Have you noticed that your bearded dragon is hiding a lot in their enclosure? A lot of owners worry when they don’t see their reptile during the day. While this can be something that’s normal for your bearded dragon, excessive hiding may be a cause for concern. So, why is your bearded dragon hiding?
Bearded dragons hide when they are hiding from the heat. It is also possible that they are hiding as they do not feel safe in their enclosure. They may also be stressed and sick. Further, if they are housed with other bearded dragons, they are trying to avoid the others.
Let’s take a closer look at the four main reasons why your bearded dragon is hiding so that you can get to the bottom of your reptile’s behavior and make sure it’s not a cause for concern.
The Main Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Hides
There are a number of reasons why your bearded dragon may be hiding. It’s not always a bad thing when you can’t see them. But it’s important to know when it’s normal behavior and when it’s an alarm signal.
If you do have cause for concern, it’s important to seek help from a vet as soon as possible.
1. Hiding from the Heat
It’s natural for bearded dragons to seek shade when they’re too hot in the wild. After all, they live in sunny hot woodlands and there’s going to be times in the day where they want to chill out and cool down.
So, this is when they’d find a nice shaded spot to lay down and relax. This can be during the day and it can also be at night.
Of course, this is totally normal behavior and should not worry you. They’ll come out eventually to enjoy the UV light again.
However, if your bearded dragon is hiding all the time and seems nervous, you might have set up the tank lighting incorrectly.
The ideal daytime temperature of your beardie is 75-85 F, while its nighttime temperature should be 70-75 F. Therefore, anything that is above 85 F is considered too hot.
In this study, it was shown that even in extreme heat bearded dragons adapt mechanisms that can lower their temperatures. They will resort to gaping in order to keep their brains cooler than the external temperature.
Keep in mind that they do this first before they resort to hiding. So when your beardie is hiding due to the heat, it is dangerously hot inside the enclosure.
In our Beardie Care Ebook Bundle (have a look at it here), we show you exactly how to set up the lighting and create the right temperature zones for your bearded dragon.
2. To Feel Safe
Bearded dragons go through brumation. This is when they hibernate in the wild and this is a natural cycle during the winter or autumn seasons.
So, during the colder temperatures and days of less light, bearded dragons would go into brumation in their natural habitat.
Of course, this is something they also do in captivity. It could be a reason why they are hiding out and you can’t see them. They do this to feel safe from other predators.
So, it’s nothing to worry about and you may notice they wake up to drink water and then go back into their hide to sleep.
It was discussed in this study that beardies have protective mechanisms in place that help them regulate bodily functions during brumation.
There may also be things in the room that make your bearded dragon feel scared. While they should get used to you as their owner, perhaps other pets or bright lights may trigger them.
Having a hide can give them somewhere to retreat to and feel safe.
3. If They Are Feeling Sick and Stressed
You’ll find that bearded dragons can hide when they’re not feeling themselves. Particularly, when your reptile is stressed, they’ll seek security in a hiding spot.
In addition, if they’re unwell, they’ll also retreat into their own hidden space.
If you think this is why your pet is acting this way and hiding a lot, it’s best to go and see your vet.
Hiding for a long time could affect their health and this is the last thing that you want. It may stop them from getting the UVB light that they need to stay healthy.
Keep in mind that bearded dragons can also feel stressed when they are in shed. It is an uncomfortable time for them so they hide as they feel vulnerable.
Also, beardies shed in patches, so when they are in shed, it takes a long time for them to be rid of their old skin.
The shedding process of an adult bearded dragon can last for two weeks.
Usually, the hiding behavior lasts for four to five days until they get used to the process, however, the longer your bearded dragon sheds, the longer the time it takes for it to come out of hiding.
4. To Avoid Other Bearded Dragons
If you keep more than one bearded dragon in an enclosure, this may be causing one of them to hide. If they feel threatened or intimidated by another reptile, they may choose to move away and seek shelter somewhere else.
You will have to consider whether this is going to be an ongoing problem and it may be best to separate your bearded dragons if this continues to happen.
In practice, you can house bearded dragons together, where one is male and the other is female. It is difficult to house two male and two female beardies in one enclosure as they may fight.
However, in this study, it was discussed that as bearded dragons are not naturally social reptiles, they should not be housed together.
So plan ahead and always observe the behavior of your beardies towards each other to make the necessary adjustments to their housing assignments.
When Should You See The Vet?
You should go to the vet when your bearded dragon is hiding due to extreme heat. It is possible that it is already dehydrated.
No amount of soaking or drinking of water can magically rehydrate your beardie, in serious cases of dehydration, they have to be given liquids intravenously.
At the same time, if your beardie has been hiding for days and it has continuously refused food, this is a huge sign of an illness. Also, if it has started to lose weight and has become lethargic, it is time to go to the vet.
Look out for other signs of illnesses, like sunken eyes, ragged breathing, eye discharge, muscle tremors, and discoloration of the scales.
These signs surely call for a trip to the vet. It may not be a serious illness, but it is better to be sure.
Will A Bearded Dragon Get Enough Light When It Is Hiding?
We all know that bearded dragons need a lot of UVB light to stay happy and healthy. So, a natural worry of a lot of owners is whether their reptile is getting enough light when they’re in their hide a lot.
Most of the time, your bearded dragon is going to know when to come out of the hide to get light. They will usually do this in the morning after they have slept so that they can raise their body temperature.
But if they are hiding for the wrong reasons, this could affect their health and mean they don’t come out as often as they should.
If you suspect that your bearded dragon is scared, sick, or feeling stressed, it’s best to see a veterinarian for advice.
They may be able to find a solution to the problem and ensure that your bearded dragon doesn’t become sick from the lack of UVB light.