What Does It Mean When My Bearded Dragon Turns Black




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Bearded dragons are interesting critters that can switch colors for many reasons. Many people wonder why their dragon turns black. It could be stress, illness, or even aggression. Let’s look at the causes and what to do about it.

Stress is a common cause. Changes in the environment, like a new cage, strange people, other animals, or noise can stress dragons. Create a calm and regular atmosphere to help reduce stress and stop color changes.

Illness can also cause a dragon to turn black. Along with darkening skin, there may be other signs like no appetite, tiredness, or difficulty breathing. If so, get vet help fast. Early detection and treatment can help.

Aggression can make dragons turn black too. Males may show aggression to each other during mating season, making them darker as a warning. If you have multiple dragons in one enclosure, give them enough space and hiding spots to reduce aggression and color changes.

Understanding Bearded Dragon Behavior

Bearded dragons have some amazing behaviors! They communicate with body language like head bobbing, arm waving, and throat puffing. They need a basking spot to regulate their body temperature, plus they experience something similar to hibernation called brumation. These lizards can also change color for various reasons. Remember, bearded dragons are omnivores and need a varied diet. Also, they get their name from the spiny projections under their necks that resemble a beard when puffed out. Take good care of your bearded dragon and unravel the mysteries of their behavior!

Why Bearded Dragons Turn Black

Bearded dragons are known for their color-changing abilities – especially turning black. This can mean a few things:

  • Defense: When scared, they absorb more heat by turning black, appearing bigger and scarier to predators.
  • Health: Stress, infection, or illness can cause blackness.
  • Hormones: Males may darken to assert dominance or attract mates. Females may do the same during breeding season.
  • Temperature Regulation: Dragons may darken their color to trap more heat in cooler environments.

These points cover the main reasons why they turn black. But it’s worth noting that not all dragons do this.

In ancient times, people believed turning black was an omen of danger or evil spirits. This led to either fear or reverence for these creatures.

Reacting to a Black Bearded Dragon

Worried when your bearded dragon turns black? It’s important to understand their behaviors to ensure their health. Here are three points to consider:

  1. Stress: Blackening can be a sign of stress or discomfort. Identify the source of stress to avoid issues.
  2. Temperature: They may turn black to absorb heat or cool down.
  3. Aggression: Blackening can be due to territorial disputes or aggression. Look out for other signs of dominance.

Also note that older dragons may darken due to age or genetics. Monitor any changes in behavior for insight into their health.

Pro tip: Monitor habitat conditions like temperature and humidity to keep them healthy and comfortable.

Seeking Professional Help

A vet specializing in reptiles can conduct tests, like blood tests, to see if there are health problems causing the color change.

They can tell you if the environment, like temperature or lighting, is wrong.

They also can help with nutrition, as dietary issues may cause color changes.

An experienced pro can assess the behavior of your dragon and help understand if the change is natural or a sign of illness.

Getting expert help provides peace of mind that you are taking the right steps for your dragon’s well-being.

It’s important to note each dragon is different, so get personalized help to meet its needs.

Timely help is key, so don’t delay. Reach out to reptile specialists or vets with experience in treating bearded dragons.


Bearded dragons turning black can be a cause for worry. There can be various reasons such as stress or illness. Consider your dragon’s behavior and look.

One cause may be body temperature. Bearded dragons are ectothermic. When too hot, they darken skin to absorb less heat.

Another cause may be feeling threatened. They puff up and darken as a warning to predators or rivals.

Not all black beards are normal. It could be a sign of health issues like respiratory problems or organ failure. If other symptoms are present, seek veterinary advice quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does it mean when my bearded dragon turns black?

When a bearded dragon turns black, it is a sign of stress or aggression. The dark coloration is a response to perceived threats or a way to establish dominance.

2. Is it normal for a bearded dragon to turn black?

Yes, it is normal for a bearded dragon to turn black on occasion. However, prolonged black coloration may indicate an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

3. How can I tell if my bearded dragon is stressed?

Aside from turning black, other signs of stress in bearded dragons include glass surfing, loss of appetite, excessive hiding, and aggressive behavior. It’s important to identify and address the source of the stress to ensure your pet’s well-being.

4. What are some common causes of stress in bearded dragons?

Common causes of stress in bearded dragons include inadequate enclosure setup, improper temperatures or lighting, inadequate diet or feeding schedule, handling or environmental changes, and overcrowding.

5. How can I alleviate stress in my bearded dragon?

To alleviate stress, ensure that your bearded dragon’s enclosure is properly set up with appropriate temperature gradients and lighting. Provide a varied and balanced diet, establish a consistent feeding schedule, minimize handling during periods of stress, and create a calm and secure environment.

6. When should I be concerned about my bearded dragon turning black?

If your bearded dragon consistently stays black for prolonged periods, shows signs of illness such as abnormal behavior, loss of appetite, or other concerning symptoms, it is advisable to seek veterinary assistance to rule out any underlying health issues.

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