Why Do Bearded Dragons Glass Surf? The Surprising Answer

There might be times where Bearded dragon owners see their pets trying to climb the glass of their enclosure. This, so-called, ‘glass surfing’ or escaping behaviour, might be seen from time-to-time, but when it becomes a habit it might be an indication that something is wrong.

Glass surfing behaviour in Bearded dragons is when a Bearded dragon is constantly trying to climb the glass surfaces of the enclosure, and slips off again. Sometimes Bearded dragons will also try to climb non-glass surfaces as well. It is referred to as ‘surfing’ because when the Bearded dragon keeps sliding off, it will fall and move to one side and then try to climb that area again, and so forth. This will lead to the Bearded dragon moving from one side of the enclosure to the other side – usually quite fast, making it look like ‘surfing’.

Although there might be various other (less serious) reasons, Bearded dragon glass surfing behaviour is considered to be caused by stress. Although many factors can contribute, the main areas to evaluate when when a Bearded dragon is showing this behaviour is the lighting, enclosure size, the temperature and quantities of food. Because of the sudden change in their new environments, newly obtained Bearded dragons might also show this behaviour.

What is glass surfing?

Glass surfing is a behavior displayed by bearded dragons that look quite similar to water surfing. In this activity, they’ll attempt to climb the glass walls of their terrariums with their bellies rubbing against the glass and their legs puddling.

It can also be referred to as Glass Dancing by bearded dragon owners, as it’s typically seen when they feel stressed out and need an outlet for their energy.

Beardies may also scratch at the glass walls of the terrariums, and while it’s too cute to resist laughing at, it’s important to note that this is usually a sign of distress in them.

Thankfully, there are many ways that you can help your pet to reduce its stress levels if you notice them exhibiting this kind of behavior.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Glass Surf?

Bearded dragons glass surf for one main reason – they’re stressed. This usually happens when something in the environment makes them feel threatened or unsafe.

Common factors are things like having an enclosure that’s too small, competing for space with another bearded dragon, new decorations or rearranging the vivarium, feeling threatened by their reflection in the glass, being bored or hungry, and having a suboptimal substrate, lighting, or temperature.

If any of these circumstances arise, your bearded dragon may become stressed, potentially leading to a behavior known as glass surfing.

While other reptiles and even fish may also glass surf when they’re stressed, exactly why each species does this varies depending on their individual circumstances and reasons for stress.

Their Environment Changed

Making environmental changes to a bearded dragon’s habitat can be beneficial, but it should be done with caution. The most frequent amount of time that you should rearrange the tank is once every four months, although waiting even longer than this is preferred so your beardy can adjust to the new layout. When adding or removing items from their enclosure, patience is also key as it takes time for them to make themselves comfortable in their environment again.

It must also be ensured that the temperature in the enclosure is within a comfortable range for your dragon. If not, then this can lead to either overheating or not getting enough warmth in its system – both of which are detrimental effects on the health of your pet.

AreaTemperature (°F)Temperature (°C)
Warm Spot (Baking Spot)95-10035-38
Cool Spot75-8024-27

They have been acquainted with a new habitat.

Getting your bearded dragon used to a new enclosure is a delicate process that should be done slowly. Introducing them suddenly to a new environment will most likely result in glass surfing due to their increased stress levels.

Bearded dragons are very territorial animals and typically find change difficult, so it’s essential that they’re eased into their newfound habitat over time. That way, they can adjust more quickly and feel more comfortable in their new home.

By giving your bearded dragon plenty of time to adapt to its new environment, you’ll help ensure its wellbeing and make sure that it remains happy with its home.

Insufficient lighting

During the day, Bearded dragons are considered to be active sun baskers. Glass surfing is often observed when the lights go out, but when a Bearded dragon is showing this behaviour during other hours of the day, there might be insufficient lighting – especially ultraviolet (UV) lighting.

Bearded dragons should be supplied with specialised reptile UV light tubes and/or spotlights. The UV range should include the UVA and UVB spectrum of light and should be replaced more or less every six months (or as indicated by the manufacturer’s recommendation). The UV lighting should preferable cover the entire enclosure and should be mounted within 30 cm / 12″ from the main basking area. Also see UV lighting requirements for Bearded dragons for more information.

Insufficient enclosure size

Insufficient space might also be a reason why a Bearded dragon might want to try to escape. The size of the enclosure should be large enough for the amount of Bearded dragons to move freely, and to be able to function normally on a physiological level.

A floor space of at least (900 x 350)cm / (35 x 14)” for a single Bearded dragon, and at least (1 300 x 420)cm / (50 x 17)” for an adult pair is recommended. The floor space should increase with at least 25 – 50% for every Bearded dragon added after that. Also see Bearded dragon housing requirements for more information.

Incorrect temperatures

Bearded dragons are desert animals. As with low lighting, lower than recommended day temperatures will cause stress. The same will happen when temperatures are too high.

The background temperature should range between 24 and 34 ºC / 75 and 93 ºF. The basking area should be around 40 °C / 104 °F with a natural temperature gradient towards the recommended background temperature on the other side of the enclosure. Also see Bearded dragon temperature requirements for more information.

Insufficient food

Bearded dragons are active hunters. When hungry, they will often go out and look for food. Baby Bearded dragons often show glass surfing behaviour when there are too many mouths to feed and/or feeding does not take place multiple times per day.

Bearded dragons need to be fed every day, or at least every other day. The size of the meal is determined individually and enough live food should be supplied until the Bearded dragon is full and refuse more food. Also see feeding Bearded dragons for more information.

They see their own reflection

Bearded dragons are very territorial and will not tolerate the presence of another in their immediate vicinity. In captivity, this usually means that only one bearded dragon should occupy a given enclosure.

If two or more bearded dragons are allowed to live together, they could engage in territorial disputes or even result in the death of either or both of them.

Sometimes, bearded dragons get confused by seeing their own reflection. When they see themselves reflected on the glass walls of the terrarium, it can cause them to become frantic and engage in a behavior known as “glass surfing”.

To avoid such an unfortunate turn of events, we recommend investing in high-quality cages specifically designed for keeping bearded dragons.

They Don’t Understand The Concept Of Glass.

Bearded dragons are fun and curious creatures, but they sometimes try to venture outside their enclosure without realizing that glass is preventing them from leaving.

This can cause distress to the animals, as they will scratch at the glass futilely in a bid for freedom.

However, you can help avoid this agitation by providing enough hiding spots in the enclosure. Bearded dragons don’t want to be seen out in the open, so giving them plenty of places to hide will make them feel more secure and less likely to try and break through their barrier of glass.

Something is off in their habitat

If you have a bearded dragon as a pet and you sense something is off in its habitat, there are a few things you can do to try and figure out what is going on. For starters, check the temperature of the enclosure with thermometers to make sure your dragon feels comfortable.

It’s also important to pay special attention to any changes that might be stressing your beardie out – things like UVB lighting, the size of their tank, or changes in their surroundings.

Additionally, if you find that your beardie is scratching the glass walls of its enclosure it could be a sign that something is wrong. You should also consider if anything has been moved or rearranged lately; sometimes even small changes can cause stress for a bearded dragon.

Keeping an eye out for these subtle signs will help ensure that your bearded dragon remains happy and healthy!

They Are Bored Or Have Too Much Energy

Bearded dragons, like us humans, can get bored or have too much energy. To ensure your pet dragon is happy and healthy, it’s recommended to let them out of their tank for about 10-15 minutes each day. This offers them the freedom to move around and expend any excess energy they may be storing.

During this time you’ll want to make sure you’ve properly set up their surroundings for them to run freely and safely. You can also use this as an opportunity to build a connection with your dragon by letting them climb on you or giving them small snack treats such as insects or leafy greens.

They Can’t Sufficiently Thermoregulate

Bearded dragons, originally from a hot region, require a basking platform to bask in the UVB light while in captivity.

However, for them to thermoregulate their body temperature effectively, they need an enclosure with different temperatures so they can cool down or heat up their bodies as required.

If you do not arrange the temperature correctly in their enclosure, your beardie won’t be able to thermoregulate and you may find that they are scratching the glass or climbing it trying to go out of the enclosure to find relief from the hot or cold temperature. So make sure you adjust the temperature according to your beardie’s needs!

They Are Bored And Want To Spend Time With You Outside Their Cage

Bearded Dragons get bored in the enclosure just like we do when we have to stay in one place. When they are confined, they end up resorting to activities such as glass surfing and trying to escape their cages. This can be a sign that it is time for them to come out and spend some time with you!

When you take your bearded dragon outside its cage, they get the chance to refresh their minds and body while also having some quality time with you!

After spending time with you, if the Beardie stops surfing the glass walls of their enclosure, then this means that taking them out was the right decision – your bearded dragon was definitely bored.

Glass Surfing Because It’s Intimidated

It’s possible that your bearded dragon is glass surfing out of fear and intimidation. There are a couple of reasons why your beardie might be feeling threatened. For instance, if you have introduced another bearded dragon into the same enclosure, each competing for dominance can make them feel intimidated.

This usually leads to head bobbing and hissing as they attempt to prove dominance and establish who the alpha male is in the cage. The subordinate can feel overwhelmed by this and start glass surfing or scratching at their enclosure walls in an attempt to escape this perceived danger.

New or Rearranged Furniture

Bearded dragons, due to their sensitive nature, require consistency in their environment. This can make it difficult for them to adjust to new or rearranged furniture inside their enclosure.

When making changes, go slow and steady and avoid changing the entire setting of the enclosure at once. Your beardie is more likely to enjoy the new luxuries without feeling intimidated if you take your time with any changes you make.

The enclosure must be cleaned up after your pet reptile has defecated

When a bearded dragon poops or urinates, it is important that you clean up its enclosure as soon as possible! This may be your dragon’s way of telling you it’s time for cleaning – after they do their business, many dragons instinctively start scratching at the glass to get your attention.

Reptiles are getting ready to lay an egg

When your female bearded dragon is about to lay eggs, you’ll likely notice some peculiar behaviors or mood tantrums, like glass surfing. On top of that, she may start digging the ground to create a tunnel in which to lay the eggs.

This typically happens when they are two years or older; you can check the belly of your bearded dragon to confirm this. So if your beardie starts acting out of character, it might be an indication that they’re prepping for their egg-laying season!

Health Concerns And Glass Surfing

The health of a bearded dragon is an important concern for any pet owner, especially when it comes to glass surfing. Glass surfing can be caused by a number of different factors such as stress or underlying health issues, and can lead to other problems if not immediately addressed.

It’s essential that you regularly bring your bearded dragon into the vet to check for health problems that may be causing stress and leading to glass surfing. By doing this, you’ll be able to help keep them healthy and reduce the potential for further issues due to glass surfing.

Aside from visiting the vet periodically, there are other steps you can take in order to ensure your beardie is happy and healthy. Try not to make drastic changes or introduce new things too quickly as it can cause stress for your pet.

Additionally, try to maintain a consistent environment in order to give them stability which will also help reduce the amount of stress they feel on a daily basis.

How To Stop Your Bearded Dragon From Glass Surfing?

If you have a Bearded Dragon that is glass surfing, it can be extremely frustrating. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent this behavior and help keep your beardie safe.

Get a bigger tank

A bigger tank is essential if you want to provide your bearded dragon with an adequate and healthy living environment. It’s not enough simply to get a smaller tank – it won’t give them enough room to carry out their natural physical activities.

A small enclosure will also limit their ability to grow, as you’ll have to change the tank when they become larger.

Having the appropriate lighting

Having the right lighting is essential for a healthy and thriving bearded dragon. They need to be able to receive the right amount of UVB light in order to get the necessary nutrients and warmth. As they come from warm habitats, they need plenty of heat so they can bask when in captivity.

To keep a suitable temperature, it’s important that you use an automatic temperature regulator or digital thermometer. It’s equally as important that you don’t let temperatures become too hot or too cold, as this could affect the health of your beardie.

You should also make sure that the temperature does not remain constant – it needs to increase and decrease in order to help their metabolism, enabling them to be active and fit.

Provide More Enrichment

Bearded dragons kept in captivity generally stay within their enclosure for long periods of time. To ensure your pet is never bored, it’s important to provide new toys and activities that can keep them entertained and stimulated.

Additionally, spending time outside the enclosure with your beardie (i.e., taking them out for supervised playtime) is another great way to give them more enrichment!

Finally, introducing fun luxuries such as hammocks, swings, or rock caves can also help your dragon stay content while they’re in its enclosure. By providing additional enrichment through these methods, you’ll have a happier, healthier bearded dragon!

Keeping Two Bearded Dragons In The Same Cage Should Be Avoided.

Having two bearded dragons in the same cage should be avoided. This is because having a companion in the same enclosure can add unnecessary stress to both of them.

They prefer living solitary, so adding another dragon to their habitat can cause an altercation as they compete for space — which could prove dangerous if one of your dragons is bigger than the other.

Not only this, but it denies them much-needed personal space, which negatively affects their mental and physical health, making it harder for them to relax and thrive.

Opting against two beardies in one cage helps keep your pet safe and happy while saving you from unneeded issues that could arise with having more than one dragon living in the same area.

Check the diet

When caring for your dragon, it’s important to check its diet to ensure that they are getting the nutrition that they need. An unbalanced diet can have significant effects on the health of your pet, leading to poor growth and development, as well as an increased risk of illness and malnutrition.

Be sure to provide a variety of fresh vegetables, small amounts of insects such as crickets, and occasional treats like dried fruit or cooked egg. This way you can ensure that your dragon is getting all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs for a healthy life!

Additionally, if you have two dragons in the same enclosure, be aware that competition for food can occur. Monitor both their intake carefully to make sure each gets an equal share of food.

Seamless Change Of Enclosure

If you’re changing an enclosure for your bearded dragon or moving the enclosure to a different location, you’ll want to make sure that the transition is smooth and seamless. The best way to do this is by making small changes or adjustments inside the cage.

This will ensure that your bearded dragon is not stressed during the process and that things remain as comfortable for them as possible.

Do baby bearded dragons exhibit glass surfing behaviors?

Glass surfing is a behavior that can be seen in bearded dragons of any age. This is because when the stress level of the lizard becomes too high—due to factors such as seeing a change in their environment, living in an enclosure that is too small for them, being too hot or cold, or being hungry—they may attempt to scratch and surf against the glass walls of their enclosure.

It’s important for owners to recognize this behavior and try to identify the underlying cause, otherwise the animal could suffer from excessive stress which could eventually have an effect on its health.

So if your baby bearded dragon starts exhibiting signs of glass surfing, make sure to give it extra care and attention so you can resolve the issue in time!

Is Glass Surfing Hazardous To Bearded Dragons?

The act of “Glass Surfing” itself is simply an indication of something amiss with your Bearded Dragon. In and of itself, it can’t make them sick or cause them any harm.

However, it is important to determine the root cause of any signs of stress in order to help ensure that your Bearded Dragon remains in good health.

Is Glass Surfing Harmful to Bearded Dragons?

Glass surfing by itself is not necessarily dangerous for a bearded dragon, but it could be a sign that something else is going on. The truth is, glass surfing often indicates some kind of stress from an issue inside the tank.

So if you notice your bearded dragon exhibiting this behavior along with other symptoms such as loss of appetite, slowed movement, or lethargy, then it may be time to take them to the vet and have them checked out.

It’s always smart to get your beardie checked out if they start displaying any classic signs of being ill, especially if glass surfing is also present.

This way you can make sure that whatever’s happening gets addressed right away and your beardie will stay healthy and happy!

Can Glass Surfing Hurt Them?

When it comes to a bearded dragons, there’s an activity that they might take part in called glass surfing. It doesn’t usually result in any harm to the reptile, although they may slip while they’re on the glass, leading to minor injuries.

But owners should try and figure out what is causing their pet dragon to glass surf and address it so that the issue can be resolved as quickly as possible. It usually isn’t an issue unless other symptoms are seen along with glass surfing, though doing so wouldn’t require expert help.

Is it possible to use a wooden enclosure in lieu of glass or plexiglass to reduce the stress associated with a glass tank?

Using a wooden enclosure for your bearded dragon can be an interesting idea, as it eliminates any potential stress surrounding the glass issue. However, it is important to understand that there are some downsides to this choice.

Firstly, wooden enclosures tend to be less effective when it comes to regulating humidity and can cause mold growth more easily. Secondly, an all-wood enclosure does not allow you or your pet to watch the outside environment or vice versa, something which is really essential for a bearded dragon’s wellbeing.

Considering these factors, I would advise against using a wooden enclosure instead of glass or plexiglass as there are simply too many risks involved.


Do Bearded Dragons Glass Surf For Attention?

Bearded dragons sometimes engage in glass surfing when they want attention from their owners. This behavior could be a way for them to ask for more food, handling, or indicate displeasure with their tank environment.

Can glass surfing mean my bearded dragon is sick?

Being on the internet by oneself is not necessarily a sign of sickness.

If your bearded dragon exhibits signs of fatigue, lack of appetite or thirst, irregular shedding, altered droppings, or is impacted by glass surfing, a visit to a vet should be arranged.


In conclusion, it is clear that glass surfing is a natural behavior of bearded dragons and should be expected when keeping them as pets. Although it can be alarming to discover your pet stuck to the side of their enclosure, with a few simple precautions it is easy to prevent any accidents or injuries.