Why is Your Bearded Dragon Changing Color To Orange?

Bearded dragons are among the most popular pet reptiles in the world, known for their docile temperaments, distinctive appearance, and fascinating behaviors. One of the most intriguing aspects of bearded dragons is their ability to change colors.

This remarkable ability allows them to communicate with other dragons, regulate their body temperature, and express their mood and emotions. However, a sudden change in color, or one that can’t be easily explained, is always worrying for beardie owners, especially the newer ones.

There are so many colors your bearded dragon can change to, and I have a full guide to all the colors bearded dragons change to and their meanings here, but in this article, we are just going to focus on the change to orange.

So, why is your bearded dragon changing color to orange?

Bearded Dragons can change color to orange to indicate happiness and contentment. However, some bacterial infections may also trigger color change. If your beardie doesn’t show signs of weakness or malnutrition, the color change is probably for a good reason.

In the case of a color change to orange, it’s usually harmless. In this article, we are going to delve a bit deeper into the meaning of this color change and what it means.

Why do Bearded Dragons Change Color?

orange beardie to show why are bearded dragons changing color to orange

Bearded dragons change color as a response to environmental cues, such as temperature, light, and mood. Color change in reptiles, including bearded dragons, is a form of physiological camouflage known as thermoregulation.

When they are cold, they may become darker in color to absorb more heat, while when they are hot or stressed, they may become lighter in color to reflect more light and dissipate heat.

Additionally, some bearded dragons may also change color as a display of dominance or as a response to potential mates.

Here are some of the most common reasons for color change in Bearded dragons:

  • Thermoregulation: To regulate body temperature, they change color to absorb or reflect heat.
  • Mood and emotional state: Bearded dragons may change color as a response to stress, excitement, or aggression.
  • Display of dominance: Males may darken in color as a display of dominance during mating or territorial disputes.
  • Communication: Color change can be used as a form of communication with other bearded dragons or potential mates.
  • Light exposure: Changes in the intensity and color of light can also cause color changes in bearded dragons.
  • Health: Some changes in color can also be a sign of illness or poor health.

More surprisingly – to new beardie owners at least.- is that bearded dragons can change color relatively quickly, within a matter of minutes or a few hours, as a response to various stimuli such as temperature, mood, stress, and lighting.

However, the speed at which they change color can vary depending on individual factors such as age, health, and genetics.

When is a Color Change a cause for concern in Bearded Dragons?

A color change in a bearded dragon can cause concern if it is sudden and accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, and skin irritation or wounds.

This can indicate a health problem such as an infection, injury, or internal illness. If you suspect your bearded dragon is not well, it’s best to consult a veterinarian specializing in reptiles to determine the cause and provide proper treatment.

Sudden and prolonged color changes can also be a sign of environmental stress, such as improper temperature or lighting, and should be addressed promptly to ensure your bearded dragon’s well-being.

Here are some of the most common color changes and what they might indicate:

  • Pale or whitish color: This can indicate dehydration or an underlying health issue such as anemia or malnutrition.
  • Darkening or blackening of the skin: This can be a sign of stress or illness or indicate that the temperature in the dragon’s environment is too cool.
  • Yellow or orange discoloration can indicate jaundice, a sign of liver disease or infection.
  • Bluish or purple discoloration can indicate poor circulation or a respiratory infection.

It’s important to note that various factors, including stress, changes in temperature, and other environmental factors can cause color changes. If you notice any changes in your bearded dragon’s color, it’s best to consult a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and ensure your pet’s health.

What does it mean when a bearded dragon change color to orange?

A bearded dragon changing color to orange can indicate different things depending on the specific circumstances and the underlying cause of the color change.

  • Happiness and contentment: A healthy, happy, and content bearded dragon may display a bright and vibrant coloration with a well-defined pattern. The brighter the color, the more content and healthy the dragon will likely be.
  • Thermoregulation: Bearded dragons can change color to regulate their body temperature. An orange color can indicate that the dragon is trying to warm up by absorbing heat from its environment.
  • Health: An orange color can also indicate that a bearded dragon is suffering from jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by a buildup of bilirubin in the blood. Jaundice can be a sign of liver disease or infection.

It’s essential to remember that color changes in bearded dragons can have multiple causes and are not always indicative of a health problem. If you notice any sudden or persistent color changes in your pet, it’s best to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Why do Bearded Dragons have orange beards?

The “beard” in a bearded dragon’s name refers to the ability of the dragon to puff out the skin on its throat, giving the appearance of a beard.

The beard’s color can change depending on the dragon’s mood and health, but it is typically a lighter or brighter shade of orange.

The orange coloration of the beard is believed to play a role in communication and social signaling.

When a bearded dragon feels threatened or aggressive (which is more common during puberty), it will darken its beard to appear larger and more intimidating. On the other hand, when a bearded dragon feels relaxed and content, its beard will lighten, becoming a bright, vibrant orange color.

The orange coloration of a bearded dragon’s beard is partly due to pigments in the skin and partly due to the underlying blood vessels, which become more visible when the skin is puffed out.


In conclusion, the change in color to orange in bearded dragons is a common occurrence and is often a sign of happiness and contentment.

Beardie owners should not worry about this change but rather view it as a positive indicator of their pet’s well-being. Providing a suitable environment, including access to proper lighting and heat sources, is still important to ensure these fascinating reptiles’ overall health and happiness.

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