Why Do Bearded Dragons Turn Black? | Color Changes Explained

Bearded dragons are great pets especially because they can live for a long time, and you will not have to bid farewell to this dear pet for more than a decade. However, there will be ups and downs all the way, and you will see these reptilian pets change color even. Yes! They will show marks and can turn black even!

We will talk about this pet to understand why do bearded dragons turn black. While you understand the nature of this reptilian, you will also see be able to see how to manage them and ensure that you are taking care of them to see them thrive over a long time.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Turn Black

Bearded Dragons Turning Black

These reptilians have skin pigments called chromatophores. The chromatophores help bearded dragons show color in their skin as lines, spots, or even an overall darkening of the skin according to various circumstances. These pigment cells mature as the dragon grows, and you will see it change color too. However, this is not a serious matter as changing color is natural for these creatures. If you see your dragon pet camouflage and change color like chameleons, that is fine too.

Dragon Change Color To Communicate

Many times we turn red with fury, and then we grow pale with fear. Similarly, bearded dragons also change color to show some emotion. Sometimes these dragons change color so quickly that within minutes you see them become a different shade altogether! However, this color change is not bad.

Bearded dragons have varying colors. Some are tanner, and a little bit orange while others look yellow with some orange parts like the neck and limbs. However, the color variations are due to the breeding and cross-breeding of colored dragons. Changing color to black is something that is natural and does not vary according to the color of your pet when they feel at ease.

Bearded Dragons Changing Colors

Why do bearded dragons turn black? They turn dark when their environment changes. For example, if the temperature drops and they feel cold, they will change a darker color to denote that they are not at ease. The dark pigment in the skin helps dragons absorb heat, which is essential for them in cold weather. When the temperature drops, the darkened skin will absorb more heat and make the dragon feel better.

The dark color is more visible in areas that are exposed to light like the back and neck. The belly and the limbs might not become as dark as the back as the absorption of light energy will be most active on the back. The temperature changes in the habitat of bearded dragons can be the reason for their changing color. Turning black is a direct indication that there is less heat! Bearded dragons love to bask in the sun, or under the UVB light in their tank. So if there is less heat, they turn up the volume on the chromatophores to absorb more heat.

If you feel that this change in color makes your pet distressed, the best thing to do is keep the temperature in their tank between 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. If the dragon is an infant, try to keep the temperature up to 110 Fahrenheit. Also, you can read the complete History Of Bearded Dragons as well.

4 Main Reasons For Black Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons turn black when there are other kinds of discomforts apart from temperature drops. While temperature drops are most common, other reasons can also cause distress, and your dragon pet will turn black.

Reasons For Turning Black

They Are Stress

When bearded dragons are stressed they change color. You may have heard of stress marks, but they look like lines or marks all over the body. When the bearded dragon turns black, it is an overall transformation in terms of color. Bearded dragons are not very expressive, so if there is going to be anything disturbing them, their behavior and appearance will be the biggest indicator. These reptilians turn black when they are upset and stressed, and that way owners will be able to mark down the factors that may be causing this stress.

They Are Scared

When bearded dragons feel scared or threatened by another dragon or any external factor like too much noise or too much light, or any fast-moving object hovering over them, they turn black. You might see your dragon pet turn black if they are directly under a fan. This change in color is partially due to the cool wind, but also due to the sense of a fast-moving object overhead!

Mating Season

When your bearded dragon is ready to mate, it might denote its readiness by turning black. Owners have to responsibly understand the reason behind the change of color and if your dragon is an adult, mating may be one of the reasons! The hormonal changes and mood changes at these times can be easily detected.

Aggression, Loneliness, And More

There are various other reasons for bearded dragons turning black, which include loneliness, feeling territorial, and even aggression. Shedding also makes bearded dragons feel stressed, so they change their color.


Bearded dragons change their color to black when there are environmental and personal changes that make them feel differently. These reasons range from changes in temperature to shedding skin and the desire to mate. Owners must know these reasons so they can help their pets become more comfortable and return to their normal color.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do if my dragon turns black because of changing seasons?

The bearded dragon’s tank must be its safe home and even when the seasons are changing, the temperature in the tank can be maintained to keep them calm, and happy. Always ensure that you keep the temperatures steady and even then if the dragon is changing color, then it can be due to other circumstances that must be observed and if you feel there is anything that causes stress, you should address it.

If my bearded dragon turns black, should I consult a doctor?

No, bearded dragons turn black within minutes and can turn to normal very quickly too. This is not a medical condition but a circumstantial one. If you feel that they are stressed, try to calm them but if it is due to shedding skin then let the dragon come back to normal by making this phase easier for them.

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