Why Is My Bearded Dragon Running Around Like Crazy?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Stress is the most common reason bearded dragons run around frantically. Changes in environment, lack of sleep, improper husbandry can induce stress.
  • Inadequate lighting, humidity, ambient temperatures lead to husbandry issues that cause extreme activity.
  • Parasites often make bearded dragons run around energetically. Veterinary treatment is required if parasites are suspected.
  • Identifying and promptly addressing the underlying cause is vital for bearded dragon health.

Bearded dragons are active reptiles that exhibit intriguing behaviors like head bobbing, arm waving, push ups, etc. However, frenzied running around is an abnormal behavior in bearded dragons which indicates potential issues. This comprehensive article explores the prominent reasons why a bearded dragon may be sprinting around their enclosure uncontrollably.


Bearded dragons, scientifically called Pogona, are moderate-sized lizards that make excellent pets. Their docile nature, longevity of up to 10-15 years, and modest care requirements make them popular among reptile keepers. However, these reptiles are prone to stress and can develop concerning behaviors if their habitat conditions are improper. One such troubling behavior is hyperactive running around the tank.

This article will investigate the leading causes of frenetic activity in bearded dragons. It will provide pet owners deeper insight into why their bearded dragon may be dashing around energetically. The content will cover common reasons like stress, incorrect husbandry, and parasite infestation. For each reason, management strategies will be suggested to mitigate the problem. By understanding the causes and solutions, bearded dragon keepers can address excessive speeding behavior and ensure their pet’s wellbeing.

With comprehensive facts, expert perspectives, and practical solutions, readers will discover valuable information to decode and rectify their bearded dragon’s frantic sprints. The in-depth evaluation will empower owners to make well-informed decisions regarding their pet’s habitat, health, and behavior. Ultimately, this article aims to equip bearded dragon enthusiasts with the knowledge needed to troubleshoot and resolve manic running around in their treasured reptile.

What Triggers Frenzied Running in Bearded Dragons?

Bearded dragons are inquisitive creatures that enjoy exploring their environment. However, chaotic sprinting around the enclosure is not normal behavior. Here are the main reasons for hyperactivity in bearded dragons:

Is Stress Causing the Frenzied Running?

Stress is the most common trigger for a bearded dragon dashing around uncontrollably. Sudden changes in their environment, improper handling, noise, and other factors can stress the reptile. According to research by the University of Sydney, bearded dragons exhibit a stress response when faced with unfamiliar habitats or handling. Stress hormones like corticosterone spike, causing heightened activity.

A lack of proper sleep due to incorrect lighting or habitat disturbances can also induce stress in bearded dragons. One study published in the Zoo Biology journal found that irregular light-dark cycles disrupted sleep patterns in bearded dragons, negatively impacting behavior. Furthermore, incorrect temperatures, humidity, and other husbandry issues can also stress the reptile.

Stressed bearded dragons tend to run around frantically, climb tank walls, avoid food, and show other abnormal behaviors. Addressing the source of stress and optimizing their habitat is key to managing this behavior. Maintaining a familiar environment, proper handling techniques, adequate sleep, and stability in the enclosure can prevent stress-related frenzied running.

Could Incorrect Husbandry be Responsible?

Flawed husbandry is a major reason for abnormal behavior in bearded dragons. Incorrect temperatures, lighting, enclosure size, and humidity levels prevent them from thriving. A study by the University of British Columbia confirmed that habitat parameters significantly impact bearded dragon activity budgets and behavior.

Bearded dragons are native to Australia’s deserts and require a dry enclosure with adequate heat and full-spectrum lighting. Temperatures on the cool end should be 70-80 F and 95-105 F on the warm end. Incorrect ambient temperatures cause discomfort and problems like hyperactivity.

Similarly, incorrect UVB exposure can disrupt their sleep-wake cycles and natural behavior. Using low-quality coils bulbs, placing lamps too far, not providing darkness at night all contribute to husbandry issues. Furthermore, small tank size, bare substrates, and moist conditions add to their stress. Optimizing all habitat factors is essential for a bearded dragon’s wellbeing and normal activity levels.

Could Parasites be Making Them Run Around?

Internal parasites like pinworms, coccidia, roundworms, and tapeworms often infest pet bearded dragons. Heavy parasite loads irritate the digestive tract, making the dragon uncomfortable. This discomfort can manifest as frenzied running and abnormal behavior.

A study published in the Australian Veterinary Journal found 58% of examined pet bearded dragons tested positive for one or more parasites like cryptosporidium, pentastomes, and others. Eliminating parasites requires prescription medication from an exotic veterinarian. They will also recommend proper sanitation of the enclosure to prevent reinfestation.

FAQs Related to Bearded Dragons Running Around Excitedly

Many bearded dragon owners have similar questions when their pet displays hyperactive behavior. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is My Bearded Dragon’s Frenzied Running Normal?

No, it is not normal for bearded dragons to frantically sprint around their enclosure without reason. Bearded dragons are relatively inactive reptiles that only show energetic behavior like running when necessary. Frenzied, repetitive running indicates an underlying issue like stress, illness, or husbandry problems.

How Do I Stop My Bearded Dragon From Running Around Excessively?

Identify and address the underlying cause, whether it is stress, husbandry flaws, or health issues. Maintain proper temperatures and lighting, avoid sudden environmental changes, get vet treatment for parasites, etc. Redirect the bearded dragon’s energy by allowing supervised exploration outside the tank. Sufficient exercise and mental stimulation will prevent chaotic running.

Is My Bearded Dragon Stressed If They Keep Running And Climbing?

Yes, uncontrolled running, tank climbing, glass surfing, and other frantic activities often signify a stressed, anxious bearded dragon. Stress can stem from inadequate habitat conditions, handling issues, or unfamiliar environments. Ensure proper husbandry, do not overhandle the bearded dragon, and maintain a stable, relaxing environment.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Running In Circles?

Repetitive circling indicates your bearded dragon is stressed, anxious, or frustrated. In the wild, bearded dragons will run in circles to scan their surroundings for threats or food. But in captivity, aimless circling denotes issues like small tank size, disrupted sleep cycles, lights that are too bright, or an overall suboptimal habitat.

Why Does My Bearded Dragon Run Around When Taken Out?

While some activity is normal when first removed from their enclosure, frantic sprinting indicates fear and stress. The unfamiliar environment or handling method may be alarming the bearded dragon. Hold them loosely, do not restrict their movement, place them in a small safe area, and allow time to adjust. Proper taming is vital for calm behavior outside the tank.

What Health Problems Cause Bearded Dragons To Run Around?

Along with parasites, conditions like metabolic bone disease, respiratory infections, neurological issues, and impaired vision can cause abnormal hyperactivity. Since health issues and husbandry flaws often overlap, get the bearded dragon vet-checked for parasites, infections, and vitamin deficiencies. Treatment alongside enclosure adjustments will resolve the frenzied behavior.

How to Stop a Bearded Dragon From Running Around Excessively

While some activity is healthy, excessive tank sprinting in bearded dragons must be addressed. Here are some tips:

  • Maintain optimal temperatures and 12-14 hours of daylight. Provide a temperature and photoperiod aligned with their natural habitat.
  • Eliminate tank reflections and disturbances. Provide hides and barrier-free viewing windows for a sense of security.
  • Upgrade to the adequate minimum enclosure size of 40-75 gallons for adults. Cramped spaces increase stress.
  • Get vet prescribed parasite medication if an infestation is suspected. Properly sanitize the habitat to prevent reinfection.
  • Ensure proper hand washing before and after handling to avoid transferring pathogens that cause illness.
  • Limit handling to 30 minutes maximum per day for juvenile dragons, and under an hour for adults. Excessive handling can be stressful.
  • Introduce environmental enrichments like hammocks, branches, tunnels, and toys to provide mental stimulation and exercise.
  • Maintain stable habitat conditions and avoid rearranging their enclosure too frequently. Familiarity reduces stress.

With persistence and proper adjustments tailored to the bearded dragon’s needs, the abnormal sprinting behavior can be curbed. Their overall activity levels and behavior will normalize over time.

The Importance of Determining and Resolving The Cause

Bearded dragon owners must invest time into understanding the root cause of frenzied running before attempting solutions. For instance, installing more hides may reduce stress from exposure, but have no effect if the actual issue is metabolic bone disease from improper nutrition. Or parasite medication may not work if poor husbandry is the primary reason for the abnormal behavior.

First analyze all aspects of the bearded dragon’s habitat, health, diet, enrichment, and handling to identify probable causes. Keep a journal detailing when the frenzied behavior arises, for how long, and any related factors. Then tailor the solutions accordingly, whether it is adjusting temperatures, providing adequate UVB, or getting vet prescribed medication.

Ensuring all the bearded dragon’s needs are fulfilled takes trial and error. But the investment is well worth the reward of having a thriving pet lizard. With attentive care and prompt problem-solving, bearded dragons can live long, healthy, and active lives in captivity.

Consulting An Exotics Veterinarian

If housing adjustments and owner efforts don’t resolve frenzied running within a few weeks, consulting an exotics veterinarian is recommended. Licensed herp vets specializing in reptiles can conduct a clinical exam, recommend blood tests and fecal tests to diagnose underlying illnesses, and provide appropriate treatment.

They will identify issues like parasites, respiratory infections, neurological conditions, vitamin deficiencies, trauma, and other health problems that need medical care. While vet visits can be expensive, they are imperative for diagnosing and managing conditions causing abnormal behavior in exotic pets. Herp vets can also advise owners on proper husbandry to avoid recurrence of issues.

Providing Optimal Care For Your Bearded Dragon’s Wellbeing

While bearded dragons make great pets, they have specific care needs as exotic reptiles. Ensuring their habitat and diet is aligned with their native environment is key to good health and proper behavior. Here are some care tips:


  • Minimum tank size of 40 gallons for juveniles, 75+ gallons for adults
  • Proper lighting – 10-12% UVB, basking and heat lamps
  • Gradient temperatures from 70F on cool end to 95-110F on warm end
  • Hides, branches, rocks and accessories for visual barriers and climbing


  • Mainly insects like crickets, worms, roaches along with greens and vegetables
  • Calcium and vitamin supplements to prevent metabolic bone disease
  • Varied diet according to their age, size, and activity levels


  • Handling in short 5-15 minute sessions, 2-3 times per week
  • Regular veterinary checkups to monitor health and diagnose issues early
  • Avoiding sudden environmental changes to their enclosure setup, lighting, etc

With attentive observation, prompt problem-solving, and adequate care aligned with their natural habitat, bearded dragons make delightful and active pets for reptile enthusiasts. Their signature behaviors like glass surfing, head bobbing, arm waving continue to fascinate reptile lovers globally.

Final Thoughts: Understanding Bearded Dragon Behavior Is Key to Their Wellbeing

Bearded dragons exhibit intriguing behaviors, but chaotic sprinting warrants investigation. This article presented the prominent reasons like stress, incorrect husbandry, and parasite infection that can cause bearded dragons to race around energetically. While some activity is healthy, uncontrolled running indicates issues that require prompt troubleshooting.

Ensuring proper care as outlined and making habitat adjustments to resolve the underlying stressors or health problems will get a frenzied bearded dragon back to normal behavior. But it requires observant owners willing to invest time into understanding their bearded dragon’s needs. The solutions ultimately focus on reducing stress, promoting feelings of security, and fulfilling their health and husbandry requirements.

With attentive care, habitat enrichments, veterinary guidance, and a commitment to their wellbeing, bearded dragons can thrive captivity while displaying their signature quirks that endear them to reptile lovers worldwide. Their antics continue to fascinate us, and make them a cherished part of the family.

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