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How To Tell If Your Bearded Dragon Is Dying (Early Signs)

Bearded dragons are incredible creatures, loved by reptile enthusiasts all over the world for their charming personalities and unique looks. They make amazing pets and bring so much joy to households everywhere. 

But, just like any other living being, they can sometimes face fatal health challenges. That’s why it’s so important to know how to recognize when your bearded dragon might not be feeling well. 

Whether you’re new to owning a bearded dragon or you’re an experienced reptile lover, it’s essential to understand how to detect warning signs of health problems in your pet. 

So, if you find yourself wondering, “How can I tell if my bearded dragon is dying?” here’s everything you need to know.

There are several signs which will tell you if your bearded dragon is dying. For example, if your bearded dragon has dull, grey skin but is not shedding, or your bearded dragon is uninterested and unresponsive and acting lethargic but not in brumation, they could be dying. Other signs include a lack of appetite, sunken or droopy eyes, shallow breathing, and spending more time in the cooler area of their tank.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the signs to look out for if you think your beardie is dying so that you can help them recover or let them pass peacefully.

why did my bearded dragon die

Is My Bearded Dragon Dying? What Are The Signs?

You will see a few signs to help you determine if your beardie is dying, and keeping a close eye on your pet looking for these symptoms can help you prevent its demise.

Here is a list of symptoms you might notice if your bearded dragon is dying:

  • Dull or grey skin not during a shedding cycle
  • Acting unresponsive, lethargic, and uninterested. Note: these are factors if your pet is not in brumation
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sunken or droopy eyes
  • Shallow breathing
  • Spending the majority of its time in the cooler side of the tank

The symptoms you might see in your bearded dragon can differ from issue to issue and animal to animal.

You know your pet best, and because of this, you will be the best judge of knowing if something is off with your beardie.

Causes Of Death For Bearded Dragons

If you are wracking your brain trying to figure out what happened to your beloved pet, a vet will be able to do an autopsy and tell you the exact cause.

We have included a list of possible causes of death for your animal:

  • An impaction caused by ingesting loose substrate or food too large
  • Improper temperature leading to overheating or being too cold
  • Infection
  • Parasites
  • Egg binding
  • Ingesting of toxic plants or bugs
  • Metabolic bone disease
  • Stress
  • Organ failure
  • Aneurysm
  • Metabolic bone disease

For example, there are many reasons a bearded dragon can die, but they mostly fall into three categories: old age, illness, and improper care/human mistakes.

Many of which can be easily avoided with proper knowledge.

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sick bearded dragon

Old Age

Beardies can live up to 10 to 15 years when raised in captivity, but once they reach the seven to the eight-year-old range, they are recognized as being in the old age stage of life.

Once they reach this stage of life, you may notice they begin to slow down in their movements, are less active, sleep more, and eat less.

In their old age, they can pass from organ failure or an aneurysm, as examples, but if your bearded dragon is older, it is likely they naturally reached the end of their life cycle.

 old bearded dragon


Beardies often will die from diseases or parasites, or even metabolic bone disease.

It is vital to get them diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible if there is any hope of recovery with any of these issues.

The longer you wait to get your pet help, the harder it will be to cure the issue.

Improper Care

Proper care of your dragon is vital to their health and well-being, and even if you don’t mean to, sometimes you might be hurting your beardie if you aren’t paying attention.

A beardie can die from being too hot or too cold, easily controlled by proper tank size, lighting, and temperature.

Other times, a bearded dragon might get an impaction from a loose substrate in its tank or from being fed giant insects.

Impactions can cause a quick death in bearded dragons.

There are several things we, as pet owners, can control in their environment, and we must be aware they are getting the proper habitat so they can thrive.

For example, some plants are harmful to your pet, others are fine, and you can learn about the best plants for bearded dragons in this post.

dying bearded dragon

What Can I Do To Help My Beardie?

If you are noticing any of the signs we have discussed, all hope is not lost.

Once you identify the symptoms, you are far more likely to be able to save your pet.

Some of the problems are easy fixes, like if your bearded dragon is overheating or is too cold.

Infection or parasites might require a trip to the veterinarian for testing and medication to heal your pet.

If you are at a loss of what to do or what the issue might be, it is always a good idea to contact your veterinarian and get their advice and evaluation.

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How To Tell If My Bearded Dragon Has Died

Maybe you have been trying to nurse your bearded dragon back to health, but it doesn’t seem to be working.

Or your bearded dragon is in a brumation period, but you aren’t sure.

dead bearded dragon

We have compiled a list of things to tell if you think your bearded dragon has died.

  • Eyes partially closed, not completely closed
  • Unnaturally limp mouth/jaw
  • Does not respond to physical touch
  • No movement
  • The animal is limp when you handle it
  • No breathing
  • Sometimes their beard and underside may stay black
  • Skin and eyes have an unnatural yellow color

Identifying the Red Flags: Is Your Bearded Dragon Dying?

Bearded dragons are susceptible to a range of health issues, and it is essential you, as an owner, can look for the signs and symptoms your pet is dying.

Sometimes they are quick and easy fixes to nurse your pet back to health, and other issues can require medicine and veterinary care.

When trying to determine if your pet is dying, look for:

  • Dull or grey skin when they are not shedding
  • Acting unresponsive
  • Lethargic and uninterested when not in brumation
  • A lack of appetite
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shallow breathing
  • Spending more time on the cooler side of the tank

Your bearded dragon may experience slightly different symptoms, so it is essential to know your pet and contact your vet with any questions.

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