Understanding Bearded Dragon Glass Surfing Behavior

Christy Caplan
Bearded dragon

Reptile lovers may witness a behavior known as bearded dragon glass surfing. This glass surfing occurs when a beardie is stressed, feels threatened, or lives in an inadequate enclosure. If the reptile appears to climb the walls, it is time to reassess the current habitat.

Bearded Dragon Glass Surfing

If your beardie is running the tank's length and attempting to climb up the glass sides, the reptile is glass surfing. The bearded dragon's arms and legs may also paddle. When this behavior occurs, your reptile may be experiencing stress. There are a few reasons this happens, so pet lovers need to observe any strange behavior and research the habitat requirements for beardie enclosures. Reptile lovers need to set up pet beardies for success. There are many opportunities to avoid this behavior.

Appropriate Housing

Adult beardies need a large terrarium, and a 125-gallon tank is an appropriate enclosure. Your baby beardie grows quickly! Pet parents may consider glass aquariums over a trough type habitat. Any lack of visual stimulation creates stress for beardies.

Handling a Beardie Frequently

If a pet parent does not regularly handle a beardie, it may feel over-stressed during maintenance and cleanings. Also, your pet needs attention. Set aside time every day to handle your bearded dragon. Provide them a place to walk around out of the enclosure safely. Sometimes reptiles feel cooped up and want to play. The tail easily breaks off, so hold him gently! Study a beardie's anatomy first before handling him.

Petting a bearded dragon

Temperature Requirements

Your beardie may be too cold or too hot. Daily ambient temperatures inside your dragon's terrarium need to remain between 80 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. One end of the enclosure needs a basking spot that may reach up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The other end needs a dark, cool retreat so your beardie may regulate.

Meals Need to Mimic a Wild Beardie's Diet

Bearded dragons eat veggies in the wild and mice. A variety of prey and greens is important, and all pet parents need to keep meals exciting. A bored or hungry bearded dragon may glass surface to not only get your attention but to tell you he is ready for gut-loaded insects like mealworms.

Signs of Stress

Pet parents may notice signs of stress in addition to glass surfing. Always observe your beardie and take him to an exotic vet if you suspect an illness.

  • Change color and neck appears dark
  • Refuses food and skips more than one meal
  • Listless or acts sluggish

Normal Beardie Behavior

Beardies are known for unique behaviors when in captivity. Many hobbyists may consider the behaviors cute as the majority are perfectly normal.

  • Arm waving
  • Head bobbing
  • Billowing beard
  • Stacking

Observe a Reptile's Demeanor

A weekly cleaning session is a perfect time to observe your bearded dragon's behavior to determine if anything looks off. Healthy beardies are aware of the surrounding environment and react to stimuli. A bearded dragon always calmly explores his environment.

Bearded dragon glass surfing

Exotic Vet

Any reptile lover needs to research and line-up an exotic veterinarian before living with a beardie. Stress quickly turns into an illness, and if your beardie is glass surfing and not eating, a vet must make a swift diagnosis.

Set up Beardies for Success

Bearded dragons are intelligent and eventually learn to recognize family members. Glass surfing may be a cry for attention, as these reptiles need to be handled regularly. Stress, diet, and housing are factors pet parents need to consider if a pet beardie starts to glass surf. Reptile lovers must know what healthy and normal behavior looks like, so it's obvious when a pet bearded dragon is experiencing stress.

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Understanding Bearded Dragon Glass Surfing Behavior