beared dragon with emergency vet

The Bearded Dragon: The Mystique of the Black Beard

Dan Scrivener

Jan 31, 2024

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If you’ve ever been lucky enough to hang out with a bearded dragon, you know just how fascinating these little critters can be. Not only are they known for their quirky personalities, but they also have a secret weapon in their arsenal—the infamous beard! When a bearded dragon’s beard turns black, it may indicate that something is not quite right. So, let’s dive into the colorful world of bearded dragons and decipher the mysteries of their beards. As you’ll learn, these charming little lizards know how to make a statement with their colorful fashion choices!

The Love Season Drama

When love is in the air (or in the terrarium), male bearded dragons pull out all the stops. During mating season, these fellas puff up their beards and turn them jet-black, hoping to impress the ladies. They even do a little head-bobbing dance! Sometimes, the ladies respond with a regal wave. Now that’s what we call a “dino-date!”

“I Woke Up on the Wrong Side of the Basking Rock” Days

Just like us, bearded dragons have those days when they feel a bit grumpy. On these gruff days, they might puff up their beard and show off their macho black look. However, if you put a mirror in front of them, you might see the same puffed up reaction. Be aware they might feel a bit self-conscious and stressed, so be mindful of their feelings!

The “Under the Weather” Beard

Even the happiest dragons can have their off days. When our beardie friends aren’t feeling their best, their beard can turn black as a sign of distress. It’s like a little lizard SOS. If you’ve tried the warm-up routine and they’re still sporting a gloomy beard, it’s time for a trip to the vet. Look out for other signs like:

  • weight loss
  • sunken eyes
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite
  • excessive mouth gaping
  • mouth swelling/signs of infection
  • nose discharge

Stress-Induced Color Changes

High-stress situations can lead to a black beard in our bearded buddies. Loud noises, chaotic environments, or even having nosy neighbors (cats or dogs, for example) can stress them out. Major changes in their home setup, new routines, or unusual situations can also trigger a beard change. Sometimes they go the extra mile and show submission when they’ve had enough by waving their tiny limbs alongside their darkened beard.

That Sun-Kissed Glow

Have you ever seen your beardie rocking a dark bronze hue? One reason could be that their nighttime environment was a bit too chilly. To combat the cold, they darken their skin and beard to soak up solar heat or UV-B rays. Think of it as their tanning session, but in reverse. If their tan lines disappear, it’s just their way of saying, “I’m all warmed up!” But if they’re still sporting a dark tone, it might be time for a health check. Take them to VEG, an exotics specialist, or your primary vet.

At VEG, we will do whatever we can to help you and your pet when you need it most. However, when it’s not an emergency, don’t hesitate to reach out to an exotic pet veterinarian for a bearded dragon checkup. Together we can ensure your little dragon buddy gets the TLC they deserve. After all, understanding your bearded companion is all part of the enchanting reptile journey. So, keep an eye on those ever-changing beards of your mini dragon!