Bearded dragons are excellent little pets. Originally from Australia, these gentle lizards made their way to the U.S in the 1990s and quickly became very popular. And it’s not hard to see why: from their calm personality to that cute little wave they do, it’s hard not to fall head over heels for bearded dragons.
But you may wonder: why is my bearded dragon so very active? The answer: high activity levels are usually due to age, tank size, temperature, and lighting.
It is perfectly normal for your bearded dragon to exhibit high energy levels. In fact, this is a great indicator that your lizard is healthy and happy.
In this post we’ll talk about those major factors that can impact your bearded dragons energy level and we will also discuss rare instances when a high activity level (or a lack thereof) could be cause for concern.
In The Wild
Bearded dragons are naturally active creatures in the wild. They’re constantly on the move and how active they are often determines if they will survive or not. Whether it be finding food, defending their territory from predators (or even other bearded dragons), to exploring their surroundings, wild bearded dragons are always on the go.
It makes sense that they would bring this level of activity with them into captivity since it has been bred into them for survival. Chances are your bearded dragon will want to explore its tank and your home the same way it would explore its surroundings in the wild – and it will have fun doing it.
Don’t be surprised if you see your bearded dragon digging around in its tank, racing around your home, or displaying other behaviors that are necessary when living in the wild.
Like most creatures, younger bearded dragons are much more active than older ones. When bearded dragons are in their youth they have more vibrancy, more energy, and an overall more thirst for life, excitement, and exploring.
Additionally, when bearded dragons are in the wild the first few years of their lives are key to their survival. They must grow fast in order to be full-sized to fend off any predators. This in turn causes them to find food faster and generally be more energetic and active.
Once your bearded dragon starts to age a few years you can expect them to get a little more lethargic and relaxed.
Temperature, Lighting, and Their Tank
As most reptile owners know, temperature is a very important aspect in a lizards health and general wellbeing. So it should come to no surprise that temperature can impact your lizards activity level, too.
If the temperature in your tank is too high it can increase your bearded dragon’s metabolism and make them more active than normal. Be sure to check the temperature to make sure it’s not too hot and causing a sudden spike in activity.
Tank size can also influence activity levels. Like humans, sometimes bearded dragons just get a little antsy and want to come out of their tanks and explore. This is perfectly normal – in fact a lot of bearded dragon owners allow their lizards to roam around the house or backyard for a few hours to burn off any anxiety and play.
Sometimes, though, your lizard may get so restless and anxious that they “glass surf” (when they move so fast over the glass that they glide or “surf” over it). This could mean that your tank is too small and they’re stressed out in their environment.
Make sure to measure your bearded dragon and place them in a large enough tank that is appropriate for their size. Check out this helpful graph for more information:
Naturally Curious And Playful
One of the many reasons why bearded dragons make such great pets is because they are naturally curious and love to play. This playfulness is just the natural personality of a bearded dragon. There are many toys that you can purchase to play with your bearded dragon and help get rid of some excess energy.
Although it may sound simple, a very popular toy is a plastic ball for it to chase around the house. A lot of bearded dragon owners also purchase leashes (be sure to get the correct size) to walk around the neighborhood on a nice, sunny afternoon. This is a great way to help burn off some energy – and it’s pretty cute, too.
Getting a new pet is so exciting! With all of that excitement and newness don’t be surprised if your bearded dragon takes a few days (or sometimes weeks) to hide away in order to get used to their surroundings. This period of isolation is normal for bearded dragons as they just need a little time to get acclimated to their new environment.
But once they feel comfortable, they will be excited to explore your home and you will most likely see a heightened level of activity. Be sure to allow them to explore your house, run all over the place, climb on your furniture, etc.
Have you noticed that your bearded dragon has bursts of energy after their brumation period? If that’s the case, it’s very normal and no cause for concern. After the brumation period their bodies are trying to regulate to their new schedule so excessive bursts of energy are to be expected and are in fact very healthy.
Hormone changes can also impact activity levels. These changes can occur in both females and males. When this happens they can sometimes act aggressively by running around in their tank. Female hormones can change during periods of ovulation. In males this hormone change typically occurs when they are trying to attract females or when they are competing with other males.
Bearded dragons are very sensitive creatures – that’s one of the reasons why we love them!
But with that sensitivity it can be easy to startle or scare them. When bearded dragons get scared they can often run around their tanks in a panicked frenzy. If you notice that your bearded dragon is doing this seemingly out of nowhere, think hard about if you could have done anything to upset or scare your pet.
It can be as obvious as having just moved their tank to a new spot to something as little as wearing a new perfume or even simply sneaking up on them.
What If My Bearded Dragon Is Not Active?
Some bearded dragon owners often remark that their lizard is lazy or lethargic but it is important to note that if your pet is displaying lethargy that could be an indicator that something is wrong.
Most oftentimes this lethargy is due to incorrect lighting and temperature or a subpar diet. Bearded dragons are cold-blooded creatures and they need an adequate amount of heat to be able to move around and thrive.
Just like how too high of a temperature can increase activity, if their temperature is too low that could result in your pet wanting to stay stationary in order to conserve heat. Make sure to check the temperature and lighting if you think this is happening to your pet.
Another big reason for a low energy level is their diet. Bearded dragons need a combination of leafy greens and live-food (crickets, worms). When a bearded dragon gets too much live-food and not enough leafy greens it can make your pet bloated and unlikely to move.
If you have checked both the temperature and the diet and you still see a significant dip in their energy levels it may be time to go to the vet as this could mean your lizard has a parasite or some other illness.
Bearded dragons are fun, playful pets with naturally high energy levels. These high activity levels are usually a pretty good indicator that you are taking proper care of your lizard. However, you know your pet the best so if you think that your lizard is behaving irregularly, either by acting lethargic or even too active, this could be cause to double-check your lighting, tank size, etc.