Weird or Not? Bearded Dragon Eyes Bulging

There are many behaviors that beardies display, but bearded dragon eyes bulging is pretty weird, and it has freaked out many dragon owners. 

If you have not noticed this bulging behavior before, I’m sure it will alarm you if you are seeing it for the first time. You may even think that a devil has possessed your bearded dragon. Don’t get me wrong, but I’m trying to show how alarming is eye bulging. 

I’m going to take you through the beardies’ eyes bulging and everything you need to know about it. I hope you will enjoy reading this article. 

Bearded Dragon Eyes Bulging Infographics
Bearded Dragon Eyes Bulging Infographics

Understanding Bearded Dragon Eyes Bulging

Understanding Bearded Dragon Eyes Bulging
Understanding Bearded Dragon Eyes Bulging

Bearded dragons are increasingly popular lizards for the people to keep as pets. There is a lot to learn about these unique lizards, especially the multiple behaviors associated with them. Bearded dragons not only make excellent pets but form a profitable business for the breeders. 

Eyes bulging is one of the behaviors that the dragons exhibit , but during specific occasions, and it disappears immediately. 

Eye bulging is more often seen in chameleons where the eyes bulge out on the side of the increase the ability to see a larger area. This is made possible by the muscular eyelid, which prevents the eyeball from popping out and the presence of a deep socket to hold the eye in position. 

If you are lucky to have seen a chameleon bulging eyes, it is not far from what happens in bearded dragons. As I mentioned earlier, eyes bulging in bearded lizards takes only a short time, and sometimes you don’t even notice it. 

The primary concern here is, why exactly do the beardies bulge out their eyes? I’m going to talk about that shortly, but first, I need you to know that eyes bulging is not something that should worry you. It is indeed a common and normal behavior in bearded dragons. 

Now, let’s dive deep into the reasons why bearded dragons bulge out their eyes. Don’t miss any single information. 

Why Do Bearded Dragons Bulge Out Their Eyes?

Why Do Bearded Dragons Bulge Out Their Eyes?
Why Do Bearded Dragons Bulge Out Their Eyes?

You will always hear people talking about arm-waving, black bearding, head bobbing, and mouth opening in bearded dragons. However, not many people will tell you about bearded dragon eyes bulging. 

It is not unheard of that many bearded lizards have freaked out a lot of new dragon owners with their eye-bulging behavior. 

When I first saw it, it was genuinely dismaying. I could not help but get into the internet, and by the time I was through with googling, I had as well informed my reptile vet about it. That is how scary eye-bulging can be, especially to the new beardie owners. 

If this is the first time to hear about eye-bulging behavior in the dragons, you are lucky to receive the information before experiencing it. You will not be much startled when you notice your bearded dragon bulging its eyes out. 

You should not be startled when a beardie bulges out its eyes; it is doing this for a purpose as we are going to see. 

Bearded Dragon Bulging Eyes When Preparing to Shed

Although bearded dragon eyes bulging is a widespread behavior, no one is sure why it happens, even scientists are yet to prove it. However, some scientists have come up with theories trying to explain different situations that might be causing eyes bulging in dragons. 

Among the theories is the assumption that bearded dragons tend to bulge out their eyes when they are preparing for the shedding process. This is the leading theory, and it makes a lot of sense. 

The truth is, the skin on the bearded dragon’s head, throat, and around the face is more intact than on the body. So, bulging out the eyes helps to loosen the skin on the front, and this speeds up the shedding process. 

The downside of this theory is that some people have witnessed their bearded lizards displaying the eye-bulging behavior even after the shedding process.

However, this happens in rare cases and might merely be a crossover phase; maybe the beardie has not realized that it is done with shedding. 

Young bearded dragons tend to bulge their eyes more often when they are ready to shed compared to adult bearded dragons. In adult age, bulging occurs on rare occasions. 

Young dragons shed more frequently than adults. Perhaps, that is the reason why eyes bulging is more common in young bearded dragons, specifically when they are below one year. 

Bearded Dragon Eyes Bulging Due to Yawning

Before we even go deep into the discussion, I must admit that this theory does not make a lot of sense to me. Let’s do it practically right here and see. Try yawning a little bit, and concentrate on how your eyes will behave. Do the eyes seem to protrude out? The answer is no, right? 

Also, there are so many reasons why people yawn. Yawning may be a sign to show you are hungry or tired, allow more oxygen into the blood, or when the body wants to wake itself up and more. So, people yawn at varying times and for entirely different reasons. 

I don’t see how yawning and eyes bulging out correlates. I hope you now understand what I’m trying to say when I admit that I’m less inclined to agree into the idea that bearded dragons bulge out their eyes due to yawning. 

 But it could be true that the eyes are bulging because of yawing; comparing the beardies with humans may not be solid proof. Bearded dragons are entirely different from us, so we just can’t disapprove of the theory to be true. 

Bearded Dragons Bulging Out their Eyes for Itching

Another belief about eyes bulging in bearded lizards is that they do it to itch their eyes. I still cannot turn it down or accept it to be true specifically, but let’s see whether it seems reasonable. 

Bearded dragons have a cavity behind their eyes that is empty. So, the beardies fill this cavity with blood, which eventually pushes the eyes out. It is believed that the beardies do this mainly to itch the eyes. 

Sometimes, the eyes can bulge out so far that you will think they are about to explode out of the head. If you are an unprepared-witness, you can guess how the response will be; it will definitely freak you out. 

There is a belief that bearded dragons tend to distend their eyes from the socket to freak out their owners, quite funny. All these are just mysteries and are yet to be proved. 

Eyes Bulging Out Due to High Blood Pressure

Horned lizards have a unique way to defend themselves from the predators through a blood shoot. Here is how they do it, the muscles around the eye contracts and then stops the blood from flowing to the heart. 

Instead, the blood flows to the eyes and fills the ocular sinuses. As the muscles continue to contract speedily, the pressure on the thin sinus membrane escalates, making the membrane to rupture. 

Then, the lizard releases a stream of blood that shoots up to one meter from the eyes; this frightens the predators, making them flee. Horned lizards also use this mechanism to get rid of foreign objects from the eyes.  

It is believed that bearded dragons might also possess the ability to raise blood pressure behind their eyes, making the eyes bulge out. Again, these are only beliefs from scientists trying to show eyes bulging in bearded lizards happen intentionally and for a purpose. 

There are some situations where people are concerned that eye bulging is due to an infection or eye problem. None of those are ratified. 

Should I Be Worried When My Bearded Dragon is Bulging Its Eyes Out?

Bearded Dragon Eyes Bulging
Bearded Dragon Eyes Bulging
(Source: KD’s Random Adventures YouTube)

This is a great question, and the simple answer is no. Eyes bulging behavior in beardies is nothing to worry you. It does seem to be a natural ability in bearded dragons intended for specific purposes, although there is no apparent reason that has been approved. 

There exist only theories from scientists trying to support it. As we have seen, eyes bulging occurs many times in bearded dragons, especially the young beardies. 

Sometimes, the beardie can bulge its eyes and without you even noticing because it lasts for seconds before the eyes resume to their standard shape. With all the cases that have been notified about bearded dragon’s eyes bulging, there are no injuries or damages that have been reported. 

This shows that eyes bulging in dragons is not unhealthy, and it is nothing of great concern. Perhaps, the only time when you may need to worry is when this behavior lasts for more than an hour at a time. 

If that happens, you need to make sure that you see your reptile veterinarian for a check-up. The vet may check on the blood pressure of your beardie pet if it is at a healthy level. 

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Eyes Swollen? 

Bearded dragon eyes swelling is not always a big problem, and in most cases, you don’t need to worry. It could be due to the same reasons that result in eye-bulging, as we have seen above. The beardie is probably getting ready to enter into the shedding process. 

However, on some occasions where the eyes remain swollen for more than one hour at a time, and it repeats itself more frequently, you may want to visit your reptile vet right away. 

Many medical issues could result in swollen eyes in bearded dragons, including high blood pressure, bacterial and fungal infections, and tumors as well. Anytime you suspect that your beardie has a problem, make sure to take a trip to a reptile veterinarian to hear his opinion. 

Can Bearded Dragons Pop-Out their Eyes?

It may sound funny, but this is indeed a great question. Without beating around the bush, let me give you a direct answer, which is no. Bearded dragons will never pop out their eyes completely. 

They can only bulge the eyes out and not pop them out. I hope this is clear to you after reading the article above. The beardies bulge the eyes out primarily to help in shedding. 

So, next time you see your bearded dragon bulging its eyes, don’t be startled. The eyes cannot pop out, not even at any single time. 

Why Do Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes While Awake?

Have you ever noticed your bearded dragon closing its eyes even when it is awake, and you are wondering what does that mean? Anyway, it is always good to be concerned about your pet. This shows that you are a responsible dragon owner. 

If you see your beardie pet closing its eyes and it is not sleeping, it can be due to a variety of reasons. First, eyes bulging in beardies can make the eyes appear like they are partially closed, and this may be the reason for bearded dragons to close their eyes. 

The eyes may be closed due to fungal infection, bacterial infection, or because of the presence of foreign objects in the eyes. Always keep an eye on your dragon, and if you think there is a problem, don’t hesitate to visit or call a reptile vet. 

Bearded Dragon Eye Infection

If a bearded dragon has an eye infection, its eyes appear droopy, and this is something that can bother you. Eyes looking droopy could also be due to kidney issues, or there are parasites in the eyes. 

Also, an eye infection can make the beardie eyes swollen. There is also a possibility that the eye is swollen or is puffed out due to overdosed vitamin A. 

Eye infection can become severe if the lizard is left unattended, so you need to see the vet if you feel your dragon is suffering from this problem. 

Wrapping Up

I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and you found it insightful. Typically, bearded dragon eyes bulging is nothing to make you panic. It is a natural ability in bearded dragons and is mostly displayed when they want to shed. 

You only need to keep an eye on your dragon and note when this behavior appears and how long it takes to disappear. Next time you see your beardie bulging its eyes, don’t freak out, it is something common.

Bearded Dragon Eyes Bulging

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