Why is My Bearded Dragon Digging

Bearded dragons, or Pogona as they are known in the scientific community, are a popular reptile pet. One of the many interesting habits exhibited by these gentle creatures that fascinate their owners is digging.

You may be curious about why your bearded dragon digs in its cage if you’ve ever seen it do so.

This article will investigate “Why is My Bearded Dragon Digging?” and the animal’s behavior in depth, explaining the underlying instincts and potential causes of the digging behavior.

Understanding Bearded Dragons

It’s important to get a general idea of bearded dragons before diving into their digging habits. The name comes from the puffing up of the spiky scales along their throats when they feel threatened; these reptiles are native to the desert parts of Australia. Bearded dragons make great pets since they are small—adults only get to be about 12 to 24 inches long.

Bearded dragons are primarily diurnal, or awake, during the day. They can’t keep going without regular use of both artificial light and warmth. They do well in zoos and aquariums thanks to artificial lighting, climate control, and a diet of mostly insects, vegetables, and fruits that mimics what they would consume in the wild.

Let’s go on an adventure into the exciting world of bearded dragon excavation right now.

Why is My Bearded Dragon Digging: The Natural Instinct to Dig

Bearded dragons’ natural habitat and nature necessitate that they dig. These reptiles have to deal with significant temperature swings and a lack of water in the wild in Australia’s desert geography. Bearded dragons have evolved numerous techniques, one of which is digging, to help them adapt to and live in their harsh environment.

  • Temperature Regulation:  Bearded dragons are ectothermic, which means they maintain their body temperature by absorbing heat from their surroundings. They use their digging skills to create subterranean burrows where they can take refuge from the sweltering daytime heat and freezing nighttime temperatures of the Australian desert. Burrowing allows them to locate safer, more consistent temperatures, which aids in energy conservation and hiding from predators.
  • Protection from Predators: As a kind of defense against predators, digging is an important survival skill. Bearded dragons face numerous dangers in the wild, such as birds of prey and larger reptiles. By digging underground, they can avoid these dangers and reduce their chances of being eaten by predators.
  • Nesting and Egg-Laying: Female bearded dragons have a precise reason for their digging: they use the nests they make to lay their eggs. After mating, the females will go for sandy or loose dirt to dig a nest in and lay her eggs. This provides a safe place for their eggs to develop until they hatch.

When trying to make sense of a bearded dragon’s behavior in captivity, it’s crucial to have a firm grasp on these primal drives. They may not face the same threats to their existence as their wild ancestors, but the urge to dig is still an integral aspect of their nature.

Bearded Dragon Digging Behavior

Bearded dragons’ digging habit is strongly influenced by their natural inclinations, but there are a number of additional things that could prompt your pet to dig if you keep it in a confined space. The health and happiness of your bearded dragon depends on your ability to identify and manage these factors.

why is my bearded dragon digging

Temperature Regulation:

Bearded dragons, even in a climate-controlled setting, nevertheless need to maintain a steady body temperature. If there aren’t any hot and cold spots in your pet’s enclosure, it may dig to find one. Make sure your enclosure has both a warm (from a heat lamp) and cool (from a fan) spot to help your pet maintain a comfortable internal temperature.

Hiding and Stress:

Bearded dragons are delicate creatures who might experience stress when their environment is altered. In times of stress or worry, they may resort to digging themselves a hole to crawl into for safety and refuge. Changes to their habitat, the arrival of new pets, or loud noises in the area are all potential sources of anxiety. Make an effort to maintain peace and steadiness in the setting.

Boredom and Enrichment:

Bearded dragons, like any other pet, need both mental and physical stimulation to thrive. They may resort to digging as fun if they lack other activities or are bored. In order to prevent children from being bored, it is important to provide them with stimulating play options.

Seeking a Suitable Nesting Site:

Female bearded dragons have a strong nesting instinct, even when kept as pets. In the absence of a male bearded dragon, a female bearded dragon may still excavate to prepare a nesting location. Talk to your vet for advice on egg-laying and care if you think this behavior might be related to pregnancy.

Improper Substrate or Enclosure Size:

A bearded dragon’s digging habit can be greatly affected by the substrate (the material covering the floor of the enclosure) and the size of the enclosure. Your pet’s frustration and unusual behavior could result from a substrate that is unsuitable for digging. Digging will be easier if you choose a substrate designed for reptiles, like reptile sand or a reptile carpet.

Illness Worries:

Excessive digging could be a sign of a medical issue in some people. Consult a reptile vet if your bearded dragon’s digging behavior seems unnatural, repeated, or accompanied by other worrying symptoms like fatigue, loss of appetite, or changes in stool. Source: petkeen

How to Encourage and Manage Digging Behavior

It is important to strike a balance as responsible pet owners between allowing your bearded dragon to engage in natural behaviors like digging and keeping it safe from harm. Some suggestions for encouraging and controlling your pet’s digging behavior:

  • Provide the Right Substrate: That Allows Digging IntensityChoose a substrate that is suitable for digging. Some options for substrate are reptile sand, coconut coir, or a mixture of organic topsoil and play sand. Substrates like fine sand or gravel can induce impaction and should be avoided.
  • Offer Hiding Spots:  Make sure your bearded dragon has plenty of places to hide inside his cage. Half-logs, caves, and even well-placed plants can all serve this purpose. When your pet is safe and sound, it won’t feel the need to dig as much to relieve the tension that’s causing it to dig too much.
  • Maintain Proper Temperature Gradients: Make sure your cage has both a warm spot for basking and a cold spot for the reptiles to rest. Your bearded dragon will be able to find the optimal temperature zone without having to do any extensive digging.
  • Monitor Behavior: Be observant of your bearded dragon’s behavior, especially its tendency to dig. Get in touch with a vet who specializes in reptiles right away if you notice any unusual behavior or symptoms.
  • Enrichment: To keep your bearded dragon happy and healthy, offer it a wide range of enrichment activities and toys. Structures for climbing, sunbathing, and exploring could fall within this category.
  • Consider Nesting Boxes: If you own a female bearded dragon and notice that she seems to be excavating, it’s possible that she’s preparing a nesting site. This can make it easier to build a comfortable nest without disturbing the overall habitat.


Why is My Bearded Dragon Digging Exactly?

Natural behaviors, temperature regulation, nesting, stress, boredom, substrate difficulties, or a health problem could all cause your bearded dragon to dig. Be vigilant and responsive to any issues that arise.

Despite the fact that digging is a natural habit for bearded dragons. It is essential to understand the possible causes of digging in captive bearded dragons and provide an environment that promotes their well-being.

Responsible reptile parents walk a fine line between facilitating their pets’ natural habits and ensuring their safety and happiness. In this article, we will provide information about “Why is My Bearded Dragon Digging?”

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