How to Tell if Your Bearded Dragon is Sick: Signs of a Sick Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are Australian lizards that have spiny scales around the body. They are cold-blooded animals and hence do not have a constant body temperature. That is why they become sick in extreme temperatures.

Apart from this, there are many symptoms that may easily indicate that your bearded dragon is sick.

Warning signs your bearded dragon may be sick:

There are some warning signs for an unhealthy bearded dragon that require proper treatment.

Have a look at these symptoms:

  • Eyes issues
  • Loose droppings
  • Slow movement
  • Lack of appetite
  • Discolored skin
  • Black mouth
  • Strange behavior
  • Discharge from nose or mouth
  • Bloody/damaged snout
  • Brittle bones
  • Respiratory issues
  • Weight issues

Eyes issues:

Healthy bearded dragons have clear and bright eyes. They may easily track motion even when their bodies are not moving. If your pets’ eyes are not clear and they look swollen, puffy, or cloudy then it might be sick. The eyes could be cloudy due to dehydration too therefore try to give him some fresh water.

If the condition does not get better, then run to the vet immediately. These eyes could also sometimes be due to their shedding in which case it may self-resolve soon.

Loose droppings:

Loose droppings are a sign of digestive issues. It could be caused by eating too many fatty insects. Pay attention if you sense any change in color or texture in your pet’s waste. If your bearded dragon is facing diarrhea or constipation for an extended period then it is an alarming situation and you need to take it immediately to the vet.

If this symptom clears up after a day or two then that just means your dragon was just stressed or ate something bad which is why you don’t need to be alarmed.

Slow movement:

If you notice that your lizard is lethargic in movement from one end of the tank to another more often than usual, that could be a sign that he is feeling poorly. You have to figure out all the issues that are causing slow movement. Check out the temperature inside the tank.

When bearded dragons don’t get enough heat their metabolisms can slow down and lead them to have little energy and make their movement slow. They could also be lethargic if they’re feeling dehydrated so try giving them water and see if they get better.

Another situation could be that your dragon is so still that you need to check if it’s still alive. This could mean that the dragon has eaten something so big that it is having difficulties digesting it which is why you need to take him to the vet immediately.

Lack of appetite:

A lack of appetite among bearded dragons is worrisome. If you feel that your little reptile is not eating then that may be due to several reasons. One reason may be brumation, where they may enter into a deep sleep for weeks and months. Inconsistently colder temperatures, fewer hours of sunlight each day, and scarcity of food may start the brumation cycle.

In this case, your dragon may stop eating. If it is not a brumation period, then some major illnesses like respiratory infections or excessive eating of parasites may cause stomach problems and cause a lack of appetite.

Stress plays a major role in their appetite as well and it has many triggers. The first one could be your dragon feeling stressed upon arrival to their new home and are adjusting to their new environment.

They could also be stressed when they see you have brought a new pet like another reptile or even a cat or a dog which might make them feel intimidated.

Read more on bearded dragon not eating.

Discolored skin:       

Skin discoloration may occur due to many reasons. You have to notice which part of the bearded dragon’s skin is affected. If the skin starts rotting from the tail, it may be a possibility that he could be suffering from tail rot, which may cause the loss of the tail.

If the skin shows swollen wounds and inflammation, then the dragon may suffer from a fungal infection. These symptoms of discoloration should be treated properly; otherwise, they may easily affect the bearded dragon’s health.

Black mouth:

If the bearded dragon’s mouth turns black, then it is a sign of danger. This is a warning sign and should not be ignored. If the mouth turns black, then it may be due to any mouth infection. These infections occur due to leftover food or rotten foods.

It is a possibility that the dragon has been eating that rotten food for a couple of days. The leftover food should be cleaned regularly, otherwise, it may cause infections inside the mouth and it may get your dragon sick.

Strange behavior:

Uncharacteristic behavior is a sign of trouble. If the bearded dragon shows any dizziness, shaking, head tilting or shows jerky body movements, then it may be dangerous for the bearded dragon’s health. It might be suffering from metabolic disease.

There may also be calcium deficiency that could cause these jerky movements. If such strange behavior is noticed among the bearded dragons, then it can be dangerous. It is a vital sign of sickness and should be treated properly.

Discharge from nose or mouth:

Discharge from the eyes, nose, and mouth is also a sign of sickness indication. No animal should be leaking fluids all the time. Even when humans have a runny nose it indicates a sign of a cold.

If the bearded dragon continuously shows secretion from the nose and mouth and you are ignoring it, then this may be dangerous for your pet. Serious steps should be taken to save your little reptile from getting sicker.

Damaged snout:

A damaged snout is a result of snout rubbing. It is caused due to rubbing the snout again and again. When a bearded dragon has a small enclosure and he tries to move freely in a large space but could not find space for moving, then he starts rubbing his snout with the walls of the cage.

This may cause a bloody snout and should be remedied by giving a large enough space to the bearded dragon where he can move freely.

Brittle bones:

Brittle bones are weak bones that can be caused due to metabolic bone disease. This may also cause limping, bowed legs, hard lumps along the legs, spinal columns, or jaw. Brittle bones may cause a loss of appetite.

If you see any weakness on the body of bearded dragons or if you think that the body is looking too lethargic and your dragon is not moving properly, then there could be a serious sickness that should be treated properly.

Read more on bearded dragon metabolic bone disease.

Respiratory issues:

A healthy bearded dragon seems to breathe smoothly. Even a human that has healthy lungs may breathe properly without any wheezing and gasping. If you see any sign of wheezing and gasping in your little reptile, then maybe he is suffering from a respiratory tract infection. The infection can be dangerous for health if not treated properly.

Weight issues:

A healthy and well-nourished bearded dragon’s ideal weight may range between 380-510 grams. If you are nourishing your little pet with enriched proteins and food, then your bearded dragon may achieve a healthy weight.

The body of a healthy bearded dragon will be heavy. If your bearded dragon’s body is showing a sign of bony and thin structure, then it could be sick. It should be treated immediately with proper care.

Read more about proper bearded dragon diet & nutrition.

Sickness signs that may lead to death:

A healthy bearded dragon may become sick. But there may be a possibility that your bearded dragon is not being treated properly on the spot and this may lead to their death. The most common signs are:

  • Your bearded dragon looks pale
  • Your bearded dragon is cold to the touch
  • Your bearded dragon has stopped eating
  • Your bearded dragon has zero energy
  • Your bearded dragon has stopped basking

Wrapping up

If your bearded dragon is seriously sick, then you must ensure that your dragon should be treated properly. Make sure that your dragon has a correct habitat, the temperature inside the cage should be normal.

You should try to give them a healthy and balanced diet. Try to make all the things in your surroundings not intimidating. It may help the bearded dragons to remain healthy and will prevent them from getting sick.

I am the editor-in-chief at, 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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