Why Is My Iguana Digging? (9 Interesting Facts)

The sight of an iguana digging can be a fascinating one. But besides being fascinating, it can also be alarming. And it can translate into considerable damage to your landscaping. The digging can cause you, as the iguana owner, to wonder whether it is normal behavior. More specifically, it can leave you with questions on whether there is something wrong with him or her, and whether there is anything you can do to help the iguana. Read on, to find answers to these concerns.

Why is my iguana digging? The most likely reason why your iguana is digging is because she is gravid, and is looking for an ideal underground spot to lay eggs. It is normal for female iguanas to dig holes during the breeding season, for egg laying purposes.

Why is my iguana digging
Why is my iguana digging?

Besides egg laying, iguanas have also been known to dig holes in a bid to escape and sleep in a better environment. Thus, you could be looking at a situation where your iguana is under too much stress. So he plots to escape by digging a tunnel. This may be the case if, for instance, his cage is too small. Or if it is too cold or too hot.

Confusion is another thing that sometimes causes iguanas to dig. For instance, if an iguana encounters a white or reflective surface, it may cause him confusion. That is because he is unable to see it properly. That therefore leads him to start digging at it.

Iguanas also sometimes dig when they have difficulties shedding skin. Therefore your iguana could be having such difficulty, leading him or her to start digging.

 

Do Iguanas Burrow?

Before setting out to answer the question on why is my iguana digging, we need to know whether iguanas have the ability to burrow in the first place. So, do iguanas burrow? The answer is yes, iguanas have the ability to burrow. All iguana species burrow for nesting purposes during the egg laying seasons. But we also have those (like spiny tailed iguanas) that have a preference for living in burrows/holes.

 

Do Iguanas Dig When Bored?

Well, boredom is one of the things that cause your iguana to be stressed, which in turn makes him to start digging. Therefore if your iguana is digging (and you are sure it is not a female seeking a place to lay eggs), there is a possibility that the lizard could be bored. He may have gotten so bored with life in the cage that he is digging a tunnel through which to escape.

People who pose the question on why is my iguana digging are usually advised to first consider the egg-laying possibility. That is where the iguana could be digging in order to get a nest to lay eggs. But if that is not a possibility (for instance, if the iguana is male), then one has to consider other factors. And one of those other factors is stress, which could be on account of boredom.

 

Can Iguanas Dig The Whole Day?

Yes, it is possible for iguanas to dig pretty much the whole day. This is especially common during the iguana digging season, when gravid females have to prepare holes for egg laying purposes. They have to prepare the holes (which can be 3-4 feet deep) in time for the eggs. In those cases, it is not rare to find iguanas digging pretty much the whole day.

Another scenario that cause an iguana to dig the whole day is where he or she happens to be facing difficulty shedding skin. The skin that is not shedding drives the iguana crazy. So he digs pretty much the whole day, in a bid to get the skin to dislodge.

 

Why Is My Iguana Digging?

If she is female, she could be gravid – and therefore digging a nest in which to lay eggs. By the way, this applies even if the female iguana hasn’t had a chance to mate with a male. Female iguanas that have not mated are still known to lay eggs (though such eggs don’t hatch). Therefore the fact that a female iguana hasn’t had a chance to mate doesn’t mean that she won’t dig a hole for egg laying purposes.

You may then ask, why is my iguana digging, yet it is not female (and therefore can’t be seeking a nest for egg laying purposes)? In that case, you need to consider the possibility of your iguana seeking to escape. Therefore he could be digging with a view to establish an escape route. This is highly plausible if, for instance, his cage his too small. Or if the warmth conditions in the cage are not ideal. Or if he is not getting enough to eat.

Iguanas have also been known to dig when they face white or reflective surfaces. The way their eyes operate is such that they are unable to properly see white or reflective surfaces. Therefore when faced with white color or a reflective surface, an iguana may dig. That will be out of curiosity, on what is before it.

An iguana may also dig in a bid to shed skin. If an iguana has a problem shedding skin, he may reckon that digging can help him lose the skin faster. Therefore he starts to dig: often in a frenzy manner.

 

Why Is My Baby Iguana Digging?

This, in other words, is a question as to why is my iguana digging, yet she has not reached maturity (and therefore can’t possibly be digging a nest for egg laying purposes)?

The most probable reason is stress. If the baby iguana’s living conditions are not ideal, she will experience stress. And that may lead her to instinctively dig. If it is a newly acquired baby iguana (meaning that she is in a new place), this is even more plausible. To be sure whether it is indeed a stress issue, check the iguana’s color. If it has become darker, there is a chance that she is under immense stress, hence her digging.

The baby iguana could also be having difficulties shedding skin. So she digs in a bid to dislodge the old skin. Again, this is quite likely, when you consider how often baby iguanas shed their skin (compared to adult iguanas).

It is also possible that the iguana confronted by a white or reflective surface. In this case, the digging would be out of curiosity/confusion, as the baby iguana can’t properly see white or reflective surfaces. It has been noted that when iguanas are confronted with white or reflective surfaces, they tend to start digging.

 

Why Do Iguanas Dig Holes?

The commonest reason for iguanas digging holes is to establish nests where they can lay eggs. Another quite common reason for iguanas digging holes is to establish escape routes. Related to that is stress, as a reason for iguanas digging holes. Rarer reasons for iguanas digging holes include confusion/curiosity (like when confronted with white or reflective surfaces). An iguana can also dig when it has difficulties shedding skin.

So exactly why is my iguana digging? The only way to answer this question is through the elimination method. Firstly, is the iguana male or female? If she is female, and it is during the season when they lay eggs, she could be digging to establish a nest, for egg laying purposes. The egg laying season in iguanas usually comes with frenzied digging. That is why some people also refer to it as the iguana digging season.

If he is male, the possibility of him digging to lay eggs is obviously eliminated. This leaves us with the possibility that he is under stress and therefore wants to escape. If you notice that his color has also become darker, this should buttress the possibility of him being under stress.

Why is my iguana digging
Why is my iguana digging?

Where he doesn’t seem to be under stress, you need to check whether he is confronted with a white surface or a reflective one. If he is, then chances are that he is confused (as he can’t see white or reflective surfaces well), leading him to dig.

Iguanas sometimes also dig if they are having hard time shedding their skin. The digging seems to help them with the skin shedding. Therefore if your iguana is not digging for egg laying purposes, doesn’t seem to be under stress, and is not confronted with a white/reflective surface, then he could be digging for skin shedding purposes.

 

How Do You Tell If An Iguana Is Ready To Dig?

Normally, when an iguana is ready to dig at a certain spot, she will spend lots of time inspecting it. The actual digging entails pushing soil out using the front arms. Therefore if you see an iguana starting to push soil out of a certain spot using her front arms, know that she is ready to dig there.

The most common reason for iguanas digging is to create nests for egg laying purposes. Therefore if you notice that your iguana is gravid, it means that she may be ready to dig soon. Signs of being gravid in an iguana include extreme bulging, loss of appetite (but increased intake of water) and the tail becoming thinner.

 

How Do I Stop My Iguana From Digging?

After having answered the question on why is my iguana digging, the next logical step is to figure out how to stop him/her from doing so. One method you can use is that of making a nest box available to your iguana. As we have already noted, iguanas mostly dig holes for the purpose of creating egg laying nests. Therefore if you make an egg laying nest box for your gravid iguana, she is unlikely to engage in the digging.

Ensure that the enclosure where you keep your iguana is big enough. If it is small, he may dig in a bid to escape. Also ensure that the conditions under which your iguana lives are not stressful. Ensure that the warmth conditions are ideal, and that he has enough food and water.

Take care to remove white or reflective surfaces from the iguana’s immediate surroundings.

Provide the iguana with something to rub against in their cage (which will help them with skin shedding). If they can’t find something to rub against, they may try to dig, in a bid to shed the old skin.

If you put rocks in the iguana’s cage, he won’t be able to dig. (That is because iguanas can only dig out soil, not rocks).

 

Why Is My Iguana Going Crazy And Digging?

To put it another way, why is my iguana digging in a crazy, frenzied manner? Well, if she is a female, and it is during the egg laying season, she may be digging in order to establish an egg laying nest. The iguana could also be under stress, which makes him or her to dig. The digging itself helps in stress relief. It can also be a way of creating a tunnel route to escape through.

There may also be a white or reflective surface in the iguana’s surrounding, which drives him crazy (because he can’t properly see it), leading him to dig.

The iguana could also be having difficulties shedding skin, which causes him to dig in a bid to dislodge the old skin.

 

How To Train And Prevent Iguana Digging In The Future?

Your focus should be on getting rid of the conditions that make the iguana want to dig. For instance, if the iguana digs in a bid to create an egg laying nest, just provide her with a nesting box. If the iguana digs because of stress, figure out what exactly is stressing him, and deal with it.

If it is skin shedding difficulty that makes your iguana dig, ensure that there is something he can rub against in his cage.

 

Final Verdict – Why Is My Iguana Digging?

Why is my iguana digging? Your iguana could be digging in order to establish a nest for egg laying purposes. The iguana could also be digging due to stress (and perhaps in a bid to establish a tunnel escape route). Other possible reasons for your iguana digging include being confronted with white or reflective surfaces (which confuse him) or if the iguana is having skin shedding difficulties.

Why is my iguana digging
Why is my iguana digging? Why is my iguana digging all the time?

The most important thing is to try to figure out exactly why is my iguana digging? Then you can see what you can do about. If, for instance, the iguana is digging for egg laying purposes, you can provide her with a nesting box. Where the iguana is digging due to stress, you can eliminate the stressful conditions. If the iguana is digging due to skin shedding difficulties, you can avail something to rub against in the enclosure.

Once you accurately figure out why is my iguana digging, it becomes easier to know what you can do about it.

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