Why is My Bearded Dragon Digging in the Corner?

Many bearded dragon owners have noticed their pets digging in the corner of their enclosure and wonder why they are engaging in this behavior. There are several possible reasons why bearded dragons dig in the corner, and understanding these reasons can help provide a better living environment for your pet.

Natural Instincts

Bearded dragons are native to the arid regions of Australia, where they have adapted to their environment by developing certain behaviors. Digging is a natural instinct for them, as it helps them regulate body temperature and find shelter. In the wild, bearded dragons dig burrows to escape extreme heat or cold, and also to hide from predators. Even in captivity, these instincts remain strong.

As a responsible owner, you should provide your bearded dragon with an appropriate substrate in their enclosure that allows for digging. This could be a combination of reptile carpet, sand, or a commercial reptile substrate that is safe and easy to clean.

Mating Behavior

Male bearded dragons may exhibit digging behavior as part of their natural mating behavior. When a male senses a receptive female nearby, he may dig to create a suitable nesting spot or dig into the substrate to display dominance. This behavior is more common during the breeding season. If you have a male bearded dragon and notice this behavior, it may be a sign that hormones are in play.

If you have a female bearded dragon and notice digging behavior, it could indicate that she is preparing to lay eggs. This is a natural instinct for female bearded dragons, even if they have not mated. In this case, providing a suitable nesting area with moist soil or sand can help facilitate the egg-laying process.

Boredom or Stress

Bearded dragons can become bored or stressed if they do not have enough stimulation or a proper environment. Digging in the corner may be a sign that they are seeking mental or physical stimulation. Ensuring that their enclosure is appropriately enriched with climbing structures, hiding spots, and toys can help prevent boredom.

Stress can also lead to digging behavior. Possible reasons for stress include improper temperature or lighting conditions, overcrowding, inappropriate handling, or changes in their environment. Keeping their enclosure clean, providing a suitable temperature gradient, and avoiding sudden changes can help minimize stress and prevent digging habits stemming from anxiety.

Health Issues

Occasionally, digging in the corner may be a sign of underlying health issues in bearded dragons. For instance, if your bearded dragon is suffering from parasites or impaction, they may dig in an attempt to alleviate discomfort. It is essential to monitor their overall health, ensure they have a proper diet, and schedule regular vet check-ups to identify and address any health concerns.

If your bearded dragon is showing signs of illness such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or abnormal bowel movements in addition to digging behavior, it is recommended to consult with a reptile veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Territorial Behavior

Bearded dragons can exhibit territorial behavior, and digging in the corner may be a way to establish their territory or to mark it with their scent. This behavior is more commonly observed in males, particularly during the breeding season. Providing a spacious enclosure with separate basking and hiding areas for multiple dragons can help minimize territorial disputes and eliminate the need for constant marking.

Nevertheless, it’s important to note that individual bearded dragons may have unique personalities and preferences, so it’s always crucial to observe their behavior and make adjustments accordingly.

In conclusion, if you find your bearded dragon digging in the corner of their enclosure, it could be due to their natural instincts, mating behavior, boredom or stress, health issues, or territorial tendencies. By understanding these reasons and providing a suitable environment with proper substrates, enrichment, and veterinary care, you can ensure the well-being and happiness of your beloved bearded dragon.