After answering a question in another thread where I showed the world (err, you guys) my theory behind why a beardie closes just one eye while being held [often during the beginning stages of a relationship with the owner]I figured I would expand on it here..
Possible reasons why a dragon does this:
- A sign of relaxation
- A sign of comfort
- A sign of pleasure
- A sign of sleepiness....
- Closing one eye to focus on something else with the other eye
- A sign of testing intentions
I will briefly describe each of the possible reasons excluding the last reason. You can skip these if you just want to read about my theory.
A sign of relaxation Sleeping is often seen as the time where any being is at peace, relaxed. Closed eyes are a symbol (sign) of sleep. Therefor making this behavior seem like a sign of relaxation.
A sign of comfort Closely related to A sign of relaxation. A dragon might be closing its eyes because it feels it can trust the person. Therefor they feel comforted and close there eyes.
A sign of pleasure Dogs wag their tails. Do beardies close their eyes? Unlikely since this can be cause by just holding a beardie, or by petting its head. But petting the head does not generate the behavior all of the time, therefor can't be presented as fact.
A sign of sleepiness.... Well some people think so. I believe if they were tired they would close both eyes. And this thread is focused on the behavior behind closing just 1.
Closing one eye to focus on something else with the other eye Dragons don't do this under normal conditions (inside there tank) so it makes no sense that they would do this when being held.
- My theory
Dragons are timid by nature. They are not social lizards. They do not usually form bonds. Them being introduced to the pet hobby has exposed them to situations where natural instinct my conflict with what is happening is what is happening to them.
As with any animal, they are not tame by nature. Even a cat or a dog who has had no human exposure will be the last of the pack to get around a human.
This proves that dragons don't just automatically trust someone or something.
A dragon usually only exhibits this behavior (one eye closed) during the beginning stages of a relationship, and during relocation stress. To me this is a clear indication that there is a reason and a motive behind the behavior.
The dragon usually (all of the time in my observations, but can't be said for others) closes the eye that is facing the human. While keeping the other eye open.
Can this be a test for the dragon? A dangerous test but a necessary one?
Its my belief that the reasoning behind a dragon doing this is to test the intentions of the being holding it so closely. "it sees my eye closed it must think im asleep. What will it do now that i'm asleep? Will it leave me alone. Will it eat me? Will it hurt me? Etc.."
[list]I have been observing BD's for almost 10 years. And I always kept a notebook full of behavior that I saw, and I would ask myself why is it doing this? And I would document everything that was happening and what happened. I wouldn't post this if I just obsereved a dragon for 5 minutes and came to this conclusion out of no where.
Does this information mean anything? Possibly. It gives us some insight on the inner workings of a bearded dragons behavior. No its not something important like why is he headbobbing, why is she arm waving. But with anything, it can be used to open new doors. If dragons are smart enough to "test" us, what else are they smart enough to do that we might not be picking up on?
That is the reason for this post.
Give me your thoughts on this. I would like to hear them.