bearded dragon handbook

Get our pet owner's guide for bearded dragons and help your special friend live its best life.

15 Bearded Dragon Enrichment Ideas (Activities & Fun)

By providing your bearded dragon with enriching toys and activities, you are doing more for your pet than keeping boredom away.

Toys will stimulate your bearded dragon’s mind and promote much-needed exercise.

Engaging in fun activities with your beardie also allows you to spend some quality bonding time with your pet.

If you’re stuck on ideas about how to keep your bearded dragon entertained, read on for 15 toys and activities focusing on the enrichment and stimulation of your reptile.

bearded dragon enrichment 1

#1 Give Your Beardie A Ball To Play With

If you give a bearded dragon a ball, it will interact with it in some way.

The beardie may push the ball around with their face or go into “attack” mode and bat it around with its limbs or tail.

Lightweight ping pong balls, small rubber balls, or balls made from crinkly paper are all excellent choices for your small reptile to have fun with.

Do not give your bearded dragon a large or heavy ball to play with, as this would be too big for them to push around.

Give your beardie plenty of room to play by sitting with it in a nice, open area like your living room floor or your patio.

And there are other things bearded dragons will play with so check out our post on bearded dragon toys if you want to see other recommended options.

#2 Take Them For A Walk In The Great Outdoors

Speaking of the patio, taking your bearded dragon outside for a walk on a nice day is good for both you and your pet.

Special leather reptile harnesses are sold in almost any pet store, and they allow your lizard freedom of movement while keeping you from losing your pet.

The harness usually comes in three different sizes and also includes a leash.

Not only should the harness be the appropriate size for your reptile, but be sure it is made from 100% non-toxic materials.

Most harnesses are made from soft leather, which provides comfort for your bearded dragon.

This leash is a safe and comfortable option for your beardie, and it is available at a reasonable price point.

Ensure the temperature is at least 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C), and the humidity is below 60%.

You will also need to keep an eye on other animals, especially birds. 

Not only will a bird mistake your beardie for prey, but your pet might be skittish or want to hide if there are a lot of birds around.

Be very careful about what your bearded dragon eats when it is outside. 

Rocks, insects, and certain plants may be very harmful or poisonous to your pet.

Aside from certain insects being poisonous, all wild insects carry a risk of being infected with parasites, which they will pass to your beardie when it feeds on them. 

It is best to avoid allowing your dragon to have any insects while it is outside.

While there are many delicious plants outside for your bearded dragon to eat, be mindful of pesticides and do not allow your pet to graze where they have been used.

#3 Take Your Beardie For A Lap Around The Pool

bearded dragon enrichment 2

If your bearded dragon seems to enjoy bath time, consider letting it enjoy a nice swim.

Fill your bathtub, or even better, invest in an inexpensive plastic kiddie pool if the weather is warm.

Don’t forget to add some fun floating toys, but be sure to give your reptile plenty of space to swim.

Inflatable arm floaties, which are typically reserved for small children, take just a few seconds to blow up, and they provide a nice floating hideaway for your beardie. 

The armhole of the floaty is the perfect size for your lizard to climb up into when they are tired of swimming or just want a place to hide.

Avoid using chlorinated water, which is harmful to your bearded dragon. 

Instead, opt for purified or distilled water to give your beardie a safe and fun swim.

You only have to fill the tub or pool with 2-3″ inches of water at most, just enough for your beardie to move around and have its body underwater.

Be sure to monitor your beardie for signs of tiredness and provide a place for it to rest to avoid any danger of drowning.

Warning! Do not put your beardie in a traditional swimming pool. 

Also, don’t fill up the water, so it reaches over the reptile’s shoulders.

If you didn’t know bearded dragons can swim read our post on the subject because the information there might surprise you.

#4 Rearrange The Plants And Furniture In The Enclosure

Much like humans, bearded dragons get bored looking at the same stuff every day of their lives.

Even if you provide plenty of plants, hides, caves, and other types of furniture for your beardie, it will eventually become bored and may even stop interacting with its environment.

Simple things, such as changing up the plant life, adding a new branch or two for climbing, or changing to a loose substrate versus tile or carpet, will add small but noticeable differences to your reptile’s habitat.

Consider adding a colorful new water dish or a new plant to the enclosure to break up the monotony of your beardie’s surroundings.

Reptile hammocks are a great option, especially when placed in the basking area of the tank. 

They come in a variety of sizes based on the size of your lizard its enclosure.

A bridge is also a fun way to add variety to the enclosure and give your beardie more room to climb.

Even the smallest change in your pet’s habitat will make a huge difference in its quality of life and provide a more enriching experience.

And if you want a list of plants you can use we have a post on the best plants to put inside bearded dragon enclosures you will find helpful.

#5 Let Your Bearded Dragon Chase A Laser Pointer

Like cats, bearded dragons will chase a laser pointer thinking it is a bug they need to hunt.

This hunting instinct makes a laser pointer an excellent choice for providing mental stimulation to your pet.

However, bearded dragons are very intelligent creatures, and they will eventually figure out the ruse. 

It is best to limit this activity to just a few minutes at a time and only a couple of times a week to keep your beardie from getting bored.

As a precaution, never point the laser at your pet’s face, as it will damage its eyes. 

Instead, point at the floor and keep the light beam just a few inches ahead of your beardie.

As a bonus, the laser pointer is a great way to get your picky eater to finish their greens or other vegetables. 

Simply aim the laser beam on the food, and your bearded dragon will nip at it, inadvertently taking a few nibbles along the way.

Note: Some beardies get too worked up over a laser pointer and may hurt themselves as they chase it. 

Use your best judgment to keep your pet safe and healthy. 

#6 Schedule Some Bath Time For Your Beardie

It is a great idea to treat your bearded dragon to a nice warm bath at least once every few days.

If your beardie is constipated or shedding, bathing them will help speed up defecation and shed any loose skin hanging on.

The water temperature should be around 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C), and you should monitor the water with a good thermometer. 

Be prepared to add more warm water if the temperature drops.

The bath only needs to be 1-2″ inches deep, just enough to cover your bearded dragon’s body and to allow them to move around in the water.

A typical bath should last anywhere from 10-30 minutes, and I recommend adding a rock or rolled-up towel to the water to give your beardie a place to go when it is tired of being in the water.

Not only does regular bathing keep your bearded dragon clean, but it also helps maintain their hydration. 

Providing your beardie with a shallow water dish also promotes hydration because your beardie will be able to soak and have a drink.

If you want a detailed guide for bath time we have a guide on bathing bearded dragons that’s a step by step how to you should check out.

#7 Let Them Roam (Safely) Around The House

Bearded dragons will do well with a change of scenery every once in a while, and allowing them to roam the house will provide them with mental stimulation and physical exercise.

Your beardie will enjoy basking in the windowsill on a warm, sunny day or stretching out on the couch while you watch your favorite show.

Before you give your beardie the freedom to move around your house, it is essential to take safety measures to keep your pet from getting hurt.

Firstly, if you have another pet, such as a cat or dog unfamiliar with your bearded dragon, you will need to make sure they are kept away from your beardie. 

Your cat or dog might see your reptile as food at first.

Once your other pets become acquainted with your beardie, they may play together as long as they are supervised.

You should never let your bearded dragon play with your cat or dog without monitoring them. 

Look for signs of stress in your beardie, and remove them from the situation if it appears to be too much.

The next thing you should do before letting your bearded dragon out of its enclosure is to pick up any objects which may be harmful to your lizard. 

Sharp, pointy items will be hazardous if your beardie crawls over them. 

You should also remove any small objects, so your beardie doesn’t mistake them for food.

Lastly, never let your beardie be away from its enclosure for more than two or three hours at a time. 

Without its heat lamp, your lizard will get too cold, and it will be more prone to health problems.

#8 Jam Out To Music With Your Bearded Dragon

Music is another excellent source of enrichment for your beardie, and it is a fun way to bond with your pet.

Experiment with different genres of music and watch how your pet reacts. 

While your beardie probably won’t share your love of death metal, they will likely bob their head to some pop music or become relaxed when you play them some Beethoven.

No matter what genre your bearded dragon decides is their favorite, you should always maintain a low volume level, so you do not damage your lizard’s very sensitive hearing. 

Avoid music containing any sudden loud noises, as this will cause stress in your beardie rather than relaxation.

If your bearded dragon moves towards the music or becomes relaxed and closes its eyes, this is a sign they are enjoying what they hear.

Listening to music with your pet provides a nice way for you to bond with them, and it gives your reptile the mental stimulation it craves.

#9 Create A Fun Food Puzzle For Your Beardie

bearded dragon enrichment 3

While puzzles for bearded dragons are pretty much nonexistent at the pet store, creating a puzzle of your own is very easy.

Start with a plastic ball with holes in it and tape up all of the holes except for one.

Then, fill the hole with live insects and watch while your beardie bats the ball around, making the insects fall out.

Not only does this activity provide mental stimulation for your lizard, but it also provides a nutritious snack for them. 

For optimal nutrients, be sure to properly gut-load the feeder insects before placing them inside the ball.

You also get the benefit of being entertained by watching your beardie have fun while it gets to the snacks.

#10 Give Your Bearded Dragon Some Colorful Cat Toys

Cat wands and teaser toys provide lots of fun for bearded dragons.

These affordable toys usually have a colorful plushie, ribbon, or feather attached to the end of a long plastic wand.

Simply wave the wand in front of your beardie and watch them chase after the toy dangling from the end.

Much like a cat, your dragon will do anything to grab the toy. 

This is not only an engaging activity for your beardie, but it is also an excellent way for them to get plenty of exercises.

Most other cat toys are safe for your bearded dragon, but you should avoid any kind of cat toy with sharp edges.

Cat toys with bells or other noise-making features are safe, but the noise may startle your beardie.

Catnip is in the mint family, and it is safe for your reptile, so plushies and other cat toys stuffed with catnip are perfectly acceptable as well.

#11 Add Some New Hides And Tunnels To The Enclosure

Hides give your bearded dragon places to explore while also providing them with privacy, relaxation, and safety.

You will easily find these hides in your local pet store, and they usually feature an easy-to-clean surface resembling natural wood bark.

Tunnels also provide a safe space for your beardie with the added benefit of allowing them to burrow.

Burrowing is one of a bearded dragon’s favorite activities in the wild, and they do it not only to feel safe but to cool down when they get too hot.

When it comes to tunnels, you have a couple of different options.

Small tunnels often resemble rocks or logs and may easily be installed within the enclosure.

Another option is to purchase a large cat or rodent tunnel to set up outside of the enclosure. 

These tunnels are usually constructed of nylon or another sturdy material enclosing a collapsible metal frame.

Some tunnels even feature additional holes on the sides or have toys such as ribbons or feathers dangling inside for extra stimulation.

Since these tunnels are collapsible, they are easy to store away when they are not in use.

And there’s all sorts of things you can add to the enclosure similar to the above.

We have a post on bearded dragon accessories if you’re looking for options.

#12 Place A Mirror Outside Of The Enclosure

Placing a mirror outside of the enclosure for a brief period is a surefire way to elicit a reaction from your beardie.

Bearded dragons tend to be solitary creatures in the wild, and they may not always react well at the sight of another beardie in their territory.

A bearded dragon is unable to tell the difference between another lizard and its reflection.

Depending on their personality, your dragon will either slowly approach the reflection with curiosity or become defensive and start showing signs of aggression or anger.

If the mirror is upsetting to your beardie, you should remove it immediately to allow your pet to calm back down.

Even if your lizard has a positive reaction to the mirror, you should not leave it by the enclosure all of the time. 

The mirror will eventually cause stress to your beardie if left near the tank for prolonged periods.

Having a mirror near the tank is still an enriching activity for the curious beardie as long as it is only done in short intervals. 

This way, your bearded dragon will not see its reflection as a threat.

Learn more about bearded dragons and mirrors here.

#13 Let Your Bearded Dragon Hunt Its Food

bearded dragon enrichment 4

Allowing your beardie to hunt and catch its food is an enriching activity catering to its instincts.

If you normally feed your dragon with tweezers, move them around, so your pet has to chase after its prey.

Place hornworms or other slow-moving insects at a distance from your beardie, and watch it run towards the food. 

This activity not only gives your lizard plenty of exercise, but it provides them with a tasty reward afterward.

If you are feeding your beardie crickets, it is best to keep the hunt confined to the enclosure. 

The enclosure keeps the crickets from escaping the hunting area and finding other places in your house to live.

Remove any uneaten crickets from the tank after twenty minutes to prevent them from hiding in the enclosure and causing your beardie unwanted stress. 

Crickets are also known to bite bearded dragons, which causes pain and skin infections.

By letting your bearded dragon hunt in this way, you provide it with the exercise it needs while maintaining its safety.

Allowing your beardie to hunt whenever possible keeps it active and enriches its life greatly since it gets to follow its natural instincts.

#14 Give Your Beardie A Soft Teddy Bear

While it may seem unusual, some reptiles enjoy having a soft stuffed animal in their enclosure, and they will happily snuggle up to it.

Bearded dragons don’t get to experience soft textures in the wild very often, so a stuffed animal is a treat for them.

As with other toys and activities, not every bearded dragon will like or use a stuffed animal in its enclosure.

To gauge how your beardie will react, place the stuffed animal inside the enclosure and monitor your pet. 

If they seem stressed or don’t snuggle up to the plushie after a few days, you should remove it from the enclosure.

Many bearded dragons seem to enjoy having a stuffed animal in their enclosure, and they have been known to curl up and sleep on the soft plushie.

In addition to the soft texture, a stuffed animal may also provide some extra warmth for the beardie.

You should briefly remove the stuffed animal from the enclosure once per month for cleaning, and you will also need to inspect it for any tears or loose stuffing to ensure your beardie does not ingest any of it.

#15 Set Aside Snuggle Time To Cuddle With Your Beardie

Just because bearded dragons aren’t furry creatures, it doesn’t mean they don’t like to snuggle up in a warm blanket with you.

This enriching activity is the most relaxing one on the list, and it is a great way to bond with your beardie.

Start slowly by setting your dragon on the couch next to you while you watch TV.

Give them a soft blanket in case they want to snuggle underneath it.

Once your beardie is comfortable with you, it will love being handled and will even fall asleep on you.

The more you cuddle your bearded dragon, the more it will bond with you. 

This bond will become very strong, and your beardie will look forward to having some snuggle time with you.

Spending this quality time with your dragon will make your pet much happier than if you always left it alone in its cage.

With regular handling, your beardie will become tamer, and it will have a very mellow personality. 

If you’re new to this read our post on how often you should handle bearded dragons for some additional guidelines.

This tameness comes in very handy when cleaning the enclosure or bathing your bearded dragon. 

The animal will exhibit less stress when you handle it, and it will be happier and healthier as a result.