BDO's Does my Bearded Dragon Love Me?
by Cameo Hall

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This is a topic that circulates in the community a lot. We as humans like to think that our dragons love us, but scientifically speaking they DON'T. That doesn't mean it's bad for thinking or continuing to think they do. Now before you start yelling at me give me a minute to explain.....

Bearded dragons do possess a hypothalamus, which is a region of the forebrain below the thalamus that coordinates both the autonomic nervous system and the activity of the pituitary, controlling temperature, thirst, and hunger. It's also involved in controlling emotional activity.

Bearded dragons have an underdeveloped hypothalamus and doesn't give the same range of emotions as we humans have. They have 3 basic emotions which are fear, aggression, and pleasure. These 3 emotions are all triggered by their natural instincts depending on the environment around them. For instance if you take your dragon outside with you they tend to act much more aggressive towards you then they would indoors due to their natural instincts kicking in. The only time I've been bitten by an adult dragon was outside with a dragon who had never even puffed up at me indoors before.

Your bearded dragon does know who you are though. They can remember you and know your scent is familiar, so they know it's safe. For example I have a grumpy dragon that doesn't like being handled. When I reach in to get her she rarely puffs up at me, but anyone else she does. She isn't fearful of me. Just as much as your bearded dragon doesn't love you they also don't hate you. They may just be fearful of you. Keep working with them to form that bond/trust.

We as humans tend to project our emotions onto our bearded dragons. Again there's nothing wrong with that, but your dragons brain isn't near as complex as yours to understand an emotion like love. I think we as humans spend half our lives trying to figure out love. As humans we find someone we love and we settle down, get married, have kids, and grow old dying together. (In a perfect world) Bearded dragons wait till breeding season find themselves a mate and wham bam thank you mam they do their thing. The male then disappears into the wind leaving female to deal with the 40 kids. I know some of you ladies are saying typical male right. LOL The female will then lay her eggs and bury them leaving her kids in the wind as well. What kind of mother does that? Neither one of the parents turn back around to see how their kids turned out. If you was to put the babies in front of mom or dad they would actually try and eat their kids!! The parents don't even have a few in between "it's complicated" mates. That's not love if you ask me. There's no greater love then a parent has for their child. Bearded dragons are solitary creatures and act upon instinct and dominance. They don't love each other. Your bearded dragon loves you as much as you loved the chicken when you enjoyed his breast with pleasure.

Do you still think your dragon loves you the same way like a cat or dog does?

If you let your cat or dog go outside most of the time they come back eventually right? They know you feed them and they love you. Do you think if you let your dragon go outside they would come back? They won't so don't try it.

Continue to love your dragons as if they are loving you back. They do recognize you and feel the pleasure that you give them when you're giving them that fat hornworm!