Bearded Dragon Care

Why Is My Bearded Dragon On My Shoulder?

Bearded dragons are lovable pets that love to climb all over their humans, especially their shoulders. But why do they do this?

Bearded dragons sit on shoulders to express their happiness. They will show they’re safe and happy with you by sitting on your shoulder and/or head. Along with that, in the wild, dragons climbed surfaces to escape predators. Climbing on objects, like shoulders, is their instinct.

The rest of this article will cover why your bearded dragon likes being on your shoulder, if it’s a good idea to let them walk around on your shoulder, and precautions to take for their safety.

Why Your Bearded Dragon Likes Your Shoulder

Your bearded dragon is sitting on your shoulder to express their happiness. In a community forum post, bearded dragon owners discuss their experience with their dragons sitting on their shoulders. One member even described it as a dragon’s version of a hug!

A bearded dragon sitting on your shoulder is common, and they do this to show you they feel safe with you. Also, in the wild, dragons would climb surfaces to escape predators. So your dragon climbing you is a part of their instinct!

Lastly, there’s one more reason why they sit on your shoulder. They like using your height as a vantage point. This way, they can scout out the rest of the room and search for any potential danger or mates.

Why It’s Not A Good Idea To Let Them On Your Shoulder

This is a disappointing but safe answer. Not only does letting them sit on your shoulder build their trust in you, but it’s an adorable sight. Here’s a video of a bearded dragon climbing on its owner’s shoulder. But no matter how cute, it isn’t a good idea to let them on your shoulder.

Unfortunately, despite the pros of letting them on you, there are many cons to consider. If they slip, they could get hurt. And that’s without mentioning what they could do to you.

They have sharp claws. If they’re on your shoulder and you’re wearing a shirt, their claws won’t impact you too much. But if they start climbing higher, they could scratch your neck, or even your eyes and potentially cause permanent injury.

Bearded dragons also carry illnesses like salmonella. If you come into contact with them with your mouth, this could spread the illness to you. Overall, it’s not a great idea to let them climb on you.

Precautions For Their Safety

What you should worry about is them jumping off you. Although dragons aren’t known for their jumping, they are a curious breed that like to explore and climb. So if they see or sense something they want to investigate, they may jump off of you.

Their depth perception doesn’t overpower their curiosity, which is why they would jump off of you. If they fall from a height that’s taller than their bodies, it can cause an injury. Causes of their jumping include sensing a predator, sudden movements, curiosity, and sudden noises.

To prevent this, wash your hands before holding your pet so no bacteria you’re carrying transfers to it. Next, move slowly when interacting with the bearded dragon as to not startle it. Lastly, pet the dragon before picking it up.

Be sure not to squeeze it, and keep it close to you while holding it securely. This way, you don’t have to worry about them jumping, and you keep them calm to lower their stress, thus lowering their likelihood of jumping.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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