The Ultimate Guide to Bearded Dragon Poop
Knowing what a healthy bearded dragon poop looks like can be valuable knowledge for a beardie owner. It will help you to determine if your beardie is sick or not.
Unfortunately, reptiles are often stoic animals, meaning they don’t show any obvious signs of disease. This is why it is very important to do things such as regularly weighing your beardie and monitoring its poop.
Keeping a food chart when you notice changes in poop is always a good idea. Your vet will want to know if you have to take your beardie there.
The Basics of a Bearded Dragon Poop
Before you learn how to identify problems with a bearded dragon, you need to know what normal, healthy bearded dragon poop looks like.
One of the most important things you need to understand is that bearded dragons, produce stools that are a little different from a dog or cat.
Before going into the body of the article, let’s look at what the reptile waste looks like:
The anatomy of a reptile is different from that of a mammal. In reptiles, there is a structure called a cloaca which is a central chamber for collecting digestive and urine products.
Because of this, it means that bearded dragons expel a combination of feces and urine at the same time.
There is also a white part, within the poop and this is usually a combination of uric acid and urea.
The bottom line: the bearded dragon poop is a combination of two different substances: one that is fairly solid and brown/black and the other which is white in color.
Signs of a Problem in the Poop
Blood in the Poop
Different problems can cause blood to appear in the bearded dragon poop, some are relatively harmless whilst others indicate a significant health risk.
Your bearded dragon might have swallowed a sharp substrate or could be suffering from internal parasites or pathogenic bacteria that can damage the intestine.
If this is the case then you must absolutely take action right away, this condition can be fatal if left untreated.
You can find more information about preventing and curing impaction here.
At this point, you will want to go to your veterinarian’s office. Keep the bloody stool and take it along when going to see the vet.
Green/Yellow Colored Poop
Bearded dragons can produce strange colored stools instead of dark brown or black. More often than not, this is due to their diet, as long as the urate remains white and the poop is firm.
For example, if you feed a lizard with more carrots than normal, its feces may turn yellow the next day. Or, if you feed your beardie with a few extra greens then expect the poop to be a more green color.
But if the poop doesn’t return to normal or if it stinks, or is runny, it can be a sign of intestinal parasites in which case you must take a sample to the vet.
If the urate part of the poop is yellow then this can be a sign that your beardie is getting too much calcium, if you are using calcium supplements then this could be an indication that you are using too much.
Try reducing the amount and see if the color changes in the urate.
White Poop Problems
As described, a bearded dragon has two elements to its poop, the dark part, and the white part. The white part is urate.
There are two observations to monitor here, the urate should be a soft consistency however if it is runny or it is rocky and hard this could indicate two different things. Keep reading to find out what they mean.
Hard Rocky White Urate
There may be times when your bearded dragon produces hard urates (the white part of their waste). This is usually a sign of dehydration and occurs because your bearded dragon’s body is forced to save water.
If this is happening in isolation, it should not be an extremely disturbing problem as you can treat the issue at home. But if left untreated, it can lead to serious illness or death. To cure the dehydration you will want to do one of a few things.
You should also check the temperature and humidity of the habitat and ensure that they are at the optimum levels.
Bathing your beardie in water for 15 minutes up to their shoulders is another great way to ensure they remain hydrated.
If the problem persists though, you should consult your veterinarian to make sure your lizard is not suffering from any other serious problems.
Runny White Poop
If the entire poop is runny including the urate, then this could be a sign of two things. Either your beardie is over hydrated and has eaten high fiber foods or (if the poop smells bad) it could be a sign of a parasite or intestinal infection.
If there is no smell and you realize that you have fed your beardie high fiber foods or it has consumed very wet food, then this is likely to be just a result of the diet.
If however there is a bad odor and there has been no change in the diet, then it is definitely worth getting a sample of the stool to a vet for testing.
All White Poop
In this instance, the poop part of the feces is missing and only the urate is present. If the urate itself is quite rocky and hard then this is a sign of dehydration and it may be that your beardie is suffering from impaction.
It could also be that your beardie is simply not eating in which case there would be little or no poop at all.
Again, continue monitoring the situation, and where there is no change, consult your vet with any concerns.
Presence of Visible Food
If you can spot the remnants of insect body parts, or plant matter in the poop, this is a sign of undigested food.
This can be due to one of two reasons, either the food you are feeding your beardie is too large for it to be digested or the food is too hard and tough to be digested.
Both situations can cause blockages in your beardie’s internal digestive system which can lead to impaction.
It is recommended that the food pieces you feed your beardie should be no larger than the gap between your beardie’s eyes.
Additionally, some insects have a hard outer shell called ‘chitin’, and whilst beardies are able to generally break this down, a build-up of this can cause the digestive system to become irritated.
When this occurs the digestive process becomes less effective and it begins to stop breaking the chitin down which can lead to impaction.
So again, keep an eye on this and if it occurs, perhaps steer clear of mealworms for a short period of time.
Soft/Runny and Foul Smelling Poop
It is common for reptiles to have soft poop, and sometimes it can mean nothing more than a slightly fiber-rich diet.
On the other hand, they can also indicate a very serious health problem. For example, soft stools with a bad odor can be caused by a bacterial infection, parasites, contaminated food, or various types of internal disease.
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