"sympathetic" digging??

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Hatchling Member
Not sure WHATS goin on here! Have had beardies for many yrs now, and breed my own babies for sale every summer. But I've NEVER run across this b4 and I don't profess 2 know everything there is 2 know about the sumtimes strange but intriguing behavior of these wonderfully entertaining lizards! I've got a female who, since she's definitely not mated (I usually go for spring matings & summer babies), has been digging & laying infertile eggs 4 about a week now. This is sumthing that's never happened b4 either because in the past all my females have lay eggs as a result of mating so I wasn't even sure they could lay eggs unless mating occurred first. Upon doing a little research, I found that yes, they can lay but the eggs will be infertile. That's fine, and although much skinner right now, Punkin has laid 18 eggs this week & is ok, considering. She's still digging but the last egg was laid 2 days ago so I'm not sure if she's finished if not. Time will tell. Here's the thing. I got a large male extremely spiky beardie (u can't even pick him up or touch him without being poked by a spine or two) last March from a pet store going out of business. He was the only animal in the whole place & I'd stopped to get some sand when I saw him & could NOT resist. I never can. According 2 the owner, Spike is 4 yrs old & has never been around other beardies. They never had any other dragons in the store, I was told, only a couple of Uros & anoles and that was over a 5 yr period. Apparently they sold mostly animal supplies & mostly fish and just didn't sell that many lizards. Spike, as they appropriately named him, was pretty much alone in the back of the store. He was at first extremely afraid of (and still is from time to time) the other company in my room (I now have 12 other beardies & one Yellow Nigerian Uro, a turtle & a dog). But he's a sweetheart. He just clings to me and his eyes are huge when I get him out, but over time he's gotten much more docile and isn't as afraid of everything. He LOVES to sit on my shoulder or lap & watch TV with me, as well as sleeping on my shoulder! Since Punkin's been laying eggs, infertile tho they are, poor Spike has suddenly started digging all over his cage. His viv is directly across from Punkin's and he sees her digging & laying, although she usually lays under a large rock off to the side I provided for her. Idk why on earth Spike, a male, would be digging furiously as he is right now. I half expect to see an egg come popping out of him as well!! I have never seen another beardie mimic the behavior of another in sympathy for what the other is doing. My mom always said that a lot of times u can witness "sympathetic" behavior in people (i.e., husbands having "sympathetic labor pains" when their wives are about to give birth) as well as in animals. Idk if this is just an "old wives tale" or if there's sumthing to it! I grew up on a farm in the boonies and there were LOTS of old wives tales & home remedies for everything. Has any1 out there ever heard of this b4 in bearded dragons specifically? Could Spike, seeing Punkin stressing over all the digging & laying her eggs, really be sympathizing with her and maybe trying to make her feel better or like she's not alone? Spike started this 2 days after Punkin started laying, and frankly idk what 2 make of it!!! I've had lizards for 20 yrs & thought I'd just about seen it all, but this takes the cake! I KNOW Spike is a male, I've checked just 2 make sure because at first I thought OMG! Now Spike is really a female & she's gravid too!! But HE really is a he, and idk what 2 think! He's over there right now, digging his little heart out, right along with Punkin. They're both driving me nuts with all the digging!! It duznt stop unless the lights go out at night! The rest of the group are looking at them like they've both lost their marbles, and I'm thinking they're right, at least as far as Spike's concerned! At least Punkin has a reason. Someone PLEASE ADVISE!!! :banghead:


Extreme Poster
It's not sympathy digging. He senses the female, and is digging to get her attention and to try to get to her. If he can see her he will continue to do that. I only have one beardie right now, and he does the digging thing too. All my males have done the digging thing, more-so than my female beardies.
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