Bearded Dragon Turning White: Reasons and How to Care

Bearded dragons communicate how they feel through a variety of behaviors. The two most common ways they express their emotions are through body language and color changes.

For example, bearded dragons darken their bodies to absorb more heat and tell you they are cold.

So what does a bearded dragon try to tell you when it turns white?

Bearded dragons turning white is generally not alarming. They do it for several reasons, such as shedding, sleeping, and being too hot. But it is also possible that a bearded dragon turning white may be dying.

When a bearded dragon is dying, it will not only turn white, but it will also stop moving around and lose its appetite.

Let’s discuss all this in detail below.

Reasons for Why Bearded Dragon Turn White?

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You need to be able to tell the difference between normal behavior and signs that your dragon is sick so you know what to do in each situation.

Keeping an eye on your bearded dragon’s behavior and appearance regularly will help you figure out what is normal for your pet and what is a cause for concern.

1. Shedding

Shedding is the most common cause of a bearded dragon turning white, and it is an entirely natural process.

If your bearded dragon starts developing white patches on its body, it’s not a symptom of malformation or skin disease. These white patches generally appear on the head, limbs, or tail but can also cover the back, neck, and belly.

When the white patches appear and your dragon continues to eat normally with no changes in behavior, it is most likely about to shed. As shedding is a natural process that all reptiles undergo, simply observe your pet and continue to care for it as usual.

Bearded dragons whiten their skin two to three weeks before shedding.

Read More >>> Bearded Dragon Shedding

2. Incorrect Temperature

If your bearded dragon’s whole body is turning white, and it’s not because of shedding, it’s most likely due to the cage temperature.

Bearded dragons will darken or turn white depending on the enclosure’s temperatures.

If the enclosure is excessively hot, a bearded dragon will turn white or pale to reduce heat absorption. They will darken their skin to absorb more heat if it’s too cold.

Bearded dragons are ectothermic reptiles, meaning they cannot regulate their body temperature independently. They use methods such as a color change to stay in a comfortable zone.

3. Sleeping

Bearded dragons often turn white while they sleep; this is totally normal.

Researchers have found that the change in color to white happens due to beardie’s circadian rhythm.

Turning white when sleeping also signifies the bearded dragon is relaxed and happy.

Make sure the temperatures are correct when you notice your bearded dragon turning white while sleeping. If the temperature is correct and your beardie still turns white while sleeping, take it to a vet to rule out any serious issues.

4. Dying

If your bearded dragon is turning white, accompanied by other signs such as lethargy, weight loss, and lack of appetite. These could be severe signs such as impaction, parasites, or your dragon may be getting ready to die.

A beardie that is dying may darken its beard while the rest of its body remains pale.

Seek professional help immediately if your beardie turns white, stops eating, and loses weight.

How To Prevent A Bearded Dragon From Turning White?

Unfortunately, There is nothing you can do yourself to prevent your beardie from turning white while it is dying. But it is possible to avoid it if it happens due to other reasons discussed above.

Proper Enclosure Temperature

Ensure the temperature is correct inside your beardie’s cage to prevent them from turning white. The enclosure should have two sides, i.e., the warmer side where they can bask and a colder side where they can escape from the heat.

Note: If your beardie’s enclosure temperatures are above 75° Fahrenheit at night, your beardie may turn white because it is too hot.

We recommend investing in a good-quality thermometer to correctly measure the temperature inside the enclosure.

Use A Different Substrate

Impaction is one of the leading causes of bearded dragon deaths in captivity, usually caused by ingesting loose substrate.

If your beardie is turning white and seems to be having difficulty pooping, this strongly indicates impaction.

Never use sand or any other type of loose substrate with bearded dragons. Instead, go for something smoother such as a reptile carpet or newspaper.

Read More >>> Safe Substrates for Bearded Dragons

Regular Vet Check-Ups

Regular vet checkups will help you keep your beardie healthy, so it does not turn white due to an unexpected illness.

Bearded Dragon With A White Head Only

A bearded dragon’s head turning white while the rest of the body remains the same means the reptile is going through the shedding process. This white color typically lasts one or two weeks until the reptile’s dead and dry skin is removed.

Why Does My Bearded Dragon Have A White Tongue?

The tip of a bearded dragon’s tongue will vary in color from light pink to white. A bearded dragon having a white tongue is entirely normal. However, if the entire mouth of your bearded dragon turns pale or white, this can be a sign of illness such as parasites, mouth rot, or anemia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my bearded dragon turn white when sleeping?

Bearded dragons turning white while sleeping means two things. They are either relaxed and happy, or the cage temperature is incorrect. Bearded dragons turn white to cool down their body temperature.

Conclusion

Typically, the white color results from the dragon beginning the shedding process, and there is little that can be done to make this transition easier. If your dragon has changed its color to white due to overheating. In that case, it should restore to its original solid color after a few days once you correct the temperature. If the color is still white, accompanied by other signs such as not eating or a lack of movement, consult a veterinarian immediately.

I am the editor-in-chief at MyPetReptiles.com, a site that is devoted to reptiles and the people who love them. I have been keeping and breeding many pet reptiles such as bearded dragons, geckos, chameleons, etc. for over 10 years now.

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