Bearded dragon poop might not be a fun topic, but it is an important one.
Your beardie’s poop can be a great sign of their current health. Understanding what it means can make a huge difference in their quality of care.
If you want to make sure that they stay happy and healthy then you have to know what healthy poop looks like. You should also know how often you should see it and what to do when they are not pooping.
When you understand your bearded dragon’s poop you will also be able to recognize when it is abnormal. Knowing what black, green, red, yellow, all white or even runny stool means is also important.
In this article we go through different poop types, how often you should see them, what they mean, and what you can do about it…
Bearded Dragon Poop Explained
One thing to keep in mind is that bearded dragon poop is very different from mammal poop.
Mammals pee and poop from separate openings, but reptiles have just one opening called the cloaca. The cloaca is used to expel all waste. Another difference is that instead of pee reptiles have a chalky white paste called urate.
Urates are a chalky, uric acid paste. They are essentially solid urine.
Reptiles excrete this paste instead of urinating as it aids in conserving water. It also allows them to hold their urine for longer periods of time without toxic ammonia build up.
When keeping bearded dragons it is important to monitor their poop so you can notice any changes in appearance, frequency and consistency.
Bearded dragon poop can tell you a number of things. To start with it is a good indicator of health.
Healthy stool will be firm and brown with a white paste. The white paste is urate and is usually seen at the end of the log.
If you keep a close eye on their poop, you will see signs of stress, parasites, dehydration, unbalanced diet and even poor husbandry. Scientists can even determine what they have been eating just by looking at their poop!
The consistency, smell and color of bearded dragon poop can change depending on the situation.
Adults will go anywhere from one to five times per week. Hatchlings are known to go a lot more and can even be seen pooping three times per day.
When dealing with their stool you must always remember to wash your hands. Reptile feces has been known to house Salmonella. If you wash your hands and keep their enclosure clean it is unlikely that you will have to deal with Salmonella.
|Brown and White||Normal!||Keep doing what you are doing.|
|Green||Green dye from vegetables||As long as they are acting fine this is normal.|
|Black||Impaction or severe constipation||This can be caused by feeding too many insects. You should add more leafy greens to your beardies diet. If the problem persists, see a vet.|
|Runny||Parasites or overhydrated||If overhydrated then cut down on fruits and leafy greens to reduce the imbalance. Parasites will require the help of a vet.|
|White||Dehydrated||Start by feeding more vegetables and leafy greens. Bathing or misting can help in the short term.|
|Yellow||Too much calcium||Feed fewer high calcium foods and reduce the amount of calcium powder you are using. You should also check to make sure the UVB light only covers one side of the enclosure.|
|Red or Bloody||Diet or internal bleeding||Feeding raspberries and beets can cause red poop. If it has not improved in a few days it may be a sign of internal bleeding (parasites or a foreign object) so take them to the vet.|
|Runny, foul smelling or sometimes black||Parasites||Take your pet to the vet.|
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Poop?
How often a beardie poops depends mostly on their age.
Younger bearded dragons will go a lot more than adults. Hatchlings have been known to poop up to three times per day! A normal pooping schedule for an adult bearded dragon can range anywhere from once a day to once a week. Adults can go a lot longer than hatchlings.
Hydration, stress, diet and illness can all impact how often bearded dragons poop.
Dehydrated or stressed individuals may not poop as much. If your beardie has a diet with a lot of vegetables, they may go less. On the other hand feeding a diet that is high in calcium may see them pooping more often.
Another example is parasites. Some intestinal parasites may cause constipation, whereas others actually cause your bearded dragon to poop more.
Finally brumation can cause them to poop less or to stop completely. Brumation is reptile hibernation and causes their activity levels to drop. Because they rarely eat during brumation, there will not be much to excrete.
How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go Without Pooping?
If your bearded dragon has not pooped in over a week then it is time to start investigating. Adults should be pooping once a week at a minimum. As hatchlings should poop every day, you should take notice if they have not pooped in three days.
Constipation in bearded dragons can be caused by a variety of factors.
The first thing to check is their tank setup and care routine, this is especially important for babies. A dehydrated or stressed-out bearded dragon will poop a lot less than one with proper husbandry.
Double check that your tank is in a quiet and peaceful part of your house. Then check that the humidity is between 30 to 35% and the temperature gradient is 85°F to 100°F. Their diet should also be balanced with 20% live insects and 80% greens for adults.
Once you have ruled out husbandry or dietary factors you should then try to reduce the constipation.
One helpful way to get bearded dragons pooping is baths. Bathing your bearded dragon in lukewarm water and gently massaging their stomach can encourage them to poop. Small amounts of olive oil or canned pumpkin purée mixed with water can also be added to their food to encourage bowel movement.
If you have setup their tank correctly, are feeding a balanced diet and bathing does not help, then it is time for a vet visit. Intestinal parasites, internal bleeding and impaction are all known to cause constipation.
Unfortunately the general rules above tend to go out the window if your bearded dragon is in brumation. This inactive period can have a major effect on their normal schedule.
During brumation your bearded dragon could stop pooping for up to three months. But since they are not eating as much this is nothing to worry about. Once they begin eating regularly again, they should start pooping within a week or two.
Healthy Bearded Dragon Poop
Healthy bearded dragon poop should look like a firm brown log with a white or light-yellow, pasty urate. This urate is usually found at the end of the stool because of how the excretion process works.
There is some variation in what normal bearded dragon poop should look like.
For example you may occasionally see green stool, instead of brown.
Shockingly this is actually pretty normal. Most often green poop is caused by green dye from vegetables you have recently fed them. It will likely return to normal within a few days.
Brown and White
Normal bearded dragon poop is brown with white urates at either end and is a solid tube shape. This is what healthy poop looks like and you should keep doing whatever you are doing.
Seeing bright green poop may be a little scary at first, but this is actually healthy. The green color normally comes from green dyes present in leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuce, and green peppers. If you are feeding your bearded dragon these greens then the occasional green one is nothing to worry about.
As long as your bearded dragon is acting fine, green poop can actually be normal. Just make sure they are still active, alert and acting normal.
If your bearded dragon has green stool and is lethargic or losing weight, this could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
Their poop should not have a strong odor or be runny in consistency.
Things like dark black, the presence of blood, all white poop and mucus are some indicators that there might be a problem. Below is a list of what you may see in unhealthy bearded dragon stool and what it means.
Unhealthy Bearded Dragon Poop
If you see bearded dragon poop that is runny it can usually mean overhydration or parasites.
Runny stool could simply mean they are overhydrated.
If your lizard has runny, semi solid poop and you are feeding lots of fruits, leafy greens or hornworms, it could just be overhydrated. Simply cut back on foods containing a lot of water and you should see it return to a normal solid log within a few days.
Collard greens, squashes, and insects can also be fed to help solidify their poop.
The second most common cause of runny bearded dragon poop is a little more serious.
Parasites like coccidia are known to cause diarrhea. The difference is this one will have a foul odor and be much messier and unformed. If you believe your bearded dragon has parasites then a trip to the vet for medicine is your best bet.
If you see all white bearded dragon poop then they are not getting enough water.
All white, dry, chalky poop is a sign that your bearded dragon is dehydrated. Another sign of dehydration is stringy saliva.
Luckily dehydration is a relatively easy and quick fix.
The first thing you can do is to bath them. Bathing is a great way to quickly ensure they are properly hydrated. You can bathe them three times per week, for 30 minutes in shallow lukewarm water.
The next thing you need to do is to make sure that a shallow, large, water dish is in the cool side of their tank at all times. Also check tank humidity levels to make sure they are not below 30%. You can also mist the enclosure to raise humidity levels, but be careful to not soak the substrate as this can lead to bacterial growth and mold. Finally you can add some extra fruits and leafy greens with high water content in their diet to boost their hydration.
Yellow bearded dragon poop usually means they are getting too much calcium. Bearded dragons do require a UVB light and calcium supplements, but too much can be a bad thing. Overloading on calcium can lead to things like organ damage, bowl problems and even liver disease.
For hatchlings under 8 inches you should be dusting their food with a calcium powder every day. A juvenile’s food should be dusted every other day and once a week for adults.
If you see yellow poop you should dust their food with less calcium powder and make sure that their UVB light does not cover the entire enclosure. You can also cut back on foods that are naturally high in calcium like watercress or kale.
Occasionally beginners may confuse yellow poop for a seminal plug or infertile egg.
Males can produce something called a seminal plug that is usually tinted yellow with a string like texture. Females have been known to produce infertile eggs, also called slugs, that can sometimes be yellow with lots of mucus.
Red or Bloody
Red bearded dragon poop does not always mean your bearded dragon is pooping blood. If they have recently eaten any red fruits or vegetables (e.g. raspberries or beets) this could explain it.
Even if they have recently eaten raspberries or beets it is best to monitor for a few days to make sure it returns to normal.
Another cause of red poop can be blood from parasites or eating something sharp.
You may see blood if your bearded dragon has recently eaten something sharp like sticks, substrate, or even a particularly solid insect leg. These foreign objects could have done some damage to their intestines and cause bleeding.
If the bleeding seems mild this is something that you should monitor for a few days to see if it goes away. If the bleeding seems particularly severe or persists longer than a few days they will need to be taken to a vet.
Generally black bearded dragon poop means that you are feeding too many insects and not enough vegetables. Black is usually a sign of severe constipation.
The best way to fix black stool is to increase the amount of vegetables and leafy greens you are feeding and reduce the number of insects.
Black watery poop is slightly different and can be a sign of parasites. In this case you will need to take them to a vet.
One thing to keep in mind is that dark poop is different from black. Healthy bearded dragon poop will harden and darken naturally, do not mistake this for a problem. If their poop is brown as soon as they excrete it, it is healthy.
Bearded dragon parasite poop can come in a number of different forms.
The most common type is runny poop (i.e. diarrhea). If your bearded dragon poop has a watery consistency it is likely caused by parasites. Sometimes it can even be black!
Sometimes parasites can have the opposite effect and actually cause constipation.
If you are not sure check for other signs of parasites like weight loss, lethargic behavior, poor appetite, vomiting and bloody poop with a very foul odor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Isn’t My Bearded Dragon Pooping?
If your bearded dragon has gone over a week without pooping this could be due to:
- A vegetable-heavy diet
The first thing you can do is to check their tank setup and diet. Make sure that the tank temperature, humidity and substrate are all correct.
Related: Bearded Dragon Care, Tank Setup, Food, Lifespan & More
After checking their setup if you cannot find an obvious reason for why they are not pooping, you can bathe them in lukewarm water three times a day or add pumpkin purée to their diet until they start pooping again.
How Do I Help My Bearded Dragon Poop?
Bathing, pumpkin purée and olive oil are all good ways to help your bearded dragon poop again.
Putting your bearded dragon in a lukewarm water bath for 15 minutes can often stimulate a bowel movement. After the bath gently message their stomach to help move things along.
Another option is adding some watered down pumpkin purée to their food. Pumpkin is known to aid in digestion.
Olive oil can also help constipation as it is a known laxative. Dropping a small amount of olive oil on their nose and having them lick it can help constipation.
Do Bearded Dragon’s Poop During Brumation?
During brumation a bearded dragon is very inactive and will not eat much, because of this they will not poop much. It is normal for a bearded dragon to not poop very much, if at all during brumation.
Looking at bearded dragon poop might not be your definition of fun, but it is important to do.
Understanding their bowel movements is important to maintaining their health. There is a wide variety of things that poop can tell you. Black means too many insects in their diet, yellow can indicate too much calcium and runny stool can be a sign of parasites.
Healthy poop should look like a firm brown log with a white or light-yellow, pasty urate.
Unhealthy stool can be runny, all white, yellow, red or even black.
It may not be the best aspect of keeping a bearded dragon, but the truth is you can learn a lot from their poop.
RELATED: How Much Is A Bearded Dragon? Price List & Ownership Cost