Have you ever met a person you just could not read because of very weird behaviour? It is always an uncomfortable situation to meet those people because you just do not know their intentions. Well, you won´t have that problem with bearded dragons. They have clear ways of communication – a black beard, for example.
Most of the times, bearded dragons show a black beard when they are scared or excited. However, a black beard can have a lot of meanings. For example, it could also be a sign for stress, sickness or territorial behavior. It is up to the bearded dragon´s owner to read the dragon right and act accordingly.
If your bearded dragon shows a black beard all the time, it is very important that you act quickly to find out the reason for that. The following article will show you 8 reasons for a black beard and what you can do about it.
I Just Looked Into My Bearded Dragon´s Cage And…
…his beard is totally black? Most probably this is what happened to you and you are a little bit worried now. I know this from my own experience.
When I was a reptile beginner I thought that only Chameleons could change their colors and I thought my bearded dragon is about to die when I first saw him with a dark beard.
Your Bearded Dragon Is Scared
See? If your bearded dragon tells you that he is scared, what do you do? Of course you answer by making sure that there is nothing to be scared of.
So this could be one reason: being scared.
It could be anything. Do you wear a new shirt today with a bright color? Your dragon could be scared! Is it possible for your bearded dragon to see outside through a window? There could be a bird that scares the hell out of him.
Remember, bearded dragons have excellent eyes, they can see everything perfectly. So if your dragon sees another animal or a new piece of furniture in the room, this could be the reason.
In this case, your bearded dragon will get used to the new piece of furniture. However regarding seeing birds through the window or something similar, I recommend to make sure that your beardie can´t see your window.
How To Help Your Scared Bearded Dragon
If your bearded dragon is scared you need to make sure that it feels comfortable in its tank. You need to make sure that there is a place where your bearded dragon feels absolutely safe. So how to do that?
I recommend to get a couple of plants and put them into the beardie enclosure.
Cover three sides of the terrarium with plants or get one of these backgrounds and cover only the other two sides with plants. If you need to know which plants you can use for your beardie tank, read this article.
This way your bearded dragon can´t see too much of what´s going on outside of its terrarium and this will help tremendously to calm down a bearded dragon with a black beard.
You can also get a hide for your bearded dragon. I recommend to get this hide. It is cheap, you can get it in various sizes and it gets the job done perfectly.
Your Dragon Is Excited
Another very common reason.
As I said your bearded dragon has got excellent eyes. If he sees anything that he likes, he might get excited and turn his beard black.
For example: If your dragon sees you walking to the place where you store your live food. Yepp, your bearded dragon can see that and it knows exactly what you are about to do, lol.
I´m not going to talk about my puberty now and I´m not going to compare a bearded dragon´s black beard with anything human right now … 🙂
However, most people do not know that there is a puberty when it comes to bearded dragons.
It starts around six months and one year of age. Normally bearded dragons mate after brumation and the mating season lasts around 4 months. More about brumation here.
The male bearded dragon shows courtship behavior: a black beard and heavy head bobbing. Further, normally male bearded dragons start hefty territorial fights. Which leads us to the next point.
Do you keep more than one bearded dragon in one cage? This could be the reason for the black beard!
As already explained, during mating season, bearded dragons start territorial fights. Bearded dragons are solitary animals and they should not be kept with another bearded dragon in one cage. Read this article to learn why this is important.
If you want to keep two or more bearded dragons in one cage you have to make sure that you have a tank that is big enough and you should not get two males.
It should always be one male with one or more females. Here is how to tell your dragons gender! (BTW: Even if you get a male and a female it can happen that you have to separate the dragons.)
A lot of beginners do not know this because they got misinformation from pet shops that just want to sell. Which leads to the next point.
Do you know what I can´t stand? Those poorly equipped reptile tanks that you can see all over Youtube.
Those people use newspaper as substrate. Besides that, the only accessories they have is one hide or log and one water or feeding bowl inside the tank.
In my opinion, this is not okay. In my opinion, if you want to keep a reptile you have to make sure that you create a habitat that is very close to their natural habitat. Just going for the cheapest option is BS.
Don´t be such a person. Your dragon deserves better than that. If you need a good bearded dragon substrate – Check this substrate!
Your Dragon Might Be Sick
It could be a reason, but most of the time it is not. If your dragon closes his eyes and sleeps all day with a black beard it could be sick. There are a lot of diseases, here are a couple of common bearded dragon diseases:
If you just got your bearded dragon and you put it into his new cage, it can happen that he colors his beard dark. There is no need to panic, this is absolutely normal. He just has to get used to the new environment and after a couple of days or weeks hew will be happy and calm.
Your Bearded Dragon Hates You!
A little bit harsh, right? I know, I´m sorry, but it could actually be a reason for a black beard.
Your bearded dragon might not want to have you around him and shows you this by coloring his beard black and puffing it up to keep you away. If you got him new, give him some time. After that you can start to tame your bearded dragon.
Okay, I hope I could help you to bring some light into the darkness of your bearded dragon´s beard. If you have any more questions, just leave a comment below. Any cool stories about your bearded dragon´s beard? Share it in the comment section below.