Reasons for Bearded Dragons Glass Surf & How to Stop It

Bearded dragons are unique and fascinating reptiles in terms of their appearance and their characteristics, and unique habits. They display peculiar behavior such as bobbing heads, push-ups, waving as well as glass surfing. These symptoms seem entirely normal, but repetitive behaviors indicate something wrong with your bearded pet dragon.

Glass surfing is one of the behaviors which a bearded dragon exhibits, as it goes through different mood swings and emotional tantrums. It seems normal because the bearded dragons have a lot of physical activity. However, repetitive or frequent glass surfing is a sign that something is bothering your beardie. A list of reasons is given below to help you determine why your bearded dragon is glass surfing.

What is glass surfing?

Glass surfing is a behavior tantrum shown by the bearded dragon and is very similar to water surfing. In this, the bearded dragon attempts to climb on the glass walls of the terrarium with its belly rubbing the glass and legs puddling the glass. Glass surfing can also be seen where the dragon scratches the glass walls of the terrarium out for specific reasons.

Glass surfing can also be known as Glass Dancing by the owners of bearded dragons. And it a frantic behavior exhibited by the beardie when it’s stressed out for specific reasons. This can be taken or considered cute and funny; however, it’s an indication of something bothering your bearded dragon.

Why do bearded dragons Glass surf?

There can be many reasons why your bearded dragon is feeling intimidated or stressed out. There is a list of things that can make your dragon feel stressed or intimidated and force them in an attempt to escape from the terrarium. Put yourself in the shoes of a beardie, any sort of threat would make you run for your life, and when you are stuck inside a glass terrarium, won’t you attempt to climb on the walls?

There are a number of guesses that the owners make when they find their dragon busy in glass surfing which for them is a “Run out of the room situation, assume several things. The reasons, however, can range from the problem with temperature, enclosure to the threat of having an intruder in the cage.

A list of reasons why your bearded dragon feel threatened to exhibit glass surfing are explained below.

The Enclosure is too small

The first thing that you must look at when your bearded dragon is glass surfing is the enclosure. The bearded dragons have many physical activities, including basking and roaming when they are in the wild. In captivity, the bearded dragons expect the same and need ample space to continue their activities. A less spacious enclosure is going to stress them out, as the dragon keeps growing with time.

Stress is going to affect the health of your bearded dragon by making it sick. The size of the tank varies from the young/baby bearded dragon to the adult or completely grown one. Keeping the age of your bearded dragon in mind, you must arrange a terrarium according to the size chart below:

AgeLengthEnclosure
Baby Bearded dragon (0-3month)3-11 inches20-40 gallons
4-5 months Baby9-16 inches40-75 gallons
Juvenile Bearded dragon  (6-8 months)11-20 inches50-75 gallons
Adult bearded dragon (1 year or older)16-24 inches75-120 gallons

They Have been Introduced to a new enclosure

Bearded dragons are very sensitive about their territory and intolerant towards a change of habitat. Moving your bearded dragon to a new enclosure or changing its place will raise the level of stress in the beardie as they have a hard time adjusting to the new home, which may result in glass surfing.

You can avoid this situation by changing the environment around the beardie slowly and gradually. The seamless change in the environment will help the beardie adjust more quickly in the new enclosure.

They see their own reflection

Bearded dragons are very sensitive about their territory, which makes them territorial and unable to bear the presence of any other bearded dragon in the same vicinity. In captivity, the rule doesn’t change for it; there has to be just one dominant alpha in the enclosure, else the homies will have terrible disputes resulting in the death of one or both.

At times, the beardie sees its reflection in the terrarium’s glass walls, which makes him think of the presence of some other bearded dragon in the cage. This will result in the frantic behavior of glass surfing. We suggest investing in a high-quality cage made primarily for bearded dragons. Our favorite cage is the Zen Habitat reptile enclosure.

They don’t comprehend the idea of glass

The bearded dragons sometimes try to move out of the enclosure without realizing glass is a barrier between them and the world outside. This will agitate them, making them scratch the glass in an attempt to go out.

This can be avoided by providing enough hiding spots in the enclosure, as the dragons don’t want to be seen in the plain.

Something is off in their habitat

Any change in the environment of the bearded dragon will stress them out. It can be anything from UVB lighting to the size of the tank or the luxuries that you introduce in the tank for the comfort of your bearded dragon, might be causing stress to your beardie.

Check for everything that might be putting your bearded dragon off and have them scratch the glass walls. If you have recently changed the location of the enclosure then that might also be a reason that your beardie feels intimidated. Furthermore, you must check the temperature of the enclosure through thermometers to ensure that your dragon feels comfortable to save the glass surfing.

Is your bearded dragon glass surfing because it’s intimidated?

One of the reasons that your bearded dragon might be glass surfing is because it feels intimidated. There are a number of reasons why your beardie could feel intimidated. If you have introduced another bearded dragon in the same cage then it could be a reason for intimidation. As the bearded dragons enjoy solitary and dominant life, having another friend in the cage will have both of them competing for dominance.

The bearded dragons bob their heads, puff up and hiss to compete, finally the one whose head is bobbing fast is considered to be the dominant alpha male and the other one has to leave. Throughout this, the dragon might be intimidated with the presence of another beardie and may start glass surfing or scratching to escape the enclosure.

They can’t sufficiently thermoregulate

Bearded dragons come from a hot region and hence require to bask in the sun every now and then. A basking platform must be arranged for the bearded dragon to bask in the UVB light while in captivity. However, it also needs to cool down their body temperature for regulating the body functions. Same temperature in the enclosure will not provide any chance to your beardie for thermoregulation.

Check and adjust the temperature of the enclosure as per the requirement of the bearded dragon, if not the beardie will have problem in thermoregulating and you’ll find him scratching the glass or climbing it to go out of the enclosure to find a cool or hot area.

They are bored and want to spend time with you outside their cage

Sometimes your bearded dragon gets bored too. Imagine being in an enclosure throughout the day and having the same routine for days on end, you’ll be bored to death. The bearded dragons feel the same when they are inside the enclosure, and need some time out with you to refresh their body and brain. Otherwise, you’ll find your bearded dragon scratching or climbing the glass walls of the enclosure, in their attempt to move out of the place.

You can find out whether your beardie is bored in the house, by taking it out for some time and handling it or playing with it. If the glass surfing stops after that, it means you’re right to guess that your beardie was bored.

New or Rearranged Furniture

The bearded dragons know each and every nook of their territory very well, as they are very sensitive about it. Now if you rearrange or put some new accessories or furniture inside the bearded dragon’s enclosure, you might find him scratching the glass, because the beardie is not very tolerant of change.

Do not change the entire setting of the enclosure at once, as it will put your bearded dragon off. Instead, go slow and steady with the changes. This way, your beardie would enjoy the new luxuries without being intimidated and quite seamlessly.

They are hungry

The bearded dragons below the age of one year, are growing rapidly and require a good supply of food. Also, providing food regularly will keep him healthy or happy. However, if your bearded dragon doesn’t get enough food it will scratch the glass wall to grab your attention, as they are clever enough to let you know that it’s their eating time.

If you have fed your bearded dragon on time and it’s still showing the signs of glass surfing then it means that there is some other reason behind the glass surfing. Look for other options that can be checked for the bearded dragon glass surfing.

They have pooed and need you to clean it up

A bearded dragon just like any other living being has the same requirement of cleanliness. A bearded dragon has been seen to scratch glass or do glass surfing right after they excrete. The reason behind glass surfing is to grab the attention of the owner to clean the enclosure and the beardie itself.

So, if you see your bearded dragon scratching glass even if you have provided enough food, the temperature is fine and there is nothing that has been changed to intimidate your bearded dragon, then you must check if your bearded dragon has excreted recently, and must clean the place at the earliest.

They are getting ready to lay egg

A lot of peculiar behaviors or mood tantrums can be seen when your bearded female is ready to lay eggs, and glass surfing can be one of them. However, if the female beardie is about to lay eggs, it will also be found digging the ground to lay their eggs in the tunnel.

This reason is valid only if your beardie is above two years, you may verify the validation of this by checking the belly of the bearded dragon.

Health concerns and glass surfing

Stress and health issues may also force your bearded dragon to scratch the glass. Stress is one of the main reasons behind most of the behavioral and health problems in your beardie. It may even affect the health of the beardie, asd your beardie will experience different phases such as loss of appetite, being slow or lethargic and a lot more.

Have your beardie checked by a vet once every month to assure there are no health issues that can harm the life of a beardie. Furthermore, try to eliminate the stress of beardie by making minimum to no changes around the beardie, and even if you want to make changes take it slow and steady not vex your bearded dragon.

Is my bearded dragon sick if it’s scratching the glass?

Glass scratching or surfing can not always be associated with health issues in the bearded dragon. However, if your beardie has other symptoms along with glass surfing such as loss of appetite, lethargic behavior, not baking enough then it indicates health issues in the bearded dragon. It can either be because your beardie has developed parasites, or ready to shed its skin.

Anyways, have your beardie checked by a vet to maintain its health and fitness.

Can Glass surf hurt them?

Glass surfing itself can’t hurt your bearded dragon; it’s just an indication that the stress level has been elevated in your bearded dragon for one reason or another. It can be a health issue or some change in the environment that’s causing stress in your bearded dragon. However, if your bearded dragon acts normally other than glass surfing there is nothing that you need to worry about.

Do baby bearded dragons glass surf?

The age of the bearded dragon doesn’t matter when it comes to glass surfing. The elevated stress level in a bearded dragon of any age can push it to scratch the glass or surf it. The reasons can be the same too, change in their immediate environment, small enclosure, too hot or cold areas or hunger can make them scratch or surf the glass wall of the enclosure. You need to identify the reason behind glass surfing as an owner, because if not resolved on time the stress would escalate and affect the health of your bearded dragon.

Can glass surfing make the bearded dragon sick?

Glass surfing itself can’t make your bearded dragon sick or harm him; however, it’s an indication of something that’s bothering your beardie. If you find that out on time, the stress will be controlled. However, not being able to pinpoint the reason for stress can definitely affect your beardie’s health.

Glass surfing can be because of any of the aforementioned reasons, and if you don’t find any such reason valid for your beardie then you must get it checked by the vet for diseases.

How to stop your bearded dragon from glass surfing?

There are a number of ways which can help you stop the glass surfing of the bearded dragon. Only if you figure out what’s bothering your bearded dragon will you be able to control the problem. Other tasks that you can do to stop your beardie from glass surfing are listed below.

Get a bigger tank

It’s important to provide your bearded dragon with enough space to move around and do it’s regular physical activities. Getting a smaller tank for a young or baby bearded dragon is not the right thing to do. As you’ll have to change the tank as the beardie keeps growing, and a small enclosure will keep your beardie vexed.

Having the appropriate lighting

It is important for your bearded dragon to have the right amount of UVB light to get the required nutrients and warmth. As bearded dragons come from a warm habitat they require a good amount of heat to bask when they are in captivity. Maintain a proper temperature for the beardie by using an automatic temperature regulator or digital thermometers.

Very hot and very cold temperatures can affect the health of the bearded dragons, as they need to warm up to boost their metabolism and need to cool down too after acquiring a certain temperature.

Provide more enrichment

The bearded dragons spend most of their time inside the glass enclosure when they are in captivity. In this case having the same stuff inside the enclosure can bore your bearded dragon. Try introducing new toys and things to the bearded dragon enclosure.

You can even help your beardie by taking him out for sometime and play with him for sometime. Furthermore, add playing luxuries to the cage to keep your dragon happy.

Avoid putting two beardies in one cage

This is one of the reasons that your dragon feels intimidated. The bearded dragons enjoy solitary life and hence having another mate in the same enclosure can cause stress in your beardie. Furthermore, they will both be fighting for space and the bigger dragons will end up beating the smaller ones.

Check the diet

You must make sure that the bearded dragon gets the right amount and right type of food at appropriate times. Read our post on what do bearded dragons eat.

Seamless change of enclosure

If you’re planning to change the enclosure of your bearded dragon or the place of the enclosure, make sure that you do it slowly so as not to stress your bearded dragon. You can do it by making minor changes or shifts of materials inside the cage.

Conclusion

Seeing your bearded dragon glass surfing can be funny at times but should be adhered to instantly. The bearded dragon starts glass surfing or scratching when something is bothering it.

Check out for the signs that your beardie is showing, if it’s digging soil along with the glass surfing it’s a sign that your bearded dragon is about to lay eggs. Take precautionary measures to allow the beardie to lay the eggs safely and smoothly.

If your bearded dragon is being lethargic, not eating or basking and you find it scratching the glass, then it might be preparing to shed or going through some illness. Get your bearded dragon checked and treated by a vet. At the end try to minimize the stress of your bearded dragon, to make it healthy and happy at all times.

About Tariq Aziz

I am working as Chief editor at MY BEARDIES. I have been working in the publishing business for over a decade now. I love reptiles and I love talking about them. I have years of experience in herpetoculture. I have cared for many reptiles including bearded dragons, geckos, and skinks since childhood.

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