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How To Play With A Bearded Dragon (+What They Like For Play)

Are you looking to keep your bearded dragon happy and stimulated?

Do you get confused when thinking about how to play with a reptile?

Don’t associate these pets with dogs or cats!

The way beardies play is not similar to them.

So what you need to know is how to play with a bearded dragon.

Playing with bearded dragons is fun and a great way to stimulate them and build a bond. Play activities can include going for a walk, taking a swim, handling, playing ball, using a laser pointer, hunting, or exploring.

However, you also need to know the safe ways to do these activities, so read on for more details.

how to play with a bearded dragon

What Do Bearded Dragons Like to Play With?

Bearded dragons often enjoy a variety of toys, sometimes even toys that are popular favorites among furry pets.

So yes, you can shop the dog and cat toy aisle at the store and find some goodies for your bearded dragon!

Here’s a list of toys that you can get to keep your beardy entertained:

  • Balls: Bearded dragons enjoy playing with slotted balls that you would usually get for your cat or hamster. They will push the balls, chase them, and even carry them around the enclosure. Just don’t get small, swallowable ones made of marble or rubber.
  • Mirrors: Some bearded dragons get stressed by mirrors, but others can find them pretty amusing. If your beardy enjoys some mental stimulation and doesn’t get freaked out by its reflection, a mirror is a good choice.
  • Cuddly Companions: Believe it or not, some dragons are down for some plushie cuddles. And they look so adorable. Imagine your bearded dragon cozying up to a little stuffed animal! Picture perfect!
  • Dragons on Wheels: Why not let your dragon have a joyride on a tiny car, toy horse, or even a mini skateboard? It’s like the Fast and the Furious, reptile edition. Just ensure it doesn’t stress them out too much, or they might demand a chauffeur!
  • Ducks: Rubber ducks aren’t just for the bath – they can be a quacking good time for bearded dragons. Your dragon might nuzzle, climb on, or even engage in a friendly rubber duck race.
  • Crinkly Paper: Bearded dragons have a thing for exploration, and crinkly paper or wrapping scraps provide the ultimate adventure. Watch as they scurry through this textured terrain, showing off their agility and curiosity. Beware, though; some beardies don’t enjoy loud noises. 

7 Ways to Play With A Bearded Dragon

In this section, we go over our seven favorite ways to play with a bearded dragon.

These activities are easy to do and require little effort or money on your part.

Still, make sure you read carefully to avoid any potential inconvenient or dangerous mistakes.

#1 Taking It For A Walk

bearded dragon on a harness

This one is my personal favorite.

Bearded dragons like to exercise and explore.

Going for a walk with these pets is a blast, and you’ll attract a lot of attention as you do this.

Watch out for these things before you go, and make sure you use the suggested harness to keep your bearded dragon from sprinting away:

  • Make sure the temperature is above 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C)
  • Check the weather and go on a sunny day
  • Use a harness
  • Keep snacks nearby
  • Be prepared to carry your pet if it gets tired
Adjustable Lizard Leash Bearded Dragon Harness
  • 【Enjoy Roaming Time】The distinctive and adorable design makes you and your lizard look extraordinarily bright and unique when walking, give your lizard most popular gift.12
  • 【Comfortable Fabric】Made of soft leather, protect reptile’s skin and looks vivid. The metal ring of the chest strap is hided in the leather wings, will not touch your reptiles that making them uncomfortable.
  • 【Quality Material】Using durable and lightweight nylon rope, stainless steel swivel link and aluminum buckle, that are all non-toxic and animal-friendly.
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Note: Some harnesses are super cool, like the one at the above link.

They can come with unique designs, such as bat wings.

#2 Let Your Bearded Dragon Swim

Swimming is a fun and engaging thing for beardies to do.

But it’s not as simple as throwing your lizard in a kiddie pool!

Just like when bathing, you need to make sure the water temperature is at least 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C).

Also, don’t fill up with water in the container any higher than their shoulders.

Inside the container or small pool, give them some floaties or other things to move and chase around.

bearded dragon enjoying swimming

They also enjoy sitting on top of floats in the water as well.

The reptile can dip its tail in the water while basking in the sun.

#3 Handle Your Bearded Dragon

Another way to play with a bearded dragon is to pick them up and handle them.

Although this may stress them out if they’re not used to it, in time, they learn to like it because they associate it with you and adventuring or food.

Make sure you approach them from the front, support the whole body, and take great care not to drop them, though.

For more details, check out our guide for how to pick up a bearded dragon.

Another step to take beforehand is taming your bearded dragon.

Taming is essentially teaching the bearded dragon to get used to you and being handled by you.

We have a post if you’re interested in learning how to tame bearded dragons that we highly recommend for any bearded dragon owner.

#4 Play Ball

Don’t read this and expect your beardy to start playing fetch with you (as cute as this would be).

Bearded dragons like to engage with things, especially colorful things which remind them of different insects.

A small, colorful rubber ball can be something they may want to play with.

This won’t engage all beardies, but some do seem to enjoy it.

Play with them in some of the following ways:

  • Pushing the ball and having them chase it
  • Placing the ball on their tail
  • Hiding the ball
  • Placing the ball up high for them to climb to

Note: Colorful balls seem to work best.

Just ensure the ball can’t accidentally be swallowed.

#5 Play With A Laser Pointer

I can hear the complaints now:

This is a bearded dragon. Not a cat!

But beardies also love to chase the tiny red dot of a laser pointer.

bearded dragon playing with laser pointer

This is most likely because it reminds them of some food, so they pursue it.

Those who don’t like this play technique have two main problems:

  1. The beardy will chase until it’s exhausted.
  2. You’re “teasing” it with a food trigger, but not rewarding it.

I agree with these points, but if you play within reason, there’s no problem.

Don’t use the pointer to play for more than 5 minutes at a time — 10 at the most.

Always give some treats or food afterward to satisfy its food trigger.

A quick food pellet works great for this.

If you’ve never used food pellets with your beardie we have a review of the best food pellets for bearded dragons you should check out.

Do these things, and laser pointers will be a ton of fun.

Fluker's Buffet Blend Adult Bearded Dragon Formula, 2.9oz
  • 2.9 ounce
  • This unique blend ensures your pet will receive the proper balance of essential protein, fat vitamins, and minerals.
  • Adult formula
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#6 Take Them Hunting

I don’t mean set it up in a deer blind somewhere.

Bearded dragons are predators of insects and, on an intuitive level, enjoy chasing down their food.

Even in a large tank with live insects, the chase is pretty dull at times for our lizard friends.

Help them have more fun by letting them hunt it out.

Do this either by clearing space inside for them to chase live insects, or if you don’t want crickets in your living room, take them outside on a warm sunny day.

But, when you go outside to do this, make sure you keep the bearded dragon on a leash in a sectioned-off area.

Warning: Make sure there are no pesticides on the lawn or wherever you’re letting the dragon out.

#7 Explore A Space

In general, exploring new spaces is fun for beardies.

They are relatively curious reptiles.

Make sure this space doesn’t have any other animals if they aren’t already accustomed to oneanother.

Read our post on “will your dog eat your bearded dragon” and learn how to introduce your pets.

Also, keep it clear from anything the beardy may accidentally eat.

Be ready to move things if the beardy hides under or around something too.

Woah! Look at this!
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We hope you enjoyed learning about how to play with a bearded dragon.

These oddly cute pets are a ball to play with when they’re in the right mood.

If you take the proper safety steps, all of these (and more) are great ways to exercise your pet and build a bond.

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