Why Is My Bearded Dragons Beard Black? (Full Guide)

Scared Bearded Dragon

Have you just noticed that the beard on your bearded dragon has just changed to black? If so they are probably trying to tell you something, so why is my bearded dragons beard black?

A bearded dragon will change the colour of their beard to show a change in their mood which will include, showing authority over smaller males, scared, excited or even illness. It is important for you to understand what is happening and how to act.

There are lots of different reasons why their beard has turned black, I will go through all the reasons here and will advise you how to act on it

Below is a video I found on youtube which shows you a bearded dragon that has changed their beard to black. He doesn’t look happy does he?  Mouth open and hissing.

YouTube video

The black beard should disappear after a short time. If it does not then this is an indication of a possibly serious problem, so you will need to act as soon as possible.

What Causes A Bearded Dragons Beard To Turn Black?

There are many causes why a dragon will turn their beard black colour.  Listed below are all the causes

Threatened or Scared

You know how a cat will raise its tail and hiss at you when it feels threatened or scared, well bearded dragons do the same thing.

Dragons get scared quite easily which makes this the most likely reason for the black beard.

Signs To Look Out For : If your dragon is scared you can look for the following signs

  • Black Beard : If the dragons beard is black this is an indication they are very scared.
  • Hiding : Are they trying to hide from you
  • Uneasy / Unsettled : Do they look unconfutable
  • Not Showing Signs Of Aggression

Causes : If your dragon is scared it is important to identify the source.  The reason for them being scared can include

  • Another Pet : Is near their cage
  • Loud Noises
  • Environment : Is there anything in their cage or just out side that they don’t like
  • Its You : Yes your bearded dragon might not be use to you
  • Near A Window : If the cage is near a window they might of seen something outside such as a bird

How To Resolve : The best way to resolve this is to find the route cause and make sure the issue is resolved as soon as possible.

You can do other things to calm your dragon such as adding plants to the sides of their cage so they have less visibility of outside the cage.  This will mean that your dragon can see less of what is going on outside of their cage and will help to reduce the stress in them.

bearded dragon planted cage

Excited

This is another common reason for your bearded dragon to show a black beard. They can get excited quite easily, for example they will most likely get excited when they see you and when they know it is feeding time.

Signs To Look Out For : If your dragon is excited you can look for the following signs

  • Tilt Head Back
  • Twitching Eyes
  • Fast Movements

Below is a video of a dragon becoming excited because they are going to be fed

YouTube video

Causes : If your dragon is scared it is important to identify the source.  The reason for them being scared can include

  • When they see you 
  • Close to feeding time
  • Environment : Is there anything in their cage or just out side that they don’t like

How To Resolve : If it is feeding time feed them as soon as you can as this will stop the excitement / tension.  If they have been fed recently you can try to hold them.

Territorial

If you have more than one bearded dragon then they will show territorial aggression towards each other from time to time, especially during mating season.

Bearded dragons should be kept alone and should not share a cage, if you do want to keep two dragons make sure you have a large tank and don’t keep two males together as they will not get on.

Signs To Look Out For : If your dragon is showing territorial aggression you can look for the following signs

  • Chasing Other Dragons
  • Head Bobbing 
  • Mouth Open
  • Making Hissing Sounds
  • Lying On Top Of Another Dragon

Below is a video I have found that shows territorial behaviour

YouTube video

Causes : If your dragon is showing territorial signs

  • When they see you 
  • Close to feeding time
  • Environment : Is there anything in their cage or just out side that they don’t like

How To Resolve : If you are keeping two males in the same cage this is not recommended and they should be separated.  If you have a male and a female dragon in a cage all you need to do is monitor that they do not fight and cause injury to each other.

To Hot Or Cold

Bearded dragons require a cage temperature of between 75-85°F during the day and 70-75°F at night.  If the cage is outside of these ranges your dragon might be trying to tell you.

bearded dragon temperature

Signs To Look Out For : If your dragon is to hot or to cold

  • Reduced Movements
  • Mouth Constantly Open : This means they are to hot

How To Resolve : Adjust the temperature within the cage.  I recommend to keep a thermometer in the cage so you can keep an eye on what the temperature is.

Sick / Illness

If your bearded dragon is sick or suffering from an illness there beard will be constantly black.  If this is the case you will need to work out what is wrong with them as soon as possible.

If their condition does not improve you might need to take them to the vet.

Signs To Look Out For : If your dragon is showing signs of being sick or suffering from an illness

  • Constant Black Beard
  • Sleeping More Often 
  • Frequently Closes Eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Tail Turning Black

How To Resolve : I would recommend that you start by going through this guide, If you think it could be serious take your dragon to the vet.

New Environment

If your dragon is adapting to a new environment they will need some time to become familiar with it and feel safe in it.

It will take bearded dragons 2 – 3 days to get use to a new environment, it can take a week or two in rare cases.

Younger dragons will typically take no longer than 3 days to get use to a new environment.

How To Resolve : Wait 2 – 3 days for them to adjust.  It is important at this time to not make further changes to the environment.  Make sure they are well fed at this time as this will speed up the process.

Your Dragon Doesn’t Like You

As hard as it sounds your dragon might just not like having you around. They could be scared of you, and them showing you a black beard is how they are telling you this.

But don’t worry as you can still form a bond with your dragon.

How To Resolve : The best way to bond with your dragon is to hand feed them, This will make them look forward to seeing you as they know they will get food.

Once you have bonded with hand feeding them you can try at picking them up.

The video below shows you a few more things you can do to bond with your dragon

YouTube video

Seeking A Mate

If your dragon is looking for a mate they will turn their beard black to show their partner they are ready.

bearded dragon seeking a mate

The males beard will typically be darker than the females.  Typically the darker the beard, the more suitable they will appear.

This behaviour will only start from when the dragon is 6 months old.

Signs To Look Out For : If your dragon is seeking a mate they will show the following signs

  • Black Beard
  • Bobbing Of Head
  • Stomping Of Feet
  • Chasing Each Other

Going Through Brumation

Brumation is a hibernation like state that bearded dragons go through during winter.

Signs To Look Out For : If your dragon is going through the brumation process look out for the following

  • Prefers To Hang Out At Cooler Areas Of Cage
  • Not Eating
  • Sleeping For Longer Periods
  • Prefers To Hang Out In Dark Areas

For more information about this process take a look at the following

YouTube video

Lonely

Another reason could be that they are just lonely.  This is one of the harder signs to pick up on.

How To Resolve : The best way to try to make your dragon feel less lonely is to spend more time with them, get them out of their cage and interact with them.

Bad Diet

Are you feeding your bearded dragon a well balanced diet?  If not your dragon might be running low on a nutrient that it needs to thrive.

Bearded dragons can and will eat a wide range of foods, It is important to feed them live foods around 75% of their intake, and 25% fruit or vegetables.

Feeling Needy

Some times your dragon just wants some love 🙂 Take them out of their cage for hugs and play time.

The most obvious way they show that they are needy is when they are rubbed up against the glass staring at you.