14 Signs of an Unhealthy Bearded Dragon


Unhealthy Bearded DragonMany times bearded dragon owners may come across special health needs of their pets. There are also times when your bearded dragon might be showing signs of an unhealthy condition without you really knowing it.

Unfortunately, our bearded dragons can not tell us what is wrong with them.

That’s why it is very important to pay attention to tell-tale signs that something might be amiss. These signs could give clues as to any unhealthy conditions the bearded dragon is going through. There are times when it shows signs of an unhealthy state that it can be remedied by simply changing its habitat or food. Some serious conditions will require a visit to a reptile veterinarian.

Here are fourteen signs that you should keep an eye on that could mean an unhealthy bearded dragon.

Eyes Are Not Bright, Clear and Alert

If the bearded dragon’s eyes seem to have a film on them, or seem to not move towards any motion, it could mean it is having some complications. A film over the eyes could simply be a shedding issue, or it could be something more serious. If it’s a shedding issue, try giving the bearded dragon a bath in warm water. Let it soak for about 15 – 20 minutes to help loosen the skin. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, seek a veterinarian.

Acts Very Lethargic

A bearded dragon that seems “lazy” and doesn’t move much could mean a couple things. One problem could be the temperature of the habitat. A young bearded dragon needs a basking area temperature of between 110 to 120° F, with a cooler region of around 80 to 90° F. Often low habitat temperatures coincide with loss of appetite as well.

Soft, Runny, or Foul Stool

This could be a sign that it has an internal parasite, or an inadequate diet. Have your veterinarian perform a fecal exam to find out the cause of the abnormal stool.

Swollen Limbs or Tail

This can often be the signs of a fractured, or broken limb/tail. Fractured limbs, or tail, could also be a sign of Metabolic Bone Disease. Get a veterinarian to perform an exam immediately.

Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite can be due to temperatures being too cool, or too hot in the lizard’s habitat. It could also be a sign of stress. Check the habitat temperatures to make sure they are in the proper ranges for the age of bearded dragon you have. If it is due to stress, allow it to adjust to the new surroundings if you just brought it home.

Hanging Mouth Open

If your bearded dragon sits with his mouth open, this could be due to temperatures being too warm. Many times they will open their mouth as a way of cooling off. Check habitat temperatures and adjust them accordingly.

Inside of Mouth is Blacked or Discolored

A discolored, or blackened mouth could be the symptoms of mouth rot. Mouth rot is a bacterial infection that affects the mouth and gums of bearded dragons. It is typically caused by unsanitary conditions and low temperatures, and must be treated by a veterinarian.

Discolored Stomach

If the stomach of your pet darkens, or becomes black, it could be due to stress. This can happen most commonly with bearded dragons that have recently been brought home, or changed habitats. Give it time to adjust to the new surroundings. Stress can also be caused by feeder insects left in the habitat overnight, or incorrect temperatures.

Boney / Malnourished

This is usually a direct sign that the bearded dragon is not eating correctly. This could be due to stress, improper temperatures, or a sign of a more serious condition. Check habitat temperatures, and vary the diet to provoke eating.

Disfigured Tail or Limbs / Brittle Bones

Tail or limb disfigurement can be a sign of a broken bone resulting from a drop, or impact of some type. This can often times be the sign of Metabolic Bone Disease. Have a veterinarian perform an exam immediately.


Bearded dragons in the wild are very active creatures. Captive-raised bearded dragons do not have the room typically to be as active as in the wild. With an abundant amount of food, couple with less activity, can lead to obesity. You can combat obesity by supplying it with plenty of leafy greens, and taking it out for regular exercise.

Jerky / Shaky Behavior

There can be many reasons why your bearded dragon is showing jerky, or shaky behavior. The most common reason is due to calcium and vitamin D3 deficiencies. Bearded dragons need calcium for strong bones and vitamin D3 in order to absorb calcium. Providing your pet with sufficient UVB rays is important too reducing the risk of these deficiencies.

Bloody / Damaged Snout

A bloody damaged-looking snout is most commonly caused by snout rubbing. This generally happens when it is kept in an enclosure that is too small. As it searches for a way out of the enclosure it will rub it’s snout until it’s bloody and raw. This can be remedied by ensuring the bearded dragon’s enclosure is adequate and has the proper diet. Taking it out of the habitat occasionally can also help with snout rubbing.

Sunken Eyes

If your bearded dragon appears to have sunken eyes, it could be the signs of an infection. This can also result from dehydration. Give it a bath in warm water. It should lap some of the water after you set it in. Always supply your it with fresh water daily. Be sure the water container is relatively shallow so it can not drown. Misting your bearded dragon several times a day will also help. It will lap up drips of water from its nose as you mist it.

There can be many signs that point to an unhealthy, or unhappy bearded dragon. It’s always important to keep an eye on any issues, and take it to a qualified veterinarian for periodic exams.

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  1. Hank e. says

    My bearded dragon has passed away and I don’t know why. It has been molting slowly for a few weeks and I came home today to see it on its belly on his sand and i noticed that his right side of his belly was very green and his bottom head and neck were black if u have any information on his cause of death it would be greatly appreciated please email me back. Thank you

    • says

      Hi Hank, very sorry to hear about the loss of your bearded dragon. It’s very difficult to nail down what the possible cause of death was without a medical examination. You mentioned sand so my best guess would be possible impaction, especially if your beardie was a baby or juvenile. Impaction is caused by a blockage in the digestive system due to swallowing small particles (sometimes large particles) over time.

      Sand is a very bad culprit of this because the bearded dragon inadvertently swallows sand particles when going after feeder insects and other food. Over time, these sand particles collect in the digestive tract and create a blockage which usually leads to death.

      The best advice I can give is to take your bearded dragon to a veterinarian and have a necropsy (animal autopsy) performed to determine the cause of death. This service can generally cost anywhere from $50 – $100, depending on the veterinarian. It’s up to you to figure out whether that cost is acceptable.

      Again, I’m sorry to hear of your loss and thanks for your question.

  2. Jason says

    My baby bearded dragon has a block dot on the same two spots of is nec is that.also sometimes when he eats his eyes pop out a little what is that I need info.

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