Bearded Dragons are certainly amazing reptiles and they will often express themselves in fascinating and unique ways such as glass surfing. This may look cute but there is often a deeper meaning behind this display of behaviour.
In this post, we will take a look at the 12 common reasons why your bearded dragon is glass surfing and determine whether you meet to take action on this behaviour.
So why do Bearded Dragons glass surf? Bearded Dragons can glass surf for many reasons but the source of this behaviour is usually down to some form of stress. You may also see your Bearded Dragon glass surfing for non-stress related reasons such as boredom and lack of stimulation.
Read on to find out exactly why your Bearded Dragons might be glass surfing and how to stop it.
What Is Glass Surfing?
Ok, so what is glass surfing exactly? Glass surfing is when your Bearded Dragon will first stand up straight on its hind legs while moving side to side across the glass of their terrarium.
Glass surfing can also be known as “glass dancing” and you will often see your Dragon looking like they are trying to climb over the top of the glass to get out of the terrarium.
Glass surfing can sometimes look frantic like the Bearded Dragon is under stress but it can often also look like they are fooling around or playing a game.
This behaviour can sometimes look cute and it can be mistaken for a funny dance, however, there is usually a reason your Dragon is doing this and we will take a look at that shortly.
Is Glass Surfing Unhealthy For Your Bearded Dragon?
If you see your Bearded Dragon glass surfing then its most definitely because it’s unhappy about something.
Some reasons for glass surfing are very minor such as your Dragon might be feeling a little bored and lacking stimulation once in a while.
In this particular circumstance, although you might want to relieve your Dragon from its boredom, there isn’t any real reason to worry as it’s not very often that this is happening.
On the other hand, if your Bearded Dragon is glass surfing every day because it’s bored then this might be a situation that you want to eliminate.
This is because the boredom over a long period of time isn’t good for your Dragons health and happiness.
The same can be said for situations that can be stressful to your Bearded Dragon.
For example, If you have another pet in your home and the pet intimidates your Bearded Dragon once in a while it may start to glass surf for a short period of time.
Although this isn’t nice for your Dragon to feel intimidated, it’s not going to cause any long term problems. If the intimidation goes on for days on end then the stress that it can cause to your Dragon can be unhealthy and you will want to stop the source of the problem.
The bottom line is that Bearded Dragons glass surf when they are stressed or unhappy about something.
If your Bearded Dragon is glass surfing once in a while then most reasons should be ok but if your Dragons is showing this behaviour constantly then you will need to find the source of the problem and sort it out.
Luckily, most reasons for glass surfing are easily stopped and you can get you Bearded Dragon back to being happy and healthy in a very short period of time.
Next, let’s look at the reasons for glass surfing and how you can stop them.
The 12 Causes Of Glass Surfing & How to Stop It
We have already established that Bearded Dragons only really glass surf when they aren’t happy about something or when they are feeling stressed.
Now let’s see how you can identify the different causes of glass surfing and how you can stop it from happening.
Is Your Tank Too Small?
Having a tank that is too small for your Bearded Dragon can cause them to glass surf.
If your Dragon doesn’t feel like it has enough space it can become unhappy, stressed or bored.
As your Bearded Dragon grows from a hatchling to a juvenile and finally to an adult they will inevitably need more space.
Getting a bigger tank to accommodate your growing Dragon is a must for many reasons.
If you feel that your current tank may be too small for your Dragon and could be the reason for their glass surfing then you might want to consider getting a bigger one.
It can be hard to know what size tank a Bearded Dragon needs at what age.
I have written a guide on this where I share the tanks that I personally use for all my baby, juvenile and adult Bearded Dragons. I detail why these particular tanks and sizes are great and take out all of the guesswork on your part. You can take a look at the guide here.
If You are wanting a quick guide to having the right tank size your Dragon I have included a chart below.
Bearded Dragon | Age, Growth & Tank Size Chart
Please use the above chart as a guide only, a more in-depth look into how big a tank should be can be found in my designated post for the tank size.
Even experts such as Pet-MD echo our recommendation of a minimum of a 50-gallon tank as they actually recommend a minimum of 55-gallons in a recent article they posted of bearded dragon care.
In my opinion though, if you have a fully grown Bearded Dragon that is 18 months plus then i recommend a tank that is 120 gallons.
A tank of this size will give them plenty of room to finish growing as well as make them feel happy.
You can also create your Dragons lots of hides and interesting areas for them to explore so they don’t get discontent.
All in all, having the right size tank is very important for your Dragons happiness and health. If you feel like they are glass surfing because they are unhappy in a tank that is too small for them then it’s definitely time to get something bigger.
Is Your Bearded Dragon Glass Surfing Because It’s Intimidated?
One reason why your Bearded Dragon could be glass surfing is due to feeling intimidated.
Your Dragon could be feeling intimidated for a whole number of reasons and some of them are less obvious than you might think.
When a Bearded Dragon is feeling intimidated there is usually other signs of this that will accompany the glass surfing.
You might notice your Dragon displaying behaviours such as head bobbing. If they bob their head fast it is usually to try and be dominant and if they do it slow its usually to show that they have submitted to a more dominant animal.
They may also arm wave, this is also usually a behaviour that is displayed to show submission and basically saying the other animal is “the boss”.
Another common behaviour trait they might display is they intimidated is ‘black beard’. If your Dragons beard goes black then they might be trying to show they are aggressive and mean so other animals don’t go near them.
If your Bearded Dragon has been showing signs of any of this behaviours and they glass surfing then there is a chance it is feeling intimidated by something.
It’s also worth noting that sometimes your Dragon might not produce any of the above behaviours when feeling intimidated and glass surfing may be the only behaviour you notice.
Let’s take a look at some obvious and less obvious reasons why this could happen and how to stop it.
Intimidation From Other Household Pets
If you have other household pets such as cats and dogs then there is a chance that your Bearded Dragon could be intimidated by these pets.
It’s quite common that a new pet in the house that your Dragon isn’t sure about can cause a certain amount of uncertainty until they get used to each other.
Sometimes a pet that you have had for a long time can also make your Dragon feel intimidated even if before they been fine together.
This can happen if a small incident happens such as your dog barking at your Bearded Dragon or scaring it in some way.
This can then lead your Dragon to be wary of a pet that before they were totally comfortable with.
It’s possible that they can feel so uneasy that they intimidated by the pets presence and glass surfing is a way to express that feeling.
If you feel that your Bearded Dragon is feeling intimidated by one of your household pets then you may want to try keeping them apart for a small amount of time to see if the situation calms down for your Dragon.
You can also think about moving your Dragon to another room in the house where your other pets can’t have access to.
If you go down the route of separating your pets and then after a while if you notice the glass surfing has stopped, then it can be a good idea to introduce them again for short periods of time so your Dragon can slowly get used to your pet again.
Another good option is to make sure that your tank has lots of decor, plants, rocks and hides for your Dragon. This will give them somewhere to hide and ultimately help them to feel safe and less intimidated.
Here’s a great post that shares some fantastic options for hides, tunnels and other tank decor to allow you to create a natural habitat for your Dragon.
You will also need to make sure that your other pets are calm and not too giddy when around your Bearded Dragon as fast movements and over-excitement could be the reason for your Dragon feeling intimidated.
This really is a trial and error process, you will need to see what approach works best for both of your pets.
Ultimately you don’t want your Dragon to feel intimidated for a long period of time as the heightened stress levels aren’t good for them in the long term.
If you use one or more of the options above you should be able to stop your Dragon glass surfing through intimidation in a short period of time.
Feeling Intimidated By Another Bearded Dragon
If you house 2 Bearded Dragons in the same tank this can easily cause one of the Dragons to feel intimidated and start glass surfing.
It’s never recommended to house 2 or more bearded dragons in the same tank. This can lead to many social and health problems in including larger bearded dragons eating smaller and weaker ones. Source:
Usually, you will see other displays of behaviour such as arm waving, head bobbing and their beard turning a dark or even black colour.
These are telltale signs that your Dragons are trying to be either dominant or feeling intimidated and therefore leading to one of them to glass surfing as a means of expression.
If you notice this happening then I highly recommend that you split them up into separate tanks or give one away to a good home.
At very least you should separate them because the more dominant Dragon will usually take most of the heat and light and the other Dragon won’t get the required heat and light they need for things like digestion.
They can also start to go off their food through stress and overall its not good for the long term health of the less dominant Dragon.
Here’s a post that explains why you should never house 2 or more Bearded Dragons in the same tank and how to best handle the situation if it’s something you are considering.
You may even notice that if you split them up into different tanks that the glass surfing continues if your Bearded Dragon can still see the other Bearded Dragon so it may be a good idea to keep them in a separate room at least for a while, to begin with.
Is Your Bearded Dragon Glass Surfing Because It Can See Its Own Reflection?
Depending on the position of your tank and what plants and decor you have in it, your Bearded Dragon may be able to see themselves in the reflection in the glass. Although this may sound very unlikely it’s actually very common.
This can be confusing to your Dragon and they are known to glass surf in order to try and get to what they think is another Bearded Dragon.
If you suspect that your Bearded Dragon is glass surfing to because it’s seeing its own reflection then the only real way to stop this is to either move the tank to a different part of the room that isn’t catching the light such a way that casts the reflection into the tank.
Another way to reduce the reflection your Bearded Dragon will see is to create a habitat in the tank that has a nice amount of plants, rocks and a good overall decor that reduces the reflection.
There will be a certain amount of trial and error with either of these approaches but usually, a subtle change will make all the difference.
Bearded Dragons Don’t Understand The Concept Of Glass
The next reason your Bearded Dragon could be glass surfing is a very simple one, yet it’s a very common one.
Bearded Dragons really don’t understand the concept of glass and this can cause them a whole lot of confusion.
When they walk up to the edge of their tank they really don’t understand why they can’t carry on walking.
To them, they are hitting what seems to be an invisible wall. This confusion can cause your Bearded Dragon to climb up the glass and glass surf for what appears to be no apparent reason.
This is one of the few circumstances where there is nothing you can do to stop the glass surfing.
You can’t take away to glass and you can’t really help your Dragon to understand the concept of glass.
Luckily they are under no real stress in this situation and it will usually pass pretty quickly as they get bored. The trouble with this particular reason is that it is very hard to pinpoint as the reason for glass surfing.
I would recommend eliminating all other reasons before you assume this is the reason for the glass surfing.
Is Your Bearded Dragon Glass Surfing Because It’s Feeling Bored?
Is your Bearded Dragon simply feeling bored and just needing some stimulation? The Spruce Pets also talk about this situation causing boredom in one of their posts.
It can be very boring in the same small tank day in and day out and depending on how much time you give your Dragon out of its tank it could just be plain old bored.
You will have to be the judge here, as you know how much stimulation you give your Dragon and how much attention you give them.
The only way you can really determine if boredom is the reason that your Dragon is glass surfing is to handle your Dragon and play with them.
Once you put them back in their tank if the glass surfing stops then there’s a good chance they were just bored but if they start to glass surf shortly after then there’s almost certainly another reason for it.
If you do find that lack of stimulation was the problem then it’s a good idea to make a habit of playing with your Dragon on a more regular basis.
If you’re struggling for ideas for fun things to do with your Bearded Dragon then check out this post where I show you toys, games and activities that will keep your Dragon mentally stimulated and happy for hours!
Is Your Bearded Dragon Glass Surfing Because It’s Feeling Hungry?
Bearded Dragons will actually glass surf to attract attention when they are hungry.
When a Bearded Dragon is in their first 12 months of age they are growing at a fast pace and they need lots of food at regular intervals to support that growth.
This can lead to them grabbing your attention for another feed when they feel hungry.
Even older Bearded Dragons can use this tactic when they feel that they can get your attention.
Obviously, if you have just fed your Dragon or it’s not due to a feed for some time then it’s not likely that this is the reason but if your Dragon is due a feed then it’s worth keeping an open mind about as this trick does happen.
Is The Tank Temperature Correct?
This reason is a very important one and one that you should pay special attention to.
The temperature in your Dragons tank is very important for them. As you will know Bearded Dragons are cold blooded so having the right temperature is vital for their health.
Let’s take a look at 2 reasons why temperature could make your Bearded Dragon glass surf.
No Cool Area
Bearded Dragons don’t just need heat, they also need a cool area in their tank so they can regulate their body temperature.
If the temperature is too similar in all parts of the tank then your Dragon might be finding it difficult to thermoregulate their body temperature.
This can cause them to glass surf and is often quite a stressful time for your Bearded Dragon.
Below is a temperature chart for your Bearded Dragon.
Please note: This chart should only be used as a guide, please consult a vet if you are in doubt.
Bearded Dragon Tank Temperature Guide
|Bearded Dragon Temperature Guide|
|Basking Area 95°-100°F|
|Cool Spot 75°-80°F|
Too Cold To Regulate Body Temperature
Just like your Bearded Dragon can get too hot, they can also get too cold. This situation is also unhealthy for your Dragon.
If you follow the guidelines above for temperatures in different parts of the tank then you should have no problems, however, sometimes Bearded Dragons will glass surf in an attempt to get higher if they are too cold to get sufficient heat.
They do this because they know that heat rises so the tank temperatures will be slightly higher at the top.
If you notice your Dragon glass surfing at all then i would recommend checking the temperature of both basking area and cool spots to make sure they can thermoregulate.
If you want to know more about what temperature a Bearded Dragon needs then take a look at this post, it shows you everything you need to know as an owner about the temperatures your Bearded Dragons needs.
Is Stress From Change Of Scenery Causing Glass Surfing?
Bearded Dragons get used to certain scenery and they get comfortable with their surroundings.
Sometimes it’s good to change things to keep things interesting and it also helps to keep your Dragon stimulated.
This can also stress your Dragon and they can become uncomfortable. This can lead to them glass surfing as an expression of that unsure feeling.
The changes that bring this on can be something very simple like a change in wallpaper or something major like moving your Bearded Dragon to a totally different room n the house.
If this happens then you only have 2 real options. The first option is to just leave things as they are and see if your Dragon settles down in a short while.
The second option is to put things back to how they were and how your Bearded Dragon was comfortable with them.
Has Your Bearded Dragon Pooped?
Yes, as crazy as this sounds, you might have a Bearded Dragon that really doesn’t like being near its own poop.
Some Bearded Dragons have been known to glass surf to catch the owners attention to remove the poop from their tank.
The simple way to see if this is the reason for them glass surfing is to clean away the poop.
If the glass surfing stops after it’s cleaned away then you know you have one very clean Dragon and if it continues then you know you need to keep looking for another reason.
Laying Eggs & Glass Surfing
If you have a female that is 2 years old or over there is a chance that they will lay eggs.
This isn’t true with all females but it is a possibility. Usually, if your female is getting ready to lay eggs they will not only glass surf but they have an urge to dig as well.
There really isn’t much you can do about this and you shouldn’t worry as it’s totally fine as it’s natural for a female to display this behaviour.
Do Baby Bearded Dragons Glass Surf?
Baby Bearded Dragons can glass surf just as much as an adult Bearded Dragon.
They can also glass surf for just about all of the same reasons too. Sometimes if you bring a new Bearded Dragon home then with all the new surrounding and new tank this alone can cause them to glass surf.
The main thing is to use what you have learned from this post and make a judgement to whether the reason for glass surfing in your Baby Bearded Dragon is something that will pass shortly of you need to act to stop the behaviour.
Can Glass Surfing make Your Bearded Dragon Ill?
Nearly all reasons for glass surfing are due to something in your Bearded Dragons environment that is causing it to feel unhappy or stressed.
If you can pinpoint the reason then it is usually quite easy and fast to stop glass surfing and there aren’t any health concerns related to it unless it goes on for a long time and they are stressed for a long period of time too.
If your Dragon is not shedding, eating, is lethargic or you just suspect them of being ill then it’s always recommended to take them to see a vet as soon as possible.
Even if this is only a precaution, getting the opinion of a vet can put you on the right track rather than trying to guess why your Bearded Dragon isn’t eating along with the other symptoms they might have.
I also understand that vet bills can be expensive. Getting health insurance might be a better option for some people but it’s not always easy to know where to start. I’ve written a guide that explains the best policies and also alternatives to health insurance that you can take a look at here.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did writing it. I have tried to give you the ultimate guide to why your Bearded Dragon is glass surfing.
The key is to pinpoint the reason as fast as you can, you can make the right judgement to either give it time to pass or remove the source of the problem so it doesn’t cause your Bearded Dragon any stress.
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