Many people have different believes when it comes to how to tell the gender of bearded dragons. Some think that males show their beards more. Others assert that females are more likely to wave. Many people claim that female bearded dragons are smaller than males.
Even though each of these can be true, none of it is a sure marker of gender or sex in the bearded dragon.
One sure way to know the gender of your bearded dragon is to check its genitals. This part of a bearded dragon is called the hemipenes bulges. There will be two bulges on the male dragon. One on each of its lower abdomen. The bulge on the female will be at the center of the tail right above the vent. There will be only one bulge. This should tell you the gender of your dragon.
Except of course you are willing to wait to see if your dragon lays eggs.
Now having said this, I am going to go ahead and discuss other ways to find out the gender of a bearded dragon.
I’ll discuss the methods that are popular and the methods that are safe. I’ll also discuss what things to avoid in the bid to know a dragons gender.
Don’t check if they’re young!
First off, Every bearded dragon appears female when they are young. You literally cannot tell the gender of a baby bearded dragon on your own. Even professionals like reptile vets make mistakes with baby dragons. So If you’re trying to tell the gender of a baby bearded dragon, it’s almost impossible.
Bearded dragons reach sexual maturity between the ages of eight to twelve months. It is at this age that you can tell the gender of a bearded dragon.
Any time before this and you just might have a wrong diagnosis on your hands.
This method requires a lot. of concentration, skill, and calmness.
You will need to be very familiar with the dragon enough for it to allow you to explore its body like that. The thing is Bearded dragons are a breed of lizards who have Femoral Pores. The pores are used to secrete pheromones during mating season. These pores are located on the underside of the hind legs. They run from knee to knee. They are also more prominent in males. So you can basically use a flashlight to shine some light on the issue If you need to confirm the sex of your bearded dragon.
This method was discussed briefly in the answer section of this post. Here is a more detailed version of it. The method takes a lot of care and patience.
First, Pick the bearded dragon up and gently turn it over to expose its underbelly. Pay attention to the point where the beardie’s tail joins with its body.
Be careful. Do not to crank the tail over the dragon’s back. This sort of stressful action can break and hurt your dragon.
You will see a sideways slit called the “vent” if you pay close attention. This vent is near the base of the beardie’s tail. Bearded dragons use the same exits for urination, fecal matter, and reproduction.
Your dragon is male if…
Look near the vent and you are likely to see two long, fingerlike shapes on both sides of your bearded dragon’s tail right below the vent.
These two oval-shaped bulges are the hemipenes bulges. They will look like small fingers or carrots under your dragons belly skin.
Your dragon is most likely male If he has these two long hemipenes bulges.
Your dragon is female if…
While your male dragon has double hemipenal bulges, your female dragon will have only one. Below is the presentation of what hers will look like.
Her bulge will be a single bulge. It will be located right in the middle of her tail. Unlike the male with two long bulges on either side. A female dragon’s bulge will be softly triangular and broad.
Yet another way of determining the gender of your bearded dragon is to check the femoral pores. If you are wondering what femoral pores are, they are lines of little hole-like structures. These pores are very visible in male bearded dragons. They are far less prominent in female beardies. In fact, they may hardly be detectable at all.
Femoral pores usually line up your dragon starting from his knees. it goes on up both inner thighs and vent. There may be as many as ten pores. And there may be more pores. They can appear like pinpricks or tiny pits along the inner leg.
These femoral pores can be very helpful when you are trying to find out your dragons gender. Sexually mature male bearded dragons usually have visible femoral pores, but female bearded dragons do not.
The function of the femoral pores.
A femoral pore is an exocrine gland. Exocrine glands excrete substances from the body onto the skin surface or other objects. Femoral pores in bearded dragons contain a waxy substance that the bearded dragon uses to mark his territory and attract mates.
The waxy substance contains pheromones that help the male dragon to attract a female dragon during their mating season. This secretion also absorbs UV light, thus any animal that can detect UV light can also see where the bearded dragon has marked his territory.
Of all the procedures that are usually done on reptiles… probing is perhaps the most unnecessary and dangerous.
This procedure basically involves forcing open the vent above the tail and pulling the sex organs out. The organs are pulled out with either a pair of tweezers or what is essentially chopsticks. They then look at the organs to determine the gender of the dragon.
While this method may not have any serious consequences on animals like snakes… lizards like bearded dragons are not supposed to go through this. It is a painful and dangerous procedure and the reward of finding out the gender of your dragon is never worth it.
When people probe lizards… it may be easy to bring out their organs without harming them. But it is almost impossible to put these organs back without damaging them.
The only people who might even remotely have a chance of probing your dragon without long-lasting negative effect is a vet. Any other person is very likely to cause one or all of the following repercussions.
Side effects of probing
- Internal bleeding from pinched sex organs and/or intestines. Your dragon might bleed to death or become unhealthy for the great of its life. This is not something you want at all.
- Bruising of the sex organs and/or intestines. This means that your dragon might become sterile.
- Prolapse, and increased risk of prolapsing in the future, from damage to the vent and/or intestines. When you forceful I pull the guts of an animal out, you can rest assured that the animal will never be the same. A prolapse could kill your dragon immediately or after a while of pain.
- Infection(s) from exposing the tissue that normally protected by the vent. Surgeries are supposed to be done in sterile environments. You risk infections when you force internal organs out with nonsterile objects.
It is always helpful to consider physical traits. One or two things might not mean much. But you may get more accurate predictions when all factors are considered together.
The size of the head or its width can help you figure out if your beardie is male or female. If the head is bigger than average female head, your dragon might be male. The dragon might be female though if it is smaller.
This is not by any means a sure pointer, but it can provide more information while you build up all the other traits of the lizard…
You can also compare the width of your bearded dragon’s head to that of dragons of the same age. Your Dragon might be female If it’s head size is more proportional to females.
General body size
The general body size of your dragon can also be a pointer to what gender it is. It is, however, important to note that there are factors that can affect the size and length. Some of such factors could be cage size, UV light, and feeding.
If your bearded dragon’s cage is too small, it might restrict its growth and this makes it smaller than other bearded drAgons of its age. UV lighting can determine how your brain absorbs its food and converts it into nutrients. This means that if your dragon does not get adequate UV lighting, it may be underdeveloped beside some of its age mates. This means you. Mistake a female for a male and vice versa. It is also important to know that if you don’t feed your dragon correctly, it can affect its growth and health and this its size when compared to other dragons.
All things being equal however, the size of your dragon, compared to that of other Dragons of its age should suggest its sex.
Wait to see if they lay eggs.
If you are the patient type, one of the surest ways to know your bearded dragons gender is to just wait and see if they lay eggs or not. Needless to say, they are female of lay… And male if they don’t.