Can Bearded Dragons Change Colors? A Comprehensive Guide

Bearded Dragons can change colors and shift their hues, albeit in a limited range, as an adaptive mechanism for communication and survival.

Their color-changing abilities primarily serve as a means of thermoregulation, helping them to absorb or reflect heat according to their needs. For example, a Bearded Dragon may turn a darker shade to absorb more sunlight and heat, or turn lighter to reflect it. Additionally, these animals might change colors during social interactions, such as mating or expressing aggression.

What Causes Bearded Dragons to Change Colors?

Bearded dragons are known for their ability to change colors, which can be fascinating to observe. However, several factors can cause a bearded dragon to change color, including environmental factors, mood and emotions, and health issues.

Environmental Factors

One of the major factors that can cause a bearded dragon to change its color is the environment. Temperature, lighting, and humidity can all affect a bearded dragon’s color change. For example, if a bearded dragon is too cold, it may darken its color to absorb more heat energy. On the other hand, if it is too hot, it may lighten its color to reflect the excess heat.

Mood and Emotions

Bearded dragons can also change their color based on their mood and emotions. When they are threatened or feel aggressive, they may darken their color to appear more intimidating. Conversely, they may lighten their color when they are relaxed and comfortable. They can also change their color to communicate with other bearded dragons, such as puffing up their throat or displaying vibrant colors during breeding season.

Health Issues

Sometimes, a bearded dragon’s color change can indicate a health issue. For example, if a bearded dragon’s skin color turns black or brown, it may be a sign of stress or illness. If it has a consistent dark belly, it may be a sign of a calcium deficiency. Additionally, changes in skin color or patterns during shedding can be normal, but if it is consistent or excessive, it may be a sign of a health issue.

Overall, while color change in bearded dragons can be fascinating to observe, it is important to monitor these changes to ensure your pet’s well-being. If you notice any unusual or consistent color changes, it may be best to consult a veterinarian specializing in reptiles.

Common Color Changes in Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons are known for their vibrant colors and patterns. These reptiles can change color for various reasons, including shedding, breeding, and age. Understanding these common color changes can help owners care for their bearded dragons better.


One of the most common reasons for color changes in bearded dragons is shedding. When a bearded dragon sheds its skin, it may appear duller in color and whitish. This is because the old skin is being shed to make way for new skin. As the new skin grows, the bearded dragon’s color will return to its normal vibrancy.


During breeding season, male bearded dragons may develop a darker coloration on their underside or belly, a sign that the male is ready to mate and is attempting to attract a female. Female bearded dragons may also change color during breeding season, but this is less common.


As bearded dragons age, their color may change as well. Younger bearded dragons are brighter in color, with more vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds. As they age, their color may become more muted and darker. This is a natural part of the aging process and is nothing to be concerned about.

Tips: Besides these common color changes, bearded dragons may also change color in response to their environment or mood. For example, when feeling threatened or stressed, a bearded dragon may darken its color. They can also change their color to help regulate their body temperature.

How to Care for a Bearded Dragon That Changes Colors

Habitat and Enclosure

Bearded dragons require a spacious enclosure providing ample space to move around, bask, and hide. The enclosure should be made of glass or plastic and should be well-ventilated. The enclosure size should be based on the size of the bearded dragon. A general rule of thumb is to provide 10 gallons of space for every inch of the dragon’s length.

The enclosure should have hiding spots, basking areas, and climbing structures. The substrate should be easy to clean and not be ingested by the dragon. A combination of reptile carpet and paper towels is a good option.

Diet and Nutrition

The bearded dragon is an omnivore, which means it eats both plant and animal matter. There are many insects to eat in a balanced diet, such as crickets, mealworms, roaches, leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits.

Dusting insects with a calcium supplement is important to prevent calcium deficiency. Avoid feeding the dragon wild-caught insects, as they may contain pesticides or other harmful substances.

Lighting and Temperature

It is recommended that bearded dragons bask in an area with a temperature range of 95-110°F and a cooler area of 75-85°F. The enclosure should have a gradient of temperatures to allow the dragon to regulate its body temperature.

A UVB light is essential for bearded dragons to produce vitamin D3, which is essential for calcium absorption. The light should be replaced every 6-12 months, as it loses its effectiveness over time.


Bearded dragons require a low-humidity environment, ranging from 20-40%. Excessive humidity can lead to respiratory infections.

Providing a shallow water dish for soaking can help prevent dehydration, but the dragon should not be kept in a wet environment for extended periods.

Health and Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary check-ups are important for bearded dragons to ensure they are healthy and free of parasites or other health issues. Signs of illness include lethargy, loss of appetite, and abnormal feces.

Bearded dragons can develop metabolic bone disease when they do not receive sufficient calcium and vitamin D3. Signs of this disease include weak bones, tremors, and difficulty moving.

In conclusion, providing a proper habitat, balanced diet, appropriate lighting and temperature, and monitoring humidity levels are crucial for the health and well-being of a bearded dragon that changes colors. Regular veterinary check-ups can also help prevent and address health issues.