Is it a boy or a girl? If you’ve recently taken a bearded dragon in as a pet, you’re probably curious about their gender. Well, stick around as I explain how to sex a bearded dragon!
How To Sex A Bearded Dragon – 3 Easy Steps
Here’s some good news – determining your bearded dragon’s gender should be easy even for complete novices. So, let’s dive in and start revealing some genders!
1. Hemipenal Bulges
Checking out your beardie’s hemipenal bulges is hands down one of the easiest ways to sex your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons have all their sex organs inside of themselves, which can make it hard to sex them at first glance. Take a closer look, and you’ll see a couple of bumps near the base of their tail. These are called hemipenal bulges, and you can find them in several reptile species included but not limited to snakes, lizards, and geckos.
So, how do you tell the bearded dragon gender from male or female using these bulges? It’s simple; carefully take your dragon and flip him/her over, then lift their tail (Take care unless you want your dragon to get mad at you!). Inspect the hemipenal bulges near their vent.
For male bearded dragons, hemipenal bulges will be much more prominent, and they’ll have two of them running parallel to each other. On the other hand, female bearded dragons will have a single short and almost triangular-looking bulge right above their vent.
If you’re finding it hard to tell the difference between female and male hemipenal bulges, try experimenting with various light angles, using a magnifying glass or the flashlight method shown later on!
2. Femoral Pores
If the hemipenal bulges are hard to see, looking at a bearded dragon’s femoral pores might be a better idea. Femoral pores are special holes in the reptile’s skin that release pheromones and are used before and during mating season to attract potential partners.
Bearded dragon femoral pores are present in both males and females on the underside of their legs. However, they look a little bit different!
In males, you’ll find that the femoral pores have a more vibrant color and are slightly larger, whereas in females you’ll find that these pores are a little more dull and smaller. Keep in mind that this method is just a generalization and is not 100% accurate, as some females may have large pores, and some males may have small pores.
To sex your dragon using this method, carefully turn your dragon over, taking care to hold its body securely (but not too tightly) in place. Inspect the bearded dragon’s femoral pores using a magnifying glass, your eye, or take a photo using your phone!
3. Use a Flashlight
Sometimes it can be hard to determine the sex of a bearded dragon using the naked eye solely, so this is where flashlights come to the rescue. Using a flashlight in the dark has a contrasting effect, shadowing and highlighting parts depending on depth. When used in conjunction with the hemipenal bulge method, this is easily the most reliable method to sex your bearded dragon.
To sex, your bearded dragon, start by turning off all the lights. Next, hold your bearded dragon and lift its tail with care. You’ll then want to take your flashlight and shine it under the dragon, near where the vent is. If you look at the tail with the flashlight shining on it, you should be able to discern the hemipenal bulges easily.
At What Age Can you Sex A Bearded Dragon?
It’s pretty hard (but not impossible) to sex a baby bearded dragon. In general, you’ll have to wait at least four months to be able to tell for sure. Some experienced pet owners and breeders can sex bearded dragons after just four to twelve weeks, but that’s with lots of experience and using a combination of the techniques listed above.
Bearded Dragon Gender And Behaviour
The gender of a bearded dragon and its behaviour isn’t related in most cases, and it’s an unreliable way to sex your bearded dragon.
With that being said, here are some of the common behaviours that your bearded dragon might display.
1. Arm Waving
Did you know that bearded dragons can wave their hands at humans, almost as if to say hi? Don’t worry, if you see this sort of behaviour, it doesn’t mean that your dragon is trying to turn human. It simply means that the bearded dragon sees you there and is telling you not to attack him – you can interpret it as more of an I’m watching you than a friendly hello.
Another reason why bearded dragons wave can be to show submission, and to acknowledge that there’s a larger animal or a more powerful bearded dragon within its vicinity.
2. Head Bobbing
There are many reasons why bearded dragons bob their head, and one of these reasons is to acknowledge something’s presence – almost like a nod.
Otherwise, they might be trying to tell anything in its vicinity that “This is my land!”. This sort of territorial head-bobbing is only shown in males. However, it’s hard to tell this sort of head bobbing from mating head bobbing in females, hence the unreliability of sexing lizards by behaviour.
Another reason why your bearded dragon is nodding its head is that it might be interested in mating, in which case you’ll see this sort of behaviour accompanied by a black beard.
For more information on bearded dragon head bobbing, check out this article.
3. Bearded Dragon And Black Beards
If you think chameleons are the only reptiles that can change color, think again – bearded dragons can turn their beards black as well if you’re curious as to why check out this article.
You Know How To Sex A Bearded Dragon!
Congrats, you can now sex a bearded dragon! You’ve also learnt a bit about bearded dragon behaviour. If you enjoyed the post and found it helpful, why not share it with some of your friends!
Emily is a Melbourne-based freelance writer with a love for nature. She goes camping weekly and adores the outdoors.
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