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Why Your Uromastyx Is Glass Surfing + How To Stop It

why is my uromastyx glass surfing?

If you are a proud owner of a Uromastyx lizard, you may have noticed it exhibiting a peculiar behavior known as “glass surfing.” While it may seem harmless at first glance, glass surfing behavior can actually be your uromastyx telling you that something is wrong.

Uromastyx lizards repeatedly glass-surf when stressed due to problems related to their enclosure, temperature, or humidity. Your uromastyx may also be feeling bored, restless, or it may not be used to the glass material. Addressing the main cause will eliminate your uromastyx’s glass surfing behavior.

In this blog post, we will explore the common reasons why uromastyx lizards tend to glass surf and provide valuable insights on how to stop it.

What Does Glass Surfing Look Like On A Uromastyx?

Glass surfing or glass dancing, as the name suggests, describes a behavior that uromastyx and most other captive lizards do when they repeatedly climb or pace along the walls of their enclosure.

Your uromastyx would do paddle-like movements in an attempt to climb the slippery walls.

At around 1:15 onwards, this uromastyx glass surfs by repeatedly trying to paddle and climb along the walls of its enclosure.

Glass surfing is usually harmless and does not pose any health-related issues to your lizard. However, repeatedly performing this behavior may signify that something is bothering your uromastyx and causing it to be stressed.

Stressed lizards may also exhibit other signs of anxiety, such as restlessness, loss of appetite, and frequent hiding behavior.

If you notice your uromastyx engaging in glass surfing behavior, it is important to take action to alleviate its stress and ensure its well-being.

Why Is My Uromastyx Glass Surfing?

There are several common reasons why a uromastyx lizard might be glass surfing. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Inadequate Space: Uromastyx are active lizards and require ample space to explore, bask, and hide.  If your Uromastyx feels cramped in its enclosure, it may resort to glass surfing to relieve stress.
  • Temperature or Humidity Issues: Uromastyx lizards require specific temperature and humidity levels to thrive. If these conditions are not met, your uromastyx may become uncomfortable and worse, it may develop health problems over time.
  • Territorial Aggression: Uromastyx lizards are generally solitary and territorial creatures. They may exhibit glass surfing behavior if they feel threatened by other lizards in their enclosure. Worse, they may engage in fights resulting in injury.
  • Lack of Stimulation: Uromastyx lizards are intelligent animals and require mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. If your Uromastyx is bored or lacks sufficient environmental enrichment, it may resort to glass surfing as a way to occupy itself.
  • Poor Perception of Glass: Some uromastyx, especially if caught from the wild, may not perceive glass well. They might glass surf as an attempt to escape, or think that their reflection is another lizard so they will try to approach it by glass paddling.

Did you know? Uromastyx wiggle when they are annoyed. More on that in our article here!

How Do I Stop My Uromastyx from Glass Surfing?

uromastyx trying to escape

Once you have an idea on why your uromastyx is glass surfing, there are several steps you can take to eliminate the stressor and prevent the behavior from recurring:

  • Provide adequate space. Small uromastyx less than 10 inches in length can be housed in a 36″x18″ tank. Bigger ones up to 15 inches are best kept in a 48″x18″ tank, while much larger uromastyx should be kept in at least a 72″x24″ space.
  • Ensure adequate temperature and humidity. A daytime temperature gradient of 80-100oF is ideal, accompanied by a 10-15oF drop during the night. The basking spot should be around 110-120oF and humidity should be maintained at 15-35%.
  • Monitor for aggression: If you have multiple Uromastyx lizards sharing an enclosure, monitor their behavior to ensure they are not engaging in territorial aggression. Uromastyx, especially males, actually do better housed alone than in groups.
  • Provide environmental enrichment. Try adding obstacles and climbing surfaces such as tree branches, rocks, hiding areas, and dig boxes. Slowly introduce new elements to the enclosure so as not to scare your uromastyx.
  • Change your glass enclosure. If it looks like your uromastyx is not accustomed to the reflective and transparent glass material, consider switching to a different material of enclosure. Wood, plastic, or fiberglass enclosures are more expensive but have their own benefits.
  • Understand What Your Uromastyx Prefers. Different species of uromastyx can differ based on their temperament and behavior. Some prefer climbing, while some would rather stay on ground. Friendlier uromastyx might like being handled more.
  • Consult a Herp Vet. If your Uromastyx’s glass surfing behavior persists, it may be helpful to consult a reptile veterinarian. They can help diagnose any underlying health issues and provide additional guidance on how to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Tip: If you want to learn how to take proper care of your uromastyx, read our uromastyx care guide here!

Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team
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