For bearded dragon owners, figuring out how you can sex a bearded dragon is very important. Having the knowledge of what gender your bearded dragon is can help you give your bearded dragon the best care possible.
However, this can be harder than it might seem at first. Unlike most creatures, bearded dragons don’t have obvious signs that show us if they’re male or female.
Keep reading to find out how to sex a bearded dragon with many different kinds of techniques!
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What age can you identify if your beardie is a male or a female?
Before you try using every kind of method out there to try to figure out if your bearded dragon is a male or a female, make sure it’s of age where you can actually find out what sex they are.
Knowing what the sex of your bearded dragon is can become a very frustrating process if your beardie is under 6 to 4 months. But experienced owners, as well as breeders, typically find out the gender way quicker.
Bearded dragons need to be at least 8 to 13 weeks for you to see what gender they are, easily.
Some professionals can discover the gender of the beardie, even if it’s only 4 to 5 weeks old!
Knowing what the age of your bearded dragon is can make it much easier to sex your beardie.
Usually, if you buy a bearded dragon from a breeder, they will probably give you the age record of the pet. Reliable breeders keep records of everything, whether it’s birth or the age of their parents.
However, if you don’t have any record of the age of your beardie, you can measure the size of your bearded dragon’s head to get a rough age range.
When you start measuring, don’t forget to include its tail as well. Take out your ruler or measuring tape and start measuring from the top of the bearded dragon’s head to the end of its tail. If it’s over 20 inches then your beardie is a full-grown adult and you see if it’s a girl or a boy!
Techniques for sexing your bearded dragon
There are 5 ways to sex your beardie to be exact. These are all dependent on their physical features. As a bearded dragon gets older it becomes easier to identify if they are male or female, this is because the more developed they are the easier it is to see their features.
So, here are all the methods that we will discuss in this post:
- Hemipenal bulges
- Femoral pore
- Physical differences
- Cloacal opening
Check your bearded dragon’s Hemipenal bulges:
Arguably the most popular and best way to find out if your beardie is a girl or a boy is to check and identify its hemipenal bulges. These bulges indicate the presence of hemipenes which are internal sex organs (i.e. a reptile’s penis)
Males will have two hemipenal bulges underneath their tails, on each side of their tails.
On the other hand, females will have one hemipenal bulge, also underneath their tail, in the center. When you check this make sure you pick up and hold your bearded dragon gently, support its legs and tail.
Slowly lift its tail and look under its tail, don’t move around too much or quickly, because your beardie could get stressed or hurt. If you can’t see any bumps your lizard might be too young.
But if you know for sure that it’s of age then…
You can try using a flashlight:
Hold your bearded dragon the same way you did before, then slowly and gently lift its tail. Then with your other hand shine the flashlight downwards at the top of its tail, at the place where its tail connects to the rest of its body.
This way you should see the hemipenal bulges at the back of their tail, they should be red or blackish. As mentioned before, females have one hemipenal while males have two.
Look at the size of the femoral pore:
Femoral pores are the spot where a bearded dragon secretes pheromones. It’s mostly used around their mating season. The mating season starts around a month after your lizard goes through brumation. When bearded dragons start secreting pheromones, they do it to show that they are ready to mate.
While both males and females have femoral pores, they look slightly different. A female’s femoral pores will be smaller, and duller, compared to males, whose femoral pores are much more noticeable in color.
These spots are found underneath the bearded dragon legs, under both of the knees.
Are there any physical differences between males and females?
Female bearded dragons usually tend to have a smaller head than a male. Males’ spikes are often pointing up and are more visible when they are mating. Males also tend to puff up and darken their tails way more than females. On top of this, they also have a much thicker tail as well.
Female bearded dragons tend to be on the thinner side when it comes to their tail, and just overall body.
See if your bearded dragon is acting differently:
Understanding a bearded dragon’s behavior can give you signs of whether your bearded dragon is a male or a female. Here are some of the behaviors that are common for bearded dragons.
Male bearded dragons, in particular, are territorial. To show its dominance over smaller males and females in his region, a male will grow a dark beard. It might do this by bobbing its head, which is also a sign of dominance.
Other males are warned to stay away from this dragon’s female by a black beard. Females rarely grow black beards as a form of territorial show.
The dark beard can scare off predators, and it may be accompanied by hissing and a gaping mouth to make the specimen appear larger and more threatening.
Lastly, a black beard can indicate disease, illness, or stress, especially if other areas of the body are also black. If this occurs, the beardie should be taken to a reptile-friendly veterinarian right away!
Males are more likely to hiss during the mating season in order to assert their dominance. Bearded dragons that are normally calm might become unusually aggressive during this time, with hissing being one of the most common behaviors.
This isn’t something you should see from a captive bearded dragon, but if they do hiss, then the lizard is most likely a male.
One of the key reasons you might notice a bearded dragon bobbing its head is to establish authority over its territory. It may appear that they are bobbing their heads at nothing, depending on the scenario.
This is perfectly normal behavior, both male and female bearded dragons engage in this natural activity, however, male bearded dragons are more likely to engage in aggressive head bobbing.
Can a bearded dragon change its sex?
As insane as it seems, this is a very normal question, Bearded dragons can change their gender! To sum it up, bearded dragons’ gender is temperature dependent, and not only determined by chromosomes.
Research shows that raising the Temperature during incubation, turned male bearded dragons into females. However, females cannot become males no matter what.
And, that’s all!. These are the few main methods that you can use for determining your bearded dragon’s gender.
Keep in mind that hemipenal bulges and femoral pores, as well as behavioral tendencies, will differ from dragon to dragon, so, the advice given above may not always be accurate according to your specific beardie.
I hope now you know all the different methods you can use to sex your bearded dragon! Chances are, that at least one of these methods will end up making it easier for you to tell which sex your bearded dragon is! Just work your way through all the methods and you’ll eventually land on the answer!