Spotting captive bearded dragons standing up while sleeping may be a source of concern for novice owners. Not only are many of us used to the sight of animals lying down during sleep but not knowing the cause of the behavior could also take the confusion to whole new levels.
This article answers the question “Why Do Bearded Dragons Sleep Standing Up” by discussing possible underlying reasons that can trigger upright sleeping in beardies. We also reveal whether the behavior has harmful consequences on their health.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Sleep Standing Up?
Bearded dragons may sleep standing up as a means to cool their bodies due to excessive tank temperature or as a stress reliever. Beardies can also sleep upright because they enjoy that position.
Many seasoned pet owners say their minds had to be recalibrated during the initial stages of raising bearded dragons. These adorable pet lizards have several quirks that differentiate them from conventional pets.
However, paying attention to their less conventional behaviors offers clues about their current state of health and existing environments. Sleeping upright with their bellies against the tank glass is often a way of communicating to their owners that all may not be well.
There could be several underlying reasons for the strange behavior and your responsibility as an owner is to delve into the situation to identify the source of the problem if any. Shall we dive deep into the main reasons why beardies sleep standing up?
Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Sleep Standing Up With Their Stomach Against The Glass
Here are the major reasons why bearded dragons sleep upright while their stomachs rest against the glass.
Excessive Tank Temperatures
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded reptiles that require temperatures of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and basking areas of 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive. Creating a temperature gradient that meets the stipulated heat range is necessary to ensure maximum health and wellbeing. (Source)
A suitable thermogradient serves as a source of heat that enables beardies to regulate their body temperatures depending on the prevailing conditions in their environment. The right temperature range does not only keep their immune systems functioning to stave off diseases but also encourages regular activities like digestion and even mating behavior.
Standing upright during sleep with their bellies pressed against the tank glass is proof of extremely high environmental temperatures. This explains why experts recommend investing in large tanks with separate cool and warm areas to offer the reptiles the freedom to choose their desired temperatures at all times.
It is no secret that bearded dragons require more heat than the average exotic pet because of their cold-blooded nature. However, excessive heat can be counterproductive which is why fixing a thermostat in their tanks is recommended to ensure that temperatures do not go overboard.
Infant bearded dragons require feeding up to 5 times daily for healthy nutrition and related benefits. Adults should eat once a day immediately after basking their bodies in the heat to increase internal temperatures.
Failure to feed bearded dragons on time could result in stress that promotes glass surfing as the domesticated breeds attempt to escape from captivity to find food.
Bearded dragons do not fare too well with stress and often respond by displaying quirky behaviors including glass surfing and sleeping with open eyes. Glass surfing occurs when uncomfortable bearded dragons attempt to climb out of their glass tanks.
Stress from prevailing tank conditions such as inadequate lighting, food, or tank floor space could stimulate escape attempts via glass surfing. Sometimes, beardies also engage in the behavior as a means of battling stress.
Sleeping with their bodies against the glass is common after beardies suffer exhaustion from glass surfing attempts. These creatures are not selective with sleeping spots and do not hesitate to snooze wherever the urge comes.
Bearded dragons that were previously glass surfing usually end up sleeping with their bellies against the glass surface. Glass surfing is an obvious sign of trouble that requires further investigation to identify and eliminate.
Checking the temperature in the tank can be a great start since these creatures require 75 F to 85 F and basking spots of 95 F to 105 F. If the existing temperature exceeds these numbers, it is time to activate ways to lower it to the required range.
Bearded dragons in shared tanks may suffer stress from the presence of another beardie and this could explain the constant glass surfing. Separating them into different tanks or placing artificial barriers that result in physical separation often solves the problem.
There have been many cases of beardies glass surfing after seeing their own reflection. Terrarium wraps are effective for eliminating the stress of seeing their reflection which can be a source of needless anxiety.
Bearded dragons may sleep upright with their bellies against the glass tank as a means of cooling down internal temperatures or gaining relief from stress. Over time, it becomes an enjoyable leisurely habit engaged in for no reason.
Snoozing in upright positions has been observed among beardies in the wild and it is not uncommon to find these reptiles leaning against trees, walls, and fence post sides as they savor the delights of Dreamland. With only small tree branches and no fence posts in their tanks, the glass offers the best leaning support for sleeping bearded dragons.
As previously stated, always investigate to find out potential explanations for the upright sleeping position in bearded dragons. However, if tank temperatures are discovered to be optimum with no traces of excessive heat, mirror reflections, and stress from tank mates then there’s no cause for alarm.
It can be safely assumed that the quirky behavior is nothing more than a habit the bearded dragon enjoys. After all, the fact that the reptile may be in captivity does not make them any different from their cousins in the wild.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Standing Up?
Bearded dragons stand on their back legs as a sign of stress from less than ideal situations in their environments like excessive heat or the presence of tank mates competing for floor space and other resources. They often stand up in an attempt to climb the glass to escape from their terrarium.
How Do I Know If My Bearded Dragon Is Distressed?
Signs of distress in bearded dragons include tirelessly trying to climb out of their tanks, aggressive behaviors, and a dark-colored body. Stress marks in the form of dark lines, shapes and markings could appear on their belly, chin, and limbs.
Other signs include declined activity levels, loss of appetite, and lack of interest in basking to increase their internal temperatures. Opening their eyes during sleep could also occur in stressed bearded dragons when sudden lighting is introduced in their cages.
Conclusion: Why Do Bearded Dragons Sleep Standing Up?
Many of us envision a perfect bearded dragon that plays by the book after arrival at home. Noticing quirky behaviors like standing upright with their bellies against the glass tank during sleep can rattle many owners into looking for answers.
Beardies often sleep while standing up as a means of cooling their bodies due to excessive temperatures in their enclosures. Sometimes, stress triggers like the presence of tank mates or seeing their reflection may also lead to glass surfing which typically results in the bearded dragon sleeping upright when exhaustion kicks in.