Bearded Dragon Glass Surfing: Causes and How to Stop It

Their unique personalities, relatively easy care requirements, and intriguing behaviors make bearded dragons a delightful addition to many homes. One such behavior that can pique the curiosity of bearded dragon owners is “glass surfing.”

This article will delve into the reasons behind glass surfing in bearded dragons, providing insights from my personal experience as a long-time bearded dragon keeper.

What is Bearded Dragon Glass surfing?

Glass surfing, also referred to as glass dancing, occurs when a bearded dragon repeatedly scratches or paws at the glass of their enclosure. The reptile appears to be attempting to climb or escape, often pressing its body against the glass and moving its legs in a frantic manner.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Glass Surf?

As a bearded dragon owner, it’s essential to understand the possible causes behind glass surfing. These behaviors could indicate various issues, and addressing them can significantly improve your pet’s well-being. Here are some common factors that contribute to glass surfing in bearded dragons:

1. Stress

One of the main reasons bearded dragons may glass surf is stress. Identifying and addressing the stressors in their environment can help alleviate this behavior.

A. New environment

When you introduce a bearded dragon to a new environment, such as a new enclosure or home, they may feel stressed and uncertain. Give your pet time to adjust by providing a comfortable and safe environment with appropriate hiding spots, temperature, and humidity levels. Gradually, your bearded dragon should acclimate and feel more at ease, reducing the need for glass surfing.

B. Presence of other pets

The presence of other pets, such as dogs or cats, can be a significant stressor for bearded dragons. If your bearded dragon feels threatened or disturbed by other pets, consider relocating their enclosure to a quieter, more secluded area where they can feel secure.

2. Territorial Behavior

Bearded dragons can sometimes display territorial behavior, leading them to glass surf in an attempt to assert dominance or mark their territory. In such cases, it’s essential to ensure that your bearded dragon has sufficient space and is not competing with other bearded dragons for resources or territory.

3. Insufficient Enclosure Size or Setup

An improper enclosure setup can also cause glass surfing. It’s crucial to provide an appropriate habitat for your bearded dragon to thrive.

A. The Enclosure is too small

The first thing that you must look at when your bearded dragon is glass surfing is the enclosure. Bearded dragons need larger enclosures to live a happy life. Small cages will always make them stress.

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

B. Inadequate climbing opportunities

Bearded dragons enjoy climbing and basking on branches or rocks. If your enclosure lacks climbing opportunities, your pet may feel restless and resort to glass surfing. Ensure your bearded dragon’s enclosure has ample vertical space and climbing structures to keep them entertained and engaged.

C. Poor layout or overcrowding

A poorly designed or overcrowded enclosure can make your bearded dragon feel cramped and stressed, leading to glass surfing. Make sure the enclosure is spacious enough for your pet and contains the necessary elements, such as basking spots, hiding areas, and appropriate substrate.

D. They’re Too Hot Or Too Cold

To ensure effective thermoregulation, it’s important to establish a suitable temperature gradient within the enclosure.

Set the basking area’s temperature to a cozy 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, creating a warm environment for the bearded dragon to enjoy. Simultaneously, maintain the cooler section of the tank at around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This arrangement will provide the ideal temperature gradient necessary for the reptile’s well-being.

4. Health Issues

Underlying health problems can also cause glass surfing in bearded dragons.

A. Parasites

Internal parasites can cause discomfort and distress in bearded dragons, leading them to glass surf. If you suspect your pet has parasites, consult a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

B. Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

Metabolic bone disease is a common health issue in bearded dragons, resulting from inadequate calcium intake or improper UVB lighting. MBD can cause pain and discomfort, which may manifest as glass surfing. Regular vet check-ups and proper husbandry can help prevent and manage MBD.

5. Reflections or External Stimuli

Reflections or external stimuli can trigger glass surfing in bearded dragons.

A. Reflections in the glass

Bearded dragons may perceive their reflection as another bearded dragon, leading to confusion or territorial behavior. Consider adding a non-reflective background to the enclosure or adjusting the lighting to minimize reflections.

B. Movement or the noise outside the enclosure

Your bearded dragon may be sensitive to external stimuli, such as movement or noise. If this is the case, try to minimize disturbances by relocating the enclosure to a quieter area or adding visual barriers to block distractions.

C. They don’t comprehend the idea of glass

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.

6. They are Hungry

Bearded dragons below the age of one year, grow rapidly and require a good supply of food. If your bearded dragon doesn’t get enough food it will scratch the glass wall to grab your attention.

7. They Have Pooed and Need you to Clean it up

If your bearded dragon is glass surfing, check if it has pooped recently. Glass surfing may simply be a way of them telling you that they need cleaning.

8. They are Getting Ready to Lay Eggs

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, the glass surf will also be accompanied by other egg-laying behaviors such as digging.

Can Glass Surf Hurt Bearded Dragons?

While glass surfing is generally harmless and doesn’t pose a significant risk of injury, it can signal underlying issues that warrant attention.

This fascinating behavior may actually hint at elevated stress levels in your scaly companion, suggesting that something is wrong in their environment.

But fear not, if your bearded dragon exhibits glass surfing while otherwise maintaining its normal behavior, there’s no need to sound the alarm. After all, these enchanting creatures have a knack for keeping us on our toes!

If your beloved beardie starts to appear listless or lethargic, refuses to eat, or seems to be shedding less frequently than usual, it’s time to take action. Schedule a visit to the vet to ensure your reptilian buddy isn’t grappling with any hidden health issues. Remember, a proactive approach goes a long way in keeping your scaly sidekick happy and healthy!

How to Stop Your Bearded Dragon from Glass Surfing?

As a bearded dragon owner, I’ve experienced glass surfing with my pets and understand how concerning it can be. To effectively address this issue, consider the following strategies:

1. Gradual acclimation to new environments: Bearded dragons can become stressed when introduced to new surroundings. Give your pet time to adjust by gradually introducing them to their new environment. Start by placing them in a smaller, secure area within the tank, and over time, expand their access to the entire enclosure.

2. Ensuring proper tank setup: A well-designed tank is crucial for reducing stress in bearded dragons. Make sure the temperature gradients, humidity levels, and hiding spots are appropriate for your bearded dragon’s needs. Additionally, provide a suitable basking area and UVB lighting to ensure their well-being.

3. Adjusting lighting: Reflections on the glass can trigger territorial behavior and glass surfing. To minimize reflections, avoid placing your bearded dragon’s tank near windows or direct sunlight. Adjusting the position of internal lights can also help reduce reflections.

4. Using tank backgrounds: Applying a background to the outside of the enclosure can minimize reflections and make your bearded dragon feel more secure. Choose a background that resembles their natural habitat or use a solid color to reduce distractions.

5. Upgrading to a larger tank: Bearded dragons need ample space to explore, bask, and retreat. For adult bearded dragons, a tank size of 120 gallons is recommended. If your bearded dragon is continuously glass surfing, consider upgrading to a larger tank to give them more room to roam.

6. Creating a more engaging environment: A stimulating environment can help reduce glass surfing by keeping your bearded dragon occupied. Add climbing branches, rocks, and hiding spots to create a more dynamic space for your pet. You can also rotate toys and decorations regularly to maintain their interest.

7. Regular health check-ups: Regularly examine your bearded dragon for signs of illness or injury. Check for changes in appetite, weight, or behavior, and monitor their droppings for signs of digestive issues. Keeping a close eye on your pet’s health can help you identify potential problems before they escalate.

8. Consultation with a veterinarian: If you suspect your bearded dragon’s glass surfing is due to an underlying health issue, consult a veterinarian experienced with reptiles. A professional assessment can help identify the cause of the behavior and provide you with the necessary guidance to address it.

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.

Can Glass Surfing Make Bearded Dragons Sick?

Glass surfing itself can’t make your bearded dragon sick or harm it; 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.

Why is my bearded dragon glass surfing and not eating?

Bearded dragons not eating and glass surfing is a clear signs of stress. Refusing food, lower activity levels, increased aggression, black beards, pacing, and glass surfing are all signs of stress.

Can glass surfing in bearded dragons be a sign of illness?

Yes, glass surfing can indicate an underlying health issue. If your bearded dragon shows other signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or changes in appearance, consult a veterinarian.


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.

Filled under: Lizards

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