Why Is My Bearded Dragons Skin Dark

Why Is My Bearded Dragon’s Skin Dark?

Bearded dragons are popular reptiles kept as pets and admired for their vibrant skin colors. However, the color of a bearded dragon’s skin can change due to a number of reasons.

Some of these include temperature regulation, fear or aggression, mating, health problems and diet.

This article will provide an overview of why your bearded dragon’s skin may have darkened. It is important to understand the possible causes in order to take appropriate action and ensure their health and wellbeing.

Temperature regulation

Credit: Oliver Leveritt

Temperature regulation can have an influence on the colour of a reptile’s skin.

An optimum environment should be created to ensure the bearded dragon can meet their energy needs and avoid environmental stress, which may lead to darkening of the skin.

Proper lighting, supplements intake, water intake and activity levels should all be taken into consideration for temperature regulation.

In addition, shedding cycles, skin care as well as UV exposure and photoperiod changes are essential elements that contribute to a healthy environment for your bearded dragon.

By providing adequate conditions for temperature regulation, you can help your pet achieve its optimal health – thus helping it maintain its coloration.

To address fear or aggression issues in your bearded dragon could require further investigation.

Fear or aggression

1049 Bearded Dragon
Credit: Anthony Smith

Fear or aggression could be causing the animal to darken its skin.

Changes in color of a bearded dragon’s skin can occur as a result of shedding, which happens as part of the shedding cycles that occur naturally in the species. The frequency and intensity of these cycles can be dependent upon environmental factors such as sun exposure, temperature control, and handling habits.

Additionally, stress levels caused by poor cage cleaning or improper management of temperature regulation can cause color changes due to fear or aggression.

Stress management is important for controlling these color changes and should involve providing natural habitat, appropriate temperatures, and regular handling with gentleness.

To conclude, the darkening of a bearded dragon’s skin could be due to fear or aggression related to stress levels stemming from their environment.

Transitioning into subsequent sections on mating requires understanding how to properly manage these environmental factors for optimal health and wellbeing in order to reduce stress-related behaviors that may lead to changes in their skin color.


Mating in bearded dragons is a complex process that must be managed carefully to ensure the health and wellbeing of all involved.

Stressed dragons may experience skin shedding, which can occur due to age-related causes, or due to the shedding season. Proper pet care will help reduce stress levels, including providing adequate humidity levels, appropriate lighting needs, and bathing habits as needed.

In addition to these steps, it is important to ensure that the mating process is handled correctly to avoid any potential health problems for the dragon.

Health problems

Bearded dragons, like any other animal, can suffer from various illnesses and ailments. Common health problems include parasites, bacterial infections, fungal infections and metabolic bone disease.

It is important for the owner to recognize the signs of these illnesses in order to ensure prompt medical attention for their pet. Proper care and nutrition will help reduce the risk of illness or parasite infestation in bearded dragons.


Illness can cause changes in the color of an animal’s skin.

Exposure to sunlight, dehydration, shedding cycles, nutrient deficiencies, stress response, improper lighting, calcium deficiency, hydration levels, breeding season and dietary changes can all contribute to darkening or lightening of a bearded dragon’s skin.

Furthermore, parasites such as mites can cause irritation and subsequent discoloration of the skin due to inflammation.


Parasites can cause changes in the color of an animal’s integumentary system due to inflammation. Common parasites that may affect bearded dragons include mite infestations, fungal infections, and bacterial infections. These parasites can disrupt regular shedding cycles, resulting in excessive shedding problems or signs of inadequate shedding.

In addition to parasites, environmental stress and poor nutrition can also lead to discoloration of the skin as well as other health issues related to metabolic bone disease. Poor lighting and improper humidity levels are also factors that should be considered when assessing a dragon’s overall health.

Metabolic bone disease

Metabolic bone disease is a common condition among reptiles, such as bearded dragons, that can cause discoloration of the integumentary system. This discoloration occurs because calcium deficiencies weaken bones and reduce the shedding colors and cycle of the reptile’s skin.

The age at which a bearded dragon will start to shed due to metabolic bone disease usually depends on its diet. If it has not consumed enough calcium or vitamins, then its UV exposure, water intake, stress levels, supplements intake, and environment change may all contribute to the early onset of shedding.

Additionally, stress from any changes in its environment can also affect when the skin begins to darken due to metabolic bone disease.


Eating a balanced diet is an important factor in maintaining the health of reptiles.

A bearded dragon’s diet should be composed primarily of insects, although some vegetables and fruits can also be included as occasional treats.

Insects provide essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals that are necessary for a healthy beardie.

In addition to providing nutrients, it is also important to ensure that your bearded dragon has access to adequate sunlight exposure, humidity levels, and stress levels for optimal health.

Another dietary consideration for bearded dragons is calcium deficiency.

Calcium is essential for bone growth so it must be supplemented through their diet or through dust baths with calcium powder added to the sand.

It is also important to monitor water consumption and any changes in eating habits since this can indicate metabolic issues.

When feeding a bearded dragon it is best practice to offer them food items no bigger than the space between their eyes to reduce the risk of choking or digestive blockage.

With proper attention given to all aspects of nutrition including UV light exposure, a balanced diet can help keep your bearded dragon healthy and prevent skin discoloration due to metabolic bone disease or other nutritional deficiencies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of substrate should I use for my bearded dragon’s habitat?

When setting up a habitat for a bearded dragon, it is essential to choose the appropriate substrate. There are various types of sand available, but play sand or calcium-based sand should be avoided as these can cause health issues in the long run.

Temperature control should be provided with both heating and cooling elements, as well as humidity levels kept around 40-50%. Diet choices must also take into account adequate exposure times to UVB bulbs, basking spots, hiding spots and tank decorations.

It is important to regularly clean the substrate to ensure a healthy living environment for the bearded dragon.

How often should I bathe my bearded dragon?

Bathing a bearded dragon is an important hygiene measure that should be done at least once every two weeks.

During the bath, it is important to use lukewarm water and limit the bathing time to about 10-15 minutes.

When bathing, some safety measures should be taken into account such as making sure that the bearded dragon does not escape from its bath container or ingest any of the bath products used.

Additionally, it is beneficial for skin health as it helps with shedding process and maintaining skin moisture; however, too frequent baths can lead to skin darkening.

Therefore, it is recommended to keep a regular frequency of bathing your bearded dragon in order to ensure its optimal skin health.

How much space does a bearded dragon need?

Bearded dragons are a popular pet for reptile enthusiasts, and they require an appropriate amount of space to thrive. Generally speaking, enclosures should be at least 8 square feet in size and can accommodate housing, basking spots, furniture, and other items to keep your dragon healthy.

Temperature control within the enclosure should be monitored closely; a range between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Humidity levels should also be kept consistent between 30-40%.

A proper diet is important as well; insect proteins along with vegetables and calcium supplementation will help ensure their health needs are being met. Additionally, providing a shedding aid such as misting or warm baths can aid in the process while reducing stress.

Finally, regular monitoring of your bearded dragon’s health is recommended to ensure that they remain healthy over time.

What type of lighting should I use for my bearded dragon?

Bearded dragons require specific lighting setups to be healthy and thrive in captivity. UVB lighting is essential for helping bearded dragons produce Vitamin D3, which is necessary for calcium absorption.

Heat lamps should also be used to create a gradient of temperatures in the habitat that mimics their natural environment.

In addition, substrate choices, bathing frequency, habitat size, enrichment items, temperature monitoring, humidity levels and diet choices must all be taken into consideration for optimal health.

Temperature monitoring is especially important as bearded dragons are prone to overheating and becoming dehydrated quickly if exposed to excessive heat or bright lights.

It is recommended that owners provide proper care and take measures such as using the correct lighting systems and monitoring the dragon’s health frequently in order to ensure its wellbeing.

What kind of toys should I provide for my bearded dragon?

Providing toys for a bearded dragon can help it to stay active and engaged. Playtime activities, activity centers, environmental enrichment, substrates for play, enrichment items, cage decorations, stimulating elements, new scents, hideouts and climbing structures are all great options for providing entertainment for your pet.

Bearded dragons can become bored easily if they have nothing interesting to do in their cages – so providing them with a variety of interactive items will help keep them entertained and mentally stimulated. These items should be regularly changed or rotated to keep the beardie from becoming bored with its environment.

Additionally you should provide hiding spots that offer your pet security as well as multiple levels or platforms that allow it to climb so that it can exercise its muscles.


In conclusion, the darkening of a bearded dragon’s skin can be caused by several factors. Temperature regulation is one of the primary reasons; when a bearded dragon is exposed to cooler temperatures, its skin may turn darker in order to absorb more heat from its environment.

Fear or aggression are also possible causes for change in skin color as it helps them communicate with other dragons and potential mates.

Additionally, health problems like metabolic bone disease can cause darkening of the skin due to calcium deficiency and improper diet. It is important to monitor your bearded dragon’s health closely and provide a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals.

Ultimately, understanding why your bearded dragon’s skin has changed color will help you provide the best care possible for your pet.