One way to monitor your bearded dragon’s health is to watch its bathroom habits. It may be the last thing you want to see, but a beardie’s poop color holds important clues to its health status. But, should I be concerned if my lizard pal starts excreting green poop?
Green poop in bearded dragons can simply mean they have eaten green plants or food dyed green. Certain medications and supplements can also turn your beardie’s poop green. Overhydration, stress, liver disease, hemolytic anemia, and parasites can also cause beardies to have green poop.
We must learn to read the clues behind the meaning of your beardie’s poop. Keep reading to learn the reasons behind a bearded dragon’s green poop, what to do with it, and when to ask for a vet’s help.
7 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon’s Poop is Green
Bearded dragons are known for producing brown-colored, semi-solid poop. Along with their feces, they also “pee” in the form of urates, which are white and pasty in consistency.
But if your beardie’s poop looks more green than brown, here are the possible reasons you should consider.
1. Eating Green Food
Beardies are known for being omnivores. Though they love eating insects, they’re also open to eating plants, leafy greens, and fruits.
But, green plants have such a color because of the pigment called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps absorb sunlight, giving plants the needed energy to produce food.
This green dye in leafy greens and other veggies is then excreted by your beardie, turning their poop green.
Examples of vegetables that usually cause green-colored feces in bearded dragons include:
- Collard greens
- Spinach (only to be given occasionally as it is high in calcium-binding oxalates, vitamin A, and beta-carotene)
- Bell peppers (green variety)
Sand that has been dyed green can also lead to green poop in beardies. Sand may not be food-material, but they can eat it if they’re correcting mineral deficiencies, specifically calcium.
But, as ingestion of sand can lead to impaction, it is strongly advised to avoid having your beardie eat any of it.
Tip: Read up on the bearded dragon’s care sheet to give the best food and optimally set up its enclosure.
If your bearded dragon is acting normally, has white urates, and the poop isn’t accompanied by mucus or blood, there’s nothing to worry about.
But if it becomes more consistent, cut back on the green food you’re giving. Continue monitoring the bearded dragon’s poop and see if it returns to its usual brown after 2-3 days. Otherwise, bring it to the vet for a thorough check.
Ensuring that a bearded dragon stays hydrated is as vital as feeding it nutritious food. Aside from misting and installing shallow water dishes for soaking, beardies can also get water from their food.
Fruits, certain vegetables (cabbage, celery, cucumber), and hornworms are known to have high water content. Giving too much of these food items can cause your beardie to have runny, green-tinged stools.
Tip: The presence of undigested food in the poop is another sign that your bearded dragon is overhydrated.
To help lessen the frequency of green, runny poo, limit the water-rich vegetables and food for a few days. Lessen the mistings and baths you give your bearded dragon until his poop’s consistency returns to normal.
But if this continues for more than 3 days, increases in frequency, and starts smelling bad despite the changes made, bring your beardie to the vet.
Normal poop frequency in adult bearded dragons can range from 2-4 times a week and up to multiple times a day in baby beardies.
3. Supplements and Medications
Certain supplements and medications can turn a bearded dragon’s poop color to green. Examples of these medications and/or supplements include:
|Supplement or Medication||Reason it Turns Beardie’s Poop Green|
|• Commonly given to baby bearded dragons (though iron should not be taken for the long term due to its side effects)|
• Green poop means iron is not absorbed properly by the beardie’s body
|• Alter the normal gut flora of the beardie’s intestines and disrupts the normal digestive process |
• Bile pigments aren’t broken down properly as feces moves fast across the GI tract
|• May be prescribed by the vet if the beardie hasn’t pooped in a while|
• Bile pigments aren’t broken down completely due to the fast passage of the stool across the GI tract
Consult with the vet about this regardless of the medication or supplement given. Ask for alternatives if possible. Then continue monitoring your bearded dragon’s health and stool at home.
Bearded dragons have different ways of showing their reptile parents they’re stressed or anxious.
Aside from a weakened immune system, stress changes the way their digestive systems function. This leads to their poop changing color (which can include green).
The first step to relieving your bearded dragon’s stress is to identify its stressor. If it is poor husbandry conditions, make the proper settings in the tank. Give them good hiding spots and keep their enclosure’s lighting, temperature, and humidity at optimal values.
Avoid handling your bearded dragon too much. They’re known to be solitary creatures, hence, they prefer to be left on their own most of the time. Avoid further interaction with other beardies and pets, too.
Continue monitoring your beardie’s health. Any slight change in your lizard pal’s behavior warrants a trip to the vet for an immediate consultation.
Tip: As stress and sickness go hand-in-hand in bearded dragons, it’s important to spot any stress signs they’re showing.
5. Liver Disease
The liver produces bile, a green fluid, which is then stored in the lizard’s gallbladder. Once food enters, the gallbladder then releases the bile to break down the fats. This bile is then broken down and excreted as waste.
But when your bearded dragon has liver issues, its body can’t break down the bile as quickly as it should. This leaves the excess bile pigments to stain the poo and turn it green with a runny consistency and foul-smelling odor.
Liver-related illnesses in bearded dragons initially start as fatty liver disease. This is usually triggered by obesity from a high-fat diet. Liver failure is the next stage if left untreated.
Once it has progressed to liver failure, there’s nothing you or the vet can do to stop it.
Aside from fatty liver disease, liver failure can result from inbreeding. Liver failure from poorly-bred bearded dragons typically develops between 2-3 years of age.
Symptoms that you should watch when your bearded dragons have liver disease include:
- Yellow tinge in their eyes, gums, and skin (Jaundice)
- Anorexia (bearded dragon not eating)
- Swollen limbs
- Sunken in eyebrows
- Sunken eyes
- Vomiting blood
Spotting any of these symptoms warrants an immediate trip to the reptile vet. If possible, get a sample of fresh poop and put it in a sterile container for fecal analysis.
Tip: Don’t treat this at home as the symptoms of fatty liver disease are similar to that of liver failure.
6. Hemolytic Anemia
Hemolytic anemia in bearded dragons is caused by too much hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells). If this happens outside of the blood cells, their urate becomes green-tinged (biliverdinuria).
Typical causes of hemolytic anemia include:
- Bacterial infection (systemic or blood-borne)
- Blood parasites (Plasmodium)
- Toxins (zinc, lead, some plant species, aflatoxins, petroleum products)
- Infectious diseases
But not much is known about anemia in reptiles. Whether the anemia is hemolytic or not, it is caused by an underlying disease.
Common symptoms of anemia in bearded dragons include
- Low appetite
- Unusual paleness of mucous membranes (eyes, mouth)
Should you notice any of the abovementioned symptoms, bring your beardie to the vet ASAP. He will then conduct a series of tests to find what’s causing the anemia. Blood transfusion and supplementing with iron may be needed to aid in your bearded dragon’s recovery.
7. Bacterial and Parasitic Infections
Green poop that is prolonged and accompanied by mucus and is foul-smelling means your beardie is experiencing an infection.
Its GI system will attempt to flush out the infectious microbes, hence diarrhea. As the stool moves too fast, bile is not broken down properly, leading to green poop.
Here are some of the common bacteria and parasites that cause green, foul-smelling, and runny stools in bearded dragons.
|Infectious Microorganisms (Bacteria or Parasite)|
Mode of Transmission
Signs and Symptoms (aside from green poop)
|• 3 to 26 hours|
• Known to survive in the environment for extended periods (4 mos to more than 2 years)
• Majority of the infections in the wild lead to a carrier state (host animal remains asymptomatic)
|• Infected droppings (can contaminate the beardie’s skin and enclosure)|
• Salmonella can be transmitted to humans via contact with infected poop
• Breathing difficulties
• Skin inflammation
|• 3-7 days||• Infected droppings||• Diarrhea|
• Blood-tinged stool
• Tremors, seizures
• Loss of body function
|• 1-2 weeks (7-14 days)||• Infected droppings|
• Bearded dragons can get infected from living in crowded environments and if they have access outdoors
• Decreased appetite
• Weight Loss
As soon as you spot any of the symptoms above, bring your bearded dragon straight o the vet. If possible, get a sample of the poop and place it in a sterile container for the vet to analyze later.
Coming in contact with infected poop can make your beardie sick. Hence, you must clean their enclosures (including the decor) and offer them fresh sources of water.
Lastly, make it a habit to wash your hands before and after cleaning your bearded dragon’s enclosure. This prevents the transmission of harmful microbes that can make your beardie sick.
Tip: Learn the do’s and don’ts of cleaning up your bearded dragon’s poop in this article.