Leopard geckos generally don’t dig for no reason. If you notice your leopard gecko digging excessively, it’s possible something’s going on with them. Because there’s not one specific reason for why they do this, I’m going to go over all of the reasons that I know could potentially be the culprit for this behavior so that hopefully you can find some clarity.
Let’s get into it!
Why is my leopard gecko digging? 4 reasons
You might find that they will dig when feeling overly exposed, overly hot, when in mating season, or even just out of pure instinct.
I can definitely see why watching your leopard gecko start digging out of nowhere could be a bit worrisome, but luckily, none of the reasons I just listed should cause you too much worry. To give you a better idea for why they do each reason with ways on how to fix some of these reasons, I’m going to go over each one so that you can do just that. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
1. Nowhere to hide
If you know anything about leopard geckos, then you know how important it is for them to have places in the tank where they can go to and hide whenever they feel they need to.
If they don’t have an adequate amount of hiding places or they feel that they’re way too exposed in the hideouts that they do have, then as a result, they might start digging at the floor of the terrarium in an attempt to find a new place to hide.
Hides are essential pieces of equipment to have because not only do they provide your leopard gecko a place to stay sheltered from potential threats but they also aid in assisting them with other important things that they do such as eating and shedding as well.
If they feel overly exposed to their environment then as a result, they will begin to stress out immensely. You might be thinking that stress isn’t that bad because it’s something that we humans have to deal with almost every day due to work, school, and other things.
But because leopard geckos are more sensitive to it, the stress affects them differently. They’ll go long periods without eating, start acting in strange ways, and they’ll even be more prone to becoming ill due to the stress heavily compromising their immune systems.
Make sure you have an adequate number of hides
If by chance you don’t have hides in your tank or if you do have hides and just not enough of them then you will need to either create more hides for your leopard gecko or buy some so that they won’t feel too exposed to their environment.
That being said, if you’re in need of a hide and you don’t know where to find a good one at then I recommend you check out this one here on Amazon. It is the hide that I currently use in my tank and me and my leopard gecko absolutely love it.
Leopard geckos need exactly three hides in order to live comfortably, so if you don’t have three, then you should make sure you get the ones you’re missing as soon as possible. It’ll not only stop the digging but it’ll give your leopard gecko peace of mind as well.
2. Temperature too high
Some people believe that just because leopard geckos originate from hot and dry weather conditions in the desert that they’re able to withstand high levels of heat within the tank but unfortunately for those who believe that, that is very far from the truth.
The reason leopard geckos are able to withstand the weather in those types of environments is because they are crepuscular creatures and they don’t come out until it’s night time when the sun has already gone down.
Up until that point, they’ll either find places to hide such as rocks or bushes to stay out of the sun or they’ll burrow themselves by digging deep into the ground and away from the sun’s surface where it’s much cooler for them.
The same goes for when they’re in our tanks. If they feel that the heat within it is too hot for them to handle, in an attempt to get away from it, they’ll dig and dig in hopes that they’ll get to a surface that’s not as hot.
If you have your tank placed in a spot within your room where the sunlight is shining directly into their tank or if you don’t have a device to regulate how hot your heat lamp or heat mat gets then this is very well something that you can expect to experience with your leopard gecko.
Fix the problem
To fix the first potential problem, you’ll obviously want to move their tank to a different location. The sun is not bad for them as it helps with their sleep cycle, but when it’s shining right into the tank, it can make the temperature within it go up pretty drastically.
If moving your tank isn’t an option, then the next best thing you can do is put up curtains that block out UV rays. Doing this will allow you to keep your tank in the same spot and let the curtains do all of the work by stopping that sunlight from hitting your leopard gecko’s tank.
If you’re interested in doing something like that, then I recommend you take a look at these UV-blocking curtains here from Amazon.
If that’s not the problem you’re having and instead you just don’t have a device that controls the temperature within the tank, then a thermostat like this one here also from Amazon will be just what you need for keeping those temperatures under control.
Temperature plays a very, very important role in your leopard gecko’s health so if the temperature in your tank is out of whack and your leopard gecko is having to endure high levels of heat without a way to escape because there’s nothing to regulate how hot it gets in there, then I highly recommend getting your hands on one of those to fix that issue.
High temperatures could very well contribute to their digging and once you get that fixed, there shouldn’t be any more digging.
Also, if you’d like to know just how important your tank’s temperatures really are, then click here to go to an article I wrote that covers everything you need to know about them.
3. Ready to mate
If you have a male leopard gecko, then this one won’t apply to you, but if you don’t, then this may be another reason why your leopard gecko is digging. The reason for that is because when female leopard geckos reach a certain age (9-10 months old), they’re prone to lay eggs whether they’ve mated with a male or not.
Knowing that, if you’re a breeder and you’ve been actively trying to get your female leopard gecko to become gravid between the months of January and September when mating season is in full effect, then the digging behavior may be them creating a spot in the tank where they feel it’s safe to lay their eggs at.
The funny thing about this is that even if you’re not a breeder, it’s likely that your female leopard gecko could still be displaying this behavior in preparation for the eggs that they could potentially be hatching despite not having had a male to even breed with.
The reason for this is that female leopard geckos can still lay eggs without a male but unfortunately for those who wouldn’t mind owning more geckos, these eggs will be infertile because there was no seed from a male to ‘activate’ them.
So, again, if you have a female leopard gecko, then just know that digging is a very common behavior for those who are about to lay eggs whether they’re fertile or not and there’s nothing we can do about that except let nature run its course.
4. Instinct (no specific reason)
As I stated above, if your leopard gecko is digging, then there’s likely a reason why they’re doing it. And while a lot of the times there is, sometimes there’s not. Animals display all kinds of random behaviors and for the leopard gecko, randomly digging is one of them.
If you don’t suspect that your leopard gecko is gravid and you have your temperature set correctly along with having enough hides in your tank for them to safely take cover in, then it’s very likely that your leopard gecko could just be digging for absolutely no reason at all and in that case you have nothing to worry about as this is something that you will probably catch them doing from time to time.
Leopard geckos love to dig, it’s just what they do. Because there are various different reasons why they do it though, it’s best to take everything into consideration before ignoring this behavior to ensure that nothing more serious is going on that you might not know about.
Most of the reasons why they dig can either be easily fixed or will resolve themselves within a matter of time. So if this is something that you’re really worried about, then don’t be because with the right knowledge and the right steps, these reasons can be corrected fairly quickly.