Distinguish If A Bearded Dragon Is A Male Or Female
Knowing if your bearded dragon is a male or female can be quite the mystery.
This is especially true if you are new to bearded dragons and really don’t know what to look for.
Unlike birds for example, where the males are easy to distinguish from the females, bearded dragon genders look fairly similar.
At What Age Can You Determine the Sex?
When bearded dragons are born, it’s nearly impossible to determine if they are male or female until they’re at least 5 – 6 months old.
If you are unsure how old your beardie is then a good guide to go by is the length or the weight.
A bearded dragon that is 6 months old will typically weigh between 220 to 250 grams.
When weighing your beardie avoid using your kitchen scales that you use for baking! Instead, have a dedicated set just for weighing your beardie, this will stop the spread of salmonella and other diseases.
The Main Difference Between Male Or Female
There are three main ways to determine your dragon’s sex, these include:
- Identifying the Femoral Pores
- Check for the Hemipenal Bulge
- Observing Behavior
The best way to determine if your dragon is male or female is by checking the Hemipenal bulge or the femoral pores. Checking either of these areas is the most accurate way to determine a bearded dragon’s sex.
Sexing Based on the Femoral Pores
Both male and female bearded dragons have femoral pores, however, they appear slightly different on each gender.
The femoral pores are small holes that bearded dragons use to excrete pheromones during mating season.
These pheromones are used to communicate with other bearded dragons that they are ready to mate.
These tiny pores that resemble spots are located on the underside of your dragon’s hind legs. On male dragons, these pores are pretty visible due to their color and size.
On female dragons, however, these pores are much less pronounced and appear smaller and less colored. The femoral pores are an accurate and easy identifier as to whether your dragon is male or female.
Now of course this is assuming that you know what to look for. New bearded dragon owners may want to do some research to find an image of what the pores look like and where they’re located for a visual reference.
Sexing Based on Hemipenal Bulges
For the most accurate method to determine if your bearded dragon is a male or female, check the hemipenal bulges. Hemipenal bulges are common in bearded dragons, however, depending on their location it’ll either be male or female.
To check for the hemipenal bulges, it’s as easy as lifting the tail section of your dragon and checking for either one or two lumps. On male dragons, once you lift the tail, near the anus, you’ll see two bulges on each side under the tail.
If you’re having trouble seeing them, try lifting the tail more to stretch the skin to make them more pronounced.
On female dragons, not only will you find fewer bulges but also it’s in a different location. Unlike the male with two bulges, the females only have one which is located centered near the anus.
These differences make it easy to determine if your dragon’s male or female in addition, to being fast and accurate.
How to Tell the Sex By Behavior
While not as accurate, it’s still possible to determine if your bearded dragon is male or female based on its body language. You just need to know what signs to look for, keep reading to find out.
When comparing the beard size of bearded dragons, usually males have a larger beard. Bearded dragons are territorial and it’s very common to see males use their beards to show dominance.
Although all bearded dragons are capable of darkening their beards, typically it’s seen more often done by males.
Now although seeing your dragon’s beard turn dark is a pretty good indicator it’s a male, this method isn’t 100% accurate either.
Because it’s a defensive mechanism, all dragons have this ability and it does not guarantee the dragon is a male.
Sometimes people see a bearded dragon digging and assume it’s a female digging to bury her eggs. While this may be true, it could very well be false as well.
It’s true that females will dig to bury their eggs, however, male dragons also dig, although for a different reason.
In the wild bearded dragons will dig holes to lie in to help regulate their body temperature.
Even though digging may be seen more often with females dragons, digging by itself is certainly no way to positively identify if your dragon is a male or a female.
The Size of Your Dragon
One key indicator as to whether your bearded dragon is a male or female is their size. Male bearded dragons are generally larger than female dragons.
They also have larger heads than females as well. Now although this is true, this is not the most reliable method to determine your bearded dragon’s sex.
There have been times when females dragons were found to be larger than some other males, however, it’s not too common.
There are a number of factors that play into just how big your dragon will get. Everything from genetics to tank size and food nutrition all plays a role in the health and growth of your dragon.
It’s not uncommon for rescue bearded dragons to be smaller than normal. In fact, the stunted growth of a bearded dragon can be caused by a few different issues.
Trying to determine if your bearded dragon is male or female doesn’t have to be very difficult. There are a couple different methods to determine the sex of a dragon, however, some are more reliable than others.
For more dependable results, focus on using the proven methods involving hemipenal bulges or femoral pores inspection. By checking the femoral pores or hemipenal bulges, you can accurately determine if your dragon is male or female.
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