Why Is My Bearded Dragon Scraping The Glass?

Bearded dragons are distinct and captivating creatures not only by their appearance but also by their unique behavior and body language. Often they exhibit strange behavior (like arm waving, head bobbing, puffing up, etc.), and glass scraping is one of them. This behavior is also called glass surfing. Although showing such signs occasionally is normal, expressing such behavior repeatedly shows that your bearded friend is in trouble. 

Looking at a bearded dragon scratching the wall and trying to push it seems the most bizarre thing, and many beardie owners wonder what glass scraping or glass surfing exactly means.

What Is Glass Surfing For Real?

When beardies stand on their feet and try to push the glass wall of their enclosure with their belly or scratch the glass with their forearms, the behavior is called glass scraping. Sometimes it also looks as if they are trying to climb the glass. This behavior is also accompanied by running frantically up and down along the glass wall of the enclosure (it seems as if they are trying to escape from the enclosure). Therefore it is also named glass surfing.

Reasons Why Bearded Dragons  Scrap Glass Or Glass Surf

Glass surfing or glass scraping is common in bearded dragons, and mainly they express this behavior when they are not comfortable in their tank. It is actually their way to escape from an environment that’s not providing them with the necessary amenities. Let’s dive deeper into the reasons that make beardies exhibit such behavior.

Their Reflection In The Glass

Naturally, the bearded dragon’s reflection is produced in the glass, but they can’t understand that it’s just their own reflection. They will think that another dragon is in the chamber. So forced by their solitary nature, they will take it as a threat and try to make him leave the place. Failing in which can make them scared and stressed, leading to glass surfing behavior.

Can’t Discern  Glass Barrier

After taking their own reflections wrong, bearded dragons cannot also discern that the glass is a physical barrier, and they can’t cross it. Just because they can see through it, they will continue to push and scratch at it in an effort to get through it. This behavior is more pronounced when they’re not comfortable in their habitat due to any reason.

Placed In A New Chamber

As we all know, bearded dragons do well in a familiar environment and don’t accept any change in their habitat. So, if you change their tank all of a sudden, they can get stressed, and it will take a couple of weeks for them to get accustomed to their new habitat. Meanwhile, a stressed beardie can develop glass scraping behavior.

Changes In Surrounding Environment

Even if you don’t change the enclosure as a whole, minor changes in the interior like adding a new toy, extra hide, or changing the tank’s location can stress your beardie. If you have installed a big portrait of a hunting bird or animal in the room and your beardie can see it, they will consider it a threat and will be under stress continuously. So they may run along the glass wall to keep themselves from being prey.

Small Size Enclosure

Providing sufficient space to bask, rest, roam around, and hide is necessary to keep your beardie happy. If the enclosure is too small or too large, it will be problematic for your bearded dragon in both cases. So when they are not comfortable, they will try to escape the enclosure in search of a better place to live.

Too Low Or Too High Temperature

Since bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals and need a continuous heat supply from an external source to stay warm, sometimes, they also need a cooler spot to rest and cool down their body when they feel too hot. Therefore it’s necessary to maintain a temperature gradient inside the tank. Your bearded friend will be unhappy if the temperature inside the tank is below or above the optimum level and may try to escape.

Dietary Stress

A hungry bearded dragon is more likely to scratch the glass. It is actually their way of attracting your attention and letting you know they need food. This usually happens when you are not offering sufficient food (especially baby bearded dragons that need to eat 4-5 times daily), or they are not interested in eating what you are offering.

They Are Bored 

Like humans, bearded dragons need both physical and mental stimulation to be happy and healthy. They get bored when kept in confinement for a long duration continuously. So if your bearded friend is scratching and pushing the glass, he may just want to get out to have some fun.

Clean My Place

Although it looks a bit strange, but many beardie owners have reported that when bearded dragons have defecated, they begin to scratch the glass to attract the owner’s attention as if they are saying, please clean my place. And they stop scratching once the poop is removed.

How To Prevent Glass Scraping Or Glass Surfing Behavior In Bearded Dragons

To stop your bearded friend from glass surfing or glass scrapping, the primary step is to investigate the matter deeply and carefully. Because once you identify the issue and root cause, it will be easier to sort it out. However, for your convenience, we have listed a few steps that you can take to help your bearded dragon avoid glass scraping.

Remove Reflection: To remove the reflection, cover the glass on the sides and the back with a solid background and consider readjusting the angle of lights.

Gradual Change:If you want to change the chamber’s interior, do it gradually. And give your bearded dragon sufficient time to get accustomed to it before making another change. 

Copy Paste The Interior:If you want to change the enclosure because your bearded friend has grown up and needs a bigger one (or for any other reason), try your best to copy the layout of the old enclosure. Place all the accessories in the way they were placed earlier. This will give your bearded dragon a familiar look, and the stress of being in a new habitat will be minimized. Thus helping your bearded friend to settle and become accustomed to a new place quickly.

Enclosure Placement:You should make sure to place the chamber in a room that is not easily accessible by children or other larger pets in the house. This will help your beardie avoid unnecessary stress. 

Recheck Temperature: You must keep an eye on the temperature inside the enclosure. It’s vital to maintain the temperature within the recommended range. Anything below or above the recommendations is stressful for your beardie. In addition, maintaining a cool spot and continuous temperature gradient is equally essential. So it’s better if you install good quality thermometers at different locations in the chamber. These thermometers will make monitoring the temperature at different locations in the tank easier.  

Use Proper Size Tank: Bearded dragons usually require a much larger tank relative to their size. Because they need a basking spot, cool spot, hides, and sufficient space to roam. In addition, it will be difficult to establish a temperature gradient in a small tank. So always consider recommended tank size according to the age of your bearded dragon. 

Feed Enough: You must consult your vet to know the feeding requirements of your bearded dragon according to age. So make sure to feed them the right food, insufficient amount. 

Undo Recent Changes: If your bearded dragon begins to exhibit glass scraping or surfing behavior after you have made some changes in the tank, then you need to revert the changes you have recently made.