Bearded Dragon Death Signs – And How These Can Be Avoided

You may have noticed some changes in your bearded dragons activity levels. Maybe they have become lethargic and unresponsive. Sometimes this can simply be your bearded dragon entering its brumation stage, which is a natural cycle for bearded dragons. But sometime it can be much more than a natural cycle. Possibly your bearded dragon has become ill. So what are some bearded dragon death signs?

(Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find ‘Other related articles you might like’, once you are done reading).

Unfortunately, bearded dragons do become sick. Sometimes it can also be hard to spot the warning signs if you are not correctly informed or simply just lack the knowledge to know. So through this article we will teach you the signs you’ll need to look out for when your bearded dragon may possibly be sick.

Just like humans, bearded dragons can become unwell at any point in time, without any kind of warning. But unlike humans, bearded dragons can not tell you what is wrong, nor can they simply walk to a corner shop for some paracetamol. They rely on their owners ability to notice their mood and activity change, to determine their illness.

Most common bearded dragon death signs

There are several signs which can tell you if your bearded dragon is dying. If you notice and catch these symptoms early enough, you may just be able to save them. So you’ll need to act quickly and look out for the following;

  • Dull/Grey Skin (without being in the shedding process)
  • Lethargic Mood (but not in the brumation process)
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Suncken Droopy Eyes
  • Short Breathes
  • Not Basking

As a bearded dragon owner, you should know your bearded dragon better than anyone. You should be able to tell if their mood has changed in comparison to usual, so you are its first port of call if an illness is to arise. Although these factors above are signs of an unhealthy bearded dragon, they can actually be prevented also, and don’t always mean your pet is going to die. If you do however see any of these factors, please seek professional advise from your local veterinarian. 

Death signs in more detail…

Dull or Grey Skin

This is one of the most obvious signs that your bearded dragon is unwell. Skin colour can change through many different scenarios such as incorrect enclosure temperature, incorrect diet, stress, enclosure cleanliness.

Usually a bearded dragons skin colour will darken to an almost grey colour when it is approaching the shedding cycle. This is a natural cycle which happens every few months to allow a healthy new layer of skin to cover the body. However, when this cycle is not due, this can be a tell tale sign that something, or some factor is wrong within your bearded dragons enclosure which is making them unwell.

A full enclosure clean would be advised to get rid of any waste or harmful bacteria they may be causing some unrest, as well as a reshuffle of furniture inside the enclosure. Secondly, keeping an eye on the temperature inside the enclosure, to make sure temp level aren’t to high, or too low. Last of all, check that your bearded dragon is getting the recommended split in diet of 70% proteins and 30% vegetables.

Lethargic Mood

It’s easy to tell when your bearded dragon is simply out of energy. They become unresponsive and act very lazy. But this isn’y laziness and more along the lines of lacking in energy. Physically they just don’t have the energy to move.

You should notice this when you come in the room to see your bearded dragon. Usually, they will notice you (or anyone for that matter) enter the room. They will take some interest because its something moving that they previously haven’t seen in a couple of hours maybe. And this is very common for bearded dragons as they love to explore and are commonly always on alert from any potential threats.

When you notice this alertness stop you should become slightly cautious. This means your bearded dragon isn’t too fussed out what is going on around themselves, which is a very unusual behaviour. If you see this, then you should follow the same rules as above.   

Lack of Appetite 

A lack of appetite should be one of the most noticeable factors for an ill or unhealthy bearded dragon which is dying. However, bearded dragons can go for a very long time without needing a meal. (Follow the link for more information on this topic)

Bearded dragons are known to stop eating for 2 months, sometimes even longer, at any one time. This means that simply going off the fact your bearded dragon has stopped eating, doesn’t always mean its dying or ill for that matter.

However, a lack of appetite when your bearded dragon is not going through the shedding or brumation cycles should be slightly concerning. A healthy bearded dragon will rarely turn down the opportunity for a meal. They are opportunists, and in the wild they never know when their next meal will be. So they usually eat whenever the opportunity arises.

Again, the three steps above should be follow as a quick solution. If this continues then to seek advise from a veterinarian.

Sunken Droopy Eyes

Sunken or Droopy eyes is much less common but definitely more of a give away for illness than the previous factors. This should not be happening to healthy bearded dragons, so something is wrong if this has happened to your pet. 

Sunken eyes are the result of a possible infection or dehydration. When this happens you should remove your bearded dragon from its environment instantly. Give the enclosure a thorough clean and give your bearded dragon a bath. Soak them in dechlorinated water and let them soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

This gives your bearded dragon the opportunity to replenish its water intake and soften the skin. Soaking also kills any potential parasites in the skin which you may have not noticed. 

Mist your bearded dragon every day for the next 7 to 10 days to make sure their water level intake stays high through this time period.

Short Breathes 

Short breathes is a clear indicator of some form of respiratory problem. This can be caused by stress, diet, temperature regulation, or other illnesses. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do apart from see a veterinarian or a reptile specialist to help you resolve the problem. 

Respiratory problems are very serious and can cause death pretty quickly if not treated promptly. So seek medical advise as quickly as possible.

Not Basking

Bearded dragons love to bask. They pretty much spend all day basking. They love the hot temperature and optimal temperature have been found to help digestion and activity levels. So when they are not basking as mush as usual, this can be a sign of illness.

Be sure to check the temperatures in both the hot and cool end of the vivarium. Remember the hot end the temperature should be kept between 88-100 Degrees Fahrenheit at the hot end (or basking end) of the enclosure. While the cooler end should vary between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

If it’s too hot, your bearded dragon will try to escape the heat and find the coolest part of the enclosure to regulate their body temperature. Sometimes the basking spot can actually be too close to the heat source, so take this into consideration.

This lack of heat for a long period of time will eventually cause your bearded dragons body to completely shut down. Bearded dragons commonly find a secluded place to die. Just like dogs are thought to distance themselves before death and find a quiet spot to slowly go. Bearded dragons are also thought to do the same. So keep an eye out for this behaviour.

Same rules apply as before. Check the three main possible factors and seek advise from a veterinarian for any of these bearded dragon death signs. 

How to keep your Bearded Dragon active?

The most obvious way you can prevent any of these death signs (apart from a balanced diet) is to keep your bearded dragons active. Being domestic pets means they don’t have the space to explore in which they usually would in the wild. Therefore they will need the time to do so under your supervision. Below we have highlighted some of the best ways in which you can keep your bearded dragon healthy with some stimulating activities

  • Let them out the enclosure to explore your house.
  • Set up a treasure hunt around a secure room, so they can search and hunt for foods.
  • Bath them in shallow warm water, so they can splash around for a while (With supervision)
  • Accommodate climbing apparatus inside its enclosure.
  • Change the enclosures furniture around every so often.
Let them out the enclosure to explore your house

Bearded dragons love to stretch their legs. So taking them out of there enclosure and letting the roam free around your house is a great way to keep them entertained. Just make sure the rooms are secure and there are no escape routes.

If you have created a strong bond with your bearded dragon, then it will most likely just follow you around the house. You can even buy them little leads so you can be sure not to lose them.

Set up a treasure hunt

Setting up a treasure hunt is a great way to stimulate a bearded dragons mind. This focuses on their natural hunting intuitions to mind their meals, which is great fun for both you and your reptile.

Again, just remember to do this is a secure room in your house, or whilst they are on a lead.

Give them a bath

Bearded dragons will love a little dip into a warm bath every now and again. As long as the water is no deeper than half way up their arms and legs they should be fine. Usually they will scurry and splash around for about 10 minutes until they have worm themselves out.

Climbing apparatus

Having things inside the enclosure which your bearded dragon can climb onto will help to keep them entertained throughout the day when you are not there.

Branches, logs and rocks can all be put into a bearded dragons enclosure as fun climbing frames. You should buy special reptile climbing apparatus, as ones you find from outside may be holing harmful bacteria and diseases.

Change furniture around

Finally, you can simply have a a little reshuffle of furniture inside the enclosure. This should only be done every so often though, as your bearded dragon may become stressed if you change it too much.

This can be done in co-ordinance with cleaning their enclosure. When you put the furniture back in, place it in different locations so your bearded dragon feels as if they are in a new environment.


Well there you have it, everything you need to know on the topic “Bearded dragon death signs”. Remember, if you catch these signs early then your bearded dragon has a great chance of overcoming their illness.

It’s always best to visit your veterinarian if you have any worries about your bearded dragons health. They will be able to give you all the information and antibiotics your dragon may need to survive.

After searching and testing many different products, we have come up with our list of “Must Have” items for recommendations, both for price and durability for the best enclosure accessories.

Bathing Water Bowl – Click Here

Heat Mat – Click Here

Heat Lamp – Click Here

Reliable Thermometer – Click Here

Vivarium/Enclosure – Click Here

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Bearded Dragon Death Signs – And How These Can Be Avoided

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