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? Well, there are four main reasons why your bearded dragon may be hiding in their enclosure. Namely, these are because they’re hiding from the heat, they want to feel safe, they are feeling sick or stressed and to avoid other bearded dragons in their enclosure.
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.
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 the 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.
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.
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.
Choosing a Hide for your Bearded Dragon
So, we’ve established that most bearded dragons will want to hide at some point or another. This means it’s recommended to provide a hide box in your bearded dragon’s terrarium so they can enjoy natural behaviors that they would in the wild.
It doesn’t matter what age your reptile is, there should be a hide box in there as soon as they enter their new environment.
Of course, there are hide boxes available in your local pet store. These are often designed to look like rocks and caves and they are fully enclosed. But you can use almost anything for your bearded dragon to create a secluded area that they like.
For example, you could use a plastic bowl with a cut out for a door or wooden planks shaped like a box. You can get creative and use something that you’ve got at home.
The most important thing is that your bearded dragon can fit in the hide box. It should be big enough so they can fully lie in there. This will help them feel safe and relaxed.
You’ll also need to think about where you’re going to put your hide box. It’s best to put it at a corner of the terrarium where nobody walks by. This is going to minimize noise and movement for them when they’re trying to chill out in their hide box.
You can also put in more than one hide box so your bearded dragon can move around.
What About Getting Enough Light?
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.
What happens if a bearded dragon doesn’t get enough UVB light? Your reptile can develop metabolic bone disease if they don’t get enough UVB light. This means that their bones become weak and they could break. This is something that should be treated by the vet quickly.
What are the signs of metabolic bone disease? There are lots of signs that could indicate that your bearded dragon isn’t well. This includes swollen limbs, paralysis, lack of appetite, extreme tiredness and tremors. The best thing you can do if you notice any of these symptoms is a trip to the vet.
How long can bearded dragons go without UVB light? It’s always best to have UVB light available for around 12 to 14 hours a day. This is switched off at night. But it’s possible for your bearded dragon to last for one or two days without any UVB light if they’re in their hide.