Can Bearded Dragons Jump?

In this post we learn that bearded dragons can, and will, jump. We look at what sort of injuries might result if they jump from too high

Can Bearded Dragons Jump Featured Image

Yes Bearded Dragons Can Jump, And They're Fearless

In this post we look at various aspects surrounding bearded dragons jumping. From what is a safe height for a bearded dragon to jump from, through to why they jump at their glass, or jump from your hands when you’re trying to hold on to them. The answer to the question, can bearded dragons jump, is a resounding yes, bearded dragons can – and often do – jump from heights, at glass or from your hands.

How High Can A Bearded Dragon Jump From?

The question of how high a bearded dragon can safely jump from often comes up. Usually after someone has witnessed their bearded dragon jump from their tank while the door is open. Or because their bearded dragon has jumped from the top of the couch onto the floor.

There’s two things to consider when trying to work out if your bearded dragon will be injured by a jump (or fall) from a height. That is to say, the height itself isn’t so much of the problem, within reason. But what the bearded dragon lands on and how it lands are the biggest determinator of whether your bearded dragon is likely to be injured.

Of course, a jump from 6 inches onto a hard surface isn’t likely to hurt them too much, whereas a 3 foot jump potentially will. But a 3 foot jump which results in landing in a pile of clothes or soft pillows is very unlikely. Similarly if they land on all four feet, they’re less likely to be injured than if they land on their back, or their head.

Also a consideration of how dangerous a jump from a height will be is reflected in the age of the dragon. An adolescent or young adult is likely to fare better than a baby bearded dragon or an old bearded dragon. Metabolic Bone Disease (which causes soft bones) also increases the risk of injury from a jump significantly.

So, it’s not really a question that can easily be answered in a text article such as this. But, bearded dragons are surprisingly hardy and will often jump across gaps or jump from heights that would certainly – if scaled up based on body size – scare or injure us humans.

Signs A Jump Injured Your Bearded Dragon

There’s a few things you can look for if your bearded dragon has just made a large jump or fall. Please bear in mind this information cannot take the place of a veterinarian assessment because we cannot see your bearded dragon, and in some cases even vets may need to take X-Rays or other imaging to be certain. Nevertheless, if your bearded isn’t displaying any of these symptoms they are hopefully going to be OK. But if you’re in any way concerned you should consult a vet straight away so they can properly assess your beardie.

The following would be considered warning signs of an injury sustained from jumping or falling;

  • Limbs or tails that bend in un-natural ways after the jump.
  • Your beardie displays signs of being in pain, such as pulling away from you, or their beard and/or body turning black.
  • Obvious bleeding
  • Inability to use a limb, or reduced ability to use a limb or limbs
  • Jaws that look out of place
  • Dents or deformities in their back that were not present before the jump
  • Unconsciousness, even if they recover quickly
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting after the fall, even after hours or days
  • Any seizure activity
  • Change in character of your beardie after the jump. For example, excessive drowsiness in a bearded dragon who’s normally quite active, or aggression in one who’s not normally aggressive.

The above list is fairly comprehensive but not necessarily exhaustive. If you’re concerned about any change in appearance or behaviour of your bearded dragon after a jump from a height then contact your vet.

Why Did My Bearded Dragon Jump?

Bearded dragons can jump from any number of reasons. Sometimes it’s because they spot an insect running in the distance and think they can get it even though there’s a huge airgap between themselves and the insect.

Sometimes they’ll jump out of their cage because they simply want to have a run around the house instead. They can get quite keen on exiting their cage when you leave the door open!

Other times they’ll jump just because they can.

Do Bearded Dragons Like to Climb High?

Bearded dragons do like to get up a little bit high in their cage but they don’t like to go as high as, for example, Chinese Water Dragons or Chameleons for example. Bearded dragons do like to get higher than any others around them – so if there are other bearded dragons in the house it’s quite possible that they’ll want to climb higher than those who are alone in the house.

Fortunately, bearded dragons don’t generally like to climb too high, at least not in their cage. Which is one reason why we recommend they have a cage that is much longer than it is tall (though the need for a temperature gradient inside the vivarium is the main reason coupled with the UVB requirements needing them to be reasonably close to the UVB light).

Nevertheless, bearded dragons aren’t fussed if they can’t climb high. A little bit is enough. Just enough to survey their kingdom from a bit better vantage point at times.

Is It Okay For Bearded Dragons To Fall?

It’s definitely better to try to avoid bearded dragons falling. This would go for any veterbrate (creatures with a backbone) since even the smallest of falls does carry some risk of broken bones or internal injuries. But if your vivarium is the standard height of 18 inches to 24 inches, then it’s highly unlikely they’ll sustain any significant injuries if they climb while in their home and then slip and fall.

This does depend to some extent on what they fall onto though. Falling onto sharp branches, or jagged rocks below will be far more likely to cause injury than falling onto flat tiles, sand (though we don’t recommend sand for bearded dragons vivariums), or hammocks etc. For this reason, it’s best to make sure any sharp edges are removed from branches or rocks in the vivarium if your bearded dragon likes to climb above them.

Bearded dragons will sometimes get a bit clumsy, or their ambition will get the better of their ability on occasion and they’ll either jump inappropriately or fall from a ledge or branch. Inside the vivarium it’s rare that they’ll injure themselves.

Outside of the vivarium can be a different story though. Some places bearded dragons will jump from, without warning, and can potentially injure themselves;

  • Dining tables
  • Shoulders of people whilst they’re carrying them
  • Backs of chairs / couches etc
  • Beds (though usually these are low enough not to cause too much drama)

It’s best to keep your bearded dragon no higher than 6 inches from the floor if they’re out of their cage. If they get distracted by something they think is food (or indeed, could be food) they will often run and jump at it without even thinking of the danger. Consider them like toddlers – inquisitive and without fear.

We’ve listed the potential injuries to look for if your bearded dragon falls from a height above.

Bearded Dragon Jumping At Glass

This one is a little bit different in that we’re not talking about a bearded dragon jumping from a height. But some bearded dragons will jump at the glass of their vivarium. This is usually an aggression sign, brought about because the bearded dragon can see its own reflection.

Bearded dragons are solitary creatures, except during breeding season, and they are very territorial. Bearded dragons will fight each other if they come into contact (not always, and not all – but on average). When a bearded dragon sees their reflection in the glass, even if it’s relatively feint, they can see this as an intruder and will give all sorts of initial warnings. These warnings are of course ignored, because they’re looking at themselves, and eventually the bearded dragon will jump toward the other to attack.

This can, in extreme cases, cause injuries to jaws and mouths as well as possibly neck injuries too.

Preventing Bearded Dragon From Jumping At Glass

Many bearded dragon owners will never face this problem. It’s more common in households where more than one bearded dragon lives, even if they are kept separately. Bearded dragons, especially males, give off chemicals called pheromones which are used to attract a mate and to signal to other bearded dragons that ‘this is my spot’. This heightens the aggression in males and can cause them to jump at their reflection.

Sometimes it’s enough to make sure the bearded dragons can’t see each other at all. Other times they may need to be moved to separate rooms to reduce the pheromones in the air that they can sense.

In any case, whether your bearded dragon lives with others in the same household (not the same tank, don’t do that) or whether they live singly – one way to reduce the amount of jumping towards the glass is to make sure they can’t see their reflection as well. Covering the glass with a large picture or at least paper can help this, as the paper/picture won’t reflect their image back to them.

If you need to do this on the main doors of the vivarium (if you have sliding glass doors for example) then you should only need to do it for the bottom part of the glass door rather than to cover the whole door.

Bearded Dragon Jumping From Hands

Some bearded dragons love to be held and others don’t. Even those that love to be held will sometimes decide that they don’t want to be held any more and will try to leave, either slowly or quickly.

Most of the time, bearded dragons will jump from hands just because they want to.

Summary for Bearded Dragon Jumping

In this post we’ve learned that bearded dragons can jump and often do. We’ve shown that the height which they can safely jump from depends mostly on what they land on, although heights above 3 feet should probably considered high risk even if they’re landing on something soft. Incidentally, this height is anecdotal – there are no studies to our knowledge of safe heights for bearded dragons to jump from. But there are many stories of bearded dragons who’ve jumped from higher than this and suffered no injuries. But some have suffered injuries below this height too.

We’ve given a list of signs and symptoms to look for if your bearded dragon has jumped from a height and you’re concerned that they might have injured themselves. Some of the signs and symptoms may take a few hours, or even days, to show up, so if they have jumped from a height keep your eye on them closely for a few days.

If you’re in any doubt at all, we’d recommend contacting a specialist bearded dragon vet for specific advice for your bearded dragon.

We hope you’ve found this post useful. If you have please feel free to share it using the buttons below. If you have any questions or stories of when your bearded dragon jumped and how it turned out (remember, a vet is the best option for specific advice – and also remember it may be at least three to five days before we can respond here) feel free to leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!


Featured Image by HIROMASA HADACHI from Pixabay