So what’s life like for a Bearded Dragon in captivity, is it exciting or is your Bearded Dragon bored all day?
I’ve done some research as well as using my experience owning Bearded Dragons to give you all the answers you need and make sure you have a happy and stimulated Bearded Dragon.
So can Bearded Dragons get bored? Yes, Bearded Dragons can get bored. In the wild Bearded Dragons are constantly stimulated through hunting and avoiding predators. In captivity, as this isn’t a factor other means of stimulation is necessary.
Read on to find out the reasons why Bearded Dragons get bored in captivity and how you can easily change this to keep them stimulated.
Do Bearded Dragons Get Bored? – a Closer Look
As mentioned briefly above, Bearded Dragons in captivity can get bored. The lives of a Bearded Dragon in the wild and captivity are a world apart and it’s important that they are allowed to feel excitement as well as a similar habitat to that of the wild.
Getting Bored In The Wild
In the wild, a Bearded Dragon would spend much of its time opportunistically hunting insects. This takes a lot of mental stimulation as they wait, watch and pounce when the time is right.
After all in the wild, if they don’t eat then they die! It’s really as simple as that so hunting is always something that keeps any animal or reptile mentally stimulated.
Once a Bearded Dragon has eaten then they will spend most of their time basking in order to digest the food. This is something they enjoy doing and something that’s necessary to their survival.
No matter if they are hunting, basking or anything else for that matter they will have to keep an eye out for predators. There are a lot of natural predators for a Bearded Dragon in the wild such as dingos, foxes and various birds.
With all the hunting, basking and keeping a keen eye out for predators, they have little time to feel bored.
Getting Bored In Captivity
Bearded Dragons in captivity live a totally different life to those in the wild. They rarely move from the confines of their tank from one day to the next and avoiding predators is the last thing on their minds.
This along with many other reasons can all contribute to your Bearded Dragon feeling bored and also feeling a general lack of stimulation.
Let’s take a look at some of the common reasons why bearded dragons get bored in captivity and how you can easily allow them to feel stimulated and feel happy.
The Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Get Bored
There are some simple common reasons why a Bearded Dragon can get bored. Let’s take a look at each of these situations and see how you can easily take your Dragon from a state of boredom to excitement.
Is Your Tank Too Small?
Having a tank that’s too small is a common reason for a Bearded Dragon to get bored.
If you have a baby Dragon than this might not be too much of a problem but if you have a juvenile and certainly an adult then you will want to make sure that you have a good sized tank so your Dragon has lots of room to move and not feel cramped.
If not they can easily feel bored as they just don’t have enough area in their home to navigate and keep them interested. Having a tank that’s too small is also not good for growth as a Dragon that’s not yet fully grown will only grow to the size of its tank or habitat.
It can be hard to know what size tank you need as your Bearded Dragon grows so I’ve created a guide to help you.
Check out the guide below and see if your tank needs upgrading to give your Dragon the room it vitally needs.
If you want to know the exact tanks I recommend for your Bearded Dragon at each stage of their life then you can check them out in this review I’ve written.
Bearded Dragon | Age, Growth & Tank Size Chart
Having The Wrong Tank Decor
Having the right tank decor is essential for keeping your Bearded Dragon happy and stopping them from getting bored.
You should always try and create a habitat that looks and feels like what they would experience in the wild.
If you just have a plain tank with a water bowl, basking rock and nothing else then you can almost guarantee that your Dragon is going to be bored stiff most of the time.
You need to create a habitat that’s full of hides, plants and rocks. This is what they love and it makes them feel like they’re natural habitat.
Here’s what decor I recommend you have in your tank:
- Real Basking Rocks
I’ve shared all my favourite tank decor that I use in this post here. I recommend you check it out as it will take out all the guesswork and allow you to create a great habitat.
Activities to Stop Your Bearded Dragon Getting Bored
Actually spending a little time to play and have some fun with your Dragon is one of the most important things you can do as an owner.
There’s the obvious benefit of keeping them mentally stimulated while time out of their tank will certainly stop boredom setting in but this is also amazing for helping you and your Dragon to bond.
Thinking of activities and games you can participate in with your Dragon can be a mind-numbing task not to mention what toys they like to play with.
I’ve written a post that covers in detail 17 of the best toys, games and activities for your and your Bearded Dragon, You can see them all here!
Here are my favourites to give you some inspiration:
- A taped ball with insects inside
- A Laser pen
- Go for a walk
- A hammock
Taping a whiffle ball with insects inside is and then letting your Dragon loose in the room to try and get to the insets inside is great fun and will certainly grab their attention and keep them stimulated.
You should only do this for a short period of time though as it can get a little stressful when they can’t get to the insects inside. You should also make sure to feed your Dragon the insects afterwards.
Letting your Dragon have a little swim in the bathtub gets them out of their tank for a while, received boredom and is also great exercise so all in all it’s something you should consider doing at least once a week.
Just remember that you should always keep them under supervision when they are swimming.
Laser pens are great to have a little fun with your Bearded Dragon. They will dart around trying to frantically catch the laser thinking it’s food.
Again, it’s important not to do this for too long as they will start to get frustrated when they can’t actually catch what they think is food. You should also try and do this just before meal times and feed them after.
Go For a Walk
To some owners going for a walk with your Dragon may seem a little weird a first but it can actually be a wonderful source of stimulation for your Dragon.
It will also give them some much-needed exercise and is good for bonding. I would always recommend that you use a harness because if not there’s a good chance that you will lose your Dragon and never let them eat bugs or insects that are in the garden.
Here’s a post that shares all you need to know about taking your Bearded Dragon outside and avoiding any potential dangers.
Simply adding a hammock in their tank will give your Dragon an alternative place to chill. Bearded Dragons seem to love hammocks and they will often spend much of their time each day on them when given the opportunity.
Hunting Live Insects
Hunting live insects are undoubtedly the one thing that excites a Bearded Dragon the most. Without hunting Bearded Dragons like most animals and reptiles don’t have a great deal to do and this alone can leave them feeling bored and without purpose.
The problem is that in captivity most Dragons don’t get the chance to practice this natural behaviour to the full.
At the very least you should be allowing your Dragon to hunt insects in its tank but if you have space and an ideal area you can let some insects loose and allow your Bearded Dragon to really hunt just like they would in the wild.
I understand that this isn’t a realistic option for everybody so allowing hunting in their tank as opposed to hand feeding is highly recommended as this will help to keep them mentally stimulated and bring to the fore one of their most basic instincts.
Do Bearded Dragons Need Company to Stop Them Feeling Bored?
If your Bearded Dragon is feeling bored, one of the worst decisions you could ever make is to provide them with some company in the form of another Bearded Dragon.
Bearded Dragons are for the most part solitary reptiles and don’t like company.
Housing 2 Bearded Dragons in the same tank can cause lots of problems such as aggressive behaviour, battles for territory and food.
This can lead one if not both of them to feel stressed and ultimately ill.
Her’es a post I’ve written that explains why you shouldn’t house 2 Bearded Dragons together and what you should do as an alternative.
On the other hand, company from you the owner is always a good idea and something you should try and get into the habit of.
Having a cuddle while watching TV or simply spending time to play with a toy for a little fun is a great way to bond and ultimately stop them from getting bored.
Is It Unhealthy For Your Bearded Dragon to Get Bored?
If your Bearded Dragon is getting some daily stimulation then through any of the ideas mentioned in this post or in the 17 best toys and activities post I’ve written then they should be absolutely fine, however, if they don’t come out of their tank or get any interaction for days or weeks on end then you really should consider a change.
If your Bearded Dragon feels bored for long periods of time then they will generally become unhappy and ultimately that’s not good for their health.
It’s inevitable that your Bearded Dragon will get bored at some point as you can’t really keep them entertained 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
It’s important, however, that you do try and give them some kind of stimulation at least once a day. This will help them to feel happy and excited and boredom should never become a problem.
Do Bearded Dragons like a cuddle? Every Bearded Dragon has its own personality, most love to have cuddles but some just prefer to be left alone. The main thing is not to force your Bearded Dragon to cuddle you or be handled and rather try and read their body language.
Do Bearded Dragons need a lot of attention? Bearded Dragons don’t actually need a lot of attention. If they have a tank that is large enough and mimics their natural habitat then they shouldn’t need too much attention, however, feel free to pay them lots of attention as this can help with bonding and their overall happiness.
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