beginner, it is essential to understand all their behaviors to avoid worrying about some normal things. What does it mean when a bearded dragon keeps sticking its tongue out? Bearded dragon tongue sticking out behavior is normal unless they have MBD, which is a rare condition. these fascinating creatures stick their tongue out because they are inquisitive.
Therefore, you should not be worried if you see your beard dragon sticking his tongue out. It could be for temperature regulation, capturing prey, or examining the surrounding. If you are a beard owner, I hope this article cleared the air on beard dragon tongue out. Always take good care of your beardie and maintain the right temperature to keep them comfortable in their environment.