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Why Does a Bearded Dragon Lick You? 4 Reasons & What Does It Mean

Visnja Radosavljevic

By Visnja Radosavljevic

a bearded dragon with the mouth open

If you own a bearded dragon, you’ve likely noticed that this little reptile does all kinds of cute things, such as licking everything around them—including you!

But why do bearded dragons lick their owners? What does it mean when a bearded dragon licks you?

In this article, we talk more about beardies, their unusual licking habit, why it occurs, and what it means when your bearded dragon licks you.

bearded dragon divider

Why Do Bearded Dragons Lick Their Owners?

Bearded dragons love to explore their surroundings, and they mainly do this with their tongues. Therefore, it’s normal for them to lick everything around them, even their owners.

This is a natural behavior for bearded dragons, as they may lick the things around them to mark their territory or lick other beardies during the mating season.

That said, bearded dragons also engage in this behavior for other reasons.

The 4 Reasons Your Bearded Dragon Licks You

1. To Get Familiar With Their Environment

Bearded dragons need to be aware of their surroundings, especially when in the wilderness, which is why they have high sensory needs that they express through licking. If your beardie is licking you, it’s their way of getting to know you and sensing your body temperature and texture.

Bearded dragons are typically quite curious, especially during their baby stage, which is why you’ll often see them licking you and other things around their habitat. Licking also enables bearded dragons to realize that you don’t represent a threat to them and that you’re safe to be around.

woman handling her bearded dragon
Photo Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

2. To Smell or Taste Something

Bearded dragons have many receptors on their tongues that enable them to experience the world around them. They can smell and taste when licking, so if you taste or smell interesting, they might lick you to explore you and get a sense of you and your pheromones.

If you’ve had your bearded dragon for a while, they may already be familiar with your taste and scent, so they can easily recognize you among other people.

3. To Mark Their Territory

Beardies can often be territorial, especially the males. Therefore, they often like to lick everything around them, including their owners, to mark their territory. This behavior is typically not too obvious when you only have one bearded dragon, but it can become quite pronounced if you own multiple beardies.

So, if your bearded dragon is licking you, they may be simply marking you as their territory or their possession.

Bearded Dragon closed his eyes in warm hands
Photo Credit: SUPAKIT ROENGNARONG, Shutterstock

4. To Express Comfort

Bearded dragons are reptiles, meaning they’re unable to experience complex emotions like love. However, it’s still possible for your bearded dragon to like you or feel comfortable around you, which they often express by licking you.

Although licking isn’t a sign of love, it can be a great indicator that your beardie is comfy and enjoying your company.

What Does It Mean When Your Beardie Licks You?

While most bearded dragon owners connect the licking habit of their beardie with affection, these animals are unable to feel love or show affection. However, when your bearded dragon licks you, that can indicate that you’re a safe person with whom they feel comfortable.

Your beardie may also be exploring you and their surroundings or looking for food. Overall, most reasons for your beardie licking you are positive, so there’s nothing to worry about.

bearded dragon dividerFrequently Asked Questions

What Do Bearded Dragons Like to Lick Besides Humans?

Bearded dragons are curious animals, which is why they like to experience everything in their environment. Since they sense the world mainly by licking, beardies will lick all kinds of things, from the air itself to other pets and household items.

Can Licking Be a Sign of Aggression in Bearded Dragons?

While many people fear that beardies are licking them because they want to bite them, those situations are rare. Licking humans is typically not associated with aggressive behavior in bearded dragons.

Too much licking can be a sign of aggression, but only when it is pointed toward another bearded dragon. If you have two male bearded dragons that commonly engage in excessive licking, it might be a way of them fighting for territory, which is why it’s best to keep them apart.

Bearded dragon
Photo Credit: Opayaza12, Shutterstock

bearded dragon dividerFinal Thoughts

Bearded dragons typically like to lick their owners out of curiosity, to smell/taste them, or to express comfort. If your beardie is licking you, it likely means that your little companion feels safe and comfortable around you and that your company pleases them.

Featured Image Credit: Deb Kletch, Shutterstock

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