Updated: July 20, 2022 by Jennifer Munsell
Sometimes you may find your bearded dragon sleeping in the corner of its enclosure. Often, this is perfectly normal behavior, but sometimes it is cause for concern, especially if you’re new to owning bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons are very active if they’re feeling healthy and are not brumating. Therefore, they’ll have scoured their enclosures high and low to find the perfect spot to nap. This may happen to be in the corner of their enclosure because it’s the most comfortable location or may be at just the right temperature
However, your bearded dragon may be sleeping in its corner for other reasons that indicate something is wrong. Your beardie may be so impacted that it cannot move out of the corner, or it may be too tired or lethargic because it’s sick or has a high parasite load.
There are a few other reasons your bearded dragon may be sleeping in the corner of the enclosure. Read on to find out!
Good Reasons Your Bearded Dragon Is Sleeping in the Corner
Bearded dragons are strange little creatures. They do some odd things that can alarm their owners like waving their arms, glass surfing, licking you and things in their enclosure, and not eating.
Sometimes these behaviors are completely benign and are not cause for alarm.
It Is the Perfect Spot
The corner that your bearded dragon is sleeping in may be the comfiest place in their entire enclosure and so they always go back to it to sleep. It also may be at the perfect temperature, with the perfect lighting, and they just cannot resist sticking to that spot.
Your bearded dragon spends the majority of its life in its enclosure and can choose ‘spots’ for certain purposes like eating, pooping, sleeping, and scratching in the substrate. It may be that your bearded dragon has designated that corner of their enclosure as their sleeping spot.
To make your bearded dragon more comfortable in that corner, or to encourage them to sleep in other places, you can place little beds on the floor or little hammocks so that they have more options to choose from.
They Are Brumating
When reptiles brumate, they go into a state of decreased activity to conserve their energy and fat stores.
Bearded dragons do not have to be brumated, but they may start to brumate even if you do not intentionally change their enclosure settings, as the air pressure and temperature change outside may have been enough to set off their brumation behavior.
For a closer look at brumation and what it is, check out our dedicated article.
Bad Reasons Your Bearded Dragon Is Sleeping in the Corner
Unfortunately, not all reasons for your bearded dragon sleeping in the corner are good. It’s often a signal that something is wrong with them or their enclosure, and that corner is just where they ended up or is the only place where they feel safe.
The Temperature Gradient Is Wrong
Bearded dragons are ectothermic, which means they do not make their own body heat and instead rely on external sources of heat to control their metabolism and keep warm.
Your bearded dragon’s enclosure should have a warm side and a cool side. The warm side of the enclosure should sit comfortably at 85°F to 90°F, while the cool side should not drop below 70°F at night.
If the temperature gradient is wrong in the enclosure and there are no cool or warm spots that your bearded dragon can retreat to, then they may retreat to the corner.
Check out all of your temperature settings to ensure they have an even gradient.
They Have No Hides at the Right Temperature
Bearded dragons need hiding places in their enclosures in order to retreat when they are feeling scared, stressed out, or just need some quiet. A corner can provide a similar feeling of safety that a hide provides because it feels closed in.
In an ideal enclosure, your bearded dragon should have access to hides on both ends of the temperature gradient so they can retreat and feel safe when they need to cool down or when they need to warm up.
If your bearded dragon does not have access to hides at different temperature spots in their enclosure, they may retreat to the corner on the side of the temperature gradient that they need to be in. As the corner feels safer than being out in the open, they may be reluctant to leave it.
To try to rectify this, make sure your bearded dragon has access to hides or sufficient coverage along the entire temperature gradient.
They Are Scared and Trying to Get Away
Your bearded dragon may be new to its enclosure, does not want to be handled, or afraid of what is outside of its enclosure. They will try to run away from whatever threat is being perceived.
As they are in their enclosure, they cannot ‘run’ anywhere except to a safe spot that is as far away from the threat as possible, which often ends up being the corner.
If your beardie is new to tank life, give them some time to adjust. If they’re running away when you put your hand in the enclosure, keep it in there for 10 minutes a day so your beardie can get used to your scent and presence.
They Are Feeling Extra Stressed Out
If your bearded dragon is feeling stressed out, it may be trying to escape or looking for places to hide. Look for other signs of stress such as arm waving, glass surfing, stress marks, or not eating. If there are multiple signs of stress, see if you can find out what is stressing them and rectify it.
Bearded dragons become stressed when there is too much noise or activity around the enclosure, when their heating or lighting settings are incorrect, or they can see natural predators such as birds, cats, or dogs.
They Do Not Want to Move Due to Illness
Your bearded dragon may be ill and too tired or sick to move away from the corner they happened to end up in. The best thing to do in this situation is to take them straight to the vet.
To check whether your bearded dragon is ill, look out for other signs such as wheezing, strings of sticky saliva hanging from their mouths, sunken eyes, weight loss, a change in color, vomiting, diarrhea, or bright red gums.
They Are Stuck Due to Impaction
Your bearded dragon may be severely impacted and actually stuck in the corner of their enclosure. Impaction is incredibly painful and your bearded dragon may be in too much pain to move.
Impaction occurs when there is a blockage in the digestive tract. This blockage prevents food and water from passing through and being excreted, so their stomach can become swollen. While the blockage sits in the intestines it can become septic, which slowly poisons your bearded dragon from the inside.
Certain foods (too large or fibrous) and loose substrates (sand or very small coconut chips) are the largest causes of impaction in bearded dragons.
If your bearded dragon is so impacted that it cannot move, it urgently needs to be taken to the vet.
FAQs About Bearded Dragon Sleeping Habits
How many hours do bearded dragons need to sleep?
Bearded dragons need a lot of sleep. They’ll end up sleeping between eight and 12 hours every night. They are active during the day but may take frequent naps to digest their food and regulate their body temperatures.
Do bearded dragons sleep during the day or night?
Bearded dragons are diurnal animals. This means they’re active during the day and will sleep at night. This is why it is so important to have a 12/12-hour photocycle where your bearded dragon gets 12 hours of light and 12 hours of complete darkness.
At the Tail End of Things…
Finding your bearded dragon sleeping in the corner of the enclosure may be a little odd, but it could be as simple as the fact that that spot is the comfiest spot in the entire enclosure for a good nap.
However, if this behavior is obsessive, it may be because there is something wrong in the enclosure such as the temperature gradient is off, there are no hides, the hides are in the wrong places, the beardie is sick or impacted, or they are super stressed out.
Bearded dragon behavior is very strange at times, but once you pay attention and make careful notes then you can decode your beardie’s bizarre sleeping habits and either fix what is wrong or have your mind put at ease!