Bearded Dragon & Skin Disease

Baby Bearded Dragons
Baby Bearded Dragons (Image: "Steve Smith's All Animal Expo" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: kate.gardiner (Kate Gardiner) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

There are many health factors to consider when caring for any lizard, but for the Bearded Dragon there are generally two skin diseases that reptile owners should be aware of, Yellow Fungus and Adenovirus.


Yellow Fungus is generally the most common skin disease for the Bearded Dragon. Skin may become yellow, brown, or in later stages even turn black. Areas of the skin may become crusty sores or open wet spots. Adenovirus is harder to detect and may or may not affect the skin. When affecting the skin, it may turn yellow similar to Yellow Fungus and the skin may not want to shed or slough off. This virus first recorded in 1996 is hard to detect and since it is less frequently seen, may initially be diagnosed as Yellow Fungus.


Both Yellow Fungus and Adenovirus are treated with antibiotics and medicated bathes. Adenovirus is a viral disease with many different components (may affect digestive, nervous or respiratory system). If suspected, the dragon should be quarantined from other animals and immediate medical treatment sought. Adenovirus, unfortunately, is often fatal.

Other Skin Ailments

Tiny parasites called mites may be noticed moving across the body, particularly in the neck region. Scales may slough off individually and skin may appear irritated. The dragon should be removed from its enclosure while cage is cleaned and should not be returned to the enclosure until treatment of cage is complete and there is no further sign of infestation.


Showing signs of weakness makes lizards easy prey when in the wild. They are very adept at hiding symptoms when sick or injured. Any changes in skin color, condition, or inability to shed, should be noted and medical treatment sought if condition worsens or does not improve.

Fun Fact

In 2008, the Beard Dragon became the most popular reptile species kept in the United States as a pet, outnumbering the Green Iguana with over 500,000 captive bred babies hatched each year.

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