Bearded dragons are notorious adventurers with an exceptional amount of curiosity, they love to roam and wander and explore new areas, and the exercise is good for them as well. However, when it comes to letting your bearded dragon roam freely, you may experience some worrisome and nervous feelings considering how small they are in comparison to our environment.
You may have wondered about different methods and/or tools you could make use of to allow your bearded dragon that sense of freedom to be able to roam but stay safe at the same time. If at any point you have considered your possibilities when it comes to ways for your bearded dragon to explore safely, you may have come across or pondered over the possibility of utilizing a hamster ball.
A hamster ball would allow your bearded dragon freedom to roam and explore without the fear of getting lost or injured, right?
Although it seems like the perfect solution, in theory, but in reality it is highly recommended that you do not place your bearded dragon inside a hamster ball. There are several reasons which would make this a less than pleasing experience, not only for your bearded dragon but for you as well.
The well-being and safety of your bearded dragon should be top priority, especially if you want to allow them the opportunity to free roam and explore.
Bearded dragons can get into all sorts of dangerous places due to their small stature and curious nature. However, the solution to these worries and dangers should not be a hamster ball and we will discuss these varying reasons in detail to further our understanding and knowledge of our beloved bearded dragons.
We will also discuss some alternative methods to allow for a safe and stress free roaming experience for you and your bearded dragon. So, let’s take a stroll and discover the many different reasons for hamster balls to be discouraged for bearded dragon use.
Reason 1: Stress
Bearded dragons do love to roam and explore, however, they are not partial to small spaces and a hamster ball is a rather tight space. Bearded dragons also do not move the way that hamsters do and being placed in such a small space, even if the ball is rather large, and not having the ability to properly move the ball around can cause your bearded dragon an immense of stress which can cause other issues for you and your bearded dragon, including but not limited to vomiting, loss of appetite, aggression, and fear.
It is important to give your bearded dragon a stress free life so they are able to properly thrive and enjoy a happy, healthy life. Also, if you have other animals in the home, especially cats or dogs, by placing your bearded dragon in a hamster ball you are giving those other animals a moving target and toy to play with.
The last thing you or your bearded dragon will want is for another animal to knock them around and cause, not only stress, but injury as well.
Reason 2: Injury
Hamster balls are covered in air holes to allow the hamster, or other rodent, plenty of oxygen so they do not suffocate while roaming around within their ball; bearded dragons have long, skinny toes with long, skinny toenails.
By placing your bearded dragon inside a hamster ball, you are taking a risk of their toes or toenails getting stuck inside one of those air holes, causing potentially severe damage to not only their nail but their toe as well. Do check out our helpful post on how often to trim your bearded dragon’s nails.
These air holes are also the perfect size for a cat’s claw to reach through and cause potential and severe harm to your bearded dragon. The possibility of them rolling themselves down a staircase or getting caught in a dangerous area with little ability to escape are also concerns that come with placing your bearded dragon in a hamster ball.
The risk of injury is far too great and comes with many possibilities when you imagine a bearded dragon in a hamster ball and should be avoided at all costs in order to ensure their safety.
Reason 3: Size And Shape
Bearded dragons are much larger and longer than hamsters, with tails that can be the same length as or longer than the length of their body. Hamster balls are round, not allowing for much space or room for the entire length of a bearded dragon, as they are made specifically for hamsters.
Hamsters have the ability to flatten out, stretch out, bend, and move in a way that bearded dragons do not, which is the reason for being able to put your hamster in a ball but not your bearded dragon.
Although they are both small, bearded dragons lack the capabilities that hamsters have that allow them to maneuver around in a ball safely and securely with little risk of injury.
Method 1: Personal Area
You can provide your bearded dragon with their own personal space that will allow and encourage free roaming in a safe and controlled manner by closing off a section of a room that other animals cannot access or creating an open “enclosure” that will give the sense of free roaming while maintaining the amount the space they can actually roam around in. There are plenty of possibilities when creating a personal space specifically for your bearded dragon.
If you have an area in a specific room that can be closed off, or an entire room with few places for your bearded dragon to get stuck under, then you can easily create an area for your bearded dragon to safely explore your personal space and environment while still maintaining control over the situation; just be sure to use materials that your bearded dragon cannot choke on or chew through when building the walls of their closed off space. Creating an open enclosure can also be a cheap and simple method that will allow your bearded dragon to explore and dominate a new area with some new scenery.
By utilizing a hard plastic kiddie pool or a plastic tub, you can build up a swimming area with a section of beach and rocks or even some places to tunnel and burrow. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating a personalized space for your bearded dragon to explore that is outside of their normal enclosure to give them that sense of adventure and freedom while you keep an eye on them to ensure their safety.
Method 2: Bonding Time
In reality, your bearded dragon’s favorite pastime is just hanging out with you. Of course, they enjoy exploring, but they are just as happy experiencing new places and things from the safety and comfort of your shoulder or hands.
It does not take much to give your bearded dragon the fulfilling and happy life that you wish to give them. They are just as happy to chill, perched up on your shoulder, watching the latest episode of your favorite show, or people watching out the window, or going for a ride or walk around the neighborhood. Do also read up our popular post about how often to let your beardie out of its cage.
Just be sure to keep an eye on your bearded dragon in order to catch any change in behavior that communicates their stress or relaxation level or that may indicate that they are about to jump. The last thing you would want while out on a stroll with your bearded dragon is for them to dive off your shoulder because they have become stressed out or because you weren’t paying proper attention.
While a hamster ball may seem appropriate and convenient when allowing your bearded dragon to roam free, they just offer too many dangers and risks for the safety and well-being of your bearded dragon.
From injured toes to broken backs, hamster balls can cause any number of injuries for your bearded dragon as they are not made for the movement and build of a bearded dragon. It is important to focus on and research more appropriate methods for your bearded dragon to explore that will guarantee their safety and decrease in risk for injury.
With all of the possibilities to give your bearded dragon an enriching and happy life full of exploration and discovery, a hamster ball should never be on the list for possible methods to try. The convenience does not outweigh the risks and your bearded dragon’s safety should be top priority, especially when it comes to their adventures outside of their normal enclosure.
When in doubt, your bearded dragon is more than happy to explore their surroundings from the comfort and safety of your shoulder, just be sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t fall or jump off. It is always important to note that if you have tried placing your bearded dragon inside a hamster ball and are worried they have endured an injury or have concerns about their behavior, contact your local herp vet for any advice on how to proceed.