A black beard on a bearded dragon can be a frightening sight for many first-time owners, causing anxiety and stress frequently!
Let’s face it, though. It doesn’t exactly appear like the turning black of the scales on your bearded dragon’s neck and chin is a joyful or friendly physical response, does it?
Naturally, you’ll be curious as to why your friend suddenly transforms in a matter of seconds from a totally normal person to a black bearded dragon.
If you’ve browsed our website or read extensively about bearded dragons, then you undoubtedly already know that there are a variety of reasons why your bearded dragon could have a black beard.
By nature evasive, beardies prefer to keep their owners guessing about not just how they’re doing but also the reasons for their behavior.
Fortunately, a blackening bearded dragon beard is not too difficult to spot. As a result, you’ll be in a better position to determine whether your beardie actually has a problem rapidly.
Time is of the utmost, after all, when it comes to our pet’s health.
Is It Normal For A Bearded Dragon To Turn Black?
Yes, bearded dragons frequently alter their body color in reaction to outside influences. The chromatophores that are found in virtually all reptiles’ skin allow them to alter their colour.
These chromatophores are unique cells that have a specific manner of catching light, altering the color that our eyes see. Since darker hues absorb more light and heat, these cells also help reptiles regulate their body temperatures.
Bearded dragons may alter their color for a variety of reasons, such as to convey their emotions or control their body temperature. When they feel threatened, frightened, or unwell, they frequently get darker.
Knowing the reasons behind your beardie’s color shift can help you better understand them and satisfy all of their demands while keeping them in captivity.
When to be concerned
Bearded dragons’ skin can change color suddenly or gradually over several months. As we’ve mentioned, there are a few very natural explanations for why a beardie could turn their skin black, and they shouldn’t raise any red flags. However, several of these
Potentially harmful causes for this skin color change include a variety of stressors, exposure to unsuitable environmental factors, or serious underlying medical conditions.
During brumation, a natural process comparable to hibernation in which reptiles suffer a period of inactivity and slowed metabolism, bearded dragons may also see changes in skin color. Brumation is not essential for bearded dragons kept as pets, though, as their surroundings and nutrition should not change.
Color changes may last longer in specific circumstances, such as brumation. You should have your bearded dragon checked out by a veterinarian if their color changes and they are not caused by brumation or other evident things that are impacting their mood or surroundings.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Turn Black?
There are several factors involved, much like with other bearded dragon behaviors, in why beardies exhibit a black beard. It’s up to you to pay attention and put your thinking gear on to figure out what is impacting them, whether it be internal factors or their surroundings.
Read on to find out the top 9 reasons why bearded dragons exhibit a black beard in order to understand more about the precise causes!
They’re Feeling Threatened/Scared
Similar to a cat that would hiss or yowl, a bearded dragon will blacken its beard in an effort to ward off whatever they see as a threat.
A black beard is a warning to others nearby who they perceive as frightening as well as a symbol of anguish.
Male bearded dragons frequently display a black beard when they come into contact with one another in the wild. Consider it their attempt to frighten one another.
Any male bearded dragon would hate for another male to enter his domain and approach his females.
Thermoregulation is the most frequent cause of a beardie turning black.
Because bearded dragons have cold blood, they are dependent on outside heat to keep warm because they are unable to control their own body temperature. Reptiles with darker scale colors may absorb heat more quickly. Bearded dragons can darken their skin to assist retain any more heat when it is chilly.
A beardie will frequently become black in an effort to raise their body temperature, especially in the morning or when the outside temperature drops.
A bearded dragon’s environment may not be warm enough if it goes dark frequently. In the cooler area of the tank, the bearded dragon should be kept around 75–80°F, and in the warmer area, at 95–100°F. Additionally, bearded dragons need a basking area with UVB light and a temperature of 105–110°F.
Temperatures at night shouldn’t drop below 70 to 75 °F. Check the thermometers in the habitat if your bearded dragon is black to make sure the temperature is within the proper range.
If the temperature is too low, put up the heat to see if your pet’s color starts to return to normal. Consult your veterinarian for assistance in figuring out the reason if their skin tone doesn’t change.
Your bearded dragon may have become black and perished as a result of an improper habitat temperature. To learn more about what could have happened, discuss your pet’s circumstances in detail with your veterinarian.
This is among the factors that lead to many novice entrepreneurs making a hasty decision. While this is frequently a scared response, it can also be the reason why a bearded dragon’s neck turns black.
There are a few causes for a sick bearded dragon to act in this manner.
The first hypothesis is that they are only attempting to appear as threatening as possible in order to conceal the fact that they are genuinely unwell. Many animals employ this strategy, and in the wild it really performs rather well!
Stress and discomfort are the other causes of a sick bearded dragon’s possible black beard. Your bearded one will probably feel uncomfortable if they are very ill. And as we’ve previously discovered, stress and terror may make their necks become black.
The majority of the time, there will be more symptoms that they are ill, so don’t panic. Lethargy, not eating, inconsistent defecation, and other behavioral changes might be signs of a problem.
There is a fair likelihood that your bearded dragon is healthy if it has a black beard and is acting properly (and the black beard doesn’t last very long).
They’re A Bit Chilly
Due to inadequate heat in the habitat, a bearded dragon will puff and turn its beard black when it becomes cool. They really make an effort to warm up by going black. Therefore, if your bearded dragon’s beard goes black, check that the temperature within the cage is appropriate.
Make the required modifications to return the temperature to normal if it is low. This article explains the needs for lighting and warmth in a cage for a bearded dragon.
In order to attract females and increase their chances of mating with them, male bearded dragons darken and enlarge their beards during mating season. Other courting behaviors include a quick head movement and an aggressive demeanor.
What can you do in this regard?
Not a lot. You might notice your beardie acting a little differently than usual during mating season. The only thing you can do is wait as it may get angrier and more aggressive. In order to reduce your beardie’s stress triggers at this sensitive time, make sure it has a tank where it feels comfortable and protected.
They’re Feeling Territorial
If you keep two bearded dragons in the same tank, then… To start, WHY? And secondly, be prepared for some fierce (perhaps fatal) territorial conflicts, including black bearding!
Bearded dragons should never be kept in the same enclosure. They are not intended to share space with one another because they are solitary species.
This living arrangement is nothing short of reptile cruelty and need to be avoided at all costs, as it can result in bloodied limbs or even deaths.
The continual sexual harassment of the female by the male and potential physical altercations emerge from their relationship.
Should the female put up a struggle and refuse the male’s repeated attempts to mate with her? So, be prepared for a confrontation in which the larger lizard—usually the male—will prevail.
In this situation, your poor female will always lose. Even if she is considerably larger and can repel the male during mating and combat, the ongoing stress is enough to kill her.
Bearded dragons enjoy spending a lot of time in the sun in the wild. In addition to keeping them warm, sunlight helps them produce vitamin D in their skin, which helps them absorb calcium from diet for strong, healthy bones.
To prevent vitamin D or calcium deficiency, pet bearded dragons must be exposed to UVB rays from a full-spectrum UV lamp for a number of hours each day in an enclosed indoor environment. Lack of UVB exposure can result in metabolic bone disease, a disorder that frequently causes skeletal malformations in indoor pet bearded dragons.
If the skin on your bearded dragon starts to turn black and stay black, it can be because you aren’t getting enough UVB exposure. If you don’t have a UV lamp or it’s been more than six months since you last changed the bulb, you may need to improve the lighting system for your pet.
Consult your vet for advice on the best lighting setups for your pet, and be sure to inspect and replace their bulbs on a regular basis in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
They’re Getting Used To A New Enclosure
A common cause of worry for newly acquired bearded dragon pets is getting used to their enclosure. They must be going through a lot during this process, and not having a pleasant location to stay will make things even more difficult for them.
As you can see, bearded dragons require some time to adjust to a new environment. They’ll need some time to feel secure there, even if you’ve set it up well and given them lots of room.
They could dye their beards black to make a statement due to their increasing worry and anxiety. The perception of a danger is quite high since they do not think they have yet entered their domain.
In all honesty, the only thing you can do for them is to give them time and space to adjust. You may anticipate that their black beard will disappear as they become more accustomed to their confinement.
They’re Not Comfortable With You
When you initially bring a bearded dragon home, you should give it some time and space so that it can get used to you and its new surroundings.
If you recently purchased or adopted a bearded dragon, and it is growing a black beard on you, don’t be shocked; the dragon doesn’t know you yet. Additionally, it takes time for them to build confidence in you and acclimate to their new surroundings.
Your freshly acquired beardie is likely to turn its beard black if you try to engage with it too quickly. They let you know by turning their beard black that they are uneasy near you and would want some space.
Your animal often displays a deeper hue after a period of brumation, which is the reptile equivalent of hibernation. For beardies, returning to an active lifestyle after a time of lethargy is difficult. Beardies require some time to control their hunger, raise their body temperature, and resume their former routines after brumation.
What Can You Do if Your Beardie Is Emerging From Brumation?
There isn’t much you can do if your lizard is becoming black after a time of brumation. Give your pet some time to get used to living normally again, and don’t force it to do anything it isn’t ready for.
Make sure their tank is warm enough for them to maintain their body temperature by keeping an eye on the temperature.
Poor General Care
This section serves as a catch-all for all of the minor, unrelated factors that might cause a bearded dragon’s beard to become black.
Your beardie may become agitated by a poor nutrition, a messy environment, a poorly designed habitat, or inadequate lighting. Although the factors already mentioned are undoubtedly the most frequent, it would be foolish to rule out the possibility of additional factors.
If you find that a component of your care plan is insufficient, be sincere with yourself and make the necessary adjustments. We firmly think that caring for bearded dragons as pets is an ongoing learning process and that the only terrible pet owners are those who neglect to act in their animal’s best interests.
Wrapping Up Bearded Dragon Black Beard
There you have it, then! I hope this post helped you understand some of the numerous potential causes behind your bearded dragon’s black beard.
The causes might range from underlying health issues to simply wanting to cuddle up for a moment.
Now that I’ve said that, I don’t want to scare you into thinking that a black beard always means anything really serious. Simply said, it is not the case. I see it as something that should never be disregarded.
The best advise I can give you is to always follow your instincts.
You are the expert on your bearded dragon, so if everything appears fine, it’s likely that the black-bearding isn’t happening for any significant or alarming reasons.
To express their feelings (stress, hostility, or terror), demonstrate authority, or control their body temperature, bearded dragons become black. Unless you see a protracted color shift along with symptoms of disease like tiredness or appetite loss, it normally isn’t a cause for concern.
Another indication of tail rot in a bearded dragon is a darkening of the tail, particularly towards the tip. It’s generally better to take your bearded dragon to the veterinarian in these situations.