Music is a huge part of human life. We listen to music to relax, energize, express emotions, and more. Pet owners often wonder if their pets enjoy music too. When it comes to bearded dragons, a popular reptile pet, many owners play music for their dragons. But can bearded dragons actually hear and appreciate music?
The Bearded Dragon’s Ears and Hearing
To understand if bearded dragons can hear music, we first need to understand their ears and sense of hearing. Bearded dragons have ear openings on each side of their head called tympanum. These openings lead to an inner ear structure called the columella. The columella picks up vibrations and converts them to nerve signals that are sent to the brain.
Bearded dragons can detect low-frequency vibrations below 400 Hertz (Hz). This allows them to hear lower-pitched sounds. They use this sense of hearing to listen for predators and prey in their environment. However, bearded dragons likely can’t hear higher frequencies like humans can.
Research suggests lizards can distinguish between different types of sounds and vibrations. So while bearded dragons have limited hearing compared to humans, they can still pick up on some auditory information.
Evidence That Bearded Dragons Respond to Music
Several studies and anecdotal reports indicate that bearded dragons do respond to music and other sounds:
- A 2014 study exposed bearded dragons to different sounds, including bird calls, motor sounds, and classical music. The researchers observed changes in the dragons’ head orientation in response to the auditory stimuli.
- In a 2016 study, bearded dragons noticeably reacted when researchers played back recordings of the dragons’ own distress calls.
- Many bearded dragon owners report seeing their pets react to music and TV sounds. Common responses include tilting their head, becoming alert, and moving towards the sound source.
This evidence suggests bearded dragons can hear some music and sounds, especially louder, lower-pitched ones. The sounds seem to pique their interest.
Do Bearded Dragons Like Music?
While bearded dragons can physically hear some music, do they actually enjoy listening to it? Determining an animal’s preferences can be tricky. But there are a few signs that suggest bearded dragons may like certain types of music:
- They voluntarily move closer to music sources, suggesting interest.
- Their alert and attentive responses indicate focused listening.
- Slower tempos and classical music elicit greater reactions than fast, loud music.
- Bearded dragons become calm and still when music is played, signalling relaxation.
Music also seems to have psychological and behavioral benefits for bearded dragons:
- Playing music can reduce signs of stress in dragons.
- Music exposure encourages motion and exercise.
- Familiar music may have a comforting, stabilizing effect.
Additionally, bearded dragons generally do not try to get away from music they dislike. Their observable, voluntary responses suggest they find certain music pleasant or intriguing.
Best Music for Bearded Dragons
Not all music appeals to bearded dragon tastes and hearing abilities. Here are some tips for choosing bearded dragon music:
- Lower frequencies – Stick to lower pitches since high frequencies are inaudible to dragons.
- Consistent volume – Avoid music with sudden volume spikes.
- Slower tempos – Slower-paced classical and instrumental music works best.
- Calm mood – Pick gentle, soothing tunes rather than aggressive or dense songs.
- No lyrics – Instrumentals are better since dragons won’t process words.
- Positive associations – Dragons may relate certain songs with positive events.
Examples of bearded dragon-friendly music include:
- Classical – Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi
- Ambient – Brian Eno, Steve Roach, Harold Budd
- New Age – Enya, Loreena McKennitt
- Soundscapes – Ocean and nature sounds
- Calm acoustic – Some slow guitar or piano pieces
Try out different genres and tempos to see what your bearded dragon responds to best. Observe their reactions to determine which music relaxes or intrigues them.
Is Music Beneficial for Bearded Dragons?
Research and anecdotal evidence indicate music enrichment provides several benefits for pet bearded dragons, including:
- Reduced stress – Music therapy lowers indicators of stress like head bobbing and fidgeting.
- Increased exercise – The dragons often move and pace when music is played.
- Cognitive stimulation – They show interest and attention when listening to sounds.
- Companionship – Music can provide soothing “company” for solitary dragons.
Music also has practical benefits for bearded dragon keepers. Playing music when alone can provide comfort and divert attention from isolation stress. Music also creates a soothing ambiance for dragon relaxation.
However, there are some cautions to consider as well when using music with bearded dragons:
- Loud music can stress out sensitive dragons if they can’t escape the noise.
- Music should complement, not replace, vital social interaction between dragons and owners.
- Variety is important – dragons may habituate to the same playlist every day.
With proper volume and exposure, though, music can be an excellent enrichment activity for captive bearded dragons.
Playing Music for Your Bearded Dragon
Here are some tips for safely and effectively playing music for your bearded dragon pet:
- Place speakers out of reach to prevent climbing and accidental damage.
- Set volume low to moderate to avoid stressing sensitive dragons.
- Use calm, soothing tunes – varied playlists keep it interesting.
- Play music when alone to provide company and comfort.
- Try music during handling to see if it has a relaxing effect.
- Experiment with types of music to determine your dragon’s tastes.
- Make music listening a consistent, positive part of your dragon’s routine.
Observe your bearded dragon’s responses carefully. Increased alertness, movement toward speakers, and calmer demeanor often indicate engagement and enjoyment. Adjust volume, position, and playlists based on your individual pet’s reactions.
While bearded dragons have limited hearing, they can detect lower-pitched music and sounds. Research and pet owner observations show bearded dragons exhibit alert, curious reactions demonstrating they hear and pay attention to music. Calm classical and ambient genres, especially with lower frequencies, tempos, and volumes, get the best responses.
Music also provides cognitive, behavioral, and comfort benefits for solitary bearded dragons. With proper introduction, music can be an excellent enrichment activity. Pay attention to your individual pet’s responses to determine their musical preferences.
With the right selection, music can be an enjoyable experience for your bearded dragon. So consider turning on some relaxing tunes for your pet lizard!