As bearded dragons continue to steadily increase in popularity, the number of questions that we see asked each month about keeping a bearded dragon happy is also steadily increasing.
One of the more common questions that we see people asking about with each month that passes is on how to make a bearded dragon dig box (sometimes known as a lay box) so we have decided to publish our own article going over the subject.
We hope that this article will be able to help as many of our readers as possible and make it as quick, easy, and cheap for you to make a bearded dragon dig box to the standard where your bearded dragon will be happy in it.
Although it may sound a little intimidating to people new to keeping bearded dragons, it is very simple and straightforward with there being some very beginner-friendly dig box options for your bearded dragon.
Due to a range of different questions relating to bearded dragon dig boxes or lay boxes being asked each month, we have decided to add the table of contents below to our article.
This should make it as quick and easy as possible for you to skip to specific sections of the article where you need the relevant information quickly.
What Is A Bearded Dragon Dig Box?
The standard digging box for bearded dragons is essentially a container that is large enough for the bearded dragon to climb into that is filled with a soft, damp substrate to simulate the natural environment where a female bearded dragon will lay her eggs in the wild.
This is why they are also known as a “lay box” as the box is set out to simulate egg-laying conditions.
The dig box can be as simply as a cardboard box with some substrate in it but there are a range of very popular, easy to make, and cheap designs that people have started to use on a regular basis.
The majority of people won’t leave the dig box in their bearded dragon’s enclosure year-round and there is usually no point in adding a dig box to an enclosure without a female bearded dragon.
Due to the majority of people agreeing that the substrate in the dig box should be damp, more and more people are moving away from using a cardboard box and opting to use a cheap kitty litter pan as their dig box.
They are available in a range of sizes to suit the size of your bearded dragon and its enclosure as well as being plastic so you are able to use a suitable substrate and keep it damp without issue.
Should Bearded Dragons Have A Dig Box?
It can be a good idea to add a bearded dragon dig box to the enclosure of a female bearded dragon if she is displaying signs of wanting to nest or lay such as being restless, trying to dig in random areas, scratching all around her vivarium, and switching her appetite between consuming everything she sees to not eating anything.
A dig box can help to reduce her stress and anxiety levels when she is looking to lay making them a solid addition to her enclosure.
Bearded dragon digging can be very common in some animals where some pets will absolutely love to dig for fun where as others may never bother.
If you think that you have a bearded dragon that likes to dig for recreation then adding a dig box for fun rather than egg-laying is also another option but this does tend to be rarer.
Please keep in mind that some bearded dragons may also display “digging” behaviour in their vivarium when they have issues with their claws. It could be as simple as just needing to trim your bearded dragon’s claws with some suitable claw clippers.
Another common option is to add a reptile rock slab to the vivarium as they act as a basking platform as well as somewhere for your bearded dragon to scratch to keep its claws in order.
Do All Bearded Dragons Need A Dig Box?
Not all bearded dragons need a dig box. Due to a bearded dragon dig box or lay box being for a female bearded dragon to lay her eggs, there is usually no point in offering one to a male bearded dragon.
That said, some bearded dragons do love to dig so this is one situation where you may want to add a dig box for a male bearded dragon.
Please keep in mind that if your bearded dragon is having a dig box for actual digging rather than egg-laying, the vivarium will usually end up with substrate all over it making tank maintenance a pain.
A common workaround for this is to have any box filled with a substrate that is for recreational digging in a play area for the bearded dragon rather than its main vivarium.
You simply let your bearded dragon into the play area to dig as and when you can but when the substrate it dug out of the dig box and kicked all over, it simply lands on plastic sheeting or anything else that is quick and easy to clean.
You can add other accessories to the play area for your bearded dragon too such as basking slabs or any other toys that your beardie likes to play with.
How To Make A Bearded Dragon Dig Box!
You can make a bearded dragon dig box as simple or as complicated as you like. The majority of people will stick to a simply dig box design and use a container like a kitty litter tray that is filled with a cheap, sand substrate with a little water added to the substrate to keep it cool.
Although it is not essential, some people will add a thin layer of soil or coconut fibre substrate over the sand too.
We would highly recommend that you use a plastic container like a cheap kitty litter pan for your bearded dragon dig box container.
This is due to it making it easier to keep the substate in the dig box moist without having issues with the container splitting and spilling the substrate all over the vivarium.
A litter pan with tall sides can also make the clean up after any bearded dragon digging much easier too as it keeps most of the substrate in the container.
We have seen a number of people try to use an up side down hide box as a bearded dragon dig box container but we would highly recommend against this.
The entry hole for the hide box when used lets most of the substrate spill out of the hide box and will not usually be deep enough for your bearded dragon to feel comfortable so can increase her stress and anxiety levels.
Bearded Dragon Dig Box Substrate Options!
A cheap sand substrate is usually the most common option for a bearded dragon digging substrate in a lay box but some people will use other options.
It can also be common to add a top layer substrate to the bearded dragon’s dig box such as soil of coconut fibre but this is not essential.
We would not recommend that you use a gravel-based substrate for your bearded dragon’s dig box though, try to always stick to something that is course and easy to keep wet.
Please also note that these substrate options should only ever be used in the dig box for your bearded dragon and are not recommended for a general substrate for the main vivarium.
Ideally, you want at least 4 inches of a decent sand substrate in the dig box do your bearded dragon can actually dig into it but some people do recommend a minimum of 5 inches of substrate.
This will depend more on what you have available for your content to use as the dg box that will fit into your bearded dragon’s vivarium though but we would not recommend that you go below a depth of 4 inches of the substrate if possible unless it is your only option.
How Warm Should A Bearded Dragons Dig Box Be?
You should try to place your bearded dragon’s dig box in an area of the vivarium that will be at a steady temperature of around 80°F/26°C but some people do recommend that you aim for 85°F/29°C.
Most people will also have to increase the humidity of their bearded dragon’s vivarium when using a dig box from the usual 20 to 40% humidity up to around 50% to 60% humidity.
The majority of decent, modern basking bulbs are easily enough to maintain this temperature but we would recommend that you try to pick up a thermometer/hygrometer combo set if you don’t already have one.
This will allow you to easily keep track of the temperature and humidity levels of your bearded dragon’s dig box and make any adjustments as required throughout the day.
Keep in mind that some substrate options also respond better than others when it comes to maintaining a steady temperature and humidity too.
This is why we usually just recommend a cheap, basic sand substrate as it is much easier to maintain the temperature than some of the other options.
That brings our article going over how you are able to make and maintain a bearded dragon dig box to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you build a suitable dig box without having to break the bank as well as maintain it to keep it in a suitable condition for your pet bearded dragon to use and enjoy. As we mentioned back at the start of the article, it really is easy to make a simple bearded dragon dig box but a large number of people drastically overcomplicate it.