Bearded Dragon Nipped Tail (All You Need To Know)

Bearded dragons are friendly and it’s hard not to worry if you see it with a nipped tail. It’s when the part or even its whole tail is missing. The wound is due to the trauma of an attack or from being crushed by a heavy object. It will cause a portion or even the whole tail to be disconnected from the beardie.

New bearded dragon keepers may not know how serious a nipped tail can be if it’s untreated. Ignoring that injury can lead to a severe health concern for bearded dragons. It’s best to learn more about bearded dragon nipped tail to know what to do and how it can be treated to save your pet.

What is Bearded Dragon Nipped Tail?

A nipped tail or toe means that the nub of a beardie’s tail or toe piece is missing due to a wound. It may look like the bearded dragon is missing a small piece or even its entire tail or toe. Nips are usually caused by aggressive behavior or if a heavy object fell on the bearded dragon.

If you see a nip on your bearded dragon’s toe or tail, make sure to have it treated. It’s a serious condition that can be dangerous for your pet. The open wound will be susceptible to infection and can be fatal in some cases. It’s easy to spot a nipped toe or tail by just looking at them.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Have Nipped Tails?

1. Hungry Baby Beardies

Baby bearded dragons are always hungry and will attempt to eat anything. As long as it will fit into their mouths, there’s no stopping them from eating another beardie’s tail. Baby beardies will bite each other a lot when they are not well fed. That’s why it’s not recommended to house multiple baby beardies.

2. Territorial Bearded Dragon

By nature, bearded dragons are territorial, especially males. If you have more than one beardie in an enclosure, they will fight for dominance. They will show each other who will get the food and have access to the basking area. The dominant beardie will also bite the smaller dragon. It will result in it having a nipped tail or toe.

3. Breeding Season

During the breeding season, the male bearded dragon will bite females as they breed. It may be their way of showing dominance to the female to make it more submissive. That causes a nipped tail that has to be treated immediately. Avoiding the wound from getting infected is important to avoid other health complications from it.

4. Crushed by Heavy Objects

A nipped tail can be a result of a heavy object that fell and crushes the bearded dragon’s tail. It can also leave a cut or fracture which results in a lack of blood flow to the tail area. Make sure to be careful when moving some accessories inside the enclosure. If the beardie is around, it can injure its toe or tail which causes the nip.

5. Improper Skin Shedding

When a bearded dragon sheds its skin, it can experience dysecdysis. It means that the bearded dragon is having a hard time shedding. If this occurs in the tail or toe area, there will be a reduction in blood flow. It will result in blood loss on that part and can make the toe or tail fall off. If it’s left untreated, it can result in tail rot and may spread.

Do Bearded Dragons’ Tails Grow Back If Bitten Off?

No, the bearded dragon’s tail will not grow back if it is bitten off. It’s a common misconception that beardies can regrow their tails since they are lizards. They can’t drop their tails and use it as a defense mechanism. That means they can’t grow back after an injury. Unlike other reptile species, bearded dragons don’t have that feature.

Reptile species such as leopard geckos can drop its tail off as their defense mechanism. It helps them to escape predators and regrow their tails afterward. Bearded dragons don’t have this ability but they can defend themselves by biting, tail whipping, black bearding, and puffing to make them look bigger than their predators.

Is it Normal for Bearded Dragons’ Tails to Fall Off?

No, it’s not normal for bearded dragons’ tails to fall off and they can’t regrow it when it happens. Bearded dragons can lose their tail from an injury or trauma. To avoid tail rot, make sure to bring the beardie to the vet for treatment. Whatever causes them to lose their tail means that it’s serious. Don’t leave it untreated to avoid further damage.

The tail of a bearded dragon will not fall off naturally without a reason. It usually occurs if the tail has been fractured. A section of its tail may also pull apart when it’s stressed. Due to the lack of flexibility in that muscle, it will cause the tail to fall off which is called autotomy.

What Happens If a Bearded Dragon Breaks Its Tail?

When the bearded dragon breaks its tail, it will not grow back anymore. It can happen when the tail has been grabbed too hard. Skin shedding can also cause their tail to fall off. When a tail rot occurs, the bearded dragon will lose its tail. Bring your beardie to the vet right away when it happens.

The beardie’s tail is important for balance, mating, and other activities. When the wound on their tails gets infected, it will cause tail rot. It can also occur when they are bitten by other animals. Make sure to keep your beardie safe by having a tank big enough for them. Add plenty of hiding places and the beardie’s tail will not be reachable from there.

If you’re a new bearded dragon owner, don’t think that when their tail drops, it’s already caused by infection. The beardie’s tail may fall off because of stress or trauma as well. Accidental injuries can also cause these issues. It will result in damaging the base of the beardie’s tail that can cause bleeding. Have it treated immediately to avoid more issues.

Here is an article about Clinical Approach to Dermatologic Disease in Exotic Animals.

Why Did the Tip of My Bearded Dragon’s Tail Fall Off?

When the bearded dragon develops a tail rot, that’s because of an infection or trauma on the tail. It usually happens towards the tip of the tail. When that injury was left untreated, that will fall off overtime. The primary infection can also result in death if it is not treated properly after some time when the accident occurs.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon’s Tail White?

If you see your beardie’s tail turn white, that means that it’s preparing to shed. Shedding is a normal process for bearded dragons. It can happen as often as after a few weeks for baby beardies. That’s the time when they are growing at a fast rate. As the bearded dragon grows, the shedding rate will decrease and shed a few times a year.

When shedding is about to happen, you will notice that the beardie’s top skin looks white or pale. It may look like patches but it’s normal. Don’t worry since they will shed it around 2 to 3 weeks. The humidity inside the enclosure should be at 30 to 40%. Misting your bearded once daily can help them to shed easier but don’t assist with shedding.

Why is the Tip of My Bearded Dragon’s Tail Turning Black?

If the top of your bearded dragon’s tail seems to be turning black, it may be because of a tail rot. It’s a condition in bearded dragons when the top of their tail starts to rot and die. This condition will make the tip of the tail appear darker than the rest of its tail. It’s a serious condition in reptiles and hard to identify right away and may end up becoming fatal for bearded dragons if untreated.

Why Is My Bearded Dragon’s Tail Turning Black?

Due to the necrotic tissue, the tail will turn darker and may appear blue, purple, or balck. It’s due to the lack of blood supply in that area. The cause of a tail rot may be from the wound on the tail, infection, or trauma. Tail rot is a serious condition and hard to detect at its early stage.

If not treated right away, it can progress to internal infections, organ failure, and other health problems. In some cases, the tail will fall off or need to be amputated. The tissue is already dead when it turns black and needs to be removed. It will avoid other body parts of their bodies to be infected.

Why are Bearded Dragons’ Tails Crooked?

It’s a little tricky when you’re trying to identify tail rot if your beardie’s skin is dark colored. But aside from the change in color, you can also check if the tip of the tail looks dark or even black. The part of the beardie’s tail will look dry and having an unusual color means that it’s tail rot. The tail will look flaky, brittle, or the texture looks coarse. It can also look stiff and seems to be crooked.

Shedding may look like tail rot or vice versa. Keep in mind that if the tail is healthy, shedding will be flexible and pliable. After the process, it will correct itself and become straight again. But tail rot will make the tail stiff and even bent. Observe your beardie’s skin if it’s flaking off or looks dry. If it’s just shedding, provide hydration to help it to shed easily. If it’s a tail rot, consult the vet immediately.

Do Bearded Dragons Behavior Get Affected By Tail Rot?

Yes, when a bearded dragon is suffering from tail rot, the symptoms may also show on their behavior. It will show that it’s suffering from pain, stress, and illness. Below are the behavioral symptoms of tail rot on bearded dragons you have to watch out for.

1. Irritability

If the beardie becomes irritable and impatient, it mah hiss or show aggression. This is a sign that your bearded dragon is in pain or distress. It may also show a black beard more often due to stress.

2. Loss of Appetite

Weight loss will follow due to loss of appetite and are signs that your beardie is sick. But brumation also causes loss of appetite. Check the temperature of the enclosure as well. This will rule out the possibility of brumation.

3. Pain When the Tail is Touched

When you touch your beardie’s tail and it shows pain and discomfort, that means that it can be due to tail rot. Be extra careful when handling your pet and bring it to the vet right away.

4. Prolonged Hiding and Lethargy

If the bearded dragon seems to be hiding more often than usual, it’s possible that it’s sick. Prolonged hiding and lethargy means that is in pain so you have to do something about it.

What Causes Bearded Dragons to Have Tail Rot?

1. Trauma from Fights

Bearded dragons are territorial and they don’t like sharing their space with another reptile. If you add another bearded dragon to the same enclosure, they will fight for dominance. When they fight, the beardie’s tail can be the main target of the other. It can end up wounded and later on gets infected which causes a tail rot eventually.

2. Poor Diet

Calcium is one of the most essential nutrients for bearded dragons. Without it, their bones will become brittle and easily damaged. Adequate diet is very important for them to stay healthy. Poor diet can lead to infections and metabolic bone disease. Bearded dragons will likely develop a tail rot if they don’t have a balanced and healthy diet.

3. Incorrect Lighting

UVB light is essential to keep your bearded dragon healthy. In the wild, they can have easy access to the sunlight to absorb heat and UV rays. But as pets, they can only rely on their owners to provide their necessary lighting requirements. UVB lights help them produce vitamin D3 to absorb calcium from their diet and have strong bones.

4. Issue with Shedding

When bearded dragons shed, it can sometimes get stuck and can injure them. The best thing to help your reptile is to let it soak in a lukewarm bath. When the skin gets stuck, it can restrict blood flow and can cause a tail rot. The lack of blood supply will kill the tissue in the affected area. It will cause the tail to fall off or rot if it is not treated right away.

5. Lack of Care and Maintenance

If the bearded dragon’s tank is always filthy, it can cause infections to your reptile. That can lead to a tail rot when gone unnoticed. It’s important to make sure to clean the enclosure regularly. This will avoid the bearded dragon to catch parasites and bacteria from a dirty environment. Unclean habitat will cause the beardies to have a tail rot.

How Do You Stop a Bearded Dragon from Rotting Its Tail?

Home remedy can be effective but only if you find out the tail rot at an early stage. If the spread has stopped, you can continue treating your beardie at home. But if it looks bad, bring your pet to the vet instead to stop the progress of tail rot. It may need antibiotics and other treatments from the vet.

Home Remedy

  • Clean the bearded dragon’s tail using lukewarm water.
  • Fill a small cup with water and add some betadine.
  • Soak the beardie’s tail in the solution for 5 minutes and do it daily.
  • Carefully pat it dry with cotton swab and apply Neosporin to the affected part.
  • Repeat this treatment every day for a few days until you see that the tail rot is not spreading anymore.
  • Keep the bearded dragon’s enclosure clean to make sure it will not continue to spread.


If the tail rot seems to be progressing, bring the beardie to the vet immediately. Tail amputation may be required depending on the condition of your beardie. On the average, the price of the surgery may cost between $100 to $200. Medications are already included depending on the vet.

How to Prevent Bearded Dragon Tail Rot?

1. Housing

Make sure to avoid housing baby bearded dragons in one enclosure. During this early stage of life is when injuries may occur. This can lead to tail rot eventually since they may bite each other’s tails. It’s not recommended to house adult beardies as well. Even if they seem to get along well, time will come that they will fight and injure each other.

2. Cleaning

Cleaning the bearded dragon’s enclosure is not enough if you don’t use antibacterial afterwards. Mix water and vinegar to make a non toxic solution and spray it on the glass and hides. It can kill most bacteria and it’s safe for bearded dragons. Allow the solution to sit there for a few minutes before wiping. Let the air out for a bit before putting back your beardie inside the enclosure.

However, if you’re concerned about serious pathogens, you can disinfect the enclosure using bleach water. Add a part of bleach to two parts of water and use it to spray down the tank and hide. Leave it for 15 minutes before rinsing the solution and wait for 2 to 3 hours before putting back your beardie inside. Disinfect at least once a month.

3. Bedding

Using a loose substrate as bedding for the bearded dragon’s tank is not recommended. It’s hard to clean and it can be ingested by your beardie. Substrates can also harbor bacteria and fungi. That can harm the bearded dragon over time and can cause different illnesses.

Try using paper towels instead since it can easily get disposed of when it’s soiled. Newspaper is also a good option to use as your beardie’s bedding. If you want to make it look nice, use a piece of vinyl flooring based on the size of the rank. All of these options are inexpensive and easy to clean.

Bearded Dragon Nipped Tail

How Do I Fix My Bearded Dragon’s Tail?

If you find out that your bearded dragon is suffering from tail rot at an early stage, you can treat your pet at home. But keep in mind that if the tail rot looks bad, it’s best to consult the vet for the necessary treatment. You will need, betadine solution, unmedicated Neosporin, warm water, a small bowl, and some paper towels.

Nipped tail or toe must be treated daily by soaking it with betadine solution and water. Follow the following steps and repeat the process for 5 to 7 days. First is to combine betadine solution and water in a small bowl. The solution should contain 25% betadine and 75% water.

Next is to soak your beardie’s tail or toe in the mixture for 5 minutes. After that, pat off the area with a clean paper towel. Lastly, cover the nipped toe or tail with unmedicated Neosporin. It will aid the healing process and also protect that part from getting exposed to germs.

Keep in mind to avoid using hydrogen peroxide since it can also damage the bearded dragon’s healthy tissue. Avoid putting a band-aid on the wound since you might end up breaking off that part. It should be healing so avoid using bandages to the wound to avoid the tail falling off accidentally.

Make sure that the enclosure is clean to avoid infection. Remove loose or soiled substrate that has uneaten food, wastes, and anything that is sitting in water. It can be the breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. Monitor the nip wounds and if it seems to be not improving after one week, bring the bearded dragon to the vet immediately.

Signs That Tail Rot Not Improving

  • The bearded dragon is lethargic.
  • It stops eating.
  • The tail becomes darker or the darkness spreads up the tail.
  • The internal organs or bones are visible.
  • The tail or toe becomes more swollen.
  • There’s puss or any other liquids from the end of the nip.

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