Learning what normal bearded dragon poop should look like will help ensure that your beardie stays healthy. Sudden changes to bowel movements and other feces abnormalities could signal a serious problem.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- How frequently should a healthy dragon poop?
- What does it mean if they aren’t pooping?
- What does healthy bearded dragon poop look like?
- What do different poop colors mean?
- What’s abnormal?
- When should I see a Vet?
An animal’s feces can tell you quite a few things about the state of its health and it’s no different for bearded dragons. The feces of your bearded dragon is often a good indicator of its general health and being able to spot anything unusual can help you catch any illnesses before they get too serious.
However, you have to be aware that there is no one formula to check your dragon’s poop since this depends on your pet’s actual diet plus other environmental factors. Though there are several guidelines listed below you to help, you should carefully observe what is specific to your beardie.
How Often Should Healthy Bearded Dragons Poop?
The frequency of a bearded dragon’s bowel movement depends on factors such as age, diet, health, environment, disposition (relaxed or stressed), and state of brumation. Brumation is similar to hibernation wherein lowered environmental temperatures signal the dragon’s metabolism and activity to slow down.
It’s good practice to track your bearded dragon’s poop so you are familiar with how it looks, the frequency, and the consistency so you can be attuned to any health problems that are developing and try to address it early on.
Depending On Age
Age is a quick factor to determine how often healthy bearded dragons poop. Baby bearded dragons, because of their growth spurts and more frequent feeding schedules, will poop a lot more than juveniles and adults.
If you are not aware of how old your bearded dragon is, you can estimate this based on its size (measure from head to tail). Babies up to 1 month old will measure from 3-4 inches. Longer dragons measuring 12-18 inches long should be about 6-8 months old while those that measure 18-22 inches are adults at least 12 months old.
Since baby bearded dragons need to be fed more frequently with a protein rich diet to aid in their growth, they will poop at least once a day. Some factors listed below can also make them defecate up to 3x a day.
Young or juvenile bearded dragons from 4 to 17 months old will poop every other day decreasing to about 2-3 times a week once they are 18 months.
Adult bearded dragons can be a bit more tricky as they can poop from once a week to almost every day depending on different factors such as their health, diet, and environment (proper tank lighting and temperature).
Depending On Diet
Bearded dragons that consume more fiber via vegetables or calcium via silkworms (for example) tend to defecate as much as four times a week as adults, some even daily.
Those with mostly protein rich diets from crickets and some fiber from vegetables, for example, may poop just 1-3 times a week.
Frequency is a good measure but you should also factor in other elements such as general disposition, appearance, and appetite. Also, each dragon is different so it’s really good to keep track so you can familiarize with your pet’s peculiarities. An adult beardie that poops once a week may be completely normal for some beardies and totally off for others.
If you suspect your bearded dragon is pooping less, watch for their appetite and energy levels as well. If they are eating less then they will be pooping less. Check that their UV light and temperature in the tank are at the appropriate levels to help with their digestion and good health.
Depending On Brumation
When bearded dragons undergo brumation wherein their metabolic activity slows down, they will eat less and as a result, poop less. They will also be less active and will hide more often.
Brumation is the cold-blooded equivalent of hibernation in warm-blooded animals and usually occurs when the ambient temperatures are below 65°F for a prolonged period of time (during winter). Bearded dragons can be in brumation for up to 3 months.
If your bearded dragon is pooping less but is otherwise healthy even though it seems to be less active especially during the cold season, then it may be undergoing brumation.
Depending On Their Health & Stress Levels
Stress or other health issues often affects a bearded dragon’s digestive system causing it to poop less frequently.
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A sudden change in environment usually causes a dragon’s stress levels to build up. You may notice this when you get your beardie for the first time or when you clean their enclosure too well. Sometimes, even a tank upgrade may stress your bearded dragon out.
Other signs of stress include biting, hissing, or a black beard. Stress can also be caused by excessive noise, diet changes, and an unkempt tank.
Depending On Enclosure Setup & Other Environmental Factors
Reptiles kept as pets will have specific tank set up requirements especially in terms of UVA and UVB lighting and temperature gradients. Bearded dragons will need a hot basking spot (95-100°F) and a cool area (75-80°F). A temperature gradient in between with lots of hiding places is also recommended.
Heat helps with a bearded dragon’s digestion while specialized UV lighting allows it to absorb calcium from its diet and keep several illnesses at bay. Exposure to natural sunlight is also a great way to keep your dragon healthy.
Keeping your beardie’s enclosure in good shape is a great way to ensure they have a healthy pooping schedule and overall good health.
What Does It Mean If They Aren’t Pooping?
A sudden decrease in pooping frequency can point to a stressed out bearded dragon or a developing illness. This is why it’s quite important that you keep track of how often your dragon poops since it’s usually a good indicator of stress or any health issues.
However, other factors such as those listed above can also affect how often your bearded dragon defecates. For example, older dragons will not poop as much as younger dragons.
Try to be familiar to your bearded dragon’s schedule and take note of any other behavioral changes such as lethargy or loss of appetite in addition to not pooping. If this is the case, check if your dragon may be sick or schedule a visit to your veterinarian.
What Does Healthy Bearded Dragon Poop Look Like?
Healthy bearded dragon poop should be brown (light to dark brown but not black), formed (soft yet solid and not runny), and more or less a uniform log-like shape.
A beardie’s poop will often come with a soft, white or off-white substance that is almost powdery or paste like. These are called urates and are considered the pee of bearded dragons.
Some liquid may come with their poop and urates but this isn’t anything to be alarmed about as long as the fecal matter itself is solid.
What Does Abnormal Poop Look Like?
Abnormalities in bearded dragon poop may manifest as a different color, texture, consistency or as a very foul smell.
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Different shades of brown is the expected color of bearded dragon poop. However, an individual dragon’s diet also plays a big role in the color of their poop. Fecal matter is what your bearded dragon’s digestive system was not able to break down and absorb so if this undigested material happens to be a specific color, it may show up in your beardie’s poop.
Green coloration in bearded dragon poop can come from the chlorophyll content that gives leafy vegetables their green color. Certain lizard pellets may also have food dyes that can make your dragon’s poop green. Some medicines can also give poop a green tinge.
As adults, bearded dragons will need a diet composed of 70-80% vegetables so if these vegetables are mostly green, leafy ones then their poop can also take on that color.
If you have a good idea of any particular food in your bearded dragon’s diet that can cause the green coloration, then you have nothing to worry about. As long as the poop is formed, the urates are not too runny, and there is no unusual or incredibly foul smell, then it is probably normal.
Runny or foul smelling green poop can be an indication of a parasitic or bacterial infection. Take your bearded dragon to a vet if this is the case and try to bring a fresh sample of poop so they can check (use a clean baggie and a clean plastic spoon or spatula to pick up the poop to ensure that there is no cross contamination).
If you have a female bearded dragon over 18 months, a yellowish substance along with their poop could be an unfertilized egg. If your female is gravid but has not mated, the eggs will be yellowish and look deflated. If this is the case and you see another egg coming out of the vent, you should prepare a lay box in a dark, quiet, corner of the tank to help her lay her eggs. Increase your gravid female’s calcium intake and offer lots of water.
Do not attempt to pull out any eggs that you see. A nice, gentle, warm bath can help with the process but if that doesn’t improve the situation, you may have to take your female beardie to the vet to check if it needs surgical egg removal.
In the case of males, a yellowish, stringy, substance coming out of the vent can be a seminal plug. These can harden so do not attempt to pull these out as well. A nice, warm bath will also help with this situation.
Otherwise, yellow colored poop can be diet related as well. Certain foods such as carrots, squash, or sweet potatoes can cause yellow discoloration.
Black poop is usually normal for beardies with a protein rich diet composed of mainly insects such as crickets. It can also simply be just older poop that just got defecated.
However, if the black coloration is accompanied with a very intense foul odor and is runny or inconsistent in texture then it may indicate a parasitic or bacterial infection. Try to get a fresh sample for analysis and bring your bearded dragon to a vet to get checked.
Black poop that is a bit hard could be a result of a chitin rich diet of waxworms, mealworms, and locusts that are drier and harder to digest. These insects can lead to impaction if not offered with increased hydration and vegetables.
Red colored poop is again, usually caused by something in your dragon’s diet. If you feed it with beets, raspberries, or any red colored food then this could be the culprit. Sometimes, feeds or pellets will have red dyes as well.
However, a red color in your bearded dragon’s poop can also indicate some blood. It can point to a minor constipation that causes some intestinal tears that can leave bloody streaks on poop. But bloody poop can also be quite alarming as it can point to severe digestion or impaction issues.
Help improve your dragon’s digestion by offering more fibre in its diet, increasing hydration through frequent baths, and ensuring the proper lighting and temperature in its tank.
If you suspect impaction and there are physical signs of this such as bumps on your dragon’s side or stomach, less activity, and loss of appetite, then it’s best to take your bearded dragon to the vet to have it thoroughly checked.
Remember, impaction can become a serious issue if left untreated so it’s best to see the vet when you are in doubt.
Texture & Consistency
Bearded dragon’s poop should be formed (soft but solid) with an off-white paste-like substance (urates). Some liquid may be present which is excess moisture from your dragon’s body. This is okay as long as the poop itself is well formed.
Observe if your dragon’s poop is runny, has a mucus like substance, or pus. Loose stool (or diarrhea) can sometimes be due to a big change in diet and should resolve itself in a few days. If this doesn’t resolve itself or if the runny or watery poop is accompanied by a really off smell, then this may indicate a parasitic or bacterial infection. You should bring your beardie to the vet to get a check up.
If your dragon’s urates are more chalky than paste-like then this can indicate dehydration. Offer more water and more baths to help hydrate your bearded dragon.
If you want to introduce any new food to your dragon’s diet, make sure you take it slow and offer a little at a time to get your dragon used to it. Bearded dragons have a sensitive digestive system and they don’t take too well to sudden changes in their diet.
You should monitor your bearded dragon’s bowel movements regularly so you are familiar with what their normal poop looks and smells like. Poop will obviously smell bad but very foul odors that accompany your dragon’s poop especially if it already looks abnormal (with mucus, blood, or pus) should be a warning sign.
Look out for any smells that linger long after you’ve cleaned the tank. These are usually abnormal smells that signal a health issue. Anything that smells similar to rotten fish could also indicate an infection (bacterial or parasitic). It’s best to bring your dragon to the vet at this point to be safe.
What Does Runny Poop Mean?
Runny poop or diarrhea like poop usually means that your bearded dragon’s digestive system was a bit stressed. Check if you introduced new food that wasn’t digested too well and take note. Sometimes, a stressed bearded dragon will also have digestion issues so runny poop can be observed after a big move or when you first get your dragon.
This should clear up after a few days. If it doesn’t, check for other behavioral signs of an illness (loss of appetite, lethargy) and check if the poop has a foul odor or any discoloration (such as blood) along with it. If this is the case then you may want to schedule a visit to the vet. Diarrhea is also a sign of a possible parasitic infection (pinworms, coccidia, nematodes, protozoa, and giardia).
If you suspect something wrong with your dragon by observing its poop and need to visit the vet, be ready to bring a fresh sample of their poop to help with the diagnosis. This will be useful to check for any infections. Keep small sealable baggies and clean spatulas or plastic spoons in handy for cases like this.
Is Your Bearded Dragon Pooping Blood?
Blood in your dragon’s poop can be alarming as it can be as simple as a minor constipation or a serious impaction issue. It may also be parasites such as hookworms. To be sure, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian so you’re able to catch any serious issues early. Impaction can be deadly if not treated and severe cases may require surgery.
If you suspect that it’s a minor constipation and remember feeding a large insect beforehand or one with sharp spines on their legs then this could be the cause. Perhaps the constipation was also caused by any loose substrate or foreign objects your dragon may have ingested.
If the problem seems minor, offering more water and more frequent bathing to increase your dragon’s hydration will help with any constipation issues. A good trick is to offer a slurry made with high fiber vegetables and some tasty fruits that your beardie likes to help increase its fluid intake.
Keep in mind that blood in your dragon’s poop can be a serious issue so make sure to weigh out your options and consult your vet if you’re in doubt. If the blood spotting does not clear out in 1-2 days then a trip to the vet is necessary. Watch out for other physical signs of an illness as well such as loss of appetite and lethargy as these are already warning signs of a health issue.
When Should You See A Vet?
A good rule of thumb is to always see the vet when in doubt. Most problems are better caught early than late and could mean the difference between life and death for your dragon. If your dragon’s abnormal poop persists for 1-2 days and is accompanied by other signs of illnesses (loss of appetite, lethargy, off skin color, weight loss) then it’s best to visit your vet.
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Listed above are guidelines to check if your dragon has abnormal poop. Often, abnormal poop can be indicative of minor issues such as mild stress, indigestion, constipation, or a change in diet.
However, it can also be indicative of serious health issues such as a parasitic or bacterial infection, or a severe impaction. Always observe if your dragon’s abnormal poop is accompanied by any behavioral changes such as loss of appetite, weight loss, or lethargy. A foul smelling odor from your dragon’s poop is typically a good warning sign as well.
If the abnormal poop does not clear after a day or too then it’s best to consult with your bearded dragon’s vet to get proper diagnosis and treatment.
What is normal bearded dragon poop?
Normal bearded dragon poop is colored brown to dark brown, formed (soft but solid) log-like excretions accompanied by a white or off-white paste-like substance called urates (their pee). A liquid sometimes accompanies their poop which is just excess moisture from their bodies. It shouldn’t smell too atrocious and the smell should clear right after cleaning the poop away.
Why is my bearded dragon poop runny?
Runny bearded dragon poop can indicate mild stress and/or indigestion. This often happens when a new food item is introduced in their diet. Watch out for runny poop that has pus, blood, or a very foul odor as this can indicate a health issue such as a parasitic infection.
What can I do to help my bearded dragon poop?
Offering water, high fiber vegetables, and high moisture fruits will help your bearded dragon digest better. A nice 20-minute warm bath can also help urge it to defecate.
Aside from this, you should also make sure that your dragon’s enclosure has to correct UV light and heating requirements to aid with its digestion and help it poop normally.
How do you know if your bearded dragon’s poop is healthy?
Regular monitoring of your bearded dragon’s bowel movement will help you be familiar with what’s a healthy poop for it depending on its age, diet, and other factors.
In general, poop that is brown, well-formed, soft and solid, with a white paste like substance (urates) and maybe some liquid is considered normal. Healthy bearded dragon poop will smell bad but not foul or off. The smell should clear after you clean up.
Why do bearded dragons poop when they are taking a bath?
Bearded dragons poop during a nice, warm bath because the heat and water simulates it to defecate. A bath usually helps a bearded dragon relax and offers it hydration which aids in better digestion.
Why is bearded dragon poop white?
The white part seen with a bearded dragon’s poop is actually solid pee. The white or off-white, paste-like substance are urates. These are excretions from their kidneys that represent urine. Lizards pee in solid form to retain moisture since they usually live in dry, arid, environments.
A few forums about bearded dragons from owners:
My Bearded Dragon’s Poop Are Really Watery
My Bearded Dragon’s Poop Has Some Red in it
What might stress out my bearded dragon?
A list of common diseases affecting bearded dragons:
Bearded Dragons – Diseases
Overview on bearded dragons
Bearded dragons: facts and photos
A great, informative article that explains bearded dragon care
Husbandry and veterinary aspects of the bearded dragon (pogona spp.) in Australia
Myths and facts about bearded dragon care:
Myths and Facts about Bearded Dragon Care