Why is my bearded dragon scratching at walls? This is one of the questions I get from my readers. If you are reading this post, then you might ask the same question too. In this post, I will share with you some of the reasons why your bearded dragons do so.
Bearded dragons have unique and sometimes weird behaviors you cannot see in other animals. One of which is scratching at walls.
So, why is a bearded dragon scratching at walls?
Well, there are many reasons why your bearded dragon is scratching at walls. If your bearded dragon scratches the wall, he/she probably:
- Wants to Find a Mate
- Wants to Go Outside
- Is Preparing to Lay Eggs
- Is Confined in A Small Tank
- Has Lots of Energy
Any of these things can cause bearded dragons to scratch the walls. Sometimes, you might also see your beardy scratching or surfing the glass wall.
This behavior though can be normal for beardies. In this post, let’s talk about the above reasons one by one. And see if any of these factors might motivate your reptile to engage in such behavior.
Possible Reason Why Your Bearded Dragon Is Scratching at Walls
Below are the common reasons why your bearded dragon is scratching at walls.
1. Your Bearded Dragon Wants to Find a Mate
If everything in the tank or your bearded dragon’s habitat is in good shape, then his surroundings might not be the issue. Hormones may be the reason here.
When bearded dragons are in heat, they usually find a mate. Because beardies in artificial habitat are confined in a small habitat, he might find ways to escape. This will result in scratching behavior.
You might see this during the breeding season usually in early spring right after the brumation period. One indicator of this is when the beard of your dragon turns into black. There is a high chance that your beardie is indeed trying to look for a mate.
2. Your Bearded Dragon Wants to Go Outside
Another reason why a bearded dragon scratches at the wall is that he/she wants to go outside. Like other animals, your beardy loves to roam outside its tank.
But this does not usually happen when your beardy is new. He/she may be shy and uncomfortable being with you. But as soon as he/she knows you well, then he/she will want to go and play with you.
You will see your beardy starts scratching at walls. He/she wants to be attended and taken out of his/her habitat.
Like humans, bearded dragons also love sightseeing. Some of them spend hours enjoying the outside views.
The best thing you can do is to provide a spot for your beardy to see the outer surroundings.
Remember that beardies do need physical activity for them to remain healthy. If your beardy does not engage in any physical activities he/she will likely become bored. In worse situations, bearded dragons can become stressed.
However, when you see your bearded dragons engaging in scratching behavior, he/she might have some difficultly in gaining sleep. You can help him/her by wrapping a towel for him/her to feel comfortable.
3. Your Bearded Dragon Is Probably Stressed
Another reason why a bearded dragon is scratching walls is stress. If this is the case, the temperature, humidity, or lighting equipment inside the habitat can be the issue.
The temperature might be too low or too high inside the tank. As you might already know, bearded dragons need appropriate temperature.
There are three types of temperatures when it comes to caring for bearded dragons.
- General Temperature
It is also known as ambient. And the temperature under this condition must be 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Basking Area
The basking area should be a little bit warmer than the general temperature. Ideally, it should have a temperature between 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cool Area
This is having the coolest temperature for about 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
When exposed to high temperatures, bearded dragons will find a cool spot. You know that this is the reason if you see your beardy panting.
On the other hand, when beardies are exposed to very low temperatures, they will become lethargic and usually have digestive issues.
Another source of stress is too low or too high humidity. Ideally, bearded dragons in their artificial habitat should have a humidity level between 35-40 percent.
Light can also be an issue sometimes especially if the setup is too bright. If it is too dark, it could also cause a problem.
Any changes in the habitat can also cause stress to bearded dragons. This is the reason I usually recommend making changes in 3-4 months in their habitat.
When the beardies’ beard turns black, it is a sign that they are stress. Other signs can be seen on their bellies. If you see oval or lines, those could be the potential signs of stress too.
4. Your Bearded Dragon Might Be Scared
When your beardy is scratching at walls, he/she might be scared. This happens when a beardy sees other bearded dragons or other animals such as dogs and cats.
Beardies can smell other animals and probably know what they are. Stronger animals may be interpreted as a threat making them scared and want to escape.
Make sure that your beardies are away from your other pets. Place them in a quiet spot with appropriate lighting, temperature, and humidity.
5. Your Bearded Dragon Is Preparing to Lay Eggs
If you have a pregnant bearded dragon, and you see her scratching at walls, it is most likely that she wants to lay eggs.
Sometimes, gravid bearded dragons are anxious and lethargic before laying their eggs. They might be walking and roaming around and scratching at walls. Gravid bearded dragons could also have poor appetite until the end of pregnancy.
Remember that female beardies can become pregnant without mating with male bearded dragons. This may result in the development of infertile eggs.
Therefore, scratching behavior can happen unexpectedly in female beardies. You need to determine what causes the problem before it negatively affects your beardy.
6. Your Bearded Dragon Is Confined in A Small Tank
The size of the tank or terrarium could potentially contribute to stress in bearded dragons. The size of the tank should correspond to the age or size of the beardies.
Baby or juvenile bearded dragons for instance, need at least a 25-gallon tank. I suggest that you use the one that has at least 24 inches long. This is to provide small beardies enough space.
Adult bearded dragons on the other hand should have at least a 55-gallon tank. The size should be 36 inches long and 18 inches high. Smaller tank than this will cause stress to your beardies which in turn causes them to scratch at walls.
7. Your Bearded Dragon Probably Has Lots of Energy
Like other animals, bearded dragons may engage in many behaviors when they are full of energy. If everything is good, then the reason for scratching behavior could be this.
When they have lots of energy, they tend to do a lot of physical activities.
As long as everything is good, you don’t have to worry about it. Just keep in mind that bearded dragons love to play too.
Final Thoughts on Bearded Dragon Scratching at Walls
Bearded dragons are unique and sometimes weird animals. There are many behaviors that these reptiles show that you don’t normally observe in other animals.
Scratching walls is one of those unique behaviors. However, it is difficult to pinpoint what exactly is causing such behavior.
As you can see, there are multiple possible factors as to why bearded dragons scratch walls. And I admit that sometimes trying to figure out what is going on is harder than you might expect.
If you can’t figure it out, maybe you can seek advice from a vet. However, if you think that everything is good, then there is nothing to worry about.
Maybe your bearded dragon has extra energy to engage in many physical activities.
I hope this helps.
If you want to learn more about bearded dragons, feel free to read my guide page here.
Why does my bearded dragon rub his face on things?
When a bearded dragon rubs its face on things, it is usually the sign of shedding. Shedding is itchy and normally beardies rub their face on rough surfaces.
Why is my bearded dragon scratching his head?
When a bearded dragon is scratching his head especially in the glass, he probably sees his reflection. This commonly happens in bearded dragons in a glass terrarium. He thinks that there is another bearded dragon in the area.
Why does my bearded dragon rub his head on the floor?
When a baby or juvenile bearded dragon is rubbing his head on the floor, it is probably the sign of shedding. As mentioned, shedding is an itchy process. Beardies need something to ease the agony. Rubbing helps lessen the itch.