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How To Stop Bearded Dragon From Seeing Reflection?

As kids, most of us thought that the person on the other side of the mirror was simply us! When bearded dragons look into the glass, they don’t know that it’s their own self. This may make them feel scared or anxious. 

Now, you can stop your bearded dragon from seeing its reflection by covering the tank, adjusting the lighting, hiding the basking area, or adding a backdrop.

Read on to know more about stopping your bearded dragon from seeing its reflection in its habitat’s glass.

Are Bearded Dragons Scared of Their Reflection?

Bearded dragons aren’t exactly scared of their reflection. However, as they’re quite territorial in nature, they may see their reflection as a form of competition or threat. 

Therefore, if they keep looking at their reflection, they start getting aggressive and stressed for no reason. You might also be able to see various signs of prolonged stress such as darkened body pigmentation, head bobbing, waving, or even scratching the glass.

So, it is best to cover up the reflection to avoid your beardie from feeling stressed or threatened!

How Can You Stop Your Bearded Dragon From Looking At Their Reflection?

If you notice your beardie getting stressed or agitated due to its reflection, don’t neglect it. Most beardies won’t get used to their reflection and will continue to see them as their rival.  

Now, although it is a bit tough, you can try to mask a bearded dragon’s tank glass to stop them from looking at it. 

Here are four different ways to do so. 

Cover the Tank

You may already know that light hitting another surface can cause reflection. So, the best way to stop it is by blocking the light source itself. 

The best option is to cover the three surfaces of the tank with either a background or a self-adhesive plastic covering. These can be found in all different tank sizes, including the popular 40-gallon breeder tank most often used for beardies.

It’s preferable to stick the self-adhesive plastic covering on the areas that reflect the most. This way, your little bearded dragon can take a look at its surroundings without being interrupted by its own reflections!

Add a Tank Background

There might be chances where a plastic cover may not be able to stop the reflection. In such a case, you can purchase beautiful backdrops from pet shops and cover the three sides with them except the front. 

For instance, you can go for a desert backdrop or an aquarium backdrop. These backdrops will prevent your bearded dragon’s reflection, and allow them to live peacefully. 

Note that some backdrops may have a shadowy effect. So, your bearded dragon may chase it, but it wouldn’t be as huge of a problem as a reflection. 

However, there is a bit of a bigger problem with this solution. Beardies love to explore and look outside their cage. Therefore, it may cause them a little stress if the walls remain covered. 

Adjust the Lighting

If your beardie’s vivarium has improperly-placed lights, it may lead to reflection. Hence, try to adjust the lighting properly. Ensure that the cage isn’t lit too brightly to start reflecting its image and the room is evenly lit. 

Additionally, you should always opt for reptile bulbs as they contain proper lighting (emitting UVB) that won’t reflect a lot. 

Keep in mind that wherever you’re placing the lighting, it isn’t on the side of the tank as it may affect your gecko’s sensitive eyes. 

Hide the Basking Area

The basking bulbs placed in the vivarium may cause reflection. However, you can try to block the light coming from the bulb by placing plants or logs near it. This way, the light won’t surpass the basking area and cause reflection. 

Why Do Some Bearded Dragons Play With Their Reflection?

If you find your bearded dragon waving at the reflection, or chasing after it, don’t confuse it with playing. 

Most bearded dragons are solitary and territorial reptiles. Hence, if they’re chasing their reflection or “playing” with it, they might be trying to attack it as a form of self-defense. 

You need to stop them from playing with their reflection, as it can make them more aggressive and stressed. 

Moreover, they may also injure themselves if they end up hitting the cage too hard. 

Final Thoughts

Just like any other reptiles, bearded dragons cannot understand what a reflection is. For most of them, it is their rival and competition. So, they’ll keep trying to fight it and assert dominance, leading to continuous stress and aggression. 

Therefore, try to block the reflection itself by covering the tank, using backdrops, or simply adjusting the lighting properly. Once done, observe your bearded dragon and see if it can view its own reflection!


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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