Whether you’ve recently adopted a new bearded dragon or experienced the birth of a group of hatchlings, one thing is for sure, you’re probably at least a little curious about figuring out the gender(s) of your new pet(s)!
And although a little bit tricky to figure out for new owners, determining the sex of a bearded dragon is actually quite easy if you know what to look for.
With several physical differences between males and females, you may be surprised to learn how even the most-subtle of physical traits can determine whether your pet is male or female!
So, just keep reading to discover how you can determine the sex of your bearded dragon instantly and accurately!
How Old Does a Bearded Dragon Have to Be to Tell its Gender?
Before we dive into discussing what differences to look for between female and male bearded dragons, it is important to understand that determining the sex of your bearded dragon is only possible once they reach a certain age.
For instance, it is virtually impossible to tell the age of hatchlings below 4 weeks.
Sure, you can guess… but it’s honestly just a 50/50 chance of being right.
Now, some people claim you can tell the gender once a dragon reaches around 8 weeks old and this may be true under the right circumstances (i.e. when a reptile expert is involved), but, typically you’re going to have to wait until 5 to 6 months to be able to make any reliable, educated guess at the gender.
Well, this is when a bearded dragon’s body started more clearly developing signs of the hemipenal bulges, discussed below.
Now, you might be able to decipher the gender before 5 to 6 months, especially if you’re an experienced owner or breeder.
However, most first-time owners will be able to most clearly determine gender around the 6 month-mark, give or take a month.
How Can You Tell How Old Your Bearded Dragon Is?
So, you want to know the gender of your bearded dragon, but aren’t even sure if they’re old enough for you to be able to definitively tell?
No worries. Just ask yourself the following questions to determine if your bearded dragon is at least 6 months old…
1. Is your bearded dragon at least 10 inches long?
If so, there is a chance they could be 6 months old, seeing as this tends to be the shortest most HEALTHY 6 month dragons will measure.
Now, a better indication that your bearded dragon is at least 6 months old, is if they measure 14-15 inches.
This is a more typical length for bearded dragons at this age.
2. Does your bearded dragon weigh at least 200 grams?
On the small side, bearded dragons at 6 months of age will tend to weigh at least 200 grams, give or take.
However, a healthier and larger bearded dragon will probably weight more like 230-260 grams at this age.
The weight and length criteria mentioned above are not concrete and there will naturally be bearded dragons that are these sizes well before 6 months or even much later.
However, these measurements are simply what you can expect from a 6-month-old bearded dragon.
How to Determine the Sex of Your Bearded Dragon
Okay, so now that you are ready to actually determine the sex of your bearded dragon(s), take note of the physical and even behavioral differences you should be on the look for below!
Look for Hemipenal Bulges
The Hemipenal bulges indicate the presence of a hemipenes, which are internal male sex organs often found in reptiles.
In the case of a male bearded dragon, you will notice two hemipenal bulges above each side of the base of the bearded dragon’s tail.
If the bulges aren’t super obvious, try gently turning your dragon from side to side to look for any shadowing.
Also, you can gently (and I mean GENTLY) raise the tail up a little to see if that helps the hemipenal bulges protrude a little more.
For a female, the bulge will be more centered, between the top of the tail and the tops of the back legs.
A single, slightly protruding bump that is centered will indicate a female.
Try the Flashlight Test
So, if you’re having trouble noticing an hemipenal bulges, you can grab a flashlight and basically shine it through the dragon’s tail.
With a male, you should notice two elongated testes that make the shape of ‘U’ and with a female, it will be more of a box shape for her uterus.
Look at the Size of the Femoral Pores
Femoral pores are how bearded dragons excrete pheromones, most commonly during their mating season.
And while both males and females will have femoral pores, a male bearded dragon’s will tend to be much more pronounced and noticeable.
To locate the femoral pores, look on the underside of the legs, the femoral pores will run from knee to knee.
Consider Their Behavior
Although not as accurate of a way to determine gender and definitely up for much speculation, some owners and specialists believe you can accurately depict a bearded dragon’s gender based on observing their behavior.
For instance, bearded dragons who exhibit black beard more frequently are assumed to typically be male, while female bearded dragons are those who practice more arm waving.
So, there you have it! These are just some of the ways you can determine the sex of your bearded dragon.
Now, bear in mind that visibility of hemipenal bulges and femoral pores, as well as the behavioral patterns, will vary from dragon to dragon… meaning the suggestions above won’t always hold true and as such, should be taken without somewhat of a grain of salt.