Bearded dragons are fascinating reptiles that can change their color for various reasons. If you notice your bearded dragon turning black, you might wonder what is causing this behavior and whether it is normal or a sign of a problem. In this article, we will explain some of the possible reasons why your bearded dragon is turning black and what you can do to help them.
One of the most common reasons why bearded dragons turn black is to regulate their body temperature . Bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals that rely on external sources of heat to maintain their optimal body temperature. They have specialized cells called chromatophores in their skin that can adjust the amount of melanin (a pigment that gives color to the skin) and reflect or absorb heat.
When bearded dragons are cold, they may turn their skin black to absorb more heat from the environment. This can happen in the morning when the temperature is low or when the enclosure is not properly heated. Bearded dragons may also turn black when they are basking under a heat lamp to increase their body temperature faster.
To prevent your bearded dragon from turning black due to coldness, you should provide them with a proper temperature gradient in their enclosure. The basking spot should be between 92°F and 110°F (33°C and 43°C), while the cool side should be between 75°F and 85°F (24°C and 29°C). You should also use a high-quality UVB light source that emits both heat and UVB rays, such as a mercury vapor bulb or a Reptisun 10.0 HO UVB fixture. UVB rays are essential for bearded dragons to synthesize vitamin D3 and calcium, which are vital for their health and growth.
Stress or Illness
Another reason why bearded dragons may turn black is stress or illness. Stress can be caused by various factors, such as loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, improper handling, overcrowding, lack of hiding places, or other animals or people that make them feel threatened or uncomfortable. Illness can also cause stress and affect the color of your bearded dragon’s skin. Some common health issues that may cause your bearded dragon to turn black are parasites, infections, dehydration, metabolic bone disease, impaction, or injuries.
When bearded dragons are stressed or sick, they may turn their beard or other parts of their body black as a sign of discomfort or pain. They may also display other signs of stress or illness, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, swelling, discharge, or abnormal behavior.
To prevent your bearded dragon from turning black due to stress or illness, you should provide them with a stress-free and healthy environment. You should keep their enclosure clean and spacious, with adequate hiding places and decorations. You should also handle your bearded dragon gently and regularly, but not excessively or when they are shedding. You should feed your bearded dragon a balanced diet of insects and vegetables, supplemented with calcium and vitamin D3 powder. You should also monitor your bearded dragon’s behavior and appearance closely and consult a veterinarian if you notice any signs of stress or illness.
A third reason why bearded dragons may turn black is shedding. Shedding is a natural process that allows bearded dragons to grow and replace their old skin with new skin. Bearded dragons shed more frequently when they are young and less often when they are adults. Shedding can take from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size and age of your bearded dragon.
When bearded dragons are about to shed, they may turn their skin darker or duller to loosen the old skin layer. They may also become more irritable or restless during this period. They may rub their body against rough surfaces or soak in water to help remove the old skin.
To help your bearded dragon shed smoothly, you should provide them with plenty of hydration and humidity. You should mist their enclosure daily with water and offer them a shallow dish of water to drink and bathe in. You should also provide them with rough objects in their enclosure, such as rocks or branches, that they can use to scratch their skin. You should never pull off the old skin from your bearded dragon’s body, as this can cause damage or infection. You should only gently remove the loose skin that is hanging off.
A fourth reason why bearded dragons may turn black is mating behavior. Bearded dragons have a breeding season that usually occurs in spring or summer when the temperature and daylight hours increase. During this time, male bearded dragons may become more territorial and aggressive towards other males or females. They may also display courtship behaviors such as head bobbing, arm waving, biting, chasing, or mounting.
When male bearded dragons are ready to mate, they may turn their beard black to show dominance or attraction towards females. They may also turn their beard black when they encounter another male as a sign of challenge or threat. Female bearded dragons may also turn their beard black when they are receptive to mating or when they are gravid (carrying eggs).
To prevent your bearded dragon from turning black due to mating behavior, you should only house one male per enclosure. If you have multiple males in separate enclosures, you should keep them out of sight from each other. If you want to breed your bearded dragons, you should introduce them carefully and monitor them closely for any signs of aggression or injury. You should also provide them with extra food and calcium during this time. If your female bearded dragon becomes gravid, you should provide her with a nesting box filled with moist substrate where she can lay her eggs.
Bearded dragons are amazing creatures that can change their color for different reasons. Some of the most common reasons why your bearded dragon is turning black are temperature regulation, stress or illness, shedding, or mating behavior. By understanding these reasons and providing your bearded dragon with proper care and attention, you can ensure that they are happy and healthy.