Sleeping in the corner of their tanks among domesticated bearded dragons can send owners into a frenzy as they try to understand the underlying reasons for the behavior. Is sleeping in the corner of a terrarium a good thing or a sign of trouble?
This article delves into the common underlying reasons for bearded dragons sleeping in the corner to find out whether it is a good or bad sign. We also discuss a few ways to restore normalcy in beardies that are exhibiting the behavior.
Bearded Dragon Sleeping In The Corner
A bearded dragon sleeping in the corner of its tank may be stressed from parasitic infestations, lack of hiding spots, or the presence of tank mates competing for floor space and other resources. Beardies undergoing brumation from cold exposure or feeling lethargic due to illness stemming from inadequate lighting can also sleep in the corner of their tanks.
Bearded dragons could fall asleep at different spots in a vivarium but choosing the corner areas is often a sign of trouble in the tank setup. A thorough investigation is required to unveil the underlying issues for the right corrective measures to be taken.
Sleeping in the corner may be a sign of parasitic infestations in the beardie’s gastrointestinal region. Common parasites include Pinworms and Coccidia which typically lie dormant in otherwise healthy bearded dragons.
However, these parasites become more active when the beardie experiences a decline in immune system efficacy. Signs of parasitic infections include:
- Extremely smelly poop
- Extreme weight loss especially during brumation.
Vets often conduct stool testing to find the presence of these parasites which necessitates transportation of stool samples to the clinic. Confirmation of large numbers of the parasites in the beardie’s stool is treated by dewormers and probiotic supplements.
Low levels of parasites are present in the digestive tracts of bearded dragons by default so vets test for higher numbers to conclude a parasitic infection. (Source)
Absence of Hiding Spots
Bearded dragons face lots of predators in the wild and conceal themselves in several spots to feel safe. Although domesticated breeds have no requirement for hiding places due to the lack of predators, creating these spots in their tanks offers a sense of security to these adorable lizards.
Whenever they are stressed, bearded dragons burrow into their hiding spots to feel safe. However, stress and anxiety begin to creep in when there are no areas to hide in. Besides, these hiding spots serve as venues where females lay their eggs for safety reasons.
Glass surfing, a term that describes when reptiles attempt to climb out of their tank glass is a major sign of stress in bearded dragons in captivity. Settling in the corner of their tanks becomes the default when bearded dragons finally come to the realization that there’s no way out of their cages.
Stressed beardies often prefer the darkest corners of their tanks during short daytime naps and the main snoozing hours at night. Not only does the absence of hiding spots increase their stress levels but it also causes sleep disturbance.
Any of the signs above indicates that the bearded dragon is overly stressed due to the lack of hiding spots which should be taken as a cue to create a minimum of two spots. The result is more comfort and an end to the corner sleeping behavior.
Presence of Tank Mates
Bearded dragons can be some of the most docile reptiles in captivity but they are solitary at heart and introducing tank mates could be a major source of stress. Sharing their enclosures with other bearded dragons or reptiles of other species often leads to disaster.
Not only does the need to share resources increase stress levels but beardies may also fear for their lives in the presence of tank mates. The lack of assurance that the bearded dragon is safe from tank mate attacks could trigger perpetual fear.
Territorial issues are also more likely to pop up resulting in the bearded dragon choosing a spot in the corner of the tank to sleep. Prevailing conditions can take a turn for the worse when even more reptiles are introduced into the tank as aggressive tendencies become the norm because each animal tries to fight for survival.
Not only does the competition for food, floor space, and other resources take a toll on the bearded dragon’s health but the presence of other tank mates may also lead to an increased risk of parasitic infestations.
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded reptiles unable to regulate their internal body temperature. They require external heat to stay warm and sleeping in a corner of the tank is likely when that part is relatively warmer than the other areas.
Experts recommend creating a temperature gradient consisting of warm and cool areas at different ends of the beardie’s tank. This provides the freedom to choose which side of the tank is most suitable for the reptile’s needs at different points in time.
Temperature fluctuations could be a major source of stress in beardies that are robbed of hiding spots to keep warm or cool during extreme weather. Harsh weather may cause severe discomfort which can be potentially life-threatening when the situation lingers for extended periods.
Brumation is the result of exposure to cold temperatures in the bearded dragon’s tank for long periods. This often occurs when the lizard’s internal temperature drops to under 59 F with no external heat source to remedy the situation.
Bearded dragons sleep for extended periods day and night as their metabolism rates drop to minimal levels in the bid to conserve energy and other resources. Since beardies stay at the exact spot during brumation, it is not uncommon to find them resting in the corner of their tanks.
Winter is the most popular brumation period although the adorable lizards could find the need to conserve energy and resources during other times of the year. Eating and drinking are limited in brumating bearded dragons as they spend the majority of that period sleeping.
Feeding may occur once every couple of days to stock up on their energy levels before drifting back into the torpor state. Knowing when a beardie is brumating ensures the perfect response to their needs as a dedicated owner.
The major signs of brumation in bearded dragons are:
- Lack of interest in food
- Extended sleeping periods day and night
- Loss of interest in their surroundings
Brumating beardies prefer hiding spots in their tanks for an increased sense of safety and security. In the absence of these spots, tank corners remain a popular option for snoozing during the low-activity period.
Lethargy is a major reason why bearded dragons sleep in their tank corners. The condition could arise from health issues like Atadenovirus, Metabolic Bone Disease, and respiratory infections that may cause labored breathing.
Atadenovirus is a deadly condition that has no potent cure with symptoms including lethargy, partial paralysis, and declined appetites. The infection is communicable so affected beardies should be quarantined in separate tanks as veterinarians focus on easing their pain until they finally cross the rainbow bridge. (Source)
Metabolic Bone Disease is the result of inadequate calcium and vitamin D3 in the domesticated bearded dragon’s diet. The lack of UVA lighting can also cause the deadly condition characterized by symptoms such as extreme weakness, lethargy, and spinal inflammation.
Additionally, beardies sleep in the corner of their tanks when suffering from respiratory infections. Common symptoms include labored breathing, nasal discharge, and sneezing. These infections usually result from wrong humidity levels or extremely low temperatures in the vivarium.
Besides, nutritional deficiencies and stress may expose bearded dragons to respiratory infections and resultant side effects.
Bearded dragons raised in captivity can be relatively more susceptible to dehydration and this explains why adequate drinking water is critical to their well-being. Severely dehydrated beardies sleep in the corner of their tanks as a cry for help.
Do not hesitate to refill their water bowls immediately if empty and enable access to dechlorinated bathing water to ensure maximum health. Water dispensers could also be a great way of providing hydration for bearded dragons.
The sound of water dripping into the dispenser may be exciting for bearded dragons because it offers a reminder of how water access was gained in the wild and laying with the legs straight back is a common position.
Poor lighting can force bearded dragons to choose to sleep in the corners of their tanks. Extreme illumination could be a source of discomfort for sleeping bearded dragons even after trying to conceal themselves in their tank.
The captive lizard may choose a corner of the tank to escape from the excessive lighting. Inadequate lighting is another reason why beardies choose to sleep in one corner of their tanks. Health complications ranging from reduced vision to stress could arise when the vivarium tank does not feature the right lighting bulb.
Additional problems associated with poor lighting among bearded dragons include Vitamin C and D deficiency because UVB is required to metabolize Vitamin C which enhances their appetite and serves as an immune system booster.
The correct UV lighting also produces Vitamin D which minimizes the risk of mood swings and depression while arming the body to fight against diseases and infections. Also, the absence of proper lighting in their tank exposes beardies to massive shedding which typically serves as a source of misery.
UV lighting should be fixed directly in the bearded dragon’s tank for maximum effect since it is unable to travel through glass. They require 12-14 hours of lighting during spring and summer while 8 hours of illumination is enough in the fall and winter months.
It is not uncommon for shedding bearded dragons to sleep in the corner of their enclosures as they lose interest in food and remain in the same spot until the molting process is over. Bathing shedding beardies with warm water can speed up the process to help the reptile return to its old self.
Impaction occurs when bearded dragons are exposed to long-term constipation leading to mobility issues. Impaction results from feeding the wrong diets to domesticated bearded dragons. Eating their tank substrates or large pieces of food could also cause blockages in their intestines resulting in impaction.
Impaction is one of the major causes of sleeping in corners because the condition leads to hind leg paralysis. The only viable way to treat impaction is to consult a veterinarian in time because the condition may be life-threatening.
Conclusion: Bearded Dragon Sleeping In The Corner
Bearded dragons sleep in vivarium corners when there are problems in their environments. From impaction to cold temperatures and brumation, these adorable pet lizards can choose the corner of the tanks to lay down when it provides more comfort.
Beardies could also sleep in the corner of their tanks due to the absence of hiding spots. The tank corners offer a sense of increased safety when the lizards feel threatened due to prevailing conditions like competition for resources among tank mates.
Other situations that may force bearded dragons to sleep in the corner of their tanks include dehydration, lethargy, and poor lighting.