Why is Your Bearded Dragon Turning Black & When [Actually] to Worry

As a Bearded Dragon owner, I still find it fascinating when my Beardie changes color, especially when it turns black.

However, this color change can indicate something is wrong and may make some beardie owners worried, but should you worry? Well, not always.

Bearded dragons can change color to black for many reasons, including being ill, stressed, or feeling threatened, especially when encountering a new animal, pet, or person. A Change to black is not a cause for concern unless accompanied by other symptoms.

In this article, I’ll explain the reasons why Bearded Dragons turn black and what to do if you notice this change in your pet.

15 Reasons for Bearded dragons turning black

White and black image of a bearded dragon turning black to explain the reasons

There is no exact science of why bearded dragons change to a specific color, as I’ve explained in my detailed guide to why bearded dragons change color. With that being said, it’s still important for you, as a beardie parent, to know what it could mean.

So, let’s dive into the 15 possible reasons why Bearded dragons can change color to black:

  1. Brumation: Bearded dragons may turn black during brumation, which is a period of dormancy similar to hibernation. More specifically, they may turn black during emergence from brumation as turning black may help them conserve energy by absorbing more heat.
  2. Environmental changes: Bearded dragons may turn black in response to changes in their environment, such as changes in lighting or humidity levels.
  3. Injuries: Bearded dragons may turn black due to injuries or wounds. This can indicate internal bleeding or tissue damage and requires immediate veterinary attention.
  4. Illness: Bearded dragons may turn black in response to For example, if they have a wound that is not healing properly or if they have a bacterial infection, their skin may turn black as a result.
  5. Mood: Bearded dragons may turn black simply because of their mood. Depending on how they feel, they may become darker or lighter, just like humans may blush or turn pale in certain situations.
  6. Temperature regulation: Bearded dragons are known to change their color in response to changes in temperature, for example, if it gets colder, they may turn black to absorb more heat from their environment.
  7. Stress: Bearded dragons may turn black when they are stressed or frightened. This can happen if they are handled too roughly, placed in an unfamiliar environment, or feel threatened by other animals or people.
  8. Illness: Black coloration can sometimes indicate disease in bearded dragons. For example, a bearded dragon with a respiratory infection may turn black due to reduced oxygen levels in their bloodstream. You can also learn about YFD here.
  9. Shedding: Bearded dragons may turn black as part of the shedding process. This is because the old skin underneath the scales turns dark before it is shed.
  10. Aggression: Male bearded dragons may turn black as a sign of aggression, particularly during breeding season or when defending their territory.
  11. Mating: Female bearded dragons may turn black when they are ready to mate. This can be a signal to male bearded dragons that they are receptive.
  12. Dehydration: Bearded dragons may turn black if they are dehydrated. This, of course, should be addressed immediately.
  13. Digestion: Bearded dragons may turn black after eating, as the coloration helps absorb more heat to aid digestion. They can also turn black if they eat foods that are high in specific ingredients.
  14. Age: As bearded dragons age, their coloration may change. They may turn darker or lighter, depending on their genetics and other factors.
  15. Inappropriate lighting: If your bearded dragon can’t sunbathe and is not getting enough Vitamin D from basking in the sun as they normally would, they will turn black in order to try to absorb as much of the available light as possible.

As you can see, most of these reasons are harmless and are not a cause for concern, but some of them are, so let’s discuss those.

Worrying Signs when your Beardie is turning black

The bearded dragon’s skin turning black can indicate potentially dangerous reasons, including exposure to stressful situations, improper environmental conditions, or underlying health problems.

Furthermore, bearded dragons may undergo skin color changes during brumation, which is a natural process similar to hibernation.

However, this is not necessary for bearded dragons since their diet and environment should remain consistent throughout the year.

As such, pet owners must pay attention to the underlying reasons for skin color changes to ensure their Beardie’s well-being.

What do black spots on bearded dragons mean?

Bearded dragons may have black spots on their skin that are entirely normal and part of their natural pigmentation.

However, pet owners should also know that black spots could indicate an underlying health issue.

Some common causes of black spots on bearded dragons include bacterial or fungal infections, parasitic diseases, cancer, and thermal burns.

Bacterial and fungal infections can occur due to unsanitary living conditions, stress, or poor nutrition.

In some cases, these infections may progress and cause the bearded dragon’s skin to become discolored, including the appearance of black spots. Parasitic diseases, such as mites or ticks, can also cause black spots on the skin.

Cancer is another potential cause of black spots on the skin.

While it is rare, bearded dragons can develop tumors that cause discoloration of the skin, including the appearance of black spots. Thermal burns can also cause the skin to change color, including blackening.

If the black spots appear suddenly or are accompanied by other signs of illness, such as lethargy or lack of appetite, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian immediately.

A vet can perform a thorough examination to diagnose the underlying cause of the black spots and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Early detection and prompt treatment can help ensure your bearded dragon remains healthy and comfortable.


In conclusion, bearded dragons may turn black for a variety of reasons, some of which are entirely normal and others that can indicate underlying health issues.

As with any pet, and as I always say, It’s your responsibility as the pet owner, especially as a reptile owner because they are not as expressive as other pets, to monitor your bearded dragon’s skin regularly and seek veterinary care if you notice any changes or signs of illness.

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