Beard Always Black? & Not Eating

I'm not sure if this is an emergency or not, but the behavior is unusual even for him.

Over the last week my beardie Rex has just stopped expressing interest in food at all. Whenever he is offered food, he tries to run off and hide or lets it fall out of his mouth if it manages to get inside. Starting yesterday, he has left his beard black all day long, including through the night. Google is telling me "sick" and I've no idea what is up with him.

He has never actually seemed to care for food, he won't eat it without me hand feeding him (and pushing it into his mouth). He doesn't eat greens at all, and even the small handful of food he would let me feed him he now won't consume. I've tried to keep Phoenix Worms on hand, but he doesn't even look at them. He doesn't eat out of a bowl at all.

I'll be redoing and cleaning his cage tomorrow in case that helps, but right now he should have fine UV and heat sides. The last time I took him to a vet, I was (I think) scammed out of nearly half a grand and I wasn't told anything useful that Google hadnt told me already. She claimed he was "very sick with Pinworms", and prescribed me very pricey medicine, which did nothing. He was the same lizard before and after the medicine. He isn't quite "lethargic" despite not wanting to eat, which leads me to think he may not be sick??? Idk

kingofnobbys Sicko
Permanent blackbeard and loss of apetite means ==> emergency vet assessment

He's either in a lot of pain , or he's feeling very sick .

Please don't delay getting him to a good competent experienced reptile vet - TODAY.

Bearded dragons are masters at hiding when they are sick ( an obviously sick dragon in the wild is quickly spotted and eaten by a wedgetail eagle , or a large goanna , or a large snake or python , a or a dingo , or a feral cat ) . Permanent blackbeard indicates critically ill or extreme pain.

Drache613 Sicko
Staff member

Sorry your dragon isn't feeling well.
We need to review your tank setup with you such as the type/brand of UVB lighting, your
temperatures, food & supplementation given, etc. If you have any pictures of your dragon,
along with your tank that would be great.
If he is black bearding often, he is not feeling well & might be in distress. It would be a
good idea to at least try to get a fecal done on him, to determine if there might be worms or
parasite issues going on.



Original Poster
He has the Reptisun coil bulb for UV, see the pictures. His cool side is around 82 or so, his hot spot only reaches 96 (cleaning the tank today, will try to get that spot hotter).

Food is not a great balance right now, he has only consumed about half a slice of orange bell pepper and nibbled on a few types of melon in the last week. Despite all that, he tried to poop 3 times in the last 15 hours. First looked normal (brown black), second was all white, and the last was a small black pellet which he just pooped out now. I should emphasize that despite things sounding like he is sick, I do ALSO want to try to teach him how to hunt his own food without my hand being involved AND get him to consume greens. I've got Kale out in the fridge, hard to find the other greens around rn.

I'll call the place I bought him from as a baby and ask if they have a vet they recommend. I am NOT going back to the one I used last time. The last vet did tell me he had Pinworms (this was maybe like 8-12 months ago), but after giving him the medicine doses as told nothing seemed to change.

I also brought him out last night to play and he spent most of the time lounging on me. He did eventually start running around, and at the end of all that he "unblackened" his beard. He darkened it again when he slept, currently he is looking at me with a normal beard color. I'm not completely sure what kind of message he is trying to send X'D.



Original Poster
Interesting. He whitened his beard today, I've had him out as I cleaned his tank today (white distilled vinegar and water). All of the sudden, he got frumpy, blackened his beard, then proceeded to poop chalky white paste which he wiped all over the place. Then he whitened the beard again and seems perky and normal.

Is that congestion or diarrhea? Does he actually have parasites? Should I try to find some food with natural fiber to help him get it out?

Drache613 Sicko
Staff member

His beard has become normal color & isn't black right now?
As far as the UVB light you are using, the compact/coil light, that will need to be changed
out to a long fluorescent tube bulb instead. The compact/coil light can often be harmful to
their eyes & is not very good for their health.
We all recommend either the Reptisun 10 tube or the Arcadia D3 12%. There is a high
output tube from both of those brand, which is the T5. It is a lot more effective & stronger
than the T8 plus, it lasts longer, too.
Did he eat anything today? Let me know how he is doing!



Original Poster
He has a Reptisun T5 10 tube, I had a few people recommend it to me + the online community said it was perfect. I took him to the place I bought him and one of their specialists said he was most likely "feeling horny with the time of year" and told me that starts to happen 3-4 years in. They told me not to worry about running to a vet unless his weight drops. They also told me to grab some pumpkin to feed him, and he "nibbled" on it a little bit. Well, licked it off his lips as I applied it like chapstick :p

He has a white beard right this moment, he slept with it nearly white and woke up looking normal.

Drache613 Sicko
Staff member

That is a great bulb! So you did a terrific job with getting the proper lighting for him.
The males do have a surge of hormonal activity in the spring to summer time periods.
It actually starts to happen when they hit puberty at 6 months, roughly but they do mature
& it tends to become more of a strong behavior than in their earlier years.
So he is doing a bit better & had a clear beard earlier?
I agree, as long as he doesn't start losing too much weight, he should be just fine.


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