Does your bearded dragon ever stand up in its enclosure, and you want to know why? There are several reasons for this behavior.
Your bearded dragons may stand up tall in their enclosure because they are sleeping and feel more comfortable. They could be sleeping standing up due to stress or incorrect cage temperature. In the wild, many lizards stand up to appear larger to predators and to survey their environment.
Bearded dragons have some unusual behaviors, and standing upright during sleep is one of them. In this article, you will discover the root causes of this behavior and signs to watch out for if your beardie appears stressed or uncomfortable.
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Why is My Bearded Dragon Standing on Their Hind Legs?
Bearded dragons sometimes stand up tall on their hind legs, and you may wonder why they are doing this. As it turns out, this behavior is natural and normal for bearded dragons.
A bearded dragon standing on their hind legs is typical reptilian behavior. The following includes a variety of explanations for why your bearded dragon may be standing up tall:
1. Your Bearded Dragon is Sleeping
Your bearded dragon may be standing up while sleeping, as it is a comfortable position for them to drift into a peaceful slumber.
Did you know? Beardies show REM and slow wave sleep just as humans do!
You may see them sleep with their body pressed against the glass of their enclosure as they stand upright. The reasons:
- The temperature may not be correct for your bearded dragon
- The conditions in which they live are stressing them out (enclosure)
- They enjoy standing up, and it is comfortable
Bearded Dragons need their enclosure to be just right, or they become stressed and anxious. It would be best to consider whether it is too warm or cold for them.
You need to keep in mind that their living conditions and enclosure should replicate their environment in the wild:
2. Temperature is Not Correct
Your bearded dragon will need the temperature in their enclosure to be no cooler than 85 degrees Fahrenheit and no warmer than 110 degrees Fahrenheit (basking spot).
There should be a warmer end for basking with plenty of bright light and a cooler end to help prevent overheating.
Tips for creating the right temperature in the enclosure so your beardie can sleep without standing:
- Monitor the tank to make sure it closely replicates their natural wild environment.
- Have a basking light focused on one side of the enclosure and keep it on for twelve hours daily. (We show you the best heat lamps for beardies here)
- Use a ceramic heat emitter to keep your beardie’s tank warm overnight if the temperature drops below 65 °F
Your bearded dragon should have their tank no lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Have a separate thermometer for each side of the tank to keep track of the temperature and how it affects your lizard.
Tip: You can have dark rocks serve as a basking area for them to go and soak up the light
If your bearded dragon is sleeping on their hind legs, pressed against the glass, it may be trying to cool down, and it can also turn white if the enclosure is too hot.
Since humidity is also a factor, you can use a hygrometer to ensure the area is not too damp.
3. Stress is a Factor
If your bearded dragon is sleeping upright or glass surfing, it could indicate stress. Glass surfing occurs when it wants out of the tank and crawls up the glass to try to accomplish this.
It is an escape behavior, but if your bearded dragon is a female, it may be pregnant and wants to locate a suitable place to lay eggs.
Tip: If your bearded dragon is glass surfing, read our article on that here! It will help you to identify the cause.
Some other signs your bearded dragon could be stressed:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of energy
- Tail twitching (more on that here)
- Not basking
Tail twitching is similar to a cat being aggravated and flicking its tail. The appearance of a bearded dragon can also demonstrate stress, such as visible dark spots or marks appearing on them, as can constant shedding.
If your bearded dragon displays any of the above behaviors, sleeping upright or glass surfing, it may be experiencing extreme stress or anxiety.
Stress is also common when you bring your bearded dragon home for the first time, and there are things you can do to help.
For example, give your beardie a warm bath for about 20 minutes, which may help them relax and feel welcome.
Good husbandry may impact whether your bearded dragon sleeps vertically, as proper nutrition and an adequate enclosure can go a long way toward keeping your beardie stress free and happy.
Tip: Live food, in addition to greens, is the best recipe to make a happy bearded dragon
4. They Enjoy it
Sleeping while standing up is unheard of for humans, so it seems odd to think about any animal wanting to do it.
However, bearded dragons tend to enjoy it. Bearded dragons can also be seen sleeping up against trees in the wild.
If your lizard has no branches in their enclosure, it may sleep standing up against the glass.
Both wild and domesticated bearded dragons often sleep in unusual postures. Standing upright while snoozing is not harmful to the creature.
Even if you have the proper temperature and your beardie is stress-free, they may like to sleep this way, which should not cause alarm.
Some Other Reasons for Standing Up
There may be other reasons your bearded dragon is standing up tall. It can be trying to communicate with you what they need, or it could be due to another bearded dragon in the enclosure.
5. Your Beardie May Be Hungry
The diet your bearded dragon eats will depend on their age. Young, bearded dragons require more live food than adults.
While baby bearded dragons only eat insects, adult bearded dragons should mostly eat greens. This comes as a surprise for most people since they always feed their beardies live food every day.
That is the reason why so many bearded dragons in captivity are overfed.
Did you know? Adult bearded dragons should only be fed 5 times a week.
However, if you do not feed your beardie enough, it will become hungry.
Hunger can lead to stress-related behaviors, such as standing up and glass surfing. It is their way of trying to escape their enclosure to find food.
6. They May Want to Appear Bigger
Standing tall makes your bearded dragon appear taller to potential threats or predators.
This behavior is often paired with “puffing up.” A defensive posture makes them look bigger and more intimidating, such as to another bearded dragon.
When they stand tall and puff themselves out, they can warn potential threats to back off.
More on beardies puffing up here! We highly recommend reading this if your beardie does it often!
7. They Want to Survey the Environment
Standing tall helps your bearded dragon survey their environment for potential threats. It also helps them to look for resources and food sources. This trick is often used in the wild as a defensive move.
There are many reasons why your bearded dragon is standing up tall. It may be sleeping and feels more comfortable standing up. It could also be that your beardie is hungry or wants to appear more prominent.
Whatever the case, know that it is usually nothing to worry about as long as you keep the temperature in the enclosure correct and monitor them for signs of stress.