Bearded Dragon Too Hot? (Turn Black, Overheating Warning Signs)

Bearded dragons are cold-blooded pets. However, to perform vital functions such as digestion, they need to be warm. If in the wild, a bearded dragon will regulate its temperature by basking when it is too cold and hiding under rocks and logs when it is too hot. Whether your bearded dragon is too hot or not, we understand it is a matter that requires attention.

So, is your bearded dragon too hot? Bearded dragons can become too hot if the tank temperatures increase and they have nowhere else to hide and cool their bodies. This can also happen during summer when the ambient temperatures in some areas affect the tank temperatures. Thus, if you have this pet in captivity, you should keep the temperatures in the basking area of the tank optimal, depending on your pet’s age. To do this, use a thermometer and thermostat. Also, you should frequently observe your bearded dragon as they will usually display certain behavior to signal you that they are getting hot.

Understanding when your bearded dragon is too hot is important to maintain their well being and keep them healthy. When a temperature is too hot for your bearded dragon, there will be signs that your bearded dragon is too hot, and will need to be cooled down quickly as possible to avoid any detrimental effects to their health.

Bearded dragons cannot produce heat on their own, they rely on the ambient temperatures to warm their bodies for immunity and digestive functions. Generally, they can tolerate high temperatures, but they will escape to cooler spots within their tank to prevent overheating when the temperatures become intolerable.

Bearded dragons will start thermoregulation when the temperatures rise about 89 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, your pet may not gape to preserve as much water as possible. However, above 110 degrees, bearded dragons will exhibit signs to alert you of the high temperatures. A bearded dragon’s tank should not exceed 110 degrees; beyond this point, cellular death will start taking place.

When you adopt a bearded dragon, you should make their tank in a way that mimics the wild habitat. To do this, supply a basking area and a cooler side. The basking area, which is the hottest part of the tank, is used for resting and basking. This area enables bearded dragons to regulate their temperature by moving between the tank’s warmer and cooler sides. This is also the only area where the temperatures will vary depending on your pet’s age.

For an adult bearded dragon, the temperature should be between 100 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, while for a baby dragon, the temperature should be about 110 degrees. To maintain these temperatures in the basking area, you can use a heating lamp or UV lighting bulb, which should be on during the day and off at night. You should also use a thermometer to ensure these temperatures do not surpass the range.

The overall tank temperature should be about 90 degrees Fahrenheit for all bearded dragons despite their age. You can confirm this temperature by mounting a thermometer in the middle of the tank. If you have a bigger tank, you may need additional sources of heat. You should also check the positioning of the basking lamp to ensure it is not close to the middle of the tank, as this will cause the overall tank temperature to increase.

While human beings can control their body temperatures through sweating, bearded dragons cannot. This is why they must have a cool side or hide spot in their tank. Thus, you should provide a wide spot in the tank with lower temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and place logs and rocks in it for your bearded dragons to cool after basking.

If the cooler area is too hot, your pet will be uncomfortable as this area should prevent their temperature from increasing. Usually, this area will become too hot if the basking lamp is incorrectly placed in the tank. The basking lamp should be in the basking area rather than the middle of the tank. At night, the tank temperatures should be between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit but not below.

Temperatures outside the tank can also affect the tank’s temperature. This is especially during summer when the environmental temperatures are very high. However, this change is dependent on where you live. For this reason, if you live in areas where environmental temperatures during summer will affect the tank temperatures, you should make the necessary adjustment in the basking and cooling areas to prevent your pet from overheating.

Signs Bearded Dragon Is Too Hot

Bearded dragons are social beings and will communicate what they feel with their owner on several occasions. Thus, as a bearded dragon owner, you should continuously observe your pet for heat signals and make necessary adjustments to make their tank habitable.

Among the signs that your pet bearded dragon will give you to alert you when they are too hot include gaping, digging, glass surfing, or hiding in the cooler spot. Bearded dragons will bask with their mouths open to release excess heat from their bodies, and this should not raise the alarm. However, if your pet gapes throughout, you should check the temperatures using a thermometer and make necessary adjustments.

If the temperatures are okay, you will need to look into probable causes of gaping. Glass surfing and digging could also indicate other issues; thus, after confirming the temperatures are fine, consider finding out the other causes.

The hiding spot is mostly useful after your pet is done basking to cool their bodies. However, if your pet is spending most of its time in the hiding spot, it could be a sign of overheating. Your pet may also stay closer to their water bowl to cool their body if the tank is boiling.

How Do I Cool Down My Bearded Dragon?

While you struggle to keep your pet’s tank temperatures within the specified ranges, there are times, especially during summer, when the temperatures may become unbearable, making your pet too hot. However, there are measures you can take to cool down your pet when this happens.

If the tank temperatures are too high, you can remove your pet from the tank. This will prevent heat stress until you stabilize the tank’s temperatures by allowing their bodies to cool down. Removing your pet from the tank during summer is also advisable, but you should closely monitor them as they can get away quickly.

To do this, you can put a barrier in the outdoor space and supply shade to prevent overheating while outside. You should not leave your pet outside for long. An hour or two will be enough for your pet to cool down. Beyond this point, your pet will become stressed.

A faulty thermostat may also cause high temperatures in the tank. Thus, you should review the settings and set the right temperatures to keep the tank bearable for your pet. Also, you should check the lamp’s position in the basking area and raise its level to cool the tank’s temperatures if it is too low.

If everything is fine in the tank, but the temperatures are still high, you can cool your pet by hydrating them. To do this, mist your pet with chlorine-free water several times a day. You can also give them weekly baths to keep them hydrated. You should also ensure a daily freshwater supply in a bowl for your pet to drink. Even if bearded dragons prefer natural water sources, they will drink the water to cool their bodies and stay hydrated if the tank’s temperatures become too hot.

While the above tips are useful in cooling your poet, you should avoid a scenario where your bearded dragon is overheating. To do this, you should ensure your thermometers and thermostats are consistent. This you can do by observing your pet’s behavior alongside the readings. Thus, as a bearded dragon owner, these two pieces of equipment are a must-have if you want your pet to be comfortable in their new home.

Why do bearded dragons’ beards turn black?

Bearded dragons will communicate to their owner if something is off. One of the most dreaded communications from a bearded dragon, especially for new owners, is when their beardies change color. Understanding what this color change means will put you at ease the next time your pet displays its black beard.

Bearded dragons’ beards will turn black to signal their emotions or in response to environmental stimuli. Most of these causes are harmless, but some can be alarming. Thus, as a pet owner, you should understand your pet to interpret the specific message they are trying to relay to you when they turn their beards black. The good thing is that when their beards turn black, they are visible, and you cannot afford to miss and figure out the cause.

It’s important to know why your bearded dragon’s beards turn black as this will help you understand what it means when a bearded dragon beard turns black, what to do when this happens and what color your bearded dragon should be.

If you are keen on your beardie, you will most likely notice a color change on its beard or the entire body. This happens due to several factors. Understanding these causes will enable you to interpret and take necessary measures to return your pet to its normal behavior.

A bearded dragon beard will turn black due to internal reasons or environmental stimuli. Internal reasons include fear, anger, and sickness, while environmental stimuli include temperature. Your pet beards will also turn black when they are seeking a mate or during brumation.

If a bearded dragon feels threatened, either by other bearded dragons, other pets, the owner, or their household, their beard will turn black. This change is usually a warning to those around them that they find threatening. In the wild, it is common to find a conflict between the male bearded dragons fighting for territorial dominance.

When a male encounters a male, they will both display their black beards to intimidate each other. This can also happen if you house two male beards in the same tank or cram your bearded dragons.

Therefore, it is a good idea to house each pet in their tank. Your pet will also display behaviors, including puffing its head, laying on top of another dragon, and bobbing the head. Such situations can cause stress to the weaker bearded dragon, making them lose their appetite and fail to bask, which can be harmful to their health.

If the tank’s temperatures drastically drop, a bearded dragon will try to warm up their bodies by turning their beards black. This is because their black color will absorb heat faster. A sick bearded dragon will also turn their beards black to hide the fact that they are sick. This technique is instrumental in the wild to make them intimidating, especially to their prey who may take advantage of their weakness caused by sickness.

Also, due to the stress and discomfort caused by sickness, your pet will have black beards. However, before ruling out disease as the main reason behind the black beards, you should check for other symptoms such as irregular poop and lack of appetite. Other signs of sickness include discharge from eyes and ears and a darkened underbelly.

As your new bearded dragon tries to adjust to their new home, they will experience anxiety and fear and will turn their beards black from time to time. Also, bearded dragons take time to trust their new owner. Thus, you will notice that your pet turn their beards black from time to time when you approach them or try to pick them up. You should allow them time to adjust, as rushing this process will make them more uncomfortable.

Male bearded dragons will also turn their beards black to attract their female counterparts for mating. They show off their beards to the females to signal they are better as mates and may bob their heads to capture their attention. This behavior will usually start when a bearded dragon is 6months old, before which they are too young to mate.

Brumation, a natural process, is common with bearded dragons but may not necessarily happen when in captivity. However, if it does, your pet will display a black beard to signal they are not ready yet to go back to their normal lifestyle, and you should give them time to adjust.

While in most cases, a black beard communicates that your pet wants some time alone. Also, there are instances where black beards indicate they are lonely and need company. If your pet spends most of the day in their tank sleeping, they may feel lonely and display a black beard. While this might be difficult for you to interpret, you can combine such behavior with good judgment and rule out loneliness as the reason behind the black beard.

What Do You Do When Your Bearded Dragon Turns Black?

Your bearded dragon may respond to stimuli by turning its whole body or beards black. They may also have dark marks, especially on their chin, underbelly, and towards the tail, in response to certain stimuli. When this happens, you should identify, interpret the cause and make necessary adjustments to ease your pet any discomfort.

If your bearded dragon turns black due to fear, you should isolate them from the threat. You can also provide hiding areas in your pet’s tank to make them feel safe. To do this, place some rocks, plants, and logs in the tank for your pet to hide in anytime they feel threatened.

If you are housing two males that keep intimidating each other through a constant display of black beards, you should separate them and host each pet independently. While doing this, ensure they do not see each other as they will still intimidate each other from a distance.

Cold temperatures can make your pet turn black as they try to absorb heat from the environment. To deal with this effect, you should check the temperatures and ensure your thermostat and thermometers function correctly. You should also check the UVB lights’ position and lower them if they are too high to warm up the tank. If sickness causes your pet to turn black, contact your vet for treatment as soon as possible.

Anxiety and discomfort are also normal as your bearded dragon adjusts to their new environment. In this case, you should give them space as your presence may make their anxiety worse. With time, they will become familiar with the new environment and get comfortable with you handling them, and the black beard will go away. However, you should note that it is impossible to tell how long your bearded dragon will take to get comfortable around you and observing their behavior and body language will be helpful.

What Color Should My Bearded Dragon Be?

The color of your bearded dragon will depend on breeding and may be difficult to describe distinctively. What one breeder claims to be red can be described as fire by another one. Therefore, what color should a bearded dragon be?

Bearded dragons are available in different colors and morphs. The morph describes the overall appearance of the pet, including the body type and scales. Dragon colors include red, orange, yellow, white, brown, and purple. These colors have variations due to selective breeding in which a breeder will mate two specific bearded dragons to get the desired color.

These colors are mostly useful to breeders when marketing them, especially to inexperienced owners. The color name can be enticing and prompt a buyer to prefer one color over the other.

A bearded dragon should maintain its natural color under rest. However, since these animals use color change to communicate, they will occasionally change their original color in response to certain stimuli.

For instance, when it is cold, bearded dragons will become darker to absorb as much heat as possible from the environment. When they are excited, they will turn into brighter colors such as yellow, orange, and light brown. On the other hand, stress will cause stress marks darker than your pet’s color on their chin and belly.

Final Thoughts

Bearded dragons are ectotherms, and their body temperatures are dependent on the environment. This implies that your pet will get too hot if the temperatures in the tank are too high. Therefore, observing your pet’s behavior is necessary to know when the temperatures are above normal.

As a pet owner, you should also ensure you guard your pet’s habitat from high temperatures by installing functional thermostats and thermometers to alert you of high temperatures in the tank. If you notice high temperatures in the tank, you should immediately take measures to cool the tank to prevent cellular death.

During the summer season, you should exercise precaution as the ambient temperatures will cause a significant increase in the tank’s temperatures. You can remove your pet from the tank during such times and keep them hydrated to ensure they are comfortable. With proper management and care, your pet will be comfortable and healthy throughout its stay in its new home.

Bearded dragons are social creatures and will communicate with their owner on almost everything. As a pet owner, you should pay attention to your pet’s color change, as this relays most information about your pet.

If your bearded dragon beards turn black, it could be in response to internal or environmental stimuli. Identifying the cause is necessary to guide your next move and ensure your pet is comfortable. You should also ensure the temperatures in the tank are conducive for your pet.

Also, given that bearded dragons’ beard will turn black as they adapt to their new home, you should give your pet space and handle it less often until they are comfortable around you. Over time, you will learn your beard and tell what their color change means and respond accordingly.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

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