up shot of a sickly Bearded Dragon, with sunken eyes, dry skin, and discolored scales

15 Bearded Dragon Dying Signs – Signs My Bearded Dragon Is Dying

Bearded dragons are a popular pet reptile that can live for up to 15 years. However, there are certain signs that indicate a bearded dragon is not in a healthy condition and could potentially be dying.

This article will discuss 15 of the most common signs associated with a bearded dragon’s declining health and possible death.

It is important for owners to recognize these signs so they can take steps to ensure their pet has the best quality of life possible.

Key Takeaways

  • Loss of appetite, weight loss, and changes in eating habits can be signs of a dying bearded dragon.
  • Changes in coloration, skin discoloration, and scaly patches may indicate underlying health issues in a bearded dragon.
  • Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and shortness of breath, can be symptoms of respiratory distress or pneumonia in a bearded dragon.
  • Mouth rot, digestive issues, and mobility and strength issues are other signs that a bearded dragon may be dying and require immediate veterinary attention.

Abnormal Behaviors

Abnormal behaviors can be indicative of a bearded dragon’s declining health. Strange noises, such as wheezing, coughing or gasping, and strange postures like lethargy or difficulty moving, may indicate an underlying medical issue.

Other signs to watch out for include decreased appetite and refusal of food items that were previously accepted.

Lastly, changes in coloration or the presence of crusty material around the eyes could also signal serious illness.

It is important to monitor these behaviors closely and seek veterinary help if necessary.

Weight Loss

Diminished bodyweight is a potential indicator of impending death. Weight management and feeding schedules are an important part of keeping your bearded dragon healthy. Signs to look out for include:

  • Refusal to eat or drink
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Significant decrease in weight over short periods of time.

Proper nutrition and active lifestyle are essential for bearded dragons’ longevity, so monitor their health closely.

Loss of Appetite

A refusal to eat or drink can be indicative of a loss of appetite in a bearded dragon. This may be caused by food preferences, dietary needs, or even illness.

A decrease in energy and activity can also indicate that the dragon is not feeling well. If your pet shows signs of not wanting to eat, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for an evaluation.

Proper nutrition is crucial for the wellbeing and survival of a bearded dragon, so it’s important to monitor changes in eating habits.

Dulled or Faded Colors

Changes in coloration can indicate a decline in the health of a bearded dragon. Unusual markings, irregular coloring, and color variations can be signs of distress.

Such changes can occur when the animal is:

  • Experiencing an infection
  • Suffering from dehydration
  • Inadequately provided with nutrition

Changes in Activity Level

Bearded dragons typically show decreased activity levels when they are ill. This can be manifested in lethargy or laziness, decrease in mobility, and refusal to eat.

Understanding the signs of decreasing activity level can help identify illness in bearded dragons early enough for effective treatment.


Lethargy or a lack of energy is an indicator of declining health in bearded dragons. This can manifest itself as stretched sleeping or sleeping for extended periods throughout the day.

Another sign of lethargy is reduced appetite and activity levels.

Bearded dragons may also exhibit hiding behavior or avoid interaction with their owners.

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to seek immediate attention from a vet. They can help determine the underlying cause and provide proper care.

Decreased Mobility

Decreased mobility can be observed in bearded dragons as a sign of declining health. This symptom may manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as an unwillingness to move or exercise, difficulties with movement, and decreased responsiveness to environmental stimuli.

For healthy bearded dragons, providing ample opportunity for exercise is important. Environmental factors like temperature and humidity can also influence how much they move around their enclosure or bask in the sun.

Owners should observe their pet’s daily activities and ensure that these exercise options are available to help maintain mobility and wellbeing.

Refusal of Food

Refusal of food is a common symptom that may indicate declining health in bearded dragons. Signs of this can include:

  • Loss of appetite or sudden aversion to certain foods;
  • An increase in cravings for specific foods, especially those high in sugar and fat;
  • Sudden dietary changes, such as eating fewer meals or avoiding certain ingredients.

Recognizing these signs early on can help ensure your dragon receives necessary medical attention before it’s too late.

Poor Shedding

Bearded dragons regularly shed their skin as they grow. Poor shedding is a sign of distress in bearded dragons and can be indicated by irregular shedding patterns, discoloration of the skin, or scaly patches on the surface.

It is important to pay attention to changes in shedding behavior and any visible signs on the dragon’s skin, as these could indicate an underlying health issue that needs treatment.

Shedding Irregularity

The shedding of the scales and skin may become irregular, with irregular shedding patterns or shedding excess. Signs that a bearded dragon is experiencing this include:

  • Discoloration of the scales
  • Uneven, patchy patches on the skin
  • Shedding occurring in different areas than usual.

These issues can be indicative of an underlying problem that should be attended to promptly in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of your pet.

Skin Discoloration

Discoloration of the scales and skin can be a symptom of an underlying issue in bearded dragons. Areas of discolored scales, patches and lumps may appear on the surface or beneath the skin.

Discolored nails are another indication that something is wrong with your pet’s health. Additionally, shedding patterns may be disrupted and could potentially lead to an increase in scale loss if not addressed.

Prompt medical attention is necessary to identify any issues early and provide treatment to keep your dragon healthy.

Scaly Patches

Scaly patches may be a symptom of an underlying health issue in reptiles. An indication of scaly patches can vary from changes in texture and color to shedding patterns.

Signs include:

  • Rough, flaky scales that do not look healthy
  • Loss of color or discoloration
  • Shedding more frequently than usual

Digestive Issues

Changes in the digestive system may indicate a bearded dragon is dying. This can take the form of colonic obstruction, where food cannot pass through the intestines due to a blockage, leading to malnutrition and dehydration.

Other signs of possible digestive issues include vomiting, bloating, loss of appetite and lethargy. If these are observed in your bearded dragon, it is important to take them to an experienced veterinarian for assessment and treatment.

Failure to do so could lead to serious health consequences or even death.

Respiratory Problems

Respiratory problems are a common health issue for bearded dragons. Symptoms of respiratory issues can range from shortness of breath, labored breathing, and wheezing.

It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms in order to provide proper care for your pet. Knowing the signs and seeking prompt veterinary attention if any irregularities occur can help ensure that your dragon’s respiratory system remains healthy.

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can be a sign that a bearded dragon is in the process of dying. This may include:

  • Difficulty taking deep breaths
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Wheezing or labored breathing.

These symptoms indicate respiratory distress and can be indicative of a serious, life-threatening condition. It is important to take action quickly if any of these signs appear in order to ensure the best possible outcome for the animal.

Labored Breathing

A common sign of a bearded dragon that is dying is labored breathing. This type of abnormal breathing may be characterized by an increased rate, greater effort when inhaling and exhaling, as well as labored movement. Furthermore, it can appear that the dragon is struggling to breathe.

It is important to seek veterinary advice if this symptom occurs.


Wheezing is a common symptom of respiratory distress in reptiles. It can be an indication of serious illnesses such as pneumonia, and should be taken seriously if heard. Signs of wheezing include:

  • Unexplained coughing
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Difficulty breathing or labored breathing

Wheezing can quickly worsen a reptile’s condition, so it is important to seek veterinary help as soon as possible to ensure early diagnosis and treatment.

Mouth Rot

Mouth rot is a condition of the mouth, characterized by discoloration and ulceration of the mucous membranes. It often manifests as yellowish or brown patches on the tongue, gums, lips, and inside of the mouth.

Oral pain, dental issues, and loss of appetite are common signs. In severe cases it can lead to difficulty breathing and even death if left untreated.

Proper hygiene practices should be implemented in order to prevent infection from developing in bearded dragons. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential for preventing further complications.

Inability to Move

Inability to move is a common symptom of certain health issues in reptiles, including bearded dragons. This includes:

  • Muscle atrophy
  • Skeletal deformity
  • Infectious diseases.

Such conditions can cause poor mobility and paralysis, making it difficult for the beardie to perform basic activities or even walk. If your pet is having difficulty moving, seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further damage and provide necessary treatment.

Lethargy and Weakness

Lethargy and weakness can be indicative of various health issues in reptiles, including bearded dragons. Ineffective activity, such as decreased movement and sleeping more than usual, are indications that the dragon may be ill or injured. An overall decrease in their energy levels can also signify a problem; if your dragon is less active than normal, this could mean they are not feeling well.

Changes in eating patterns or lack of appetite should also be monitored for potential illness. Regular veterinary check-ups are recommended to help diagnose any underlying issues before they become serious health problems.

Weak Grip

Weak grip in bearded dragons is a sign of declining health and can indicate the presence of an underlying illness. When a bearded dragon has weak grip strength, they may become lethargic and require more support when climbing or clinging to objects.

Additionally, loss of support from weak grip can cause them to fall off branches or other structures that they would usually be able to hold on to with ease.

Grip Strength Decline

Decreasing grip strength can be a sign of impending death in bearded dragons. Observing changes in your pet’s daily habits and behaviors such as:

  • Decreased water intake
  • Unusual temperature changes
  • Decline in grip strength

These signs can help to detect health issues before they become fatal, and prompt you to seek medical assistance for your pet.

Lethargic Clinging

In addition to a decline in grip strength, another sign that your bearded dragon may be dying is lethargic clinging. This occurs when your pet is too weak to hold itself up and prefers to cling onto objects rather than stand or move around.

To ensure the health of your dragon, it is important to maintain their dietary requirements and regulate the temperature according to their needs.

If you notice these signs of ill-health in your pet, it is recommended you take them to a vet immediately for further evaluation.

Loss of Support

A decrease in the ability to support itself is a potential indication of mortality in bearded dragons. Signs include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unsteadiness when walking or standing
  • Poor response to diet changes and improved nutrition

Inability to support itself, coupled with other symptoms, can indicate that a bearded dragon is dying. Early diagnosis and treatment are key for improving chances of survival.

Weak Limbs

Weakness of the limbs is a common sign of a dying bearded dragon. Muscle wasting can be observed in the arms and legs, as well as in the tail where it may become slimy to the touch.

If your pet appears unable to move its limbs, or if it has difficulty standing, this could indicate that its muscles are failing. It’s important to reach out to an experienced veterinarian who can make a diagnosis and provide treatment options if available.

Swollen Limbs

Swollen limbs can be an indication of a terminal illness in bearded dragons. Signs to look for include:

  • Changes in appetite, leading to weight loss
  • Exotic diet and/or irregular feeding patterns
  • Poor stress management or other environmental factors.

Bearded dragons rely on caregivers to identify changes in their condition before they reach a life-threatening state. Owners should look out for swollen limbs early, manage stress, and provide proper nutrition for optimal health.


Seizures in bearded dragons can be a sign of terminal illness. Seizing is the result of an excessive stress response in the body, and often coincides with respiratory distress.

It is important to note that seizures are usually indicative of a more serious underlying health issue, and should not be taken lightly. Owners should seek veterinary care immediately if their dragon displays any signs of seizure activity, including trembling or shaking movements and/or unresponsiveness to external stimuli.

Awareness and timely action are key when it comes to providing your pet with proper care.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Take My Bearded Dragon to the Vet?

Reptile care experts recommend scheduling regular vet checkups for bearded dragons to ensure their health. Depending on the age and condition of the dragon, vet visits should occur at least semi-annually or more frequently if necessary to detect any developing issues. A knowledgeable veterinarian can provide valuable guidance in keeping your pet healthy.

What Temperature Should I Keep My Bearded Dragon’s Habitat At?

To ensure optimal health, the temperature within a bearded dragon’s habitat should be regulated with heating equipment. A basking area should range from 85-95°F and the cooler side should remain between 75-80°F. Freedom to regulate temperatures is essential for the dragon’s wellbeing.

What Kind of Food Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?

A bearded dragon’s diet should consist of a variety of insects, such as crickets and mealworms, as well as certain fruits and vegetables. A feeding schedule should be established based on age, size, and activity level to ensure proper nutrition. Variety is key when it comes to providing a healthy diet for your dragon.

How Often Should I Bathe My Bearded Dragon?

Bathing frequency for bearded dragons varies depending on age, size, and health. It is recommended to consult with a vet to determine the appropriate bathing cycle. Some may need weekly baths, while others can go longer periods of time without baths. Proper care and regular vet visits are essential for keeping your bearded dragon healthy.

Are There Any Supplements I Should Give My Bearded Dragon?

When considering supplements for a bearded dragon, safety and vitamin balance should be top priorities. To ensure the best health, only use products specifically designed for reptiles and consult with an exotic animal vet for further advice. Quality supplementation can help maintain a balanced diet but must be administered in moderation.


Bearded dragons are popular pets. However, when they become ill, it is important to recognize the signs of illness. Common symptoms include abnormal behaviors, weight loss, a loss of appetite, dulled or faded colors, changes in activity level, weak grip and limbs, swollen limbs, and seizures.

If any of these signs are observed, it is important to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible. This is necessary in order to provide the best care for the animal and give them the best chance at survival.

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