Bearded Dragon Glass Surfing: Why They Do It

Like any pet, Bearded Dragons can exhibit unusual behaviors. One of these behaviors is known as glass surfing, which involves the Bearded Dragon attempting to climb the sides of its enclosure. 

In this article, we’ll explore the various reasons why beardies engage in glass surfing and provide tips on how to address this behavior to ensure the health and well-being of your pet.

What Is Glass Surfing?

Glass surfing is the term used when your Bearded Dragon is attempting to climb the sides of their enclosure.

Other names of this behavior are;

  • Scratching the glass
  • Climbing the glass/cage
  • Glass dancing

8 Causes For Glass Surfing

1. They Don’t Know What Glass Is

The first and most common reason for glass surfing is, Bearded Dragons don’t understand what glass is. 

In their natural habitat, they would’ve never experienced it. Even Bearded Dragons raised in captivity are confused by the glass as they simply can’t see what is stopping them from moving forward.

Their natural instinct is to climb the glass, unlike cats, dogs, or people they’re unable to learn they can’t climb it, resulting in the surfing-like motion we can see.

2. The Enclosure Is Too Small

Bearded Dragons require space to roam around their enclosure and exercise. They need to be able to climb, explore, and hide. 

The reason your beardie may be scratching at the glass is it wants more space to move around so it is trying to get out. 

Here is a guide for what size their enclosure needs to be;

  • Baby Bearded Dragon – 40 Gallons
  • Juvenile Bearded Dragon – 75 Gallons
  • Adult Bearded Dragon – 120 Gallons

3. They’ve Been Introduced To A New Enclosure

Like people, Bearded Dragons struggle to adapt to change, especially within their habitat. This could be moving them into a new enclosure, or even adding pieces of decor.

Your beardie will require time to adjust to the changes you’re making. I recommend when making alterations to their habitat to only do so every 4-6 months to prevent stressing them out and potentially causing illness.

4. They’re Bored

Beardies are able to lounge around for the majority of the time but require enrichment activities for a minimum of 10-15 minutes each day.

This can be achieved by removing them from their enclosure and allowing them to run around in a safe space under supervision. You can implement toys into their enrichment activity to keep you and them entertained during this time.

If you happen to own a Bearded Dragon who enjoys bathing, you could also acquire facilities to allow them to swim. I have provided a guide on Bearded Dragon swimming if you have never done this with your pet before.

5. They Want To Eat

When your Bearded Dragon is hungry and is unable to find food in its enclosure it’s going to try to hunt for more food elsewhere, meaning it will try to get past the glass, resulting in glass surfing.

Take a look at my Bearded Dragon Diet Guide for more in-depth details.

6. They See Their Own Reflection

Bearded Dragons are territorial reptiles, and can get aggressive if housed with another Bearded Dragon, especially if it’s two males.

As they don’t know what glass is, they also don’t know what their reflection is. They’ll mistake their reflection as another beardie and will get territorial attempting to intimidate or fight it resulting in glass surfing.

7. Their Temperature Isn’t Right

Due to Bearded Dragons being ectotherms, they require external sources of heat to keep their body temperature in check. 

You need to provide a temperature gradient of 75-100°F and humidity levels of 30-40%.

If these levels of temperature and humidity aren’t maintained, this can cause serious health concerns and potentially lead to fatalities. 

You can use Zoo Meds Thermometer and Humidity Gauge to monitor both with ease and accuracy to keep your beardie safe in their habitat.

Is Glass Surfing Dangerous?

Generally speaking, glass surfing isn’t going to physically harm your beardie, however, the potential causes for glass surfing can lead to signs of stress. If your pet exhibits behaviors such as;

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stuck shed

I recommend seeking veterinary advice immediately to ensure the welfare of your Bearded Dragon.

How To Stop Glass Surfing Behavior

Continued stress over periods of time can have lasting effects on health and well-being, because of this it is recommended if glass surfing becomes a common habit for your beardie you try and stop this behavior. 

Here are some tactics to try;

  • Upgrade the tank size
  • Input background images to prevent reflection
  • Adjust the temperature appropriately.
  • Provide enrichment activities

Summary

Glass surfing is a behavior commonly exhibited by Bearded Dragons when they attempt to climb the sides of their enclosure. There are several reasons for this behavior, including; 

  • Confusion about the glass barrier
  • Boredom 
  • Hunger 
  • Reflection
  • Inappropriate temperature 

Glass surfing is generally not harmful, but it can lead to stress and other health issues for the Bearded Dragon.

To stop this behavior, it is important to provide adequate space, enrichment activities, and proper temperatures in their habitat.