Bearded dragon glass surfing is a common conversation topic among beardie owners. After all, it sure piqued my curiosity when I first saw my dragon doing it.
So I thought it’d help to do some significant research and create a guide.
Read on, and learn all about glass surfing in these amazing reptiles!
Also Read: Why is My Baby Bearded Dragon Waving?
- Bearded dragon glass surfing refers to when a pet beardie stands on its hind legs, rub its belly on its tank’s glass, and uses its legs like they’re paddling.
- Glass surfing is often a reaction to some stress entering a bearded dragon’s life. It could be from another dragon’s presence, hungry, boredom, or many other causes.
- Preventing glass surfing is a matter of addressing the stress-inducing event. Once it’s addressed, the behavior should stop almost immediately.
- Glass surfing only becomes severely concerning when presented with other symptoms, such as slowed movement, loss of appetite, or lethargy.
Bearded Dragon Glass Surfing: What Does it Look Like?
Glass surfing is one of the most noticeable bearded dragon behaviors. It’s when a beardie stands on its hind legs and rubs its belly on the tank’s glass.
At the same time, this beardie will be using their legs like they’re paddling. So the term is a rather apt description of this weird, standard behavior.
Here’s a video of a bearded pet dragon displaying his glass-surfing talents.
Obviously, this action often makes owners wonder what causes it to happen. I’ll look more into the leading causes in our next section.
What Causes My Bearded Dragon to Glass Surf?
Bearded dragon glass surfing often stems from the same issue. In most cases, it’s a sign of stress caused by something new in their lives.
But the key is figuring out the reason behind your beardie’s stress. So I’ll cover a few situations that could cause a beardie to surf and how to fix it.
1. Improper Tank Conditions
Your bearded dragon spends most of its time inside its tank. Due to this, an improper tank condition can cause immeasurable stress.
One of the main culprits would be a tank that’s too small. So, naturally, your beardie will respond to smaller bearded dragon tanks by doing everything to find more space.
As a result, glass surfing is their attempt at finding it. So an obvious solution would be buying a tank with ample space suitable for their needs.
Here’s an excellent guide detailing how to find the perfect bearded dragon tank size. It’ll have no problem helping you find the ideal size for your beardie.
Meanwhile, size isn’t the only tank feature capable of causing stress. Improper lighting or temperature can also wreak havoc on your beardie’s state of mind.
So it’s essential to do everything possible to build the perfect tank habitat. Trust me; it’ll make your beardie pet a much happier camper and help prevent glass surfing.
2. Habitat Changes
A bearded dragon owner who frequently changes their beardie’s habitat is asking for trouble. Unfortunately, these pets aren’t too fond of environmental changes.
Honestly, I’d recommend waiting at least four months before making more changes. It’ll let him adapt to the new items and present a less stressful environment.
You should then see a lot less of the bearded dragon surfing dance. Instead, they’ll be able to deal with the changes without showing much stress.
3. Other Bearded Dragons
The presence of another bearded dragon can cause a beardie great stress. They may view them as competition and are “known for being territorial” (1).
It’s one of the common reasons why experts advise against housing multiple dragons in one tank. You’d be better off giving them separate tanks where they can thrive.
But I wouldn’t put them close to each other. Dragons can pick up stressed feelings even from seeing another bearded nearby.
One of the more surprising stressors is your bearded dragon’s reflection. Our beardies won’t recognize that their reflection isn’t another dragon.
So they begin to try to engage in fighting with their reflection. This process doesn’t go well and causes them severe stress. You can then expect them to start glass surfing like crazy.
Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to this issue. Owners will only need to cover the sides of their beardie’s tank.
The reflection will then disappear, and so will your beardie’s stress. Some people also like to use background images for the same purpose.
In my case, I have a nice background image of an Australian desert. It gives the tank a more natural habitat vibe than some other options.
5. Your Beardie Doesn’t Understand How Glass Works
It sounds ridiculous, but your beardie won’t understand why they can’t climb the glass. However, your beardie isn’t as intelligent as other traditional pets, such as cats or dogs (2).
So they don’t have the cognitive awareness to understand glass isn’t climbable. Therefore, they’ll keep trying and surfing until it gets through their heads.
I can’t imagine how boring it must be to be stuck inside a tank all day. But I’m sure my beardie does, considering it’s what he does every day of his life.
Sadly, this boredom can cause severe pent-up energy and stress. So owners must find time to get them out of the tank daily.
It doesn’t have to be long or extensive, as a good 10-20 minutes should do the trick. You just need to ensure they can explore an open area during this period.
Your pet beardie will then burn all the pent-up energy while getting solid exercise. It’ll then result in keeping your beardie from glass-surfing within the tank.
Lastly, a trip outside in a safe enclosure wouldn’t hurt, either. It’ll provide your beardie will excellent natural UVB light and heat from the sun.
Nothing makes a bearded dragon more stressed than hunger. Glass dancing or scratching on the glass is a common way for them to let their owner know their displeasure.
But this issue won’t be much of a problem with a proper schedule. It’s a topic discussed with more detail in “How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Food? “
Is Glass Surfing Dangerous for a Bearded Dragon?
Luckily, glass surfing doesn’t stem from any health issues besides stress. So this glass surfing often becomes a reminder to their owner about an issue inside their tank.
But if this glass surfing is combined with other issues, it can be more serious. So owners should get their beardie checked when they showcase these symptoms with glass surfing:
- Loss of appetite
- Slowed movement
Honestly, any classic sign of a bearded dragon being sick, along with glass surfing, is alarming (3). So it never hurts to schedule a vet visit and get to the bottom of whatever’s happening.
Can Glass Surfing Hurt Them?
The act of glass surfing by itself isn’t known to hurt a bearded dragon. Of course, the dragon could slip, but that’s a bit of a stretch.
But you’ll still need to figure out what’s causing them to glass surf and address it. Once you do, the issue should go away rather quickly.
Overall, glass surfing doesn’t become a massive issue unless other symptoms occur. It’s often a problem that owners can fix without professional help.
Do bearded dragons glass surf for attention?
Bearded dragons will glass surf to get their owner’s attention. It could be a method of getting more food, handling, or expressing displeasure with their tank conditions.
On the surface, bearded dragon glass surfing is quite adorable to witness. But it’s a cry for help from your beardie about something causing them severe stress.
So it’s best to figure out what’s causing the issue and address it immediately. Afterward, your beardie will be feeling much better off and back to a life free of glass surfing.
Does your bearded dragon do glass surfing? Let us know in the comments section!
- 1. Schabacker S. Bearded Dragons [Internet]. National Geographic. 2019. Available from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/facts/bearded-dragon
- 2. Intelligence of Bearded Dragons Intelligence of Bearded Dragons sydney herndon [Internet]. Available from: https://digitalcommons.murraystate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1070&context=honorstheses
- 3. Signs That Your Bearded Dragon is Sick | Clermont Animal Hospital [Internet]. Available from: https://www.clermontanimal.net/2020/07/15/greater-cincinnati-vet-bearded-dragon-is-sick/
My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! As far as my animals, I have a Pit-bull, a Beagle-lab mix, a Chihuahua, and one old cat. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed.
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