If you have ever owned or cared for bearded dragons, then you may have witnessed your bearded dragon in some interesting positions, especially while they sleep. Bearded dragons will fall asleep anywhere and in any position that they feel comfortable. While it may seem strange or uncomfortable to you as their owner, it is most likely not bothering your bearded dragon in the slightest.
One of those common positions that may cause some worry is when your bearded dragon sleeps with their belly pressed up against the glass of their enclosure while standing on their hind legs. Is this cause for alarm? Why is your bearded dragon sleeping standing up against the glass?
While a bearded dragon sleeping pressed against the glass may be alarming, there is most likely nothing to worry about. There are different possibilities for this behavior including incorrect tank temperature, stress, or to put it plainly, they do this because they want to.
Bearded dragons have their way of doing things, while we as owners can speculate about every little detail, there is usually no reason for their behavior other than they felt like doing it at that moment.
However, in some cases, your bearded dragon may be trying to tell you something. Let’s discuss some possibilities.
Reason 1: Incorrect Tank Temperature
Bearded dragons require a warm climate, and being a pet does not change this fact. Their ideal enclosure temperature ranges from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and their ideal basking temperature ranges from 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gradient temperatures in their enclosure and/or habitat allow for your bearded dragon to properly perform thermoregulation, which plays an important role in their digestion, sexual readiness, and sleeping habits. If your bearded dragon is sleeping with his or her belly pressed up against the glass while standing on their hind legs, he or she could be trying to cool their internal body temperature down due to their tank being too warm or not having proper gradience.
The tank you provide for your bearded dragon should be large enough to offer a basking spot and a cool side while still being lit entirely by a single lamp. If you need more information on how to appropriately light a bearded dragon’s enclosure, check out our article about how much light beardies need.
If the tank your bearded dragon resides in is so small that there is no gradience, or you have provided a basking lamp that is too large and too hot, then your bearded dragon will do whatever it can to cool itself down.
While bearded dragons thrive in hot climates, becoming too hot is still a concern for bearded dragons and should be taken seriously. Be sure to check the temperatures and wattage of your bearded dragon’s enclosure and basking lamp to ensure they are not overheating.
Your local herp vet and reptile shop can guide you in choosing the appropriate tank size and basking lamp wattage.
Reason 2: Stress
Believe it or not, bearded dragons can experience stress, and this stress can cause some interesting behaviors, like glass surfing. Glass surfing is the term to describe the act of your bearded dragon trying to climb up the glass of their enclosure to get out.
Glass surfing is caused by a small enclosure, incorrect temperature and lighting, seeing their reflection (or another bearded dragon’s), or boredom. As aforementioned, bearded dragons will fall asleep anywhere and in any position they feel comfortable, so if your bearded dragon has had a long day of glass surfing he or she could have fallen asleep in that position.
It is important to pay attention to the behavior of your bearded dragon to gauge the seriousness of the situation. If you suspect glass surfing as the cause of your bearded dragon’s strange sleeping behaviors, then it would benefit both your bearded dragon and you to investigate the possible causes of the stress.
Your bearded dragon should have an enclosure large enough to have gradient temperatures with the cool side ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and a basking spot ranging from 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit to promote proper digestion and calcium absorption.
If you suspect the stress is caused by a nearby bearded dragon, try separating the dragons’ enclosures. You could place them in their rooms or block their views of each other.
You could also try a terrarium wrap to cut down on the possibility of your bearded dragon becoming stressed out by his or her reflection.
Reason 3: They Enjoy It
As strange as it may seem, sometimes your bearded dragon will sleep in this position simply because he or she enjoys it and is comfortable. Bearded dragons in the wild are known to sleep on the sides of trees, walls of homes, or even sides of fence posts.
As mentioned several times above, bearded dragons can and will sleep in any position in any place they feel comfortable, and this is no different for your beloved pet bearded dragon. The only difference between the two is your bearded dragon most likely does not have a tree to sleep on. So, he or she climbs up the side of their tank and falls asleep in a similar position.
Domesticated bearded dragons are no different than their wild counterparts other than their behavior looks particularly strange while in captivity rather than in their natural habitat.
If you have found zero evidence of stress or incorrect temperatures that would cause this strange sleeping position, then the reason behind it is most likely no cause for alarm. As long as your bearded dragon is properly hydrated and fed, has access to an appropriate basking spot and cool side, and is not threatened by any other bearded dragon, then he or she is being taken care of in every appropriate way possible, and you have nothing to worry about.
It is important to remember that no matter how hard we may try to understand bearded dragons, sometimes they do things just because they can and want to. While it may cause some alarm for you at first, it is best to just leave them be and let them do whatever it is they are doing, especially if they are at no risk for injury or harm.
However, if your bearded dragon is sleeping in their water check out our article about that behavior.
It can be concerning to witness your bearded dragon exhibiting a strange, new behavior without understanding what could be causing it. If you are an experienced bearded dragon owner or caregiver then you have more than likely witnessed a rather lengthy list of strange behaviors and probably even some more uncomfortable sleeping positions than standing against the glass.
While the cause of your bearded dragon to sleep standing up against the glass could be stress or inappropriate heating levels, it is more likely your bearded dragon is comfortable and happy in that position.
Bearded dragons are known to fall asleep at any time, in any place, and any position. This odd behavior regarding the sleeping habits of bearded dragons can leave some owners and caregivers worried that there could be something wrong with their beloved bearded dragon when in reality, they are just doing what it is they do.
If you are ever concerned with the behavior of your bearded dragon or worried about their health and well-being, contact your local herp vet to gain any guidance and/or tips in moving forward and providing the most appropriate habitat possible for your little companion.
It is completely natural to want the very best for your bearded dragon and to feel like you could be doing more, however, your bearded dragon is most likely living their best life thanks to you and all of the care and effort you are putting into their well-being and happiness.