Why Is Bearded Dragon Trying To Get Out Of Cage?

Clearly, you’ve spent hundreds of bucks on that cage just to make it good enough for your bearded dragon. It’s got everything the lizard could’ve asked for – food, water, everything! Then why is your bearded dragon trying to get out?

Bearded dragons try to get out of their cage usually when they’re finding space within the cage inadequate. Insufficiency of light and temperature too can lead to such behavior. Sometimes they do that due to excessive stress.

But what if there is enough space, no stress, perfect light and temperature, and the lizard still trying to escape? And what can you do to stop this in the first place? Well, it’s time to find that out.

Why Does Your Bearded Dragon Keep Trying To Go Out Of Its Cage?

We bet when you were setting up that cage, you thought your lizard is going to love it. But that escape artist probably has already proved you wrong. But why is it doing that? Well, there are certain reasons that make bearded dragons escape their cage, and the first one on that list is –

1. Exploration

When it comes to curious lizards, it’s hard to skip the name of bearded dragons. After all, in the wild, they love to explore the surrounding, thanks to their vast territories. Even in captivity, they can’t let that habit of exploring go.

So, if you’re seeing escaping your beardies escaping the cage, then probably the enclosure is making them feel confined or can’t deny the urge to check out what’s around.

2. Inadequate Habitat

Bearded dragons literally hate a habitat that doesn’t meet their specific needs. And do when they hate it more? When it’s too small and makes them feel cramped or restricted. As a result of this, they might even go for a jailbreak to be in a bigger space.

Hold on a second! Who said only smaller space makes them go out? If the cage is missing a proper hiding spot and furnishing, they can still try escaping. So, in case your cage is not fulfilling these conditions, your lizard becoming an escape artist should sound surprising.

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3. Stress Or Discomfort

Bearded dragons are so prone to stress that the presence of one of the few factors is enough to get them stressed. Yes, we’re talking about excessive handling, loud noise, sudden change in the surroundings, and the presence of other pets.

In such cases, they might think that getting out of the cage is their best chance. After all, they think it’s the best way to seek safety from all the stressful elements around them.

4. Mating Behavior

If you see your beardie is acting more restless and agitated than ever, then probably its mating season has arrived. They can easily trace the pheromones of any female beardie nearby. This simply triggers their strong desire to mate. This reproductive drive can be so heightened that they can try to escape their cage to find out their next breeding partner.

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5. Hunger Or Thirst

The prime purpose of every animal is sustenance, and the same goes for bearded dragons. That’s why they need enough food and water in the first place. But when they’re not getting enough of these, they surely will make an escape attempt to track down a source of food or water.

6. Improper Temperature And Lighting

As ectothermic reptiles, bearded dragons rely a lot on external heat sources. Otherwise, they’ll simply fail to regulate their body temperature. So, keeping the temperature on point is kind of a must for any beardie owner. But if the temperature goes too high or too low, the lizard might try to get out of the cage and look for a comparatively suitable thermal environment.

In the same way, if the cage got inadequate lighting, especially UVB, the beardie might show some serious behavioral changes due to discomfort. At one stage, it might even try to escape from the cage to survive.

7. Territorial Behavior

Being territorial is in the blood of beardies, especially the male ones, and they don’t step back in any way while exhibiting it. They’re so territorial that even if they see their reflection on the wall of the cage or any glass surface within the enclosure, they get stressed. Assuming the reflection as an intruder, they might even try to escape in order to defend their territory.

8. Health Issues

There are lots of reasons that can make bearded dragons feel restless or agitated. One of the most common ones of them is health issues like illness, pain, and discomfort. Sometimes things can go so bad that a beardie might try to escape the enclosure. They do that probably to look for a place to ease up the sickness, though it always doesn’t work that way.

9. Lack Of Stimulation

This might sound a bit surprising, but bearded dragons also need mental stimulation to be in your cage for a long time. Otherwise, they’ll find a door out due to the increasing boredom.

Some pet owners don’t find it necessary enough to put toys or add interesting features to the enclosure. Well, that’s the easiest way to get your beardie bored. They need at least some sort of stimulation or interaction to stick to the cage.

10. Natural Instinct

Beardies are wild by nature. So, expecting them to stay happy in the glass box for too long is useless. Like any other wild reptile, they might also try to escape and explore the surrounding, thanks to their natural instinct.

We probably know what you’re thinking. What if you get the beardie a suitable enclosure with all the food and stuff, will it still try to get out? Well, their instinctual desire to roam sometimes becomes so strong that not even food or any interesting activities can hold them back.

How To Prevent Bearded Dragons From Escaping The Cage?

Your beardie is not a kid who you can talk out of the escaping attempts. So, the best thing you can do is prevent it from going out. Now the question is – how? Well, you better start with –

1. Checking The Enclosure

No matter what you do, it’ll be useless if you’re leaving the enclosure with any damage, gaps, or openings which will let the beardie leave. Check closely the joint points of the cage. Yes, we’re talking about the corners, seams, and doorways. In case you notice any gaps, to make the enclosure escape-proof, seal it ASAP or get help to repair it in the first place.

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2. Securing Doors And Openings

The easiest ways through which a beardie can give itself the taste of freedom are the doors, lids, and any other convenient openings. So, to prevent your lizard from escaping, you better securely close all of them or latch them up if possible.

FYI, beardies are comparatively stronger than lots of the other reptiles. So, don’t think of using any locks, clips, or fasteners that can be opened by pushing them from inside. To keep things on a more convenient level, you can try applying escape-proof mesh or screens.

3. Providing A Decent-Sized Enclosure

A decent-sized enclosure – that’s what beardies need to move around comfortably. So, when you’re getting a cage for your lizard, make sure that it’s big enough for the reptile and doesn’t restrict it in its natural behavior. Yes, we’re talking about climbing, basking, and exploring.

Like we said before, a cramped enclosure will do nothing but motivated a beardie to escape. Now the question is, which size will be better here? Well, that’ll depend on the size of your dragon, but don’t go for anything below 40 gallons. Pick something larger if possible as that’s what we suggest for adult beardies.

4. Offering Hiding Spots And Enrichment

Bearded dragons need hiding spots in their cages. Not only do these hiding spots give them a sense of privacy, but also reduce their stress. And the best part? These spots take down the beardie’s desire to escape. Without them, it becomes almost impossible for them to cope with the sudden stresses.

By the way. you don’t need a fancy spot for your lizard to hide. Anything like rocks, caves, logs, or artificial structures can be used to create hiding spots. And don’t forget to bring some enrichment in there as well. You can use climbing structures, branches, and toys, as these will provide them with mental stimulation and keep them engaged with the surrounding.

5. Maintaining Proper Temperature And Lighting

You already know that bearded dragons can’t stay healthy for long without specific temperature gradients and lighting. The enclosure getting colder can easily make to get out of it in order to seek a warmer place. So, make sure you’re giving the lizard a perfect basking spot with a temperature of 95 – 105°F or 35 – 40°C.

And the cooler area? The temperature there shouldn’t exceed 75 – 85°F or 24 – 29°C. To be sure about the temperature, use a reliable thermometer. Plus, ensure the beardie has total access to UVB lighting. It helps them more than anything to metabolize calcium.

6. Minimizing Stress Factors

A stressed bearded dragon trying to escape the cage is nothing unexpected. So, if you don’t want your beardie to try another prison break, try keeping the stress factors in their surrounding to the minimum.

It’s nothing that hard. All you have to do is keep the area quiet and prevent excessive foot traffic. And yes, you’re not allowed to let your other pets be close to their enclosure as that too can trigger their stress. Plus, bringing sudden changes in their surrounding and handling them too frequently can also make them stressed. So, avoid them.

7. Regular Feeding And Hydration

A hungry and thirsty beardie will always feel like looking for food and water. Clearly, the search will lead them outside of the cage. So, the best thing you can do here is give it a well-balanced diet that won’t leave it starving. Also, make sure it’s got enough water to keep itself hydrated.

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7 Tips For Letting Bearded Dragons Go Out Of Their Cage

Is it wise to hold your beardie in the cage all the time? Well, no, especially if you want your lizard to feel comfortable everywhere in the house. But letting it roam like a free bird without keeping a trace is surely a bad idea. So, we say you better follow some tips while letting it out.

Tip 1: Prepare A Secure And Supervised Area

Rather than dropping it free, fix a safe and controlled space for your bearded dragon to explore. You don’t always have to keep it in-house. Outdoor is also fine. But make sure it’s escape-proof and doesn’t posses any threat to the reptile. In case the area got any kind of toxic plants or sharp objects, get rid of them. Do the same with small objects that a beardie can swallow.

Tip 2: Ensure Appropriate Temperature And Lighting

No matter where you’re letting your dragon be, ensure it’s got proper temperature and lighting. The area needs to provide a suitable temperature gradient, and of course, a warm basking spot. Plus, if the place is outdoors, there needs to be some shade where the lizard can skip the sunlight. And if it’s indoors, arrange some proper heat sources or UVB lighting there.

Tip 3: Supervise Closely

Your constant supervision is a must when you’re letting your bearded dragon go out. Indeed they’re fast and agile. So, if you want your lizard to get into an accident and hurt itself, keep a close eye on it. Don’t leave, even for a short period of time.

Tip 4: Provide A Comfortable And Stimulating Environment

To keep things interesting for the lizard, you can always try a variety of items when it goes out for its exploration mission. You can place some rocks or branches to climb on or make a hiding spot or tunnel where they can feel secure. This kind of setup resembles their natural environment and provides the required mental stimulation.

Tip 5: Watch For Signs Of Stress Or Fatigue

It’s outside! Clearly, you won’t always be able to control when or how your beardie gets stressed in there. So, the best thing you can do is try to notice the signs of stress. Usually, a stressed beardie shows signs like gaping, agitated tail flicking, or excessive pacing. If you’re seeing any of them, put the lizard back in the cage. Do the same if they’re showing signs of fatigue.

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Tip 6: Maintain Hygiene

Don’t forget to make sure that the area you’re letting your beardie be is perfectly clean and free of contaminants. If it’s outside, keep it away from any area with pesticides or chemicals.

Tip 7: Time And Frequency

In the beginning, don’t let the lizard be out for too long or too frequently. First, analyze the beardie’s needs and behavior. Not all bearded dragons are a fan of outings. If your lizard is among them, let it be in the cage more.

Before We Go…

Indeed letting the beardie roam free is a good idea as that’ll make them feel less suffocated. But make sure that no predator out there is waiting to make your lizard its next meal. Now the question is, which predators should you be aware of?

Well, that’s tough to explain in one line. But our blog – Bearded Dragon Predator List, can surely give you some idea there.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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