While with some animals it is quite easy to determine their gender, with others it is not as easy. So, if you have gotten a new bearded dragon, you may be wondering what their gender is.
With some animals it is actually quite important to know what gender they are since this will make looking after them quite different in some circumstances.
The easiest way to be able to tell the difference between male and female bearded dragons, as with many other animals, it to know what defining characteristics each gender has and how to recognize these.
Luckily caring for a male and female bearded dragon is quite similar, so you do not have to worry too much about this aspect, it is still important to know and something you should look out for.
For a quick answer, one of the easiest ways to be able to tell if a bearded dragon is a male or female, it to use a handy flashlight, and then shine this through their tail going from the top.
If you do this, for a male bearded dragon you will be able to see two distinct hemipenal bulges, in contrast to a female bearded dragon who will only have one center bulge.
As well as this there are other differences which are worth looking out for as well.
If you want all the details about sexing a bearded dragon, and want to know the differences in behavior between bearded dragons, keep on reading to get all the information you need.
4 Different Ways To Be Able To Tell If Your Bearded Dragon Is A Male Or Female
There are multiple methods to be able to determine the gender of your bearded dragon, so if you are struggling to pull off one method, there are plenty of options, so do not worry about not being able to do one specific method.
You can use these different methods independently, or you can use them in conjunction to have a more solid understanding of the gender of your bearded dragon.
If you are struggling to do any of these methods, asking the person or supplier you got your bearded dragon from should get the answer.
This is considered to be both the quickest method as well as the most effective method of determining the gender of a bearded dragon.
The only drawback of this method is that this method can only be used once the bearded dragon is older than 4 weeks old, so it can not be used straight after they have been born.
You may here from some suppliers of bearded dragons that there are some differences in the genders of bearded dragons, but for the most part, there are very few when it comes to their behavior, and it should not really determine which bearded dragon you end up buying.
We gave a quick overview of this method in the introduction since it is the method which is most commonly used, but a male bearded dragon will have 2 hemipenal bugles, or bumps which are located on the underside of their tail, close to where their anus is located.
You will find these on each side of the tail’s underside.
Then with female bearded dragons you will find that they only have a single hemipenal bulge and this will be in the same location, but of course there is just one.
Another difference with hemipenal bulges in female bearded dragons is that they are going to be located in the center of the tail’s underside closely to the anus.
If you want to know how to carry out the method of sexing a bearded dragon, you should start by picking up your bearded dragon as gently as possible.
When doing this you want to ensure that you are holding the dragon so you are supporting its legs and its tail as much as you can.
There are whole guides on how to hold a bearded dragon if you want to know, but just ensure you are supporting the right areas.
Once you are holding it correctly, you will want to slightly lift the bearded dragon’s tail and then look underneath this area. This may be slightly difficult to see depending on your bearded dragon.
There will be a chance that you can not see its bumps so you will want to lift the tail as much as you can and slightly stretch the skin so you can make the bumps stand out as much as possible.
Of course do not do this too hard as it may anger the bearded dragon.
If you do this too much your bearded dragon will get stressed and this will make it a lot more difficult to look after.
This method may be harder the younger your bearded dragon is, so if you are struggling to pull it off, we recommend trying our next method!
Flashlight Hemipenal Bulge Method
This method is actually quite similar to the previous one, and the only main difference is that you are going to be using a flashlight to aid you with seeing the hemipenal bulges through the tail of your bearded dragon.
The best way to begin this method is to turn off as many lights as you can so there is not too much extra light.
Then hold the bearded dragon in a way similar to the previous method. Then use a powerful enough flashlight to shine some light from the tail’s top at the area where the tail and the rest of the body are connected.
If you look from underneath you will be able to see light shining from the underneath of the tail.
Of course some of the light will be blocked by the hemipenal bulges you are trying to see, and you can use these shadows to identify the gender of your bearded dragon.
If you need a reminder, 2 shadows will be two bulges meaning it is a male bearded dragon, and for a single bulge, this indicates a female bearded dragon.
If you do not know, the femoral pores are the spots which will be located at the bottom of the hind legs of your bearded dragon.
These pores are not just aesthetic and are used by the bearded dragon for excreting pheromones, these are chemicals which are used for communication with other bearded dragon. One of the primary uses of these pores is during mating.
For a month after brumation, your bearded dragon will start to exude these pheromones out of these pores to signal to others that they are ready for mating.
Something which some bearded dragon owners do not know is that brumation does not just happen during the winter, but can also happen during the summer as well.
While these pores are on both male and female bearded dragons, they will look different, and this is another method of learning the gender of your bearded dragon, so what should you be looking out for?
These spots are going from knee to knee on the underside of the legs on bearded dragons. You will find with a male bearded dragon that the pores are much bigger, and their color is a lot more obvious.
The pores are still visible for a female bearded dragon, however the color is a lot less obvious looking slightly faded, and the spots are much more small.
While this description can do something to help you identify them with this method, we would recommend using a picture for comparison as this will be a lot easier.
Finally, you can use some specific behaviors to identify the gender of a bearded dragon.
As you can imagine, this method is not as foolproof as some of the other methods.
Especially considering that bearded dragons of one gender can exhibit behavior of a different gender, but this method can be used to confirm the gender.
To use this method you will need to have a base level understanding of the behavior of bearded dragons.
Black And Puffed Beard
If you see the black puffed beard, this is a sign of either dominance, stress, or both.
This will be done by bearded dragons when they are feeling threatened, and when they find another bearded dragon in their territory.
They will puff up their beard to show that they are willing to defined their territory and themselves.
You can find that arm waving is used by bearded dragon in many different ways in nature. This will most commonly be done as a sign of submission by a smaller bearded dragon to a larger one.
You can also find this being done by a female bearded dragon if they are wanting to mate. It could also be done while there is a predator close by.
Hissing is not as common as some other behavior exhibited by bearded dragons, but you can see it being done alongside the black puffed beard, as a way of showing a threat is nearby.
If your bearded dragon it is a sign that they may bite as well. This is done when they are feeling threatened by a larger predator it is not able to hide from.
This can be seen as a mix of submissive as well as aggressive behavior, and it can be seen with the puffed beard or arm waving.
It can also be interpreted as a mating signal too, but this is more common with a male bearded dragon.
By knowing the specific behaviors of a bearded dragon and how this relates to gender, you can help in determining the gender of the bearded dragon.
If your bearded dragon easily gets spooked and when this happens they puff up, turn black, and maybe head bob, they are more likely to be male.
On the other hand, if they are more likely to do arm waving, then you can assume it is female.
The Differences Between Male And Female Bearded Dragons
Not considering the hemipenal bulges and the femoral pores, there are some more differences between the genders of bearded dragon which are worth considering!
Head Size And Shape
The head size of a male bearded dragon is much more likely to be thicker, as well as bigger than the head of a female bearded dragon which is more likely to be smaller as well as thinner.
The tail of a male bearded dragon is more likely to be thicker from its point until the tip, while a female bearded dragon will have a tail which is thinner. It will of course still be thick where it connects to the body, but overall it will appear more thin.
Use Of Spikes
All bearded dragons have spikes located around their heads, especially close to their beards.
For a male bearded dragon specifically these spikes will be more present when they are preparing to mate. This is sometimes also used a sign of a threat, but this will be paired with the standard black color change and hissing.
For a female bearded dragon the spikes are going to rise when they are threatened instead of when they are ready to mate.
Female bearded dragon are known to share their territory alongside other female bearded dragons as well as male ones if they are of a similar size.
On the other hand, a male bearded dragon is less likely to be able to share space as well, this is why it is recommended to not put two male bearded dragons in the same enclosure.
If you have owned bearded dragons for long enough you will witness both genders digging holes. A male bearded dragon will be doing this for brumination, but females will be doing this to lay eggs.
Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you need to be able to tell the gender of your bearded dragon. While their behavior does not change massively, it is still good information to know!
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