What Do Stress Marks on a Bearded Dragon Indicate?

what do stress marks on a bearded dragon indicate

As a pet owner of a bearded dragon, anything abnormal or different regarding them can stress you out. One of them is noticing stress marks on your bearded dragon. Well, to begin with, do not get tense when you see sudden stress marks on your bearded dragon. These marks are not always a sign of something terrible. 

Stress marks on your bearded dragon indicate that your pet is stressed due to environmental changes or issues with the enclosure. Stress marks appear on both female and male bearded dragons. They are stripes on the back, beard, neck, sides, and belly. Once you know the root cause of these stress marks, you can quickly rectify it and put your bearded dragon at ease.  

We will help you understand everything about stress marks on your bearded dragon. So, there is nothing to worry about. Keep reading to find a solution to all your questions. 

How Do Stress Marks Look? 

Before we understand what stress marks look like, we must know that bearded dragons tend to get stress marks whenever they feel uncomfortable. So, as much ever you care for them, there will be something that might cause your bearded dragon a little stress. There is nothing to worry about as you can relieve them from the stress. 

Now how to spot stress marks and how they look is the question. You will be able to notice marks on your pet’s limbs and stomach. These marks are usually in dark or blackish ovals and lines. 

There will be instances where your bearded dragon’s beard may turn black, or your pet may develop tiny black spots

Also, even though stress marks usually appear when your bearded dragon is threatened, feeling sick, or afraid. At times bearded dragon beards tend to get darker during their shedding period. These are not stress marks. So do not get confused. If you notice a dark beard, monitor your pet for a few days to see if it shows signs of shedding. If your bearded dragon does not shed after a few days, you must act upon it and see what is stressing your pet out. 

Remember, stress marks are noticeable, you will have no hassle spotting them. You must remember to take action immediately to reduce your pet’s stress; otherwise, it can lead to health issues. 

You may even notice your bearded dragon breathing heavily, this can also be a sign of stress.

Key 4 Reasons for Stress Marks in Bearded Dragons   

Noticing stress marks is not difficult, but finding the cause of the stress marks can indeed be challenging. There is a list of common reasons that can stress your pet bearded dragon. 

  1. Problems with the Enclosure

An enclosure or tank is the place where your bearded dragon stays. It is an important place for them. If there is a problem with the enclosure, your bearded dragon can get stressed, and marks will appear. 

Many things can go wrong with the enclosure. Here are a few common things that can cause stress to your pet bearded dragon.

  • Temperature 

Your pet bearded dragon will get stressed if the tank’s temperature is incorrect. For instance, if you notice stress marks on your pet dragon in the morning, it means that the temperature of the tank is not accurate during the night. 

Since the temperature is incorrect, it makes your bearded dragon uncomfortable, directly leading to stress. 

Overall, ensure you have a cool area, a basking spot, and a warm area. Maintaining these temperatures will not stress your pet. You can use a thermometer or any temperature-checking machine to ensure the temperature is consistent. 

Note: The enclosure’s temperature at night must always be between 70 and 75˚ Fahrenheit. The basking spot temperature must be around 20˚ warmer than the cooler area. It means the basking spot must be 95 to 100˚ at all times. 

  • The Tank Size Is Not Proper

The tank should be big enough for your bearded dragon. Your pet must not feel cramped in the enclosure. If the enclosure size is not big enough, your bearded dragon will not have space to move around, explore and stay comfortably. This will lead to stress. 

When selecting an enclosure, choosing a bigger one will be beneficial. 

  • Decoration 

The setup or decoration of the habitat must be pleasing to the bearded dragon. It should not be crowded or overflowed with objects. The decor of the tank must be safe for your pet bearded dragon. 

Your pet can feel uncomfortable and stressed if the enclosure is not bearded dragon friendly. Also, try adding as many hiding spaces as possible in the enclosure, as much as bearded dragons love to climb on branches and objects. They love relaxing in privacy as well. 

Note: Keep the hiding space big enough for your bearded dragon. It is essential to keep the enclosure as calm and spacious as possible to get rid of the stress marks. 

  • Dirty Enclosure

If the enclosure is not clean, your bearded dragon will not like it. A clean environment makes bearded dragons feel safe and cared for. The reason for stress marks can be because the enclosure is not tidy. 

Also, not cleaning the enclosure regularly can lead to the development of harmful bacteria, which is not safe for your pet. Hence, clean the tank regularly to provide a safe environment for your pet bearded dragon.

Note: If you are providing your bearded dragon live feeders, be quick to clean the uneaten ones. Do not keep them lying around, as live feeders can bite or scratch your bearded dragon. It can also be traumatic for your pet leading to stress marks. 

  1. New Environment 

Your pet bearded dragon can have stress marks on its body due to environmental change. Relocation is a common reason bearded dragons have stress marks. You must know that bearded dragons are sensitive to change. Anything different from its routine will stress it out. 

Moving your pet to a new place or tank will stress your pet bearded dragon out. 

You do not have to worry, as your pet will get adjusted in no time. You must keep monitoring your bearded dragon when you relocate them. 

Bearded dragons can hiss. Hissing is one of the communication methods they use, especially when they feel threatened or stressed. It’s a common behavior in many reptiles, and bearded dragons may hiss as a warning of potential threats or as a way to express discomfort.

  1. Outside the Tank Environment

Even the outside environment can be the reason for stress marks. Bearded dragons like and prefer calm environments. They do not like loud music or noises. If you have placed your pet dragon near a TV, close to a window, near the kid’s play room, or near your other pets, such as dogs, the noise will stress your dragon out. 

To help your bearded pet dragon feel stress-free, place the tank near a noise-free zone where there will not be constant chatter or noise. 

  1. Too Much Handling

Bearded dragons like attention, but they need their space. Too much handling will make them feel uncomfortable and lead to stress marks. 

If your bearded dragon shows stress marks or signs of stress after you take your pet out of the enclosure, it is probably because of overhandling. That said, bond with your bearded pet dragon, but give it the space it needs.

Note: As mentioned before, bearded dragons like attention and like to be cuddled. When they are not given enough attention, stress marks appear. So, you must know when your pet bearded dragon needs to be cuddled and given attention and even it needs to be left alone. You must balance between both. 

Find the Cause

Even though stress marks disappear over time and are not dangerous, it is always better to know what is causing your bearded dragon stress. Finding the root cause of the problem is a must. 

Just like humans, even bearded dragons do not like stress. By finding the cause or source of distress, you will be helping your pet. 

When you see stress marks, monitor your pet for a while to see if it is because of shedding. If it is not, find the reason if the problem is within the enclosure or outside the enclosure. Once you find the source, take proper measures to rectify the problem. 

Additionally, you can give your pet bearded dragon warm baths to calm them down. During the bath, talk to your pet in a gentle voice. This method is similar to calming a baby down. This method will be beneficial, and you will be able to bond with your bearded dragon as well. 


Stress marks on a bearded dragon indicate that something is bothering your pet and they feel threatened or uncomfortable. Though stress marks are not dangerous, it is better to find the cause and solve it to provide your bearded pet dragon with a better environment. 

We have mentioned all the reasons why a bearded dragon can get stressed. Check all the reasons, and even then, if you cannot find a solution to make the marks disappear, consult your vet immediately.

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