If you know what to look for, you can tell a lot by the color of your bearded dragon.
For this reason, it’s essential that owners learn what color changes mean in their bearded dragon as this will help them to provide the best care possible.
The color of your bearded dragon can reveal tell-tale signs as to the state of their health, happiness, and overall well-being.
In this post, we will answer the 16 common questions that all owners should know regarding the color of their bearded dragon.
Let’s now take a close look at the 16 things bearded dragon owners should know regarding the color of their beardie…
Can Bearded Dragons Change Color?
Bearded Dragons can change color. They can change color based on their internal body temperature to assist in efficient thermoregulation and also to send social signals. They may also change color to camouflage in their environment.
Many reptiles utilize color change strategies by redistributing color pigment throughout their skin cells. Bearded Dragons are capable of this unique strategy, and it benefits them in many ways.
Firstly, color change has a known use in Bearded Dragons communication, in particular their beard color.
The color change of their beard can indicate to other beardies their emotions, whether they may be angry or threatening or submissive and friendly. Their beard color is an excellent way for owners to understand their beardies’ emotions.
Color-changing tactics are also cleverly used for the efficiency of thermoregulation in Bearded Dragons.
When a Bearded Dragon is cool, it will be a dark brown color. Darker colors reflect less light and thus will aid in the absorption of heat. When they reach their desired temperature, they will change to a light yellow color.
Lighter shades reflect more light and prevent Bearded Dragons from absorbing too much heat and becoming too hot.
This color change based on temperature also aids in camouflage as a Bearded Dragons tone will match the level of sunlight and shadows to blend into their environment.
Bearded Dragons are unique in their color-changing abilities as they can balance environmental color change with social color change, adhering to both simultaneously.
They use their beard color for social interactions and their back color for environmental efficiency.
Do Bearded Dragons Change Colour As They Get Older?
The general colors and patterns of a Bearded Dragon will not change as they grow older, but the tone of color may vary from juvenile to adult to elderly. This may appear to be a color change, but it is more about the shift in the vibrancy of the colors than the colors changing.
The Colour and patterns of an individual Bearded Dragon are related to their genetics. Their genetic makeup chooses what they will display, and this will not change as they get older.
But their color tones may vary through their life stages depending on their growth and health.
Hatchlings and young juveniles usually possess striking colors, and as they grow into an adult, these colors may deepen, darken or lighten.
As a beardie grows, their skin will stretch to fit their growing bodies, which can cause their patterns and coloration to appear changed when the pigment has been stretched out.
Elderly Bearded Dragons may appear duller than their younger counterparts. Again, this isn’t an actual color change as their genetics will not change, but rather their bodies are not as efficient at making the same quality of pigment, making colors appear duller and less vibrant.
Do Bearded Dragons Change Colour When Stressed?
Bearded Dragons will use the coloration of their beard to indicate stress. Their beard color will become jet black to show anger, annoyance, or that they feel threatened. Stressed Bearded Dragons can also display stress marks,
Bearded Dragons will actively blacken their beards as a display of stress. As an owner, you may see this if your beardie is unhappy interacting with you, as you clean the enclosure or any handling.
A black beard is a color change that indicates stress at the moment and will not show prolonged stress.
Prolonged stress may be seen as small dark marks on the ventral side (underneath) of your beardie. These marks involve some color change, in that the marks will be darker than the rest of the belly. It won’t affect a uniform color change.
Head over to our easy-to-follow guide that covers the tell-tale signs, causes, and solutions for bearded dragon stress…
Do Bearded Dragons Change Colour When They Sleep?
Bearded Dragons often change color as they sleep. Studies show that they are lighter when they sleep due to their circadian rhythms. They are likely to darken when they first wake up due to low temperatures.
Bearded Dragons will change color to a darker color when they are cool to absorb more heat energy. This may happen overnight while they sleep as nighttime temperatures are lower than day temperatures.
They will be cooler when they wake up and display a dark color that will lighten through the day as they warm up.
But alternatively, scientists have found that when your beardie is deep asleep in the thick of the night, they will lighten in color.
This is likely because they are not able to regulate the color darker to match their cooler temperatures while asleep.
The study showed that this color change would happen without a natural photoperiod meaning this lightening while sleeping is linked to their circadian rhythm.
Recommended Reading: Cold Bearded Dragon: Signs, Causes & Solutions
Do Beard Dragons Change Colour During Brumation?
Bearded Dragons are unlikely to change color during brumation. Their system is shut down during brumation, so they will not be communicating or thermoregulating during this time of inactivity.
Bearded Dragons color changes are often very pointed and specific changes either to respond to the environmental changes or to communicate with others. During brumation, beardies are in an almost entirely inactive state.
They will not be responding to their environment during this time, so you should not witness any color change during brumation.
Although, it is not uncommon for a Bearded Dragon to turn black after a period of brumation. Waking up from brumation can be stressful while your beardie readjusted to the world around it and gets back into a rhythm.
This can affect their mood as they get back into the swing of things, so they may display darker during this time.
Check out our full guide that shares all you need to know about bearded dragon brumation…
Do Bearded Dragons Change Colour After They Shed?
Bearded Dragons do appear to change color as they shed. Before shedding, they will appear very light, almost light as their shed lifts. After a shed, they seem more vibrant and colorful.
During the Bearded Dragon shed, this color change is not an actual color change but more of a perception of color.
The pigments in skin cells of beardies that are responsible for creating color and pattern exist deep into the skin layers. When shedding occurs, it only lifts the top layers of skin, which themselves are white and without any color pigment.
When this shed begins to lift, it becomes loose above the lower layers of skin blocking the expression of pigment lower in the skin, making your beardie dragon appear very dull.
Once the shed is completed, your Bearded Dragon will look more vibrant and colorful, and the skin now exposed is fresh, clean, and new to display pigments the best.
Recommended Reading: Bearded Dragons Shedding: All You Need to Know…
Do Bearded Dragons Change Colour When They Are Happy?
Bearded Dragons will change color and lighten when they are warm and in a good mood. This color change is related to the environmental conditions, and a suitable environment will create happy Bearded Dragons.
Bearded Dragons are simple creatures and are considered “happy” when all their needs are met without stressors. One of the most critical needs of a beardie is heat, and when they are nice and warm, they will appear to be a nice light color.
When they are cold or stressed, they could appear dark and display black beards. As a beardie owner, it’s reasonable to assume when they are light they are relaxed and happy. Alternatively, when they are dark, they are mildly stressed.
Head over to our list of 17 fun toys and activities for a happy bearded dragon…
Do Bearded Dragons Change Colour In The Sun?
Bearded Dragons will change the color of their skin under the sun’s heat depending on their internal body temperature and whether they are trying to use the sun to heat up or maintain temperature.
The sun is a Bearded Dragon’s primary energy source, so they will actively change color in response to it.
If a cool Bearded Dragon is exposed to the sun’s heat, it may actively darken its color. Dark colors reflect less light and assist in heating a beardie.
Once a Bearded Dragon is within comfortable temperature ranges, the sun may cause them to change color to be very light. In this case, they are trying to reflect away the sun to maintain their perfect temperature and not overheat.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Changing Colour To Yellow?
Bearded Dragons will change their color to light colors such as yellows in response to their internal temperatures. Strange, unexplained yellow coloration can also indicate a yellow fungus disease.
Pale yellow is a natural color for Bearded Dragons to utilize to help with their thermoregulation. This light color is ideal for reflecting away excess heat and light under a heat source, as light colors reflect more UV rays.
If the yellow coloration is not related to the changing environment and appears patchy or as spots that grow, it may be a symptom of yellow fungal disease.
The yellow fungus causes yellow/brown coloration of the scale and, left untreated, will grow across the skin.
This will be identifiable as these yellow areas will have a different texture than your beardie’s normal healthy skin and may appear rough, patching, or scabby.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Changing Colour To Orange?
Orange coloration is a typical expression for Bearded Dragons. Changing colors to orange could indicate they are relaxed and happy, or if they change as they grow, they may express their natural color.
As Bearded Dragons warm-up or become happier, they may change color. When your bearded dragon seems happy or is warm, you may notice that they turn a brighter color, such as orange, light brown, or yellow. Don’t be concerned; these lighter colors are indicative of a relaxed beardie.
A slow progression to the color orange in a young Bearded Dragon may just be the expression of their natural genetic color.
A beardie will not be at its final phase during the development stages and may still change color. Orange is a standard Bearded Dragon color.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Changing Colour To Black?
A Bearded Dragon will change to black color in response to the temperature or as a social cue. Their back will become black when they are trying to heat up, and their beard can become black if they communicate stress, anger, or threatening behavior.
Bearded Dragons can change the colors of different parts of their body independently from each other. A black coloration will have different meanings depending on what part of the body is darkening.
The back and tail becoming dark are due to the environment. A dark dorsal side will be exposed to the heat source and reflect less light, absorbing more heat. This tactic is used by beardies who are trying to warm up.
A Bearded Dragons beard becoming black is a social signal. It can indicate stress, anger, annoyance, and aggression to both their owners and other animals.
The black beard will also be used for mating purposes as courtship includes males asserting dominance.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Changing Colour To Red?
While some red tinges may be natural coloration for some Bearded Dragons, color change to real is not normal. Changing to red may indicate staining from food, substrate, or feces. Localized redness may indicate injury, infection, or shed constriction.
Red is a color on a typical Bearded Dragon individual color spectrum, so if your young beardie is changing to a red color, they may be expressing their true colors.
However, a fully grown Bearded Dragon will not change base colors. Hence, changing to red is not expected as it is not a color they express during thermoregulation or socialization.
The reasons some of your Bearded Dragons skin may appear to be red is wide-ranging and stretch from harmless to severe issues.
Here are some of the most common causes of redness to help you figure out the cause.
- Staining – the actual skin pigment may not be expressed as red. Instead, the surface may have been stained by something red in the environment. This may be a red food from their diet, a red substrate such as calci-sand.
- Red fecal – the scales may also be stained by red feces. The vent area will show this staining the most. Harmless factors may cause red feces as the passing of red-based foods or something more sinister such as blood or parasites.
- Infection – redness is closely associated with infection as cells rush to the infected site to assist in healing. You may also feel the site to be extra warm and swollen. If the redness is localized, this may be the cause. Bacterial or fungal infections can cause redness.
- Shed constriction – if redness occurs around extremities such as the tail tip or toes, then the cause may be associated with retained shed causing a constrict that is limiting blood flow. This can cause limb loss if not dealt with promptly.
Why Does My Bearded Dragon’s Belly Change Colours?
It is usual for the top side and beard of a Bearded Dragon is change colors based on stimuli, but less so for their belly to change colors. Belly color change can indicate internal issues such as impaction or be a display of stress marks.
Since Bearded Dragons lay on their stomachs and expose their head and back to the environment and heat sources, these areas will naturally change colors depending on their environmental changes.
Since the belly is not often seen or displayed, it is not normal to change colors. Bellies are exposed to the ground more so may be more prone to staining from food, substrate, or feces, making them appear to change colors.
The scales of a beardie underside are also thinner and softer, meaning that they may display changes internally. Most commonly, a belly that has changed to be very dark can indicate blockage within the body.
This may be a feces blockage (constipation), digestive build-up (impaction), or problems with laying eggs (egg-binding).
If a Bearded Dragon is under stress, then it may also display stress marks on its belly. These marks will not be a uniform color change but rather a mottled appearance, often dark in color.
To find out all you need to know about stress marks on your bearded dragon head over to our full guide here…
Can A Bearded Dragons Tail Change Colour?
A Bearded Dragon’s tail will change colors under the same parameters as its body does. Everyday things that may cause a color change of the tail include thermoregulation, shedding, and growth. The unusual color change can indicate shed constriction.
The tail of a Bearded Dragon will change just as the back of a beardie does. It can result from thermoregulation, meaning it may be darker when your beardie is cold and appear lighter when they are warm.
A tail can change colors during the shedding process also. Often the tail is one of the last places to shed, so it may appear different in color during shedding and after shedding as the color will be fresher than the older areas of the shed.
Be aware, though, for shed constriction around the tail. The awkward shed can leave a ring of retained shed around the tail, and it can constrict blood flow and limit future sheds. Ensure all shed comes off and look for any tail reddening.
Why Is The End Of My Bearded Dragon’s Tail Turning Black?
If the tip of our Bearded Dragons tail turns red, it may be a sign of tail rot. Tail rot can be caused by shed constriction, trauma to the tail, inadequate diet, or poor environmental conditions.
The end of a tail turning black is a significant sign of tail rot. Tail rot occurs after any trauma to the tail and can cause the tail tip to become infected and potentially die and fall off. The infection can spread through the bloodstream to other areas of the body.
A calcium deficiency can also cause tail rot. This may be a result of an inadequate diet or insufficient UVB exposure that limited calcium absorption.
Lack of calcium will cause weak bones, and the tiny tail bones in the tip of the tail can be the first to suffer and waste away.
Naturally, the tails of many bearded dragons can be dark, but those that develop black spots are almost certainly stressed or suffering from tail rot.
Recommended Reading: Do Bearded Dragons Actually Need Calcium Powder (Answered)
Why Is My Bearded Dragon’s Tail Turning White?
A Bearded Dragon’s tail will often turn white just before a shed. The tails tend to either shed first or last, and sometimes they shed independently from the rest of the body, so they may appear strange colored in contrast.
The Bearded Dragon’s tail will often shed differently than the rest of the body, coming off at the beginning of a shed or last thing.
A tail can appear very white before it sheds while the rest of the body looks normal and vibrant.
While this can look very concerning, this white color is expected before a shed. It may look worse and patchy if the shed is not very consistent and healthy, in which case you should monitor your beardie enclosure humidity.
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