Let's face it, even the cutest of creatures are capable of producing some pretty stinky poop. Take the bearded dragon for instance, these adorable little guys might look sweet and innocent, but don't let that fool you!
However, despite being notoriously referred to as some of the stinkiest reptile waste, bearded dragon poop can actually give major insight into the overall health of the beardie...
Because of this, I figured it would be helpful to create an overall guide to bearded dragon poop, answering all your questions from how it should look, to how often bearded dragons should poop, to how to help them poop, and much more!
So with that being said, if you want to learn more about bearded dragon poop, just keep reading OR use the navigation tool below to be taken to a specific topic.
How often a bearded dragon poops will depend on several different factors. First and foremost, age will play a role in determining how often a bowel movement should be passed, with babies having bowel movements more frequently than both young and adult beardies.
If you are unsure of your dragon's age, consider the chart below, which can help you guesstimate how old they might be.
You can read more about how often your bearded dragon should be pooping based on their age by scrolling down a little.
Secondly, the diet the bearded dragon is fed will also contribute to how frequently they have a bowel movement. For instance, beardies that consume feeders with tons of calcium, such as silkworms, will typically defecate more often than beardies who solely consume crickets.
Third and lastly, the level of UVA and UVB exposure your bearded dragon experiences will also affect bowel movements. Both UVA and UVB affect digestion, which in turn, will affect how often a bearded dragon will poop. If your beardie's tank doesn't supply them with substantial UVA and UVB, then
You can expect your baby bearded dragon, AKA one that is 3 months old or younger, to poop at least once a day all the way up to three times per day.
Babies rapidly developing bodies, along with several protein rich feedings throughout the day, lead to a higher waste production. So, don't be alarmed if your itty bitty friend seems to constantly be leaving you presents to clean up.
Young or juvenile bearded dragons are going to be those who fall in the age range of 4 - 18 months old. These beardies will likely have a bowel movement every other day or so, with those closing in on 18 months of age slowing down to as infrequently as one or two movements per week.
Again, this will depend on the diet of the bearded dragon and the other factors discussed above. However, if your adult bearded dragon (AKA older than 18 months) is not stressed and has adequate UVA and UVB levels in their tank, then you can expect them to poop 1-7 times a week.
Bearded dragons who primarily have a diet of crickets and veggies will likely poop 1-3 times a week, whereas those who regularly consume calcium rich feeders like silk worms have been known to poop daily.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that all bearded dragons are different, with some going to the bathroom daily and others just once a week. As long as their energy levels and their appetite are normal, you likely don't need to worry.
Bear in mind that what is considered "a lot" is also going to depend on the age and regularity of your bearded dragon. So for instance, what might seem like "a lot" for your dragon, could actually be quite normal for another. Consider the following reasons why your bearded dragon may be pooping a lot...
With that being said, if your bearded dragon is going to the bathroom much more frequently than normal it could be due to stress. Consider whether anything outside the tank (a new pet lurking around, loud noises, etc.) could be stressing them out.
Additionally, consider what's going on within the tank. Are feeders being left behind uneaten that could be biting and terrorizing the bearded dragon? Are temperatures insufficient or too high? Did you recently transition them to a new tank or add in a new item of some sort?
If you believe something or someone is stressing your bearded dragon out, you'll want to immediately address the situation to avoid escalating health concerns.
Probably the worst case scenario as to why your bearded dragon is pooping so much, could be parasites. Now, most bearded dragons have parasites in their system to some degree. However, these parasites don't always present any issues and many vets won't consider treatment unless obvious health side effects are present (i.e. lethargy, runny stool, weight loss, etc.).
If your dragon has runny poop and/or poop that smells really bad, it would be wise to get a fecal sample and make a vet appointment with an experienced herp vet ASAP. Your vet will either examine the fecal sample or do bloodwork to determine what kind of parasite is present and what type of anti-parasitic drug to administer.
If you don't believe your bearded dragon is stressed and you've sexed them as female, then their frequent bowel movements could be due to a pregnancy. If your dragon is also eating more than normal, chances are she could very well be preparing to lay her clutch.
As you may or may not know, bearded dragon females don't actually have to have sex to become pregnant. Of course, females that are gravid (pregnant) without copulation, will of course be laying in infertile eggs. However, you'll still want to provide them with a lay box and take all the necessary precautions to ensure their lay goes smoothly and their health isn't jeopardized.
Because bearded dragons do not pee, when they have a bowel movement it is essentially like pooping and peeing at the same time. As such, with any bowel movement, there should be both fecal matter and what is referred to as a urate passed together.
The urate is essentially the bearded dragon's pee, since they do not process create urine in the same way humans do. It is basically a nitrogen paste that should be white and soft, but not too soft or watery.
The fecal matter on the other hand, should be any various shade of brown, soft yet solid, and relatively uniform in shape. Also, don't be alarmed if there is some liquid alongside the fecal matter. As long as the poop itself is well-formed, you're good.
Below is a collage (Don't judge me, okay?) of what healthy bearded dragon poop should look like...
As previously mentioned, bearded dragons do not pee in the way humans or mammals like cats and dogs do. Instead, they produce a urate, which is a waste product of the kidneys. When bearded dragons are healthy, their urate should be white and the poop, like that of most creatures, should be brown.
Bearded dragon's poop not the typical white and brown combination? Check out the possible explanations behind some other colors below...
As long as the urates are white and the poop isn't super runny or reek to the high heavens, this most likely is nothing to worry about. Green bearded dragon poop is typically just the result of something in their diet. Just keep an eye on their waste and if it continues to be green or becomes runny, bloody, or super stinky, do a fecal sample with a herp vet.
If your beardie's urates are yellow, this can be due to too much calcium in the diet. I recommend doing a little reading on how much calcium to give your beardie and adjusting from there.
Red poop will typically be due to the presence of blood either in the stool or on the urate. If this is what you are seeing in your bearded dragon's stool, simply skip down a little for a better explanation of what to do.
If your bearded dragon has an all white poop, then it's likely not a poop at all but simply a urate. If the urate is soft, don't worry about it. If it's hard and chalk-like, then your bearded dragon may be dehydrated at which point you should try giving them a bath for 20 minutes in warm water up to their shoulders. Just make sure to supervise.
If your bearded dragon is pooping blood, you'll want to take appropriate actions immediately. Now, I do not say this to alarm you as the reason could be as inconsequential as minor constipation. However, there could also be more serious issues going on as well, such as impaction.
Look for lumps and bumps on their underside that could indicate they are impacted. Also, pay attention to their back limbs as leg paralysis is another symptom of impaction. Impaction can be deadly if let be, but luckily there are many ways you can help your bearded dragon overcome it.
If you can confidently conclude that your bearded dragon isn't impacted, then the blood in their stool could be due to an internal injury or simply a larger bowel movement. Give them 2 days or so and monitor their movements. If they remain bloody, get them to a vet ASAP.
If your dragon is noticeably bleeding from their vent, then make sure to get them medical help immediately as this can be due to serious issues like egg binding or a prolapse.
A bearded dragon that hasn't had a bowel movement in accordance to their natural schedule, is likely either dehydrated, stressed, too cold, or possible impacted! All of these reasons are cause for concern and should be addressed right away to either avoid impaction or resolve it.
So, when it comes to helping your bearded dragon have a bowel movement, there are several things you can do to help get things moving. Consider the following suggestions below. However, if none of these work within 5 days, get your bearded dragon to the vet ASAP.
Often times, just like people, bearded dragons can have a hard time relieving themselves if they are dehydrated. As such, you'll want to drop a couple drops on your beardie's snout for them to lick off as extra hydration.
Warm water works wonders when it comes to helping your bearded dragon not only pass a bowel movement, but also get over their impaction. The key is going to be making sure your bearded dragon is calm because if the bath stresses them out, this will only make matters worse!
Also, make sure the bath is warm but not hot, and never higher than their shoulders. You'll want to let them soak for around 15 minutes daily until they relieve themselves. Just make sure you're there to supervise at all times.
If your bearded dragon isn't getting enough UVB or their tank is too cold, then they can absolutely have issues with digestion. You'll want to make sure that you have the lighting setup in place, with basking temps for bearded dragons 12 months of age and older being 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit and 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit fo babies.
You can encourage your bearded dragon to have a bowel movement by offering them a few drops (3-4) of olive oil a day. Just make sure you give them olive oil and not vegetable oil.
Additionally, you can also give them a teaspoon (or half for babies) everyday of baby food like...
While your bearded dragon is brumating, they won't need to go to the bathroom, that is unless upon waking them up for their weekly bath, they express interest in eating. If your bearded dragon does eat something, simply wake them up the next day and give them a warm soak for 20 minutes. Continue doing so everyday until they relieve themselves and then go back to baths just once a week.
Before addressing this, it is important to consider that everyone has a different tolerance to smell and that what might seem choke-inducing to some, might not even phase others. With that being said, often times, bearded dragon poop smells so God awful because they either have parasites (a pretty common occurrence) or something they are eating is just not agreeing with their stomach.
If you play around with and adjust their diet and find that their stool is still reeking, I recommend doing a fecal sample with your herp vet to test for parasites.
When it comes to cleaning up your bearded dragon's poop, you're going to want to consider what type of substrate they have in their tank. Please, consider the following suggestions for cleaning methods below!
If you're using tile as your bearded dragon's substrate, you'll want to remove the poop as soon as your spot it and then spot clean with a 9:1 water to red vinegar mixture. Red vinegar is actually about 100 times more efficient at killing bacteria than bleach is!
On top of spot cleaning after every poo, I also recommend baking the tiles at a low temperature in the oven for 30-60 minutes at least once a month for a full sanitization. Or, you can spray them down with a veterinary grade cleaner like F10SC and let them sit for 10 minutes before rinsing as well.
Regardless of how you clean them, make sure you don't put back the tiles until they've both cooled down (duh) or completely dried from their washing.
Perhaps a no-brainer, but if your bearded dragon has newspaper for their substrate, you'll want to remove what's soiled immediately and replace with fresh newspaper. I also recommend removing and replacing all newspaper every 1-2 weeks as well.
Similar to above, remove the poop as soon as you spot it on the reptile carpet. Then, spot treat the area with F10SC. Ideally, you'll want to have a couple carpets on hand so you can switch them out every week while you deep clean one in the washer with hot water and mild, fragrance free detergent.
Cleaning up poop in loose particle substrate like Calci-Sand, millet, and alfalfa pellets is very difficult. You see, even if you are able to nab the poop right away and dispose of it, chances are you won't be able to remove every little piece of substrate it came in contact with.
This is one of the many reasons why these substrates are such a poor choice to use in a bearded dragon's tank. It's virtually impossible to prevent bacteria from manifesting. However, if you have your mind set on using this kind of substrate, then I recommend investing in a scooper like this one because it will allow you to grab the surrounding soiled substrate as well as the turd.
So there you have it! I hope you found this article informative and thorough in answering all your bearded dragon poop questions. The main thing to realize with bearded dragon poop is that each bearded dragon will be different in terms of how often they go and what theirs look like.
Acquainting yourself with your pet's poop schedule and the typical appearance of the poop is going to be the best way to spot out future irregularities and hopefully, act quickly and swiftly enough to resolve issues like impaction and parasites.
I’m Stacey, the owner of this website and lifelong reptile lover, caretaker, and educator. Here you will find everything from information on how to care for reptiles, to even how to give your reptiles the best fighting chances against a range of common reptile diseases and illnesses, and everything in between!