Bearded Dragon Turning Black: 17 Causes and Solutions

Sometimes bearded dragons may exhibit strange behaviors that can worry their owners. One of these behaviors is turning black, especially on their beard area. Why do bearded dragons turn black? Is it normal or a sign of something wrong?

In this post, we will explore the possible causes and solutions for this phenomenon.

Reasons Why Bearded Dragon Beards Turn Black

Bearded dragons have special cells called chromatophores on their skin that allow them to change color. These cells contain pigments and reflect light, which helps to create the color of a bearded dragon’s eyes and skin.

Bearded dragons can change their color for various reasons, such as thermoregulation, communication, mood, stress, or health issues.

Bearded dragons use body language and color changes to communicate with other bearded dragons or potential predators. They may turn black to show dominance, aggression, territoriality, or readiness to mate.

They can also change their color according to their mood or emotions. They may turn darker when they are angry, anxious, bored, or depressed. They may turn lighter when they are happy, relaxed, curious, or excited.

Depending on the context and other symptoms, turning black can mean different things for your bearded dragon.

Here are some common reasons why bearded dragons turn black:

1. Temperature Regulation

Bearded dragons are ectothermic animals, which means they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. They can change their skin color to help them absorb or reflect heat. 

When bearded dragons are cold, they may turn darker to absorb more heat from their surroundings. When they are warm, they may turn lighter to reflect excess heat.

Too hot or cold temperatures can affect bearded dragon’s pigment cells and cause them to produce more or less melanin. Melanin is a pigment that gives color to their skin, scales, and beard.

You should provide your bearded dragon with a temperature gradient in their enclosure with a basking spot of around 95-110°F and a cool spot of around 75-85°F. You should also use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust it as needed.

2. Feeling Threatened/scared/Aggressive

Bearded Dragon Aggressive Hissing

Bearded dragons can also turn black when they feel threatened or scared by something in their environment. This can be caused by predators, loud noises, sudden movements, or unfamiliar objects. 

When bearded dragons are frightened, they may turn darker to blend in with their surroundings or to appear larger and more intimidating. They may also puff up their beard, hiss or open their mouth to warn off potential threats.

Some common signs that a bearded dragon is feeling threatened or scared include:

  • Hiding or seeking shelter
  • Rapid breathing or panting
  • Vocalizing or making loud noises
  • Flattening their body or tail
  • Stretching out their legs
  • Flicking their tongue rapidly

You should make sure your bearded dragon feels safe and secure in their enclosure by providing them with hiding places, climbing branches, and adequate lighting.


Avoid stressing your bearded dragon by handling them gently and calmly, limiting their exposure to loud noises or sudden movements, and introducing them gradually t