Why Do Bearded Dragons Dig?

Have you ever wondered why your bearded dragon loves to dig? It turns out that there are several reasons behind this behavior. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to understand why your bearded dragon digs and how you can support this natural behavior for their health and well-being.

Bearded dragons are fascinating reptiles with unique behaviors that make them popular pets. They are native to the arid regions of Australia and have adapted to living in sandy environments where digging is essential for survival. In captivity, they retain this natural instinct, and as a result, many owners observe their bearded dragons digging in their enclosure. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior will help you create a suitable environment for your pet while also ensuring their physical and mental health needs are met.

What is Digging?

When your scaly friend starts to burrow into their substrate, it’s a sign that they’re feeling cozy and secure in their environment. This is known as the burrowing habit of bearded dragons. These creatures are known for digging holes under rocks or logs in the wild and they bring this instinct with them even when kept as pets.

There are various reasons behind digging for bearded dragons. One reason is to regulate their body temperature. When it gets too hot, they dig a hole where the soil is cooler to cool down. On the other hand, when it gets too cold, they dig deeper into the warm soil to keep themselves warm.

Another reason why bearded dragons dig is for safety and security purposes. They feel safer when they have a hidden place to retreat to especially during stressful situations like breeding season or when there are intruders around them.

CuriosityWanting to explore surroundings
AnxietyFeeling threatened or unsafe
ComfortTo regulate body temperature or seek shelter

Bearded dragons have an innate behavior of digging which serves different purposes such as regulating body temperature and seeking refuge from danger. As an owner, understanding these habits can help us provide better care for our scaly friends by ensuring that their environment mimics their natural habitat as much as possible while also providing safe spaces for them to retreat when needed.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Digging?

So, you’re curious about bearded dragons, huh? Well, these fascinating creatures are quite the characters and have a few tricks up their sleeves – or should I say scales! Bearded dragons are native to Australia and are one of the most popular reptile pets in the world. They are known for their unique appearance with spiny scales around their throat that resemble a beard.

One important aspect of caring for bearded dragons is their diet. In captivity, they typically eat a variety of insects such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches. They also require fresh vegetables and fruit as part of a balanced diet. It’s important to provide them with proper nutrition to ensure they remain healthy.

In addition to diet, habitat setup is crucial for bearded dragon health. These reptiles require a warm and dry environment with access to basking spots under heat lamps or UVB lighting. Their enclosure should also include hiding spots and areas for climbing and exploring. Providing an appropriate habitat can help reduce stress levels in these animals which can lead to better overall health and behavior.


Thermoregulation is a crucial aspect of bearded dragon care, but how do these reptiles regulate their body temperature in the wild and as pets? One way bearded dragons maintain their optimal body temperature is by digging burrows. Burrow construction behavior in bearded dragons is linked to heat regulation, which allows them to escape the scorching sun or cool off when they get too hot.

Bearded dragons are native to the arid regions of Australia, where temperatures can soar up to 110°F. To avoid overheating, these lizards dig deep burrows that provide shade and protection from the sun’s intense rays. As pets, bearded dragons may still exhibit this natural behavior even if they have access to artificial heating sources like basking lights or heat mats. The temperature inside a burrow can vary depending on its depth and location, allowing your pet lizard to find an ideal spot for thermoregulation.

Burrow construction plays a significant role in regulating body temperature for bearded dragons both in the wild and captivity. Pet owners should provide enough substrate material for their beardies to dig safely without injuring themselves. A suitable substrate such as sand or coconut coir will also allow your pet lizard to construct tunnels that mimic their natural habitat while maintaining adequate humidity levels. By providing a safe space for your beardie’s burrowing instincts, you’re helping them maintain optimal health and wellbeing through proper thermoregulation techniques.

Nesting and Breeding

Nesting and breeding is an exciting aspect of bearded dragon ownership, where owners can witness the natural behaviors of these fascinating reptiles. Bearded dragons have a strong instinct to dig when they are ready to lay eggs. This behavior is called nesting and it is essential for their successful reproduction.

Here are five interesting facts about nesting behavior in bearded dragons:

  • Female bearded dragons will start digging a hole in which to lay her eggs.
  • The depth of the hole will vary depending on the size of the female and how many eggs she is carrying.
  • Females will often lay their eggs in clutches, with each clutch containing up to 20 or more eggs.
  • Once all the eggs have been laid, the female will carefully fill in the hole with soil using her nose and feet.
  • After laying her eggs, female bearded dragons can become aggressive towards males and other females due to hormonal changes.

Breeding habits also play a significant role in understanding why bearded dragons dig. In order for breeding to occur, males need access to females during their reproductive cycle. Males use scent marking as a way of communicating with females that they are ready to mate.

Watching your pet beardie dig its nest can be an exciting experience for any owner. Understanding their natural behaviors such as nesting and breeding habits provides insight into their biology and helps create a better environment for them. By providing your pet with adequate space, heating, lighting, and substrate materials like sand or soil suitable for digging nests, you can ensure that they feel safe enough to exhibit these innate behaviors freely.


As they burrow underground, bearded dragons create cozy and secure homes that mimic their natural habitat. These underground dwellings provide a safe environment where bearded dragons can hibernate during the winter months or escape from extreme heat during the summer. For these reasons, burrowing is an instinctual behavior for bearded dragons.


Bearded dragons are opportunistic burrowers, using whatever materials they can find to construct their underground homes. They may use leaves, twigs, or even rocks to line their tunnels and chambers. The depth of these burrows varies depending on factors such as soil type and temperature.

Burrowing also serves as a means of protection against predators. Bearded dragons will often dig down into the ground to hide from potential threats such as birds of prey or larger lizards. This behavior is particularly important for young bearded dragons who are more vulnerable to attack than adults.

Burrowing is an essential part of a bearded dragon’s life cycle. It provides them with a safe and secure environment that mimics their natural habitat while also protecting them from predators. As owners, it’s important to provide our pets with ample substrate in which they can dig and build their underground homes, allowing them to engage in this instinctual behavior that contributes to their overall well-being.

Health and Well-being

To ensure your bearded dragon’s overall health and well-being, it is crucial to provide them with a balanced diet. Bearded dragons require a specific nutrition profile that includes protein, vegetables, and fruits. In the wild, they consume insects like crickets or roaches for protein. However, in captivity, you can feed them mealworms and wax worms as they are easier to manage.

Physical activity is equally important as nutrition requirements for your bearded dragon’s health and well-being. They need enough space to move around freely and engage in physical activities such as basking under the sun or climbing on rocks. You can create an environment that encourages physical activity by providing branches or logs for them to climb on.

Regular veterinary check-ups are also essential for maintaining your bearded dragon’s overall health and well-being. A veterinarian can help you assess their diet plan, lighting setup, habitat design so that any issues are detected early on before they become serious problems. With proper nutrition requirements and regular exercise combined with consistent veterinary care, you can ensure the best possible life quality for your bearded dragon.

Environmental Factors

Creating a comfortable and suitable environment for your bearded dragon is essential to their overall health and well-being. One of the factors that contribute to their comfort is the terrarium setup. It’s crucial to provide an adequate space for them, which means not too big nor too small. The size of the enclosure will depend on their age and size. Additionally, it would be best if you considered the height of the tank, as bearded dragons love to climb.

Another factor that contributes to their comfort is substrate options. Bearded dragons tend to dig in nature; hence, providing a suitable substrate will allow them to engage in natural behaviors. There are several options available in pet stores, such as reptile carpet, paper towels, newspaper, and even sand or soil mixtures. However, it’s essential to avoid using loose substrates like sand solely since they can cause impaction when ingested.

Overall, creating a comfortable environment for your bearded dragon should be one of your top priorities as an owner. A proper terrarium setup with a suitable substrate option will keep them happy and healthy while allowing them to engage in natural behaviors like digging without compromising their safety or health.

Supporting Digging Behavior

Encouraging your bearded dragon to burrow and explore in their terrarium can be done by providing suitable substrate options that mimic their natural habitat. It’s important to remember that bearded dragons are naturally curious creatures, and they need plenty of environmental stimulation to thrive. Here are some tips on how to support your pet’s digging behavior:

  • Offer a variety of substrates: Bearded dragons enjoy digging in sand, soil, and other loose materials. Experiment with different types of substrates to see which ones your dragon prefers.
  • Provide hiding spots: Bearded dragons like having places where they can retreat and feel safe. Adding caves or other structures to the terrarium will encourage them to dig around and explore.
  • Add plants: Plants not only provide visual interest but also offer a more naturalistic environment for your dragon. They may enjoy climbing on them, hiding behind them, or even nibbling on them.
  • Change up the layout: Don’t be afraid to rearrange the decor in your dragon’s terrarium every once in a while. This will keep things interesting for them and give them new areas to investigate.

By exploring motivation through habitat enrichment, you can help satisfy your bearded dragon’s innate desire for exploration and burrowing. Remember that providing appropriate substrate options is key; allowing them space to hide, adding plants, as well as regularly changing up the layout all contribute towards keeping these fascinating creatures stimulated and happy!

As a pet owner, it’s important to understand the different behaviors your scaly friend may exhibit within their terrarium, including those related to burrowing and exploring. While digging is a common behavior among bearded dragons, there are other behaviors that may also be related to this activity. For example, they may dig in order to create a hiding spot or nest for themselves.

Another reason why bearded dragons dig is for digging enrichment. This involves providing them with materials such as sand or soil which they can move around and rearrange as they please. Not only does this provide mental stimulation for the animal, but it also helps to keep their physical health in check by encouraging exercise.

However, it’s important to note that while digging can be beneficial for your pet’s overall well-being, certain precautions must be taken. One of the main concerns is avoiding substrate impaction – where small particles from the substrate can get lodged in the animal’s digestive tract and cause blockages. To prevent this risk, ensure that any substrate used in your pet’s enclosure is free from loose particles and regularly monitor their feces for any signs of abnormality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average lifespan of a bearded dragon?

Bearded dragon lifespan can range from 10-15 years with proper care requirements. A nutritious diet, UVB lighting, and appropriate temperatures are crucial. Regular vet check-ups can also help prolong their lifespan.

How can I tell the gender of my bearded dragon?

Did you know that female bearded dragons are usually smaller and have shorter tails compared to males? Gender identification is important for understanding behavioral differences like aggression and mating behavior.

What is the ideal temperature range for a bearded dragon’s enclosure?

Maintaining temperature in your bearded dragon’s enclosure is crucial for their health and well-being. The ideal range is between 95-105°F during the day and 70-80°F at night. Heating options include basking bulbs, ceramic heat emitters, and under-tank heaters.

Can bearded dragons be trained to do tricks or respond to their name?

Yes, bearded dragons can be trained to respond to their name and do tricks using positive reinforcement training methods. Behavioral responses include tail waving, head bobbing, and tongue flicking. Consistent training is key for success.

What are some common health issues that bearded dragons may experience?

Bearded dragons may experience health issues such as metabolic bone disease and impaction. Common treatments include calcium supplements, UVB lighting, and proper diet. Prevention methods include regular check-ups and maintaining a clean environment. Excessive digging behavior can be caused by stress or lack of space, solutions include providing more hiding spots and larger enclosures. Consider environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. A healthy dragon requires a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, insects, and occasional rodents.