Breeders of bearded dragons have been successful in producing a diverse range of morphs and colour variants over several decades. Bearded dragons come in various colours: yellow, white, red, or orange. It’s also worth noting that certain reptiles, like chameleons, may change their appearance to better blend in with their environment. But what about bearded dragons? Do Bearded Dragons have the ability to alter their colouration as well?
Yes, Beardies change their colour for several reasons. These reasons include seasonal changes, social signals, temperature control, camouflage, shedding, and getting older. Unlike chameleons, they change colour slowly.
Since bearded dragons may change colour, let’s explore why.
Meaning of Bearded Dragon Color Change
It’s common knowledge that everyone has cells called melanocytes that contain pigment in their bodies. These cells determine the colour of the skin and hair.
However, we are not the only species that contain these pigment-determining cells in our bodies; other species do. Other creatures, such as our much-loved bearded dragons, also have these cells in their bodies.
They allow animals to alter their eye pattern, skin colour, and more by producing a wide range of pigments in their skin, scales, and feathers. Reptiles like bearded dragons, iguanas, and chameleons are all examples of creatures that have chromatophores in their bodies.
Bearded dragons are attractive because of their ability to rapidly, though subtly, change colour. The transformation may affect the whole body or only certain animal parts, such as the head, neck, or tail.
Do Bearded Dragons Alter Their Coloration?
Bearded dragons may change their colouration based on the season, activity and region. Their colour keeps changing because different things affect them. Individuals are attracted to them because of their distinctive characteristics. Their owners are constantly interested in discovering what colour predominates in their coats.
Chromatophores play a crucial role in camouflage, or the ability to blend in with one’s environment. Animals employ this defence to blend in with their surroundings and avoid detection. At the same time, due to their unique quality, they stand out from other similar products and are appealing. The safety of the animal is the primary objective of the camouflage process.
What Causes a Bearded Dragon’s Colour to Change From Dark to Light?
Bearded dragon owners often notice that their pets’ skin is darker or lighter than normal. Most of the time, these changes are perfectly normal and can happen frequently. It is often because of the process of shedding that a bearded dragon will seem either darker or lighter than normal.
When a bearded dragon loses some weight, it usually means it is preparing to shed. On the other side, a darker bearded dragon may have just lost its skin, which causes it to seem darker than usual.
On the other hand, there are situations in which this is atypical. For example, if your bearded dragon’s belly has dark and light spots or its scales look dry and cracked, this could signify scale rot. This may not happen often, but it is still essential to look for it.
Here are the reasons why your bearded dragon may be lighter or darker.
Light and Darkness
These changes are caused by photoperiods, not just this reptile’s cardigan rhythm. In most cases, the dorsal skin of an animal will get darker after being subjected to light sources such as heat lamps or direct sunlight.
The skin has a greater potential to brighten when you sleep. For example, if a bearded dragon didn’t see any light for a long time, it could start to look like it was made of glass.
As a result, if you see that your bearded dragon has a darker appearance during the day and a lighter appearance at night, this is a normal reaction to the conditions in which they live.
Bearded dragons’ ability to change colour may be influenced by several factors, one of which is temperature. Bearded dragons may also experience significant colour shifts according to the changing of the seasons. For example, their dorsal surface darkens as temperatures drop, allowing them to draw heat from their environment.
Brumation gives them a chance to slow down their bodies and save energy. Bearded dragons kept in captivity may or may not enter brumation at different times.
As They Grow, Bearded Dragons Change their Color
The development of your bearded dragon will cause the most noticeable transformation in the colouration of its scales. The colours of hatchlings are typically quite brilliant, such as bright yellow, dark red, and orange.
Your bearded dragon’s colour depends on what kind of morph it is. When your bearded dragon hatches from its egg and becomes a juvenile, its colours will most likely become even brighter and more vivid for a while. Your infant bearded dragon will shed its skin quite a bit during this period.
When your bearded dragon is between 12 and 18 months old, its colours will begin to change gradually and eventually fade away. Remember that the morph of your bearded dragon significantly impacts this aspect. Some morphs retain their colour or become more bright as they age, while others lose it.
Because this takes months, you won’t see a colour change. However, if your bearded dragon matures into an adult, you may examine old photos to see if it has changed colours.
The most apparent change in your bearded dragon’s colour will occur during shedding. Interestingly, a bearded dragon’s colour will gradually fade over a few weeks before it sheds. They could even become entirely colourless, taking on a shade between grey and brown.
However, once the shedding process is complete, your bearded dragon will have an exceptionally brilliant and colourful appearance, unlike how they appeared when they were younger.
It’s always wonderful to see your bearded dragon soon after they’ve gone through a shed, especially if it’s its first time.
Your Bearded Dragon is Sick
Bearded dragons rarely alter their colouration when ill, but it has been known to happen. For example, if a bearded dragon’s colour becomes green or yellow, it may indicate that they suffer from a fungal illness. This fungus often appears as brown or grey spots.
If your bearded dragon’s enclosure is excessively damp, fungus illnesses may occur. Additionally, they risk being ill if you do not provide them with the adequate UVB illumination that bearded dragons require.
Do Bearded Dragons Alter Their Coloration When They Are Asleep?
Bearded Dragons are known to alter their colouration while they are sleeping. According to several studies, their circadian rhythms cause them to shed more weight while sleeping. Because it’s cold, they might turn darker when they first wake up.
Since nighttime temperatures are lower than daytime temperatures, this may occur when they sleep overnight. They will have a dark colour when they first wake up, but as the day progresses, their colour will brighten. However, scientists have observed that your beardie will fade in colour when asleep at night.
Do Bearded Dragons Change Color When They Are Happy?
Bearded Dragons will vary in colour and get lighter when they are warm and happy. Bearded Dragons will be pleased in an appropriate habitat due to this colour shift.
Bearded Dragons are easy to please and are deemed “happy” when they have all they require, and no outside sources of stress are present. Bearded dragons need heat more than anything else, and when they are nice and warm, they will look a pleasant light colour.
They could seem dark and have black beards when cold or under stress. As the owner of a bearded dragon, it is natural to think they are content and comfortable when they are at their lightest. Alternately, they experience a moderate amount of tension whenever it is dark.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Changing Color To Yellow?
Bearded Dragons change their colour to light colours like yellow when their body temperatures get too high. Yellow discolouration that cannot be explained may indicate a sickness caused by yellow fungus.
Bearded Dragons can naturally use a light yellow colour, aiding thermoregulation. Because light colours reflect more UV rays, this light tint is perfect for reflecting away excess heat and light when placed beneath a heat source.
Yellow fungal illness may be the cause of yellowing, not due to environmental changes, which occur in patches or growing areas.