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When my bearded dragon was younger, he didn't react to his reflection. Because he didn't react, I figured that he either couldn't see it, or wasn't bothered by it. But now that he's fully grown, he's begun getting territorial and started acting out against this perceived threat that is his reflection in his terrarium glass.

As cute as it is to see him bobbing his head sometimes, I'm worried about the stress that it's causing him to see his reflection all the time. Especially since there are moments when he'll charge at it.

Is there anything I can do to either make the glass less reflective, or to make him not notice his reflection? The problem is that I don't want to cover the front of the glass, because then I wouldn't be able to see him.

For reference:
40g breeder tank.
24" reptisun 10.0 UV light.
150 ceramic lamp (keeps the basking area at 100F).
Slate tiles for substrate.

  • So we're talking about a partial reflection through plain/fully transparent glass and not some mirror to make the area look bigger? – Mario Feb 18 '15 at 8:13
  • @Mario Yes, it's just normal aquarium glass. – Spidercat Feb 18 '15 at 14:38
  • As a note: you see a reflection on glass when there is more light on your side than behind the glass. – Manuki Jun 28 at 17:39
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I've personally had this problem with my turtle when I moved him to a tank during a storm, he's been outside alone in his outdoor enclosure with no reflection so he didn't react the best he could to his reflection. He wasn't particularly aggressive, but he did occasionally run into the glass and it probably was stressing him out.

The first thing you do is give him time, sometimes all it takes is a few days. If this problem persists then you have a few options which are rather partial solutions. First of all, make sure the room he is in is well lit, and his enclosure isn't too bright. This is somewhat hard because he does require basking lights, so what you can do is somewhat surround his basking area with plants or logs that will hinder the light from hitting the glass and cause a reflection. Keeping the glass terrarium near a bright wall will also help. If all this doesn't work, add some ornament bulk around the edges, in a way you can still see him of course. And finally you can go for covering 1-3 of the sides with the paper made for aquariums.

As far as I know these are mainly the ways you can minimize his reflection. You may have to take all measures to make him settle, but hopefully you won't. I could see how such a situation could be stressful as whenever he tries to exert dominance the "other dragon" will be equally dominant, and if he backs off, the other will too, which will entice him to exert dominance again, and so on. Fortunately, reptiles, though thought of as unintelligent, are great learners and can recognise a pattern and act accordingly, so there's hope he'll simply settle with time.

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You need to take a box that is usually used for moving and place it usidedown over The tank. Look at that! I cant see it and it cant see itself :D

  • This isn't a realistic long term suggestion and is likely to make the problem worse. A reflection in glass is usually caused by more light on the inside than on the outside. Placing a box over the tank would make the outside darker causing more of a reflection. – Beth Whitezel Jul 13 '16 at 16:41

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