Like other lizards, the bearded dragon has distinct behaviors and characteristics. One of which is digging.
If you are new to caring bearded dragon, you might wonder why it is digging in the surface. It is important to remember that every behavior your pet shows may indicate certain needs.
So why is bearded dragon tries to dig?
There are many reasons as to why bearded dragon digs. But commonly, when a bearded dragon tries to dig, it means that it is trying to make a more comfortable basking area. For old bearded dragons, digging means that they look for a perfect place for brumation.
Table of Contents
But is it normal for bearded dragons to dig?
Digging is pretty normal for bearded dragons. However, the same behavior may also indicate health issues especially stress. In normal situations, it is important that you provide your bearded dragon the right substrate.
When a bearded dragon tries to dig on the wrong surface, it may cause harm. A good and right kind of substrate can save your pet from harming itself.
Although digging is normal behavior for bearded dragons, there are reasons why they do it. In this post, I will share with you some of the reasons behind digging behavior.
Related Article: Bearded Dragon Turning Black Not Moving: Here’s Why
Common Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Dig
Although I mentioned a couple of reasons earlier in this post, there are actually more reasons why bearded dragons dig. Below is the shortlist of those reasons.
Bearded dragons dig when;
- They lay eggs
- The temperature in the tank is high
- They are stressed
- Look for food
- There is no enough space
- Preparing for brumation
- They find hides
Now let’s discuss each of these reasons more deeply.
Reason (1) When Bearded Dragons Lay Eggs
Obviously, this is only applicable to female bearded dragons. When female bearded dragons are about to lay their eggs, they tend to dig. This commonly happens when they reach eight months to one-year-old.
The breeding season usually starts at the end of the winter. Bearded dragons are more active after brumation. It is also important to remember that they can lay eggs without mating. But those eggs are infertile.
The challenge is to correctly determine the sex or gender of the bearded dragon. In fact, many bearded dragons were wrongly sexed resulting in inappropriate care.
If your bearded dragon is female, it is very important to provide what she needs especially for laying eggs. A lay box is necessary for her.
The Lay box is crucial. When a female bearded dragon does not have a place to lay her eggs, she may not lay those eggs. This is commonly known as egg-bound. When this happens, surgery may be needed to remove the stuck eggs inside.
However, an operation like this will put your bearded dragon in harm. In some cases, this causes deaths. So give her what she needs for laying eggs.
Related Article: Bearded Dragon Closing One Eye While Basking: Is It Normal?
Reason (2) The temperature in the tank is high
High temperatures inside the tank can also cause bearded dragons to dig. This is to find a colder space to stay. You might also see your bearded dragon hide under a rock, log, or substrate.
Generally, panting is a common sign of high temperatures. However, this behavior is also common under normal situations for bearded dragons. It is your job to determine whether or not panting is caused by the hot environment or by normal accustomed behavior.
The temperature in the tank should not exceed 46 degrees Celsius. Beyond this temperature, the bearded dragon could die due to stroke and dehydration.
If you have a big tank, it is better if you create a temperature gradient. This allows your bearded dragon to move from hotter to colder spot. A 23-29 degrees Celsius is perfect for bearded dragons to hide during high temperatures.
But this only possible if you have in the big tank. So I suggest choosing a big tank to cater to your bearded dragon’s needs.
Reason (3) They are stressed
When bearded dragons are stressed, they tend to dig. This indicates that they try to hide or escape. The common sources of stress are cage mates, noises, bright lights, high temperatures, etc.
These are just some of the stressors that can cause, of course, stress to your bearded dragons. Keep your bearded dragon safe from any stressors to keep him healthy.
And one more thing, do not house bearded dragons in one place. This may cause fights which in turn will cause stress and even injuries to your pets.
Related Article: Bearded Dragon Sleeping in Corner: Here’s What You Should Know
Reason (4) Look for food
Looking for foods could also cause the bearded dragons to dig. This commonly happens to my bearded dragon when underfeed. As I observed, digging is the result of a dissatisfying meal.
Giving them their food is necessary. Live bugs are a great food for your bearded dragons. Fatty worms are also good for bearded dragons.
However, fatty worms can be addicting to bearded dragons. When they get addicted to fatty worms, they might reject other foods such as bugs. So don’t give them too many fatty worms and maintain their diet.
If bearded dragons become addicted to a certain food, you can fix it. The best way is to wait. One of the amazing characteristics of matured bearded dragons is that they can go one to two months without eating and without actually losing their weights.
But don’t do this with your baby bearded dragons. The juveniles cannot stand food deprivation. They need food and could die if they don’t get some.
Reason (5) There is no enough space
Limited space for a bearded dragon to roam around could also motivate it to dig. It is important to remember that like other pets, bearded dragons do love walking around. If the space is limited, it tends to find space through digging.
The recommended tank size for an adult dragon is at least a 40-gallon breeder. But if you can get bigger, it will be much better. A 60-70-gallon tank is what I found good enough for adult bearded dragon especially if you have additional accessories.
Reason (6) Preparing for brumation
Another reason for a bearded dragon to dig is brumation or semi-hibernation. This commonly happens among 12-18 months old bearded dragons in colder seasons. The brumation can last up to 3-4 months.
During this time, a bearded dragon may only eat a little or not at all. During this time, you usually see your bearded dragon sleeps. So finding the perfect spot for a long period of sleeping is necessary.
If your bearded dragon is already an adult, and it is digging, it is highly likely that it is preparing for a place for brumation, especially during colder seasons.
Reason (7) They find hides
Another reason why a bearded dragon digs are when it tries to find a perfect spot for hiding. This commonly happens when it is under stress or when the temperatures are high.
You can prevent this from happening by providing the bearded dragon a perfect hide spot. Use accessories or branches to create those hiding spots for your lizard.
You can also use a blanket or any soft fabric for your pet to lay in. This will help him feel more comfortable and safe.
Why is my bearded dragon digging at the glass?
What can bearded dragons dig in?
Why do bearded dragons dig at night?
Why my bearded dragon won’t stop digging?
If digging lasts for weeks, the best thing you can do is to check whether something is causing your bearded dragon stress. If so, then fix it immediately. In some instances, though, a bearded dragon just stops digging on its own without giving intervention.