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What Do Bearded Dragons Like to Play With?

Your bearded dragon is an intelligent reptile with a personality all his own. He’s not going to just sit there like some statue that’s nice to look at. He’s also going to get bored if he has nothing interesting to do except chase insects at feeding time.

Since one of the reasons, you probably got your dragon is because they enjoy interaction with people, why not add to the fun and interest for your beardie by giving him something to pique his interest when you’re not around?

Toys and play not only keep your dragon from being bored and keep him alert and interested, but they provide needed exercise to keep his bones and muscles strong.

Add to that, the fact that watching him play is a treat for you in itself, and it just makes sense. Watch your dragon and you’ll soon discover what bearded dragons like to play with.

10 Toys Bearded Dragons Like to Play With

Hides – These are places that allow your dragon to hide out when he is stressed and needs to feel safe, such as when a group of strangers comes in to peer at him or unfamiliar people try to pick him up. They also make a good place to cool off if he gets too warm from his heat lamp. There are many such caves and hides made for reptiles of different sizes. Some also serve as decoration in the enclosure, such as those shaped like skulls.

Whatever you use, make sure it is large enough for your beardie to get completely inside. You can even build your own or use some kind of overturned container as long as you make sure that the doorway is large enough for your dragon to get through easily and that it is not transparent.

Be aware, as well, that if you have a juvenile or baby dragon, you’ll need a hiding place that will be big enough to accommodate him as he grows or be prepared to get a bigger one later. Another way to provide a hiding spot is to use excavator clay as the substrate of your enclosure.

This can be molded into a cave when it’s moist. It then dries into whatever shapes you mold it into. Another benefit is that your beardie can dig into it to make his own hides. This substrate most closely mimics his natural environment of all the available choices. It’s also easy to clean and won’t require replacement like some other substrates.

Cat Toys – Cat toys such as wands with dangling lures are great for beardies. They will naturally be interested in and chase moving objects. Just make sure your toy doesn’t have any feathers or any other small parts that your dragon might try to eat.

Playing Ball – Most dragons like to play with small, lightweight balls. It engages their natural tendency to chase moving objects. Ping pong balls are perfect for dragons, as are other similarly sized and weighted balls. Your beardie may push it with his nose or hit it around in attack mode. While not all dragons go for playing ball, try one when you take him out of his enclosure for playtime in an open area and see what he does.

Bath Time Floaties – When it’s his regular bath time, it’s enjoyable for your dragon to let him soak a bit afterward. Since it takes effort for him to float, it’s a good idea to provide something he can climb onto when he tries to rest a bit before taking a new plunge.

This activity is so enjoyable for most dragons that there actually are floating bath toys made just for beardies. Most provide a recessed interior circle perfect for a dragon. They are also useful for dragons who don’t really care for bath time. A floating toy can grab his interest and perhaps convince him that bath time can be fun.

Crinkle Balls – These are made of sheets of Mylar or other plastic, or even paper, crinkled up into a ball shape. Plastic balls are rather noisy and may be more entertaining, but you can also wad up plain sheets of paper just as you would for a cat.

Hammock – Many dragon owners will get a hammock for their pets. In fact, it’s considered a must by many. They are usually fastened to the sides of a glass or acrylic-sided tank with provided suction cups. They come in four-sided models and three-sided ones for use in a corner.

If your enclosure can’t make use of suction cups, you can probably rig up something that will allow you to hang it from your enclosure top, or perhaps even build a little stand for it. While these usually are best in larger-sized enclosures, make sure you get one big enough for your beardie or he won’t bother with it.

There is some discussion about whether or not a hammock can replace an actual basking rock or spot. Most agree that the basking spot must be able to absorb some heat itself, as the heat can help a dragon digest food. A better place for a hammock may just be in the cooler section of the enclosure.

Tubes for Tunnels – Beardies like to play in tunnels. You can roll a feeder ball through and watch him chase it or use a laser pointer to lure him through the same way. The tunnel can also serve as a hiding spot, so if your space is limited, you can use a tunnel for this. Some reptile tunnels can even be cut down if needed.

Add a Mirror – A small, rectangular mirror that can stand up in the tank, perhaps leaning against the enclosure’s side, can give your dragon something interesting. Of course, he’ll think you’ve added another dragon to the mix. He’ll be interested at first, they may get a little anxious or even irritated, especially if he’s a male.

This won’t be harmful as long as you don’t leave the mirror in the tank for more than 15 minutes at a time to avoid stressing out your pet. It’s a good way to relieve boredom occasionally and is certainly an inexpensive toy.

Type of Feeder Ball – Feeder balls are plastic balls that you fill with live insects. Your dragon will see them and naturally try to get at them. You can buy a practice whiffle ball or golf ball to make your own. If you can get a transparent ball, even better. Tape up all the holes but one with clear tape to allow your pet to see the insects inside, then put some live insects inside.

This is a great way to give him his regular allotment of insects during mealtime. Do play fair and give your beardie any insects he can’t get out of the ball after he’s tried a while. You don’t want him to get frustrated knowing that there are insects available that he can’t get to.

Bridge – A bridge should be easily available at any store that carries reptile toys. This can double as a quasi-hiding place or cooling-off place. A bridge will allow a little climbing and more exercise. If you have excavator clay as your substrate, you can actually mold one for him.

What Do Bearded Dragons Like in Their Tank?

Besides the obvious heat lamp and basking rock, dragons like objects that allow for exercise and for interest. Since they love to climb, a sturdy piece of driftwood that won’t tip or another object that allows climbing is great. A hiding place of some kind is also a must. Obviously, the larger the enclosure, the more items you can add, but avoid crowding your beardie’s home. He needs space to move around.

Some owners like to put live plants in the enclosure, but care must be taken. Many plants are toxic to beardies, and their curiosity will likely cause them to nibble, so don’t use anything that is not safe for them to eat. However, with the care that a live plant needs coupled with the need to keep the enclosure clean, it’s best to stick to artificial plants if you want them. If your looking for ideas on saving money on your bearded dragon enclosure check out my article How To Set Up a Bearded Dragon Enclosure on the Cheap.

What Should You NOT Put in a Bearded Dragon Tank?

Anything small enough that your dragon may eat out of curiosity should not be put into his enclosure. Dragons are much like small children in that they may swallow things they shouldn’t. For this reason, any kind of wood chips or bark should definitely not be used as a substrate.

There is an ongoing argument about whether sand of any kind should be used as a substrate for a dragon. This is because he can get sand in his mouth when he grabs an insect or it can cling to his food with the same result. A dragon owner should be aware of this.

What Decorations Do Bearded Dragons Like?

Besides your basking rock and hide, there are many decorations your beardie will enjoy. Various hammocks and foam decorations abound. Natural bones and flagstones or other flat rocks are great. However, anything brought in from the wild must be sterilized in your oven before use.

Backgrounds are great to hide cords but also to keep your dragon calm if you have a glass tank. Some beardies, especially males, get spooked by their own reflection in the glass, so these backgrounds serve a double purpose.

Do Bearded Dragons Like to Climb?

They not only like to climb but need to for exercise. This is why natural, sterilized branches are great, especially driftwood with flat places for sitting. You can find many ideas at pet stores from other owners on the internet.

Conclusion

When trying to find out what do bearded dragons like to play with, there are many options available. Just remember that your beardie is intelligent and needs to have his brain stimulated just as you do. Couple that with his need for exercise, and he does need some “extras” to play with.

You can switch them up from time to time just to create further interest but do this one item at a time. Changing his enclosure completely may make him uneasy. Just remember to have fun with your beardie and he’ll love playing with you or by himself.