Beardies’ Early Warning Signs Of Ilness

Dark circles under the eye, in the area of the lower lid Sign of illness.
Darkening of their facial, beard or head color Sign of unhappiness.
A general look of peakedness and apathy Sign of illness.
Loss of flesh around the tail base Sign of not eating enough.
Noticeable protruding bones in the jaw area (not fleshy) Sign of not eating.
Sunken spots on top of the head above the eyes Sign of dehydration.
Obvious loss of body weight, saggy, baggy skin Sign of illness.



1. Look for signs of stress – cool temperatures, dominant cage mates, a change in lodgings, furnishings or substrate, a change in what your Dragon can see, a change in diet, signs of coccidia outbreak (evil-smelling, liquid feces), long-term medication, new pet (cat, dog) in the house, a person who handles him roughly, lack of access to a basking site, dirty cage, crickets loose in the cage and nibbling on him at night, cold draft from an outside wall or window, lights on and off on variable schedules, cleaning residue in the cage, cigarette smoke, etc.

2. Make sure the Dragon is well hydrated (give extra water, maybe by syringe; give a warm bath), give yogurt, and reduce any stress you can identify.

3. Check for other signs of illness – look for changes in bowel habits, eating patterns, behavior, general activity level, etc. Any of these signs by themselves don’t necessarily indicate illness but might when combined with the dark eye circles.

4. Make an appointment with your veterinarian, and get a fecal exam done (paying particular attention to the degree of infestation if parasites are present). If you have not yet found a knowledgeable reptile veterinarian in your area, please visit the ARAV (Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians) Member Directory website at

This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

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