Bearded dragons are great pets that are famous for their spiky “beards” as well as having the ability to morph their skin color in response to various types of stress. Like many other animals in the world, male and female bearded dragons are sexually dimorphic, so there are some substantial differences between a male and a female dragon. So, how can we tell the differences between male vs female bearded dragons?
By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll know how to easily tell apart a male and female bearded dragon, and we’ll also show you how to sex your bearded dragon, so you know what you have in your enclosure.
Comparing a Male Bearded Dragon and a Female Bearded Dragon
image needed: male vs female bearded dragon
|Male Bearded Dragon
|Female Bearded Dragon
|Weight: 450-550 grams
Length: 21-24 inches
|Weight: 450-500 grams
Length: 16-19 inches
|Wider and larger heads
|Smaller heads than males
|– Two hemipenal bulges –
Two grooves that run vertically from the tail to the cloaca
|-One hemipenal bugle
– The vertical bugle is central to the cloaca
|-Territorial when other males are nearby
– Will bob their heads up and down, change the color of their beards, and puff their throats out when angry
|– Lacks territorial behavior
– May wave arms to show they are being submissive
|Thicker tails than females
|Thinner tails than males
|Larger and darker pores than females located on their thighs and underside
|Smaller, less visible, faded femoral pores on thighs and underside
The 6 Key Differences Between Male Bearded Dragon vs Female Bearded Dragon
The biggest differences between male bearded dragons and female bearded dragons lie in their size, the presence of hemipenal bulges, and their behavior.
Male bearded dragons are larger than female bearded dragons, have two hemipenal bulges compared to just a single bulge in females, and are much more territorial and aggressive compared to females. These are the most significant differences between the creatures, but there are other ways for people to tell the difference between a male and a female bearded dragon.
Male Bearded Dragon vs Female Bearded Dragon: Size
The male bearded dragon is longer and heavier than a female bearded dragon. Their weights do not differ very much, but a male bearded dragon will weigh up to 550 grams or more if it’s overweight, but a female bearded dragon will only weigh between 450 and 500 grams.
The male bearded dragon is longer on average than the female, measuring up to 24 inches while the female usually measures a maximum of 19 inches.
Male Bearded Dragon vs Female Bearded Dragon: Skull Size
The male bearded dragon has a wider and larger head than a female bearded dragon, and it has a more pronounced beard feature with larger spiky protuberances. The female’s skull is thinner and smaller overall than a male’s head, and they also have a less pronounced beard.
However, female bearded dragons have the ability to change the color of their beard from its normal color to a dark black if they are angry, frightened, or not feeling comfortable in their environment for one reason or another.
Male Bearded Dragon vs Female Bearded Dragon: Hemipenal Bulge
Male bearded dragons have two hemipenal bulges on their undersides while female bearded dragons only have a single hemipenal bulge on their undersides.
Looking for the presence of two hemipenal bulges on the underside of a bearded dragon is an important part of sexing the reptiles. The hemipenal bulges show the location of the internal sex organs in this species. By looking beneath the tail and near the cloaca, a human can see either one or two hemipenal bulges.
Males’ bulges will be located off-center, one to the left and one to the right. Females will have a single bulge centered near their cloaca. This can be difficult to spot and takes some practice, but it’s a surefire way to sex the creatures.
Male Bearded Dragon vs Female Bearded Dragon: Behavior
Male bearded dragons are a lot more aggressive and territorial than female bearded dragons, and that is why you can’t house two bearded dragons together. They are not afraid to attack the other ones and the intense stress of the situation can bring them harm.
Males that are expressing territorial dominance will puff out their beards, make them turn black, bob their heads up and down, and open their mouths. Females do not have this territoriality. Instead, their common behaviors will be to wave their arms, showing their submission if a male is being territorial.
Male Bearded Dragon vs Female Bearded Dragon: Tails
Quite simply, male bearded dragon tails are thicker but not necessarily longer than a female’s tail. When trying to sex these lizards, you can use this fact as a guideline. However, it’s only useful if you have seen both males and females.
Male Bearded Dragon vs Female Bearded Dragon: Femoral Pores
Lastly, both male and female bearded dragons have femoral pores along the inside of their hind legs and across their body, near the tail. In a male bearded dragon, these pores will be large, dark, and prominent. In a female bearded dragon, these pores are much smaller, less visible, and faded rather than dark. This is another key method to telling the sex of your bearded dragon.
Are Female Bearded Dragons Calm?
Bearded dragons in captivity tend to be very calm and relaxed when interacting with people once the initial introduction phase is complete. However, it’s important to note that male bearded dragons may exhibit increased aggression during the mating season, which typically occurs in the spring.
Bearded dragons are naturally solitary animals, so they don’t experience loneliness when housed alone in a cage or when their keeper is away for a while.
They actually prefer having their food and heat sources all to themselves, rather than sharing them with another bearded dragon.
Sexing Your Bearded Dragon: Other Methods
If you are still having trouble sexing your bearded dragon after reaching information about their tails, hemipenal bulges, behavior, and femoral pores, there is another method you can use to help. Specifically, this method is best to use on younger, smaller bearded dragons.
You lay your bearded dragon on your palm with its stomach in your hand. Then, you gently lift its tail up while using your other hand to shine a flashlight at the base of its tail. Looking from the back end of your bearded dragon, you’ll see either one or two shadows in the body. Those are the hemipenal bulges.
Remember, males have two bulges and females have a single bulge. Using all the information in this article, you can tell the difference between male vs female bearded dragons while also knowing how to properly and certainly sex them.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/JeannetteKatzir
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