• Beardie Bliss

Why Does My Bearded Dragon Scratch at the Glass?

Updated: May 24


If you’ve recently adopted a bearded dragon, you may notice that they tap or scratch on the aquarium's glass. This behavior is known as glass dancing or surfing, a common bearded dragon behavior with a few different causes. When your pet begins glass scratching, they typically rise on their back legs and reach their arms to tap or paddle against the glass while touching the glass with their torso and pressing their belly against it.


When you see your bearded dragon scratching the glass inside their tank, there are a few reasons for this behavior.


Your Bearded Dragon Wants to Venture Outside


When you spend time with your bearded dragon outside of its tank, it gets accustomed to interacting with you. Bearded dragons love to socialize with their owners, and when they tap on the glass, they want your attention and to venture outside their tank. They love climbing over their owners exploring areas of your home and outdoors.


Spending time with your bearded dragon is essential as they quickly get bored and may become stressed if they don’t have many activities to enjoy. Whether you play games with your pet or socialize with them, your bearded dragon will look forward to spending time outside the tank. If you’re concerned about bringing your pet outside, you can place a small blanket or pillow on a windowsill so they can observe the outdoors.


Experiencing Stress or Discomfort


Sometimes, how you arrange your bearded dragon’s tank isn't ideal for its comfort. They often let you know by tapping or scratching on the glass, which may indicate they don’t have a decent space to relax or sleep. They may also experience discomfort when the temperature is either too hot, humid, or too cold in some areas in the tank.


If you notice your dragon is eating less or showing a lack of interest, it may be suffering from the effects of lower temperatures. You can monitor your bearded dragon’s tank with a thermometer, which should be no lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the night, and about 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.


When you frequently rearrange your bearded dragon’s tank, they may become stressed and have difficulty getting comfortable with their new surroundings. It’s also essential to ensure that the lights are not too bright and you minimize any changes inside the tank to ensure your pet feels relaxed and happy.


Mating Behaviors and Breeding Season


If you notice glass scratching in early spring, this may be a sign that your pet bearded dragon is looking to mate. Mating season begins in spring, and your dragon will begin glass dancing in an attempt to leave its tank and find a potential mate for breeding. You may also notice your dragon’s beard turns black during this stage, and it becomes more active than usual in its enclosure.


It’s also common for a female bearded dragon to scratch on the glass when preparing to lay eggs. You may notice they dig and move around more than usual, including tapping and climbing on the glass wall during this process.


Your Bearded Dragon Notices Another Animal or Their Reflection


A bearded dragon is highly observant, and it may react unusually if it encounters another animal or a glimpse of its reflection. If your pet isn’t used to seeing another reptile or animal, it may scratch on the glass when it sees its reflection in the glass or a nearby mirror. If you have a pet, such as a cat, dog, a smaller pet, or reptile, your bearded dragon may bob its head or show signs of stress.


When you plan to adopt a new pet, including another reptile, it’s best to introduce them to your bearded dragon gradually, as an energetic puppy or kitten may cause stress and extra interest, which causes glass scratching to increase.


The Tank is Too Small


If your bearded dragon habitat doesn’t provide enough space for your pet, this may cause them stress and frustration. While a small, baby bearded dragon, up to six months old, only requires a terrarium 24 inches in length, you need to upgrade to a larger glass tank, at least 36 inches long, when your bearded dragon grows into adulthood.


Many bearded dragons are energetic and enjoy being active, both inside and out of the tank. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to invest in a large glass terrarium that offers a comfortable arrangement for your pet so that they can make the most of the space.


Summary


There are many reasons why your bearded dragon engages in glass surfing or dancing. In most cases, they are looking for stimulation, searching for a mate, or interacting with the world outside their tank. It’s always best to ensure your dragon enjoys a stimulating environment and lots of attention, which is ideal for their physical and mental health and well-being.


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