Anything other than the usual brown log of poop from your beardie may freak you out as an owner. If you’re noticing orange poops in particular, we’re here to help you figure out what might be causing them.
The main reasons why bearded dragons have orange feces is due to excessive supplements, consuming foods that are orange, and dehydration. While most of these issues are easily fixed, signs of lethargy, appetite loss, and foul-smelling feces signal a serious illness that requires medical attention.
This post discusses all the possible reasons why beardies can have orange poops, some symptoms that are concerning, and what you should do to deal with orange poops. Read on!
Table of Contents
6 Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Have Orange Poops
Some reasons why your beardie’s poop might be orange are more concerning than others. Here’s why:
Bearded dragons can poop orange stuff simply because you’ve been feeding them too many orange-pigmented fruits and veggies.
Believe it or not, this is one of the most common reasons why it happens, and it’s absolutely nothing to be worried about. Phew!
Stuff like carrots, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and such can result in orange poops. They contain a compound called beta carotene that gives them their orange pigment, and an excess of this causes poops to change color.
Don’t be alarmed when your beardie continues to have orange poops even if you stop feeding such veggies – this stuff tends to stay in the system for a few days.
Similar effects can be observed with other highly pigmented veggies like beets, which might cause pink-colored poops.
More often than not, it’s the urate that is orange and not the poop itself. Orange urates might form due to two possible reasons:
If you see small orange crystals covering your beardie’s urate, there’s a high chance you’re overdosing it with calcium. These are calcium oxalate crystals, which form when there’s too much waste in the urate and not enough liquid.
The crystals can also form due to excessive vitamin D3, resulting in an inability to properly absorb calcium.
While this doesn’t require an emergency visit to the vet, it is definitely something you should correct immediately.
Stop over-dusting with calcium and vitamins and refer to a feeding guide, as this situation can easily escalate to kidney disease and other serious conditions if not rectified on time.
Orange or slightly orange urates can also mean dehydration. Dehydrated beardies will have rock-like poops after many days of constipation with equally hard orange urates, and will usually strain and have a hard time pooping it out.
This might be accompanied by symptoms like lethargy, wrinkled-up dry skin, and sunken eyes. Needless to say, such severe levels of dehydration require immediate medical attention.
A dreaded term within the bearded dragon community, parasites are a common cause behind orange poops (not orange urates).
Coccidia and pinworms are some of the most common types, and most of the time they infect reptiles without any obvious clinical symptoms.
So if you notice orange poops, you can suspect a parasitic infection, especially if they smell exceptionally foul and are runny.
It’s a good idea to collect samples of the feces for the vet. You may also refrigerate a sample in a Ziploc bag if you think your pet won’t be pooping any time soon.
Post-Brumation Orange Poop
Beardies during brumation won’t poop much – perhaps once every few weeks or so. They do eat occasionally, which means the poop remains inside the body for many days at a time.
This often results in weird orange-colored, hard poops, so don’t be too alarmed if it happens during or after brumation.
Have you been dusting the food with bee pollen? As nutritious as it may be, it might be the cause behind orange tinted poops. Try holding it back for a few feedings to check if it’s the culprit behind all the fuss.
If your beardie has been constipated, it might have slightly orange poops due to mild GI tract irritation, which is usually nothing to worry about. This can also happen if your pet eats something particularly upsetting like big insects.
While slightly irritated intestines aren’t always concerning, it is a serious condition if orange poops persist.
What to Do If Your Bearded Dragon Has Orange Poops
Okay, so you just noticed that your beardie’s poop is alarmingly orange. Here’s what you should do next to assess the situation and make sure your pet is in good health:
If your pet has hard-looking orange poops, it’s a good idea to hydrate your pet before anything. There’s nothing worse than a dehydrated bearded dragon, so grab a syringe or a pipette and drop a few milliliters of water into its mouth.
You can also try to give it a bath to encourage drinking water. The benefits will be two-fold if it has been constipated, as this will induce pooping.
Veggies can sometimes make bearded dragons have runny poops, so this might not be needed for your pet if it has been consuming a lot of juicy veggies.
Hold Off Supplements
The next step should be figuring out whether you’ve been overdosing your dragon on supplements. Stop dusting its food with vitamins and calcium for a few days, and observe the next few poops for any signs of orange or yellow tints.
Meanwhile, you should also hold back from feeding any orange-pigmented fruits and veggies. If the orange poops persist despite this, then there might be something serious going on with your pet.
As you wait for the next poop, try feeding it lots of greens instead of other vegetables. This will ensure soft and healthy poops that aren’t strangely colored.
Good greens for bearded dragons include mustard greens, collard greens, peas, and cacti (after removing the spines, of course).
Check the Enclosure
With any signs of illness, you should always check the parameters of your pet’s enclosure. Is it clean enough?
Are temperatures and humidity correct? Fix anything that’s not within the recommended range and see if it makes a difference in your beardie.
Pay special attention to UVB lighting, as it helps produce vitamin D to absorb calcium and assists in digestion.
The tank should have spaces away from the UVB, correct basking temperatures, and plenty of places to cool off. All of this aids in the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Tip: Here is what it means if your bearded dragon’s poop is green!
See a Vet
If the orange poop persists despite taking the above measures, book an appointment with your vet ASAP. Your pet could be suffering from parasites, possible kidney diseases, and other underlying illnesses.
Some symptoms you should look out for include:
- Foul-smelling poops
- Loss of appetite
Orange poops don’t usually pinpoint anything too serious. However, persistent orange poops, especially when accompanied by other symptoms, must be checked out by a vet as soon as possible.
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