Sexing a bearded dragon is not so important if you only intend on having one bearded dragon. However, it is essential if you intend to breed or co-habit them. Babies generally do well together until they start to mature. Sexing babies can be difficult unless you are experienced. For the majority of us the bearded dragon will need to be around six months old before you can sex them. If you are buying more than one baby bearded dragon you may need to consider the possibility of separating them as they mature. Especially if you are unsure of their gender when buying.
Cohabiting is not recommended and really not necessary. Its good to remember that males will never happily co-habit they will always fight. This is due to their territorial nature.
Two females can work well as do some male and female pairs. Although the males can relentlessly pester females especially around mating season. Separation will be required to allow her some peace.
Also bear in mind if you’re considering housing males and females together that you’ll potentially end up with eggs. In fact, even housing a male and female bearded dragon in separate vivariums within the same area can lead to egg laying from the female as she’ll be much more likely to ovulate when a male is present in the area. Bearded dragons give off pheromones from their femoral pores to attract females.
If you are cohabiting other things to consider when buying bearded dragons is that they should be of similar age and size. This will minimise the risk of bullying and stress to the smaller bearded dragon. Always be vigilant when cohabiting bearded dragons. If you notice bullying and signs of stress you will need to be prepared to separate them as soon as these problems arise. Which will mean another vivarium and set up!
If you want more information see our post on Buying a Bearded Dragon.
What to look for when sexing bearded dragons
There are some subtle differences that an experienced breeder will notice (but this is not fool proof) for instance the males have a more triangular and larger head and their beard goes much more black than the females. Males also tend to be longer in length and overall more robust looking. These difference become more apparent to the rest of us as they age.
The most reliable way to check the sex of a bearded dragon is to check for male or female bulges. They will be located on the underside of the beardie at the base of their tail, just below the vent. A female will have one bulge directly under the vent. While the male will have two distinct elongated oval shape bulges either side of the tail base also referred to as hemi-penal bulges. The male bulges may resemble an indented U or V shape. The male will also display larger and most distinct femoral pores than the female.
Click on the images to see full size
Methods you can use to determine the sex of a bearded dragon:
- Method 1: Support your bearded dragons underside in your hand (this will prevent them from trying to run off) or place them on a flat surface and simply lift their tail up. Be careful not to extend the tail back to far to prevent injury. (see image 2)
- Method 2: Use the technique above. In a darkened room using a light (your phone flash can work for this), shine it on the base of the tail from behind. Revealing dark shapes of either the hemi-penal bulges of the male or the singular bulge of the female. (See image 1)
- Method 3: Hold your bearded dragon with one hand on his belly and the other on his back. Flip them up 90 degrees so you are supporting their back and exposing their underside. Avoid having them laying flat on their back..bearded dragons cant breathe well on their backs and will become panicked. (see image 3)
We hope this article has provided you with basic information to help you sex your bearded dragon. If you have any questions or comments relating to this post please contact us via the comments box.