Bearded dragons are one of the most popular pet reptiles due to their unique appearance, docile temperament, and relatively low maintenance requirements.
However, despite their popularity, owners may sometimes experience the unfortunate event of their bearded dragon turning black and passing away.
It can be a heartbreaking experience, but it is important to understand what causes this phenomenon and how to prevent it from happening in the future.
Lack of Exposure to Natural Sunlight or UVB Lighting
One of the most common reasons a bearded dragon turns black is a lack of exposure to natural sunlight or UVB lighting.
UVB lighting is essential for synthesizing vitamin D3, which is necessary for calcium absorption.
Calcium is an important mineral required to grow and maintain healthy bones, skin, and muscles.
Without adequate vitamin D3, a bearded dragon can develop the metabolic bone disease, which can lead to the blackening of the skin, softening and bending of the bones, and even death.
It is important to provide bearded dragons with adequate UVB lighting to prevent this from happening.
UVB lighting should be provided for 10 to 12 hours a day, and the distance between the bulb and the dragon should not be more than 18 inches.
Special UVB bulbs are also available specifically for reptiles, which are more effective than standard fluorescent bulbs.
It is also a good idea to regularly take your bearded dragon outside for natural sunlight exposure, but protect it from extreme heat and direct sunlight, which can be harmful.
Another cause of bearded dragons’ blackening can be illness or infection.
Some common illnesses that can lead to skin blackening include respiratory infections, parasitic infections, and fungal infections.
Respiratory infections, which affect the respiratory system, can cause symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and discharge from the nostrils.
Parasitic infections can result in symptoms such as diarrhea, lethargy, and weight loss. Fungal infections can cause skin discoloration, hair loss, and skin lesions.
If your bearded dragon is showing any signs of illness or infection, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the underlying problem and provide appropriate treatment to help your bearded dragon recover.
In some cases, antibiotics or other medications may be necessary to clear up the infection.
Stress can also play a role in a bearded dragon turning black and passing away.
A variety of factors, including changes in the environment, poor nutrition, and improper housing conditions, can cause stress.
For example, if the temperature in a bearded dragon’s enclosure is not maintained within the proper range, this can lead to stress and health problems.
Additionally, if a bearded dragon is not provided with a proper diet, this can also lead to stress and health problems.
It is important to provide your bearded dragon with a stress-free environment to prevent this from happening.
It means maintaining a consistent temperature within the enclosure, providing proper nutrition, and avoiding overcrowding or over-handling.
If you are considering adding new reptiles to your enclosure, it is important to ensure they are compatible with each other and will not cause stress or conflict.
Another factor that can lead to stress in bearded dragons is improper handling.
Bearded dragons are relatively docile creatures, but they can still become stressed if they are handled too much or too roughly.
It is essential to handle your bearded dragon gently and allow it to get used to your presence before attempting to pick it up.
Additionally, it is important to provide your bearded dragon with plenty of hiding places within the enclosure to help it feel safe and secure.
Maintaining a clean and hygienic environment for your bearded dragon is also important.
It means regularly cleaning its enclosure, changing its bedding or substrate, and providing fresh water daily.
If you have more than one bearded dragon in the same enclosure, it is also important to regularly disinfect the enclosure to prevent the spread of disease.
In terms of nutrition, bearded dragons require a balanced diet that includes both protein and vegetables.
It can include live insects, such as crickets and mealworms, as well as leafy greens, such as collard greens and turnip greens.
It is also essential to provide your bearded dragon with a calcium supplement to ensure it gets adequate amounts of this critical mineral.
Finally, it is essential to remember that bearded dragons have a lifespan of anywhere from 10 to 15 years, so they are a long-term commitment.
Doing your research before getting a bearded dragon is essential to ensure that you have the resources and knowledge necessary to provide it with the proper care.
It includes understanding its housing requirements, dietary needs, and health concerns.
A bearded dragon turning black and passing away can be a devastating experience for pet owners.
However, by understanding the causes and taking preventative measures, such as providing adequate UVB lighting, proper nutrition, a stress-free environment, and regular visits to the vet, you can help ensure the health and happiness of your beloved pet.
Remember, owning a bearded dragon is a long-term commitment, and it is important to be well-informed and prepared before bringing one into your home.