Why Is My Bearded Dragon Running Around the Tank?

Our website is user-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission but at no additional cost to you. Learn more >

Bearded dragons are fascinating reptiles known for their unique behaviors and captivating personalities. If you’ve noticed your bearded dragon running around its tank, it’s essential to understand the underlying reasons behind this behavior. This article aims to explore possible explanations for why bearded dragons engage in such activity and provide practical solutions to ensure their well-being. By addressing this behavior, you can better care for your beloved pet and create a comfortable environment for them.

The Natural Instincts of Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons are naturally active creatures, and running around their tank can be a result of their inherent instincts. In the wild, they have a vast territory to explore and engage in various activities like hunting for food, basking in the sun, and interacting with their surroundings. Captive bearded dragons may exhibit similar behaviors due to their innate instincts to explore and move around. However, it is crucial to ensure that their tank environment adequately accommodates their natural instincts.

To satisfy their natural instincts, provide a spacious tank that allows your bearded dragon to move freely. A general rule of thumb is to have a tank size of at least 40 gallons for an adult bearded dragon. Make sure the tank has enough floor space for them to walk and explore comfortably. Additionally, consider adding climbing structures, branches, and rocks to create a stimulating environment.

Insufficient Territorial Space

One possible reason for your bearded dragon’s running behavior is a lack of adequate territorial space within its tank. Bearded dragons require spacious enclosures to roam and explore, mimicking their natural habitat. If the tank size is too small, your pet may feel confined and restless, leading to increased activity and running around.

To address this issue, consider upgrading to a larger tank that allows your bearded dragon to move freely and engage in natural behaviors like climbing and basking. Aim for a tank size of at least 75 gallons for adult bearded dragons. Providing a larger tank not only offers more space but also allows you to incorporate additional features like hiding spots, basking areas, and a variety of substrates.

Inadequate Heating and Lighting

Bearded dragons are ectothermic reptiles, meaning they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. Insufficient heating and lighting within the tank can cause discomfort and drive them to move constantly in search of optimal conditions.

To ensure proper heating, provide a basking spot with a temperature gradient that allows your bearded dragon to thermoregulate effectively. Use a reptile-specific heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter to create a warm basking area, maintaining a temperature of around 95-105°F (35-40°C). Place a thermometer in the basking spot to monitor the temperature accurately.

Additionally, a full-spectrum UVB light source is essential for their overall health and well-being, as it aids in calcium metabolism. UVB rays help bearded dragons produce vitamin D3, which is crucial for proper calcium absorption and preventing metabolic bone disease. Use a high-quality UVB bulb and position it within the tank according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember to replace the UVB bulb every six to twelve months, as their effectiveness diminishes over time.

Environmental Enrichment and Boredom

Bearded dragons are intelligent creatures that require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and enhance their overall well-being. Running around the tank may be a sign of your pet seeking entertainment or enrichment.

To address this, consider providing environmental enrichment through various means. Include branches, rocks, and other climbing structures to encourage natural behaviors like climbing and exploring. Create different levels within the tank to provide a multi-dimensional environment. Offer a variety of substrates, such as reptile carpet, slate tiles, or newspaper, to stimulate their senses and promote natural behaviors like digging.

Rotate and introduce new decorations or toys regularly to keep your bearded dragon engaged and mentally stimulated. Provide safe objects like reptile-safe plants, tunnels, or puzzle feeders that encourage foraging and exploration. Avoid using items that may pose a risk, such as small pieces that can be swallowed or sharp edges that may cause injury.

Health Issues and Stress Factors

Sometimes, running behavior in bearded dragons can indicate underlying health issues or stress factors. If your pet exhibits other abnormal behaviors, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or changes in stool consistency, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions.

Stress factors like loud noises, excessive handling, or sudden environmental changes can also trigger running behavior. Bearded dragons are generally sensitive to their surroundings, so it’s important to provide a calm and stable environment. Ensure that your bearded dragon’s tank is located in a quiet area, away from constant disturbances. Avoid placing the tank near sources of excessive noise or vibration, such as loud appliances or speakers.

When handling your bearded dragon, be gentle and avoid excessive force or rough movements. Allow your pet to initiate interactions and respect their boundaries. Avoid sudden changes in their tank setup or introducing new tank mates without proper acclimation.

Practical Solutions to Address Running Behavior

To address your bearded dragon’s running behavior effectively, implement the following practical solutions:

  • Provide a spacious enclosure: Upgrade to a larger tank that accommodates your bearded dragon’s need for movement and exploration.
  • Optimize heating and lighting: Ensure proper heating and lighting setups to create a comfortable environment for your pet. Monitor temperatures closely to provide suitable basking spots.
  • Environmental enrichment: Incorporate various elements like climbing structures, hiding spots, and toys to provide mental stimulation and prevent boredom. Rotate and introduce new items regularly to keep them engaged.
  • Regular vet check-ups: Schedule regular visits to a reptile veterinarian to monitor your bearded dragon’s health and address any potential medical concerns. Follow their recommendations for diet, supplementation, and overall care.
  • Minimize stress factors: Avoid sudden environmental changes, excessive handling, and loud noises to reduce stress levels in your bearded dragon. Provide a quiet and stable environment for them to thrive.


Understanding why your bearded dragon is running around its tank is crucial for providing appropriate care and ensuring its well-being. By addressing factors like insufficient territorial space, inadequate heating and lighting, environmental enrichment, health issues, and stress factors, you can help your pet live a healthy and fulfilling life.

Remember to create a comfortable and enriching environment within the tank, provide regular veterinary care, and offer mental stimulation to keep your bearded dragon happy and content. With proper care, your bearded dragon will thrive in its tank environment and showcase its fascinating behaviors for years to come.

Leave a Comment