Bearded dragons are lizards and figuring out how to breed them is not easy. You cannot easily guess which dragon you have, either male or female. But once you figure out the gender of your dragon, then it may help you in breeding your dragons more easily in the future. Over time, some external features appear that can help us identify between male and female dragons.
This article will explain how to sex a bearded dragon i.e., to help you breed them easily. One simple trick to sex between the male and female dragons is to figure out gender difference & that can be possible with the presence of hemipenal bulges and other internal organs of bearded dragons.
In a male two hemipenal bulges are easily visible whereas, in a female, just a single center bulge is present. Keep reading the article to discover the factors relating to sexing bearded dragons.
Table of Contents
Gender identification methods between bearded dragons
It is not easy for an owner to tell how to sex a bearded dragon especially when you have a baby dragon. The easiest way to find out about their sex is when your dragon matures. It is possible to identify them over 4 weeks of age to 12 weeks.
For gender identification of bearded dragons following factors can be used:
- Hemipenal bulges
- Flashlight the hemipenal bulges
- Observe Femoral pore size
- Size and shape differences
- Cloacal opening
- Presence of spikes
It is one of the most useful and effective ways to determine the sex of your dragon. The hemipenal bulges show the presence of hemipenes that are internal sex organs. These organs are found on the underside of your dragon’s back tail. But make sure that your dragon should feel comfortable before looking for these bulges.
It is difficult to spot these bulges first so gradually repeat the process, to figure out the bulges correctly. What you have to do is:
- Hold your dragon from the stomach with the palm of your hand.
- Gently hold their tail to look around its base.
- Gently lift the tail upwards to look for an outline of hemipenal bilges.
- If the exact place of hemipenal bulges has located, then look at whether the dragon has a single hemipenal bulge or double.
- The presence of a single hemipenal bulge indicates that the dragon is a female and the presence of two hemipenal bulges running down the tail indicates that he is a male.
In most cases, this does not work well for instance in the case of baby bearded dragons and juvenile dragons, you cannot get a clear understanding of the presence of hemipenal bulges. However, in adults, hemipenal bulges can be seen easily.
Use a flashlight:
To see the hemipenal bulges in your dragon, you may use a flashlight. A flashlight will help you to see the underneath area of your dragon. This way, you can easily look for the bulges whether they are two or one.
You have to make sure that you are lifting your dragon’s legs and tail gently. Otherwise, the dragon may get aggressive and the task of judging the sex of bearded dragons may become difficult for you.
Shine the flashlight downwards on the top of the tail where the tail is attached to the dragon’s body and you may see that the flashlight is highlighting the internal organs of the body. One such organ will be hemipenal bulges. The presence of one bulge indicates the dragon is female and the presence of two bulges indicates the dragon is male.
When sexing a bearded dragon, you might also consider an important factor of dragons i.e., behavioral pattern. Males and females show different behaviors. Males show more dominance and aggressive behaviors than females whereas; females are more likely to display submissive behaviors.
Head bobbing is more frequent in males than females. Females like to do more frequent arm-waving than head bobbing as a way of submission to male partners. But to judge the sex of bearded dragons, you have to monitor the behavior of your dragon carefully.
This is a time taking process but you can differentiate between the male and female dragon easily.
Observe femoral pore size:
Another way to determine the sex of your dragon is to observe the femoral pores. Bearded dragons use femoral pores that are present on the thighs of certain lizards. These pores release pheromones to mark a territorial boundary or to attract mates during mating season.
These pores are present in both male and female dragons and having small circles in the thighs. Males have much larger femoral pores than females and they are more prominent than the pores found in females whereas femoral pores are smaller in size among females. These female femoral pores are also dull in color.
Size and shape differences:
It is also one of the common factors to know the sex of bearded dragons. But it is somehow difficult to judge the sex of a bearded dragon at an early age especially when your dragon is a baby or juvenile.
In adults, it can be seen that male bearded dragons have larger and thicker heads and they like to puff out and bob their heads more. While puffing, the beard can turn black. They show aggressive behavior during mating. Males have a thicker tail from tip to end.
On the other hand, females have small head sizes. They like to do arm-waving more than head bobbing. Females show submissive behavior than males and they have thinner tails.
Read more on types of bearded dragons.
The presence of a cloacal opening may easily differentiate between male and female dragons. The cloaca is found on the underside body of the dragon between its thighs and legs. It is used to expel eggs, feces, and urate. The area where the cloaca is located in the body has a physical opening called a vent.
Males have wider cloacal openings than females but you cannot distinguish this feature in baby bearded dragons. The dragons need to be mature enough to develop a wider cloacal opening.
Presence of spikes:
Both male and female bearded dragons have spikes around their heads and beards. But in the case of a male dragon, you may see that a male dragon will expand the spikes when they are ready to mate and when they feel threatened. Their spikes usually turn black and they start gaping their mouths.
Female bearded dragons expand the spikes when they feel threatened and when they are not ready to mate. Their spikes usually remain the same and do not change color. Arm waving is usually common in female dragons during mating.
How to find the gender in baby bearded dragons?
The baby bearded dragon sex is not easy to determine. This is because babies are so small and the features take time to develop properly. You cannot determine the age until they are 12 weeks old.
If the dragon becomes 12 weeks older, you may use the following methods to determine the sex. The two methods are:
- Look at the tail size
- Presence of hemipenal bulges
The tail size and hemipenal bulges can be seen by using flashlights because baby bearded dragons are so small. You cannot easily see the internal organs without using a flashlight. The flashlight will highlight the internal organs and external organs as well clearly.
Male’s tails are thicker and females’ tails are narrow towards the base of the tail. Female’s tails are slightly longer than males baby bearded dragons. The presence of a single hemipenal bulge will indicate a female whereas the presence of double hemipenal bulges will indicate a male baby bearded dragon.
Read more on Baby bearded dragon care.
Can male bearded dragons become female during sexing?
In most cases, it has been observed that male dragons can change into female dragons due to the rise in temperature during incubation. The high temperature changes the chromosomes in the body of bearded dragons that genetically functions the male dragons into female dragons.
In vulnerable stages of development, males can change into females but females cannot change into males during sexing.
What is the exact age where you can differentiate between a male and a female dragon?
To get 100% assurance that either your dragon is a female or male, you should wait for at least 3 months it means around 8 to 12 weeks. Because the baby bearded dragon is too small that you can’t easily distinguish the features.
Also, the baby bearded dragon is too delicate that you can’t lift the tail, legs, and thighs easily. By the time, your dragon will reach up to three months; you can easily lift the tail and legs to get a better understanding of male and female dragons by looking at their hemipenal bulges and cloacal opening.
Which dragon can be bred easily, male or female?
It is not easy to say that which dragon can be bred easily because factors like diet, temperature, humidity, and genetics play an important role in the size and development of the dragon. In most cases, it has been observed that males tend to be larger in length than females due to the wild conditions.
While in captivity, it is hard to say either male can breed easily or female because, in captivity, it depends upon the owner that how he cares for the dragon. If the owner provides a good diet to the dragon and provides all the factors like temperature and humidity with suitable conditions, then both males and females can breed easily.
Is it possible to put both male and female dragons in one cage during sexing?
It is better to not put together both male and female dragons in one cage during sexing. This is because sometimes male shows aggressive and dominant behavior that can be dangerous for the female dragon. Female is submissive. Males also want to make a boundary by choosing a specific territory and he becomes aggressive while sharing it with another dragon.
During mating, males also tend to show aggressive behavior and they do frequent head bobbing to get a female response. In such cases, females have very little choice to say no to male dragons. So, it is better not to cage two bearded dragons together during breeding initially.
Read more on Bearded dragon cages.
Which bearded dragon is best to buy as a pet male/female?
Many people tend to buy females as compared to males because females can lay eggs. She can lay three to four clutches of eggs every year and it is estimated that 15-30 eggs are produced in a single clutch.
Many owners think that they might take care of the eggs and in such a way more bearded dragons can place together in a tank by taking care of the baby dragons. That’s why many people prefer to buy females as compared to male dragons.
On the other hand, males are aggressive and they become agitated during mating season and they become more territorial so handling them is quite difficult.
Learning how to sex a bearded dragon is quite easy once you familiarize yourself with a few pointers as given above in the article. Few factors should be noted to get a clear understanding between a male and female dragon like the presence of internal organs such as hemipenal bulges, femoral pores, and cloacal opening, etc.
Before buying a new dragon, the pet store dealer can also tell you the gender of the bearded dragon but it is even better to get a clear understanding of identifying the bearded dragon genders by yourself. You have to take care of all the factors like temperature, humidity, diet, etc to keep breeding your dragons.