Why Do Bearded Dragons Dig?

Bearded dragons are fascinating creatures that have captured the attention of pet owners all over the world. They are known for their unique behaviors, one of which is digging. If you’re a bearded dragon owner, you’ve probably witnessed your pet digging frantically at the bottom of their enclosure. But why do bearded dragons dig?

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this fascinating behavior. From creating a comfortable environment to communicating with other bearded dragons, we will delve into the science behind why bearded dragons dig. So, if you want to learn more about this intriguing behavior and what it means for your pet, read on!

Why Do Bearded Dragons Dig?

Why Do Bearded Dragons Dig?

Bearded dragons are fascinating pets that have been gaining popularity over the years. They are docile, easy to handle, and have a unique personality. One of the most interesting things about them is their digging behavior. But why do bearded dragons dig? In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this behavior.

1. Instinctual Behavior

Bearded dragons are native to arid and semi-arid regions of Australia. In the wild, they spend most of their time on the ground and use digging as a way to regulate their body temperature. The soil provides a cooler environment to escape the heat of the sun. They also dig to create burrows for shelter and protection from predators.

As pets, bearded dragons still retain this instinctual behavior. Even though they don’t need to regulate their body temperature or protect themselves from predators, they still have the urge to dig.

2. Sign of Comfort

Bearded dragons are known to dig when they are comfortable and content. They may dig in their substrate to create a cozy spot to relax or sleep. This is a natural behavior and a sign that your bearded dragon is happy and healthy.

If you notice your bearded dragon digging frequently, it may be a sign that they need a larger enclosure or more substrate to dig in.

3. Marking Territory

Bearded dragons are territorial animals and may dig to mark their territory. They may also dig to create a nest for laying eggs. In the wild, females will dig a hole in the ground to lay their eggs. As pets, female bearded dragons may still have the urge to dig and lay eggs even if they have not mated.

If you notice your female bearded dragon digging excessively, it may be a sign that she is preparing to lay eggs. It’s important to provide a suitable nesting area with proper substrate and a laying box to prevent complications.

4. Boredom

Bearded dragons are active animals that need stimulation and enrichment. If they are bored or have nothing to do, they may resort to digging as a way to pass the time. This behavior may be more common in younger bearded dragons who have a lot of energy.

To prevent boredom, provide your bearded dragon with plenty of toys, climbing structures, and other forms of enrichment.

5. Health Issues

In some cases, excessive digging may be a sign of health issues. Bearded dragons may dig if they are experiencing discomfort or pain. Digging may be a way to relieve the discomfort or to find a more comfortable spot to rest.

If you notice your bearded dragon digging excessively, it’s important to monitor their behavior and look for any other signs of illness such as lack of appetite, lethargy, or abnormal behavior.

6. Aggression

Bearded dragons may also dig as a sign of aggression or territorial behavior. They may dig to create a barrier or to show dominance over other bearded dragons or pets in the household.

If you notice your bearded dragon digging aggressively, it’s important to separate them from other pets and monitor their behavior closely.

7. Natural Habitat Replication

Bearded dragons are creatures of habit and may dig as a way to replicate their natural habitat. In the wild, they spend most of their time on the ground and use digging as a way to escape the heat and to find shelter.

As pets, it’s important to provide a suitable enclosure that replicates their natural habitat. This includes a proper substrate for digging, hiding places, and basking spots.

8. Shedding

Bearded dragons shed their skin periodically as they grow. During the shedding process, they may dig to create a comfortable spot to shed their skin. They may also rub against rough surfaces to help remove the old skin.

If you notice your bearded dragon digging excessively during the shedding process, it’s important to provide a suitable substrate and a humid hide to help facilitate shedding.

9. Mating Behavior

Male bearded dragons may dig as a way to impress females during mating season. They may create elaborate burrows and tunnels to show off their strength and dominance.

If you have a male and female bearded dragon in the same enclosure, it’s important to monitor their behavior closely to prevent any aggressive behavior or unwanted breeding.

10. Conclusion

In conclusion, bearded dragons dig for a variety of reasons including instinctual behavior, comfort, marking territory, boredom, health issues, aggression, natural habitat replication, shedding, and mating behavior. As owners, it’s important to understand these behaviors and provide a suitable environment that meets their needs. By providing proper substrate, hiding places, and other forms of enrichment, you can help prevent any unwanted digging behavior and ensure your bearded dragon remains happy and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bearded dragons are fascinating pets that have a lot of unique behaviors. One of the behaviors that often puzzles pet owners is their tendency to dig. If you’ve ever wondered why your bearded dragon digs, you’re not alone. Here are some frequently asked questions that can help you understand this behavior better.

1. Why do bearded dragons dig?

Bearded dragons are natural burrowers. In the wild, they dig burrows to regulate their body temperature and protect themselves from predators. This instinct to dig is still present in pet bearded dragons, even though they don’t face the same threats in captivity.

Digging is also a way for bearded dragons to relieve stress and boredom. If your bearded dragon is kept in a small enclosure without much to do, it may resort to digging as a form of entertainment or to keep itself occupied.

2. Is digging harmful to bearded dragons?

Digging is a natural behavior for bearded dragons, so it’s not harmful in and of itself. However, if your bearded dragon is digging excessively or obsessively, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue or a problem with its environment. Over-digging can also lead to injuries, such as broken nails or snouts from hitting hard surfaces.

If you notice that your bearded dragon is digging excessively or showing other signs of distress, such as loss of appetite or lethargy, it’s important to take it to a veterinarian for a check-up.

3. How can I provide a suitable digging environment for my bearded dragon?

Providing a suitable digging environment is important for the physical and mental health of your bearded dragon. You can create a digging area in your bearded dragon’s enclosure by adding a layer of substrate that is safe for your pet to dig in, such as coconut coir or play sand.

It’s also important to make sure that the depth of the substrate is appropriate for your bearded dragon’s size and age. Too much or too little substrate can be dangerous and cause health problems.

4. How often should I clean my bearded dragon’s digging area?

Bearded dragons can be messy creatures, and their digging area will need to be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of waste and bacteria. The frequency of cleaning will depend on the size of your bearded dragon’s enclosure and the number of dragons housed together.

A general rule of thumb is to spot clean the digging area every day, removing any feces or uneaten food. You should also do a full cleaning of the enclosure and substrate every two to four weeks, depending on the level of soiling.

5. Can I stop my bearded dragon from digging?

While you can discourage digging by providing alternative forms of enrichment and stimulation, it’s not recommended to completely stop your bearded dragon from digging. This behavior is natural and important for your pet’s physical and mental health.

Instead of trying to stop digging altogether, you can redirect your bearded dragon’s digging behavior to a specific area in its enclosure. By providing a designated digging area, you can control the depth and type of substrate your bearded dragon is digging in, and minimize the risk of injury or health problems.

Bearded Dragon Gravid Digging Behavior


In conclusion, bearded dragons are fascinating creatures that display a range of behaviors, including digging. While there are multiple reasons why bearded dragons dig, the most common reasons are to regulate their body temperature, to hide and feel secure, and to lay eggs. Owners of bearded dragons should provide a suitable environment with enough substrate to allow for natural digging behavior. Understanding why bearded dragons dig can help owners provide the best care for their pets and ensure a happy and healthy life for their scaly friends.

Overall, bearded dragons are unique and interesting reptiles that have captured the hearts of many pet owners. Their digging behavior is just one of the many fascinating aspects of their lives. By observing and understanding why bearded dragons dig, owners can better care for their pets and provide them with the appropriate environment to thrive. So, whether you are a seasoned bearded dragon owner or considering getting one, be sure to keep this information in mind to help your scaly companion live their best life.