Have you seen your bearded dragon scratching the glass wall of the enclosure? Bearded dragons generally exhibit this behavior when they are bored or stressed. Obviously, like any pet owner, we want to ensure that our bearded friend is amused, entertained, happy and healthy (both physically and mentally). So it is natural for any responsible beardie owner to wonder if my bearded dragon is getting bored, or is he getting enough stimulation?
So the short answer to the question “Do bearded dragons get bored?” is
“NO” in the wild conditions.
“YES” in the Captivity.
Let’s discuss both answers in detail.
Do Bearded Dragons Get Bored? (“NO” in the wild)
In the wild, bearded dragons have to struggle hard to get food, and most of their time is spent searching for insects and hunting them. It’s obvious that, like any other animal, they can’t survive if they don’t eat. So bearded dragons ambush, wait attentively, watch around, and swoop swiftly when the prey is in their range. So hunting provides them with a lot of physical and mental stimulation.
After eating a full stomach, bearded dragons will bask for the next few hours in the open sunlight because light and heat are necessary to digest their food appropriately. It’s not like that bearded dragon will lie down on sand or rock completely unconcerned. Instead, they must be constantly vigilant because bearded dragons are not the only predators; many animals in the wild (like different birds, foxes, dingos, etc.) will hunt beardies whenever they get a chance.
So bearded dragons don’t find time to get bored because of their hidden instinct to be vigilant all the time to avoid predators and survive.
Do Bearded Dragons Get Bored? (“YES” in the Captivity)
Living in the wild and living in captivity are like living in two different worlds. Irrespective of how good the environment you are providing to your bearded friend in captivity, it can never be a substitute for a wild or natural habitat. In captivity, bearded dragons get food without any effort. They have little space to move around and rarely face a predator to escape. So due to a lack of physical and mental stimulation, the bearded dragons in captivity often develop signs of discontent and boredom.
Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Get Bored
A Bearded Dragon can become bored for a variety of reasons. Let’s look at each of these scenarios and see how you can easily convert a boring situation into a state of joy, excitement and happiness for your bearded friend.
Tank Size Is Too Small
The wrong tank size is one of the primary reasons for making your bearded dragon bored. Providing a tank of an appropriate size is also crucial for the overall well-being of beardies. In addition to boredom, a small tank also creates many other problems like difficulty maintaining separate basking and cool spots and temperature gradient. It also restricts the growth of baby bearded dragons because beardies have the natural ability to grow according to the size of their tanks to remain comfortable or better fit in the habitat available.
So, if the tank is smaller than the recommended size, your bearded dragon is more likely to get bored and stressed because it will not have enough space to roam and have fun in the tank. Below is a table showing the recommended tank size according to the age and size of bearded dragons. Let’s check whether you have a proper tank or not.
|3 – 4
|4 – 6
|20 – 40
|5 – 9
|8 – 40
|20 – 40
|8 – 11
|22 – 110
|20 – 40
|9 – 12
|41 – 115
|40 – 75
|11 – 16
|102 – 115
|40 – 75
|11 – 18
|183 – 188
|50 – 75
|13 – 18
|230 – 280
|50 – 75
|14 – 20
|252 – 327
|50 – 75
|9 – 10
|16 – 22
|280 – 360
|75 – 120
|11 – 12
|16 – 24
|350 – 465
|75 – 120
|16 – 24
|380 – 510
|75 – 120
Wrong Tank Decor
You are mistaken if you think it’s enough to place UVB lights, a heating source, a basking rock, and a water bowl. In such a plain tank, your bearded dragon will get bored soon. You must ensure to create an environment closer to their natural habitat. To make the habitat acceptable and comfortable for your beardie, you must add stuff like rocks, caves, hides, plants, branches, tunnels, and real basking rocks.
How to Stop Bearded Dragon Getting Bored?
A few activities are discussed below that can provide great physical and mental stimulation, thus helping your bearded dragon to avoid boredom.
Spend Time Together
One of the best ways to keep your bearded dragon relaxed and content is to spend at least one hour daily with him. All you need to do is slowly enter your hand into the enclosure, pet his head with a finger, slide your hand under his belly and take him out of the tank slowly. Once he is out of the tank, pet him gently on the head, tail, sides of face and belly, legs, toes, back, and feet. However, remember to move from head to tail direction. If you move reversely, your bearded dragon may get afraid. You can also sit and allow him to play in your lap.
Go For a Walk
Taking a bearded dragon out for a walk may seem odd at first, but it could be an excellent source of enjoyment and stimulation for your dragon. An outdoor walk gives your bearded dragon an opportunity to spend some time in the natural light and fresh air and provides them with the exercise and mental stimulation they require. In fact, walking is the most basic and also one of the most effective ways of avoiding boredom, developing a mutual bond and improving overall health. However, take your beardie out only when the outside temperature is above 75 and always use a leash or harness as it is necessary to ensure your bearded safety.
Allowing your bearded dragon to play with a taped whiffle ball with insects inside is a great way to provide physical and mental stimulation. This is an entertaining activity for your bearded dragon, and they will enjoy it. However, it should not go on for too long and never forget to feed them insects after that because failure to get the insects inside can make them stressed and frustrated.
A laser pen is another great way to provide a lot of physical and mental stimulation to your bearded friend. The bearded dragon will chase and try to catch it like crazy, considering it something to eat. Like tape ball, failure to catch (something they consider food) will make them stressed, so don’t continue it for long. So the ideal time for this activity is prior to meal time and feed them immediately after that.
Hunting (feeding Live Insects)
Naturally, the activity that reptiles enjoy the most is hunting insects. Hunting is a good source of physical and mental stimulation and keeps beardie busy for hours, thus avoiding boredom. So you can offer live insects to your bearded dragon to hunt in his tank.
Simply installing a hammock in the tank provides bearded dragons with an additional activity to spend time. Many beardie owners have reported that their bearded friends love to spend time on it. So undoubtedly, a hammock can help your bearded dragon to avoid boredom.