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10 Reasons Bearded Dragon Scratching At Glass And How To Stop

Bearded dragon scratching at glass (also called glass surfing) is when a bearded dragon stands with its back legs and begins to scratch or sweep on the glass with its arms. It will be trying to exit the enclosure with its belly against the glass. Scratching at the glass is frequently a stress-related activity. 

Glass surfing or dancing is a term used by many bearded dragon owners to describe their pets scratching at the glass. Scratching is fairly prevalent in bearded dragons, and it can be caused by a variety of factors.

In this article, the common and possible grounds for glass scratching or surfing in your bearded dragon will be listed and discussed.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Behavior Of Bearded Dragon Scratching At The Glass

Bearded dragons exhibit unusual and even bizarre behavior that is not seen in other animals. One of them is scratching at the walls. When you observe your bearded dragon supporting itself on its back legs and sweeping on the glass, you are witnessing your pet glass scratching or surfing. Its belly will be in contact with the glass, and it will try to exit the tank.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon Scratching At The Glass?

Bearded dragons and other reptiles occasionally engage in unusual behavior. At first glance, the lizard’s odd and surprising movements may make observers giggle at how silly it appears. Glass surfing, on the other hand, is most typically induced by stress that the bearded dragon is feeling as a result of certain circumstances.

Bearded Dragon Scratching At Glass
Bearded dragon glass surfing

They Can Be Stressed Due To Something is Off in Habitat

There may be multiple scenarios in which their home may be causing stress which ultimately changes their behavior. 

Examples of such stressors with the habitat are an enclosure having a tight space, inadequate lighting, and commonly, in other cases, the decorations. While it pleases the owner, it may be distracting and stressful for the bearded dragon. 

Presence of two bearded dragons in a tank is another reason of scratching the glass. Because the dominant dragon shows its dominance over others and causes stress. As a result, the bearded dragon wants to escape the tank.

Moreover, what your bearded dragon may see and interact with can also add to their stressors and general stress. If something is changed in their habitat, bearded dragons scratch. That may be due to the addition or removal of something from the enclosure.

For a bearded dragon to stay happy and healthy, it needs adequate and proper lighting, humidity, and ambient temperatures in its tank or enclosure. They must be tailored based on their specific needs.

An Enclosure Or Tank That’s Too Small

When having a bearded dragon as a pet, it is important to ensure that it still fits the tank or enclosure, and has adequate space. Otherwise, this can cause the small reptile to become extremely alarmed, affecting how much it eats or sleeps. Ongoing stress may also precipitate an illness, putting one’s life in jeopardy.

If your pet has grown to become an adult reptile, the recommended size of their enclosure is at least 55 gallons. And if they were to share the enclosure with another bearded dragon, allotting around 75 gallons will provide a spacious enclosure for both of them. 

Cannot Sufficiently Thermoregulate

To allow adequate thermoregulation, the bearded dragons must be able move from a basking spot with a high temperature to one with a relatively lower temperature. If the same temperature was maintained throughout the tank, having basking spots with different temperatures may be difficult to acquire. If this happens, the bearded dragon may scratch on the glass.

You have to ensure that the basking spot has a high temperature, reaching 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit. The remaining sections of the tank or enclosure must measure less than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals that cannot regulate their body temperature by their own. So, there must be a hot spot and a cooling spot in the tank. When body temperature rises, it goes to a cooling spot and returns to a hot spot when feels cold.

Standard hot spot and cool part temperature:
Hot spot temperature 92 – 110 degrees F.
Cold part temperature – 75 – 85 F.

If you notice that your bearded dragon is digging or glass surfing, this may indicate that they want a spot with a cooler temperature. However, if the basking area is not warm enough, it may climb higher to be closer to the heat source.

bearded dragon glass surfing because of stress
A lot of things can cause stress to bearded dragons that will make them to glass surf

Incorrect Decorations Or Accessories

Bearded dragons are sensitive by nature. They respond with glass surfing and other stress-related behaviors whenever there is a change in their environment – significant or not.

To reduce the likelihood of this reaction, only make one change at a time. Allow your pet some time to adjust to a new tank decoration, hiding spot, or other addition.

They Think Their Own Reflection Is Another Bearded Dragon 

Bearded dragons cannot identify their reflection. They mistake it as another bearded dragon that they can interact with or see as a threat.

You can reduce the glass scratching by using a good background wrapped around the tank to avoid reflections.

It Doesn’t Understand That Glass Is A Barrier And Tries To Overcome

Bearded dragons, after mistaking their reflection, fail to recognize that glass is a barrier and will continue to scratch it in an attempt to pass through it, which could be for a variety of reasons.

If there aren’t enough places for them to hide in their tanks such as caves and tunnels, this could be causing them to glass surf because bearded dragons prefer to seek shelter and hide from being seen. Alternatively, they could be looking for food.

A bearded dragon is likely to scratch the glass if he sees a reflection of himself
A bearded dragon is likely to scratch the glass if he sees a reflection of himself

Your Bearded Dragon Is Bored And Wants To Get Out Of Tank

Bearded dragons, like humans, can become antsy if they don’t get enough stimulation. Being confined in a cage for long periods can harm any creature. 

Scratching their glass could simply be an indication that they want to get out of their tank, spend time with you, or are bored due to a lack of enrichment. Take advantage of this opportunity to get them out of their tank and do something fun!

Your Bearded Dragon Wants To Eat

Lizards scratch on the glass when they are hungry. These creatures are cunning, and they may be attempting to catch your attention to remind you that it is meal time. If your pet is still young and growing rapidly, they tend to get hungry more often and consume more food than usual. This also triggers the glass scratching behavior.

Signal To Their Owner To Clean Poop

As strange as it may sound, you may have a bearded dragon who dislikes being near its poop. They glass surf to attract attention and get their owner to remove the poop from their tank. Cleaning up the poop is a simple way to see if this is the cause of their glass surfing. If the behavior continues, you know you need to look for another reason.

Signs Of Preparing To Lay Eggs

While not all female bearded dragons cannot lay eggs, it is still essential to observe glass scratching from them. This, along with digging, could indicate that they may be preparing to lay eggs.

Some pregnant bearded dragons experience anxiety before laying their eggs. This anxiety is manifested when they walk and dig around the tank and sometimes, attempt to climb the glass.

She may also refuse to eat and become very inactive near the end of the pregnancy.

Typically, this occurs at or around the age of two years, but it can occur as early as 18 months. If this is the case, they could lay eggs only once a year.

Might Be The Energy Outbursts

The majority of baby and juvenile bearded dragons have a lot of energy. They would climb and jump even up to the screen lid of the tank. These energy outbursts could be another cause of the glass scratching. To keep your baby dragon mentally and physically healthy, create a stimulating environment for it and allow it to roam around.

Is Your Bearded Dragon Sick If It’s Scratching The Glass?

No, glass scratching does not necessarily entail any abnormal medical phenomenon in your pet aside from just feeling distressed from other factors.

However, if your pet beardie exhibits other signs such as lethargy and a lack of appetite, this could be a clear indication that something is wrong and they may be ill.

How Do You Stop Your Bearded Dragon From Scratching The Glass?

Bearded dragons glass surf when stressed. It is not recommended to stop this behavior especially if the source of the stress is unknown. Unnecessary changes in a bearded dragon’s environment should be avoided because they can increase stress. 

Some specific methods for preventing glass surfing include: 

  • If the glass surfing behavior is prompted  by a new item in the enclosure, it must be carefully removed from the area. This could also imply ensuring that a bearded dragon cannot see a new reptile introduced into the home.
  • A small enclosure for a fully grown bearded dragon triggers glass scratching. It is recommended that a larger tank (greater than 55 gallons) houses your adult pet to avoid the stress-related behavior.
  • If the enclosures were changed, the surroundings must still be familiar to the bearded dragon. It is important that nothing much has changed inside the tank. Items must be placed in the same place as they were in the old one. Most of all, it must still feel like the same home for your pet beardie.
  • If you notice your pet scratching on the glass, it may demand to be observed or nourished.
  • A bearded dragon should be given plenty of enrichment daily. If it enjoys being handled, it may require more time outside the tank.
  • To make your bearded dragon both contented and in good health, you have to make sure that the tank or enclosure has appropriate and adequate lighting, moisture, and temperature. Stress in a bearded dragon can be caused by improper cycles during the day and night, wrong holding temperature, and damp or parched surroundings.
How to stop your bearded dragon from glass surfing [source: Lord Elon]

FAQs

How do you calm a bearded dragon?

Reduce handling to a minimum until they are more at ease in their tank and have fully settled in. Cover the tank with a towel or find a suitable background to limit their response to sensory stimuli (such as spectators). For hydration, give them a 20-minute warm and calming bath. 

To de-stress, offer food. Speaking to them gently and softly will make them feel less frightened, intimidated, and generally calmer.

How do you know if your beardie is happy?

When your bearded dragon displays no symptoms of aggressiveness but just affection, you may well be sure it is happy and likes you. When you approach your bearded dragon, it should not bite, bobble its head, puff out its beard, or hiss at you.

Can you let your bearded dragon run around the house?

Yes, just make sure there aren’t any threats in the room and that your bearded dragon isn’t left alone. Make sure the area you’re putting them out in is clean and free of sharp objects or other potentially dangerous items.

What does it look like when bearded dragons are mad?

You can tell it is mad if it is biting, hissing, bearding (fluffing their beard), head bobbing, and gaping (opening their mouth wide).

Conclusion Of Bearded Dragon Scratching At Glass

Bearded dragons are very active, so it should come as no surprise that they need a lot of room to roam around in their tanks. ​​Whatever the cause may be, it’s important to know how to read these signs so you can respond accordingly. We hope you have found our article on why bearded dragons scratch at the glass helpful. 

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