Why is my bearded dragon's tail gray

Why is my bearded dragon’s tail gray?

The color of a bearded dragon’s tail may indicate different things depending on the situation.

Here are some of the possible reasons why a bearded dragon’s tail may appear gray:

  • Shedding: If the tail is turning gray and the skin is flaking off or seems dry, it may just be shedding. Provide proper hydration for your pet at all times to aid in shedding.
  • Normal behavior: If the tail is turning gray, it may be getting ready to shed, which is perfectly normal behavior.
  • Old skin: When the tail is turning gray, it might be an indication of the old skin coming off of the new skin, which can make it look washed out or pale.
  • Tail rot: Tail rot is a serious condition where the bearded dragon’s tail darkens and rots due to an unhealthy blood flow. This condition can cause the tail to turn purple, black, or blue.

If the tail appears to be dry, and flaky, and has an unusual color, it may be a sign of tail rot. In some cases, behavioral changes may also indicate tail rot. If you suspect your bearded dragon has tail rot, it is important to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading and causing further harm to your pet.

Shedding Process

Central Bearded Dragon(Pogona vitticeps)
Credit: Akash Samuel

Bearded dragons undergo a process of shedding their skin just like many other reptiles. This process is also known as ecdysis, and it helps them get rid of old skin cells and grow new ones. Shedding usually occurs every few weeks to months, depending on the age of the bearded dragon.

During shedding, bearded dragons may experience changes in their skin color and texture. This can also affect the appearance of their tails.

In some cases, the tail could appear gray or have a duller color during shedding due to the layer of dead skin cells that are being shed off. It’s important to note that shedding can be a stressful time for your bearded dragon as they may become uncomfortable or itchy during this process.

It’s essential to provide them with enough water and moisture around their enclosure to make the shedding process more comfortable for them.

If you notice any abnormalities in your bearded dragon’s tail during shedding, such as prolonged discoloration or difficulty in removing old skin cells, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible to avoid any health issues that could arise from improper care.

Health Concerns

Credit: Reptile Party Inc

Bearded dragons are generally hardy reptiles, but they can suffer from certain health conditions that may cause their tail to turn gray. As a responsible pet owner, it is important to be aware of these potential health concerns and know how to identify them in order to provide the best care for your pet.


Stress can manifest physically in bearded dragons and cause their tail to turn gray or even black. Stressful events such as improper handling, over-crowded living conditions, or exposure to loud noises can all contribute to stress in bearded dragons. Signs of stress can include lethargy, a lack of appetite, changes in behavior or mood.

If you suspect that your bearded dragon is stressed and experiencing a change in coloration of its tail, removing the source of stress is essential. This may include providing more space for your pet, reducing noise levels or handling with more care and attention.


Infection can also cause a bearded dragon’s tail to turn gray. Bearded dragons are susceptible to bacterial infections which can occur through wounds caused by rough handling or scratches from sharp objects within their enclosure. Symptoms of infection may include lethargy, loss of appetite and pus-filled bumps on its body.

If you suspect that your bearded dragon has an infection causing its tail coloration change then it’s important to take it immediately for veterinary care as soon as possible. Your vet will prescribe antibiotics if necessary and provide advice on how you can prevent infections from occurring again.

Veterinary Care

If you notice any concerning changes in the coloration of your bearded dragon’s tail like grey spots appearing on its scales then it’s crucial that you take it for veterinary care.

It is important to take prompt action as some conditions can be serious and even life-threatening. It’s recommended to research and find a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles or has experience treating bearded dragons.

They will be able to perform a thorough examination, take samples for testing and prescribe treatment if necessary. Regular check-ups are also important for keeping your bearded dragon healthy and happy.

Understanding the potential health concerns that can cause a bearded dragon’s tail coloration change is important for any pet owner. By learning how to identify these issues and seeking proper veterinary care, you can ensure that your pet remains healthy and happy.

Genetic Factors

The Gray Morph and Color Mutations

While it is not common for bearded dragons to have a gray tail due to genetic factors, there are certain morphs or color mutations that could impact the appearance of their tail.

One such morph is known as the “gray” morph, which is a recessive trait that causes bearded dragons to have gray scales instead of their usual coloration. This specific trait can affect any part of the bearded dragon’s body, including its tail.

Other color mutations may also play a role in the gray appearance of a bearded dragon’s tail. For example, some breeders may selectively breed for traits such as “smoke” or “pewter,” which could result in a grayish hue on various parts of the animal’s body.

Impact on Other Physical Characteristics

Genetic factors can impact more than just the coloration of a bearded dragon’s tail. For instance, certain morphs may also affect their size or pattern formations.

In contrast, some genetic mutations could cause health problems that may ultimately shorten your pet’s lifespan. Breeders should take caution when selecting bearded dragons for breeding, ensuring that they are not unknowingly propagating genetics that lead to adverse health outcomes or deformities in offspring.

It is crucial to research reputable breeders and choose animals with healthy genetics and strong physical characteristics. While rare, genetic factors can influence why your bearded dragon’s tail appears gray.

The “gray” morph and other color mutations can manifest in this discoloration while also impacting other physical characteristics. It is essential to exercise caution when selecting breeding animals to avoid unfavorable health outcomes for future generations.

Environmental Factors

The Effect of Temperature and Lighting Conditions

The temperature and lighting conditions in a bearded dragon’s environment can play a significant role in the coloration of their tail. Extremes in temperature, particularly those that are too high or too low, can result in stress for the animal. This stress can cause physical changes in the body, including changes to the color of their tail.

Bearded dragons require a basking spot temperature of 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit during the day while maintaining a cooler area around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Additionally, bearded dragons require full-spectrum UVB lighting for 10-12 hours per day to properly metabolize calcium and stay healthy.

Creating an Optimal Environment for Your Bearded Dragon

To create an optimal environment for your bearded dragon, it is important to mimic its natural habitat as closely as possible.

This includes providing a basking spot where your pet can heat itself up during the day, using full-spectrum UVB lighting, providing plenty of hiding spots and climbing opportunities, and using a substrate that will not cause impaction if ingested by your pet.

You should also make sure that your bearded dragon’s enclosure is large enough to allow it to move around freely and get proper exercise. A healthy environment will not only help with tail coloration but also ensure that your pet is happy and healthy.


After exploring the various factors that could cause a bearded dragon’s tail to turn gray, it’s clear that there are many potential reasons for this phenomenon. Some of these causes, such as shedding or genetics, may not pose a significant health concern for your pet. Others, such as infections or environmental issues, could potentially be harmful.

Regardless of the cause for your bearded dragon’s gray tail, it’s important to closely monitor their behavior and physical appearance for any signs of distress. If you notice any unusual changes in their coloration or behavior, seek veterinary care immediately.

With proper diet and environmental conditions, most bearded dragons can live long and healthy lives. By staying informed about the potential causes for a gray tail and taking necessary precautions to prevent health issues from arising, you can ensure that your pet remains happy and healthy for years to come.