Why Do Bearded Dragons Glass Surf: 11 Possibilities

Bearded dragons glass surf primarily due to stress or environmental discomfort. Glass surfing is where these reptiles repeatedly run or scrape against the sides of their enclosure. This action is commonly observed when the dragon tries to escape or find an exit. 

The transparent nature of glass can confuse them, leading them to believe there is a way out. Other potential triggers for glass surfing include inadequate enclosure size, improper temperature or lighting, lack of hiding spots, boredom, or feeling threatened by their reflection. Ensuring a suitable habitat, providing enrichment, and monitoring their well-being can help minimize or prevent this behavior.

Bearded dragon glass surfing can be a concerning behavior for reptile owners. Understanding the reasons behind it is crucial for their well-being. We can help minimize stress and keep our scaly friends healthy and happy by addressing potential triggers and ensuring a suitable habitat. About we will expand more into the next sections

11 Reasons Bearded Dragons Glass Surf

Bearded dragons are unique creatures that have many fascinating behaviors. One of the most commonly observed behaviors is glass surfing. Glass surfing is when a bearded dragon repeatedly runs or scratches against the glass walls of its enclosure. While it may seem innocent, it is important to understand why bearded dragons glass surf to ensure their health and well-being.

1. Stress

Stress is one of the most common reasons why bearded dragons glass surf. Stress can arise from various sources, including an enclosure that is too small, improper temperature, lack of hiding places, or even the presence of another bearded dragon. If a bearded dragon feels stressed, it may glass surf to try and escape its environment.

Take note of the tank size; it may be too small if smaller than 55 gallons and houses a full-grown bearded dragon. It might be the particular cause of stress and glass surfing behavior.

Tips: A 55-gallon to 100-gallon tank is a good place for an adult bearded dragon because it has enough room.

2. Boredom

Bearded dragons are intelligent creatures that require mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If a bearded dragon is bored or lacks enrichment in its environment, it may glass surf as a way to seek attention or exercise.

3. Habit

In some cases, glass surfing can become a habit for bearded dragons. If a bearded dragon has been glass surfing for a long period, it may continue to do so out of habit, even if the original cause of stress or boredom has been resolved.

4. Temperature and Environment

Bearded dragons are cold-blooded creatures that require specific temperature and humidity levels to regulate their body temperature. If the temperature or humidity levels in their enclosure are not suitable, they may glass surf to try and regulate their body temperature.

5. Behavior and Territorial Instincts

Bearded dragons are social creatures that have specific behaviors and territorial instincts. If a bearded dragon feels threatened or territorial, it may glass surf to assert dominance or protect its territory. Head bobbing and arm waving are other behaviors that may be observed in these situations.

6. Hunger and Thirst

If a bearded dragon is hungry or thirsty, it may glass surf to seek attention or indicate that it needs to be fed or given water.

7. Small Tank Size

If a bearded dragon is housed in an enclosure that is too small, it may glass surf to try and escape its cramped environment. Providing a larger enclosure may help alleviate this behavior.

AgeTank Size (Length x Width x Height)
Hatchling20-30 gallons (30″ x 12″ x 12″)
Juvenile40-55 gallons (36″ x 18″ x 18″)
Adult75-120 gallons (48″ x 24″ x 24″)

It’s important to note that larger tanks are always better as they allow for more space and enrichment opportunities for the bearded dragon. Additionally, adequate UVB lighting, temperature gradients, and hiding spots within the tank are essential for their overall health and well-being.

8. Reflections and Decorations

Bearded dragons may glass surf if they see their reflection in the glass walls of their enclosure. This can be caused by decorations or other objects in the enclosure that create reflections.

9. Other Bearded Dragons

If multiple bearded dragons are housed together, they may glass surf to assert dominance or compete for resources.

10. Other Creatures and Pets

If other creatures or pets are in the same room as a bearded dragon, they may glass surf to try and escape or protect themselves from perceived threats.

11. Sickness and Injury

If a bearded dragon is sick or injured, it may glass surf to indicate something is wrong. Belly paddling and glass dancing are other behaviors that may be observed in these situations.

Can Glass Surfing Be Harmful?

While glass surfing may not be directly harmful, it can indicate underlying stress or discomfort in the dragon’s environment. The constant movement and repetitive behavior can lead to physical injuries, such as abrasions or broken nails if the dragon continues to engage in glass surfing for extended periods.

Therefore, bearded dragon owners must identify and address the underlying causes of stress, such as inappropriate temperature, lighting, or inadequate habitat, to ensure the well-being of their pets and minimize the risk of harm associated with glass surfing.

How to Stop Glass Surfing

Bearded dragon’s glass surf when stressed, and it can be difficult to stop the behavior if the source of the stress is unknown. However, there are some specific ways to help stop glass surfing:

1. Address the Cause of Stress

Since this behavior generally indicates some cause of stress, it is important to consider addressing any of the reasons that might be causing it. Consider the most logical cause for this behavior and make small and appropriate changes first. Some common reasons for stress in bearded dragons include:

  • Territorial behavior
  • Insufficient enclosure size or setup
  • Health issues
  • Reflections or external stimuli
  • Hunger
  • Need for cleaning
  • Getting ready to lay eggs

2. Limit the View Outside

Living in an aquarium can be like living in a prison cell for bearded dragons, so making them feel safe and secure is important. One way to do this is by limiting their view outside. This can be done by covering the sides and back of the enclosure with paper or other materials. This will help reduce the amount of external stimuli that might be causing stress.

3. Provide Hides and Climbing Opportunities

Bearded dragons are natural climbers, so providing them with hides and climbing opportunities can help reduce stress. This will give them a sense of security and help them feel more at home in their enclosure. Some good options for hides and climbing opportunities include:

  • Branches
  • Rocks
  • Logs
  • Plants

4. Ensure Proper Handling

Improper handling can also cause stress in bearded dragons, so it is important to ensure they are handled properly. This means supporting their entire body and not squeezing or holding them too tightly. It is also important to avoid sudden movements or loud noises that might startle them.

5. Monitor the Environment

Finally, monitoring the environment and ensuring everything is in check is important. This includes checking the enclosure’s temperature, humidity, and lighting levels. It is also important to ensure that the enclosure is clean and that there are no sharp edges or other hazards that might be causing stress.


In conclusion, glass surfing is a common behavior among bearded dragons, and there are several reasons why it occurs. Owners need to understand the causes of glass surfing and take steps to address them to ensure the health and well-being of their pets.

Common causes of glass surfing include stress, territorial behavior, insufficient enclosure size or setup, health issues, reflections or external stimuli, hunger, and the need to lay eggs. By identifying the underlying cause of glass surfing, owners can take appropriate measures to address the issue.

Covering three sides of the enclosure, providing adequate space, ensuring proper temperature and humidity levels, and offering a variety of enrichment activities can all help reduce stress and prevent glass surfing. Regular veterinary check-ups can also help identify and address any underlying health issues contributing to glass surfing.