Are Bearded Dragons Smart? A Most Surprising Answer!

Are Bearded Dragons Smart?

The 1990s saw the popularity of bearded dragons as pets have a surge. Their popularity hasn’t waned, which could be explained by their mild temperament, making them ideal pets for children and families.

As far as reptiles go, bearded dragons are social creatures, and they show a certain level of emotional capacity and problem-solving.

Bearded dragons are smart reptiles. They can recognize people and are good problem-solvers. Their intuition also means they can also imitate other reptiles. 

Signs of Bearded Dragon Intelligence.

Typically, your bearded dragon will be food motivated. This means he will remember your feeding routines and times.

Sticking to a feeding routine and keeping their bowl in one place will show you just how smart they are. When it comes to feeding time, he’ll already be standing by his bowl waiting! What’s more, if you say his name before giving him the food, he will create a positive association with this.

This won’t happen overnight, though. If you’re a new bearded dragon owner, this sort of behavior can take weeks or months to come around. Bearded dragons need time to adjust to their new home and new surroundings, so don’t be put off. 

However, as soon as your bearded dragon has gotten used to his home and his routine, he will begin to recognize you. He’ll also be able to distinguish you from other humans.

Bearded Dragons do show signs of Intelligence.
Bearded Dragons do show signs of Intelligence.

He will associate you with pleasant experiences like feeding or even cuddles. If unfamiliar people come nearby, you might notice his behavior change.

Similarly, if your pet has a negative experience with another person or animal, they might change their body language when they approach. Another sign of intelligence is that bearded dragons nod and wave to one another. They will also do this to people as well as other animals nearby. 

All of these signs show that bearded dragons are capable of remembering and learning from experiences, which is a sign of intelligence.

Do Bearded Dragons Use Logic?

By nature, bearded dragons use their instincts to get by in the world, and their reactions to these instincts are not too dissimilar to logic. In general, reptiles will innately react to stimuli. They’re also very territorial creatures.

As an example, adult beardies might display aggressive behaviors as they act territorial over their area. Often, they will compete for food or a mate too, and they do so due to instinct.

The actions that they demonstrate in these scenarios are innate. This means that they are not learned behaviors and are not down to their previous experience.

Do Bearded Dragons Recognize Their Owners?

Despite the above-mentioned behaviors being innate rather than learned, bearded dragons do recognize their names and their owner.

Many bearded dragon owners comment on how their bearded dragon shows recognition when they move towards their closure or say their name. 

In terms of behavior, you’ll notice that bearded dragons aren’t as hostile to their owners as they might be with other humans.

They might also turn their head when you approach too. Lots of bearded dragon owners are fascinated by bearded dragons’ ability to recognize humans. 

Often, however, they only learn to recognize their name and you through repeated positive experiences (i.e., you bring them food).

Make sure to use the same words and pitch and do a lot of repetition if you want to teach your pet to react to his name.

Can a Bearded Dragon be Trained?
Handling a Bearded Dragon.

If you’ve had your bearded dragon a while and he still doesn’t seem to recognize you, don’t be put off. Unlike dogs who only need a few tries at something before they learn it, bearded dragons require much more patience and consistency.

To help move things along, always stick to the same feeding and cleaning schedule.

Can You Train a Bearded Dragon?

As we’ve just discussed, there are things you can do to train your bearded dragon to recognize his name and you as his owner.

However, there are certain things you’ll never train your bearded dragon to do. Bearded dragons are not the same as cats or dogs, so don’t aim for the impossible!

Instead, bearded dragons learn behaviors. We’ve already talked about bearded dragons and their innate reactions and it’s hard to train them out of those. 

For example, if you’re trying to tame your pet, you might notice him retreating or jumping as a natural reaction towards fear. This display of fear will fade after a while as long as you follow the correct way to try and tame a bearded dragon. 

The main way of taming beardies is to display behaviors that you’d like them to mimic.

What Does The Research Say?

Researchers at the university of lincoln in the united kingdom carried out a Study On bearded dragons to see how they learned socially.

The study involved placing untrained bearded dragons in an enclosure with another bearded dragon who was trained. Once the trained dragon showed the untrained dragon how to open a door, the other bearded dragons could also open it.

For a fair test, there was a control group of four bearded dragons in an enclosure that hadn’t been trained. This group didn’t learn how to open the door. 

This result is impressive since it was once thought that learning through observation was a skill that belonged to mammals of high intelligence.

Is It Possible to Potty Train a Bearded Dragon?

Like people, bearded dragons are habit-forming creatures. They will sleep in the same spot each night, they’ll bask at around the same time of day, and they’ll expect food at the right time. 

Lots of bearded dragon behavior becomes predictable, including when they poop. But remember that one beardie’s schedule will be entirely different from another’s!

So, with this knowledge of habits, bearded dragon owners can train bearded dragons to an extent. While some of these reptiles will adopt this behavior quite quickly and defecate in the same place at each bathroom trip, others may never learn.

If you’re one of the lucky ones and can train your bearded dragon, you can start to encourage him to go in a separate litter tray. Bear in mind though not to use cat litter as your pet might decide to eat it!

Researchers at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom conducted a study to determine whether a Bearded Dragon trained to open a door to reach a delicious mealworm could teach other bearded dragons to open the door just by observation.

Conclusion – Are Bearded Dragons Smart?

So, if you’ve often wondered how smart bearded dragons are? Then yes, there are many reasons why we would call these reptiles smart.

As a unique reptile, bearded dragons are capable of many things. Just like more conventional pets, beardies can show emotions and recognition. 

The difference is, though, that they are much more difficult to train. With a bearded dragon, you’ll need to teach them things like recognition by following a strict routine. Like dogs, they can learn behaviors, it just takes a much longer time!

If you want to understand your pet bearded dragon more, try to learn about his emotional cues and what motivates him (food!). Since beardies have a good lifespan, you have plenty of time for training and having fun along the way, too.

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