As an owner, you may have many questions regarding bearded dragon mating.
No matter if you are looking to breed your bearded dragon or if you are concerned that your bearded dragon could mate and breed unexpectedly, having all your mating questions answered is important to any owner.
For this reason, we have put together this resource where we have answered the 19 most common bearded dragon mating questions we see on a regular basis.
You can use the clickable table below to jump to the question that you are looking for or simply scroll and read through each mating and breeding question.
Ok, Let’s take a look at the 19 most common and must know bearded dragon mating questions…
Can Bearded Dragons Mate With Other Lizards?
Bearded Dragons cannot mate with other lizards. Their physical reproductive structures are too different to be compatible and their genetic make-up is species-specific. Bearded Dragons have courtship rituals prior to mating that is unique to their species only.
The thing that makes a species a species is that they possess a unique genetic make-up that is significantly different from other species.
This genetic make-up determines their physical structure that will be compatible between males and females of the same species.
Courtship and mate selection behaviors that precede mating and chemical signaling are also unique to a species.
This means that species that are too different from each other cannot mate or produce offspring. Some species that are extremely close in genetic make-up may be able to mate e.g donkeys and horses or lions and tigers.
The Bearded Dragon species is too physically distinct to be able to breed with any other lizards.
Bearded Dragons also have a species-specific courtship ritual that occurs before mating and will not mate without it.
On the other hand subspecies of Bearded Dragons can mate. Because they are of the same species, just different enough to be categorized into subspecies.
Can Bearded Dragons Mate With Siblings?
Bearded Dragons that are siblings can mate. But this goes against their natural survival tactics. Bearded Dragons aim to breed to increase genetic diversity so that the species as a whole is more resilient and adaptable. Inbreeding can cause genetic disorders.
Technically Bearded Dragons can mate with any of the opposite sex of their same species. Whether it is a sibling or a parent, it is possible.
Bearded Dragons do not maintain family bonds, nor do they have a concept of parents or siblings.
Other dragons are just other dragons to them. So if a male and female are exposed to time together they will likely mate even if they are siblings.
The inbreeding Bearded Dragons is hotly contested in the reptile community.
Most beardie owners will not breed related Bearded Dragons as it is proven to cause genetic disorders among offspring.
But some breeders argue that genetic disorders only appear after generations of inbreeding and inbreeding is needed to continue pure bloodlines and breed certain desirable characteristics such as certain patterns or colours.
It is irresponsible to breed bearded dragons that are closely related as genetic disorders will continue to be created and passed on for generations and offspring will become sick and have poor welfare.
Do Bearded Dragons Mate For Life?
Bearded Dragons do not mate for life. Bearded Dragons are solitary animals, coming together exclusively for mating and reproduction purposes. Bearded Dragons may have multiple mates over their life, choosing a mate by their physical characteristics or proximity.
As an ectothermic species, Bearded Dragons aim to reduce energy expenditure as much as possible.
They do not search extensively for a mate, but rather court what is nearby and shows physical promise. They mate, then go their separate ways.
As a prey species, Bearded Dragons have a reproduction strategy that aims to produce lots of young to increase the survival rate to adulthood for the species.
Bearded Dragons have no parental care for their young nor any feelings of bond or partnership.
Mating and reproduction are purely for the continuation of the species and their genetics. They will mate, lay a lot of eggs then leave them to hatch and fend for themselves.
These reproduction strategies exist to quickly and efficiently raise young that do not need care once hatched, thus less energy is required.
The more offspring there are means more making it to adulthood to reproduce themselves.
Do Bearded Dragons Mate In Captivity?
If provided with the correct husbandry and a suitable mate Bearded Dragons will mate in captivity. They may also go on to lay fertile eggs and produce offspring in captivity. Husbandry is the key to the successful captive breeding of Bearded Dragons.
Bearded Dragons are capable of replicating all of their natural behaviors in a captive situation if provided with the correct environment and husbandry to offer these opportunities.
Mating is no exception, captive Bearded Dragons can absolutely mate.
Mating for any animal is a large energy expenditure and they will usually only be capable of mating if all their needs are being met. For a Bearded Dragon this includes:
- Adequate space – each of your Bearded Dragons need enough space to carry out normal behaviors. You should have a separate enclosure for both the male and the female and not house them together.
- Light, UV and heat – these are vital for the metabolism and physical function of a Bearded Dragon
- Proper diet – the correct diet is vital to carry out mating behaviors. Calcium is especially important as it is a prime ingredient for egg-laying
- A knowledgeable keeper – to breed Bearded Dragons you need to deeply understand their behaviors to know when they are ready to mate and how to introduce them to each other.
Do Bearded Dragons Need A Mate To Lay Eggs?
A female Bearded Dragon does not need a mate to lay eggs. Egg-laying can be stimulated by factors other than a male. This may be other social stimulation or cues from environmental changes or husbandry factors.
Egg-laying is a natural behavior for a female Bearded Dragon and it is not uncommon for females living alone to produce and lay eggs. There are plenty of other factors that stimulate egg-laying.
Environmental cues are often the culprit. The changing of daylight hours and temperatures indicate seasonal changes to a female and sends signals to breed at certain times.
Brumation is a significant cue for Bearded Dragons. The end of brumation indicates the start of spring and an increase in food availability to fuel reproduction.
This is an optimal time for a wild female Bearded Dragon to lay her eggs to increase the offspring’s chances of survival.
Sexual stimulation can signal to a female to produce eggs. If she sees another male and they display to each other, this may be enough to stimulate egg-laying despite them never mating.
It may also come as some surprise to you, but excess touching from keepers can also sexually stimulate a female who is in season.
How Long Is A Bearded Dragon Pregnant For?
A Bearded Dragon will develop and carry her eggs for 4 to 6 weeks after mating and fertilization. This is called being gravid and is the equivalent of pregnancy. During this time the eggs will develop all they need for successful incubation.
Pregnancy is a term usually used for mammals as it describes the process of a fetus growing inside a womb.
When referring to reptiles we use the term gravid, which means “heavy” in Latin, as a reptile will be heavy with eggs.
A gravid Bearded Dragon is one that is carrying eggs. For beardies, these eggs will be laid approximately 4-6 weeks after mating.
You may be able to tell your female is gravid as she will appear fuller in the abdomen and you will know this is not normal weight gain as she will lose condition in her fat packs as her body uses resources to develop eggs.
Bearded Dragons who are close to laying eggs will lose appetite and may stop eating altogether and you will observe significant digging behavior as she prepares a place to lay her eggs for incubation.
The eggs will take around 60 days (55-75 days) to hatch once laid and at incubation temperatures.
So from mating to the appearance of hatchlings, the timeframe is around 83 – 114 days, based on egg development and incubation ranges.
If you want to know how often a bearded can lay eggs then check out this guide that shares some surprising numbers…
How Many Times Can A Bearded Dragon Get Pregnant?
A female Bearded Dragon in good condition can lay 4 or 5 clutches of eggs with 20 or so eggs in each clutch, producing up to 100 young in a year. Clutches may be laid in short bursts at random times of the year or continuously laid for months.
How many times a Bearded Dragon can become gravid depends on the health of the female themselves.
A healthy beardie with the correct environment and husbandry can lay up to 5 clutches in a season.
It also will depend on what is stimulating the egg-laying behaviors – whether it be mating, social or environment-related.
All beardies are different and some need particular circumstances and others can have no real stimulation and produce record amounts of eggs.
There is not really any way to control egg-laying but you need to ensure that the environment and diet are right to support the female.
You should provide an egg-laying tray for her to dig in, especially if you do not have any other loose substrates as she will look to bury her eggs.
Lack of a suitable place to bury eggs may result in her reabsorbing the eggs or worse, getting egg bound.
Egg binding is when eggs get stuck in the reproductive system and can happen when too many eggs are built up internally, that they block the oviducts or when calcium is insufficient to produce structurally sound eggs that then may cause blockages.
Egg binding is life-threatening and eggs will need to be removed by a vet.
What Age Can Both Male And Female Bearded Dragons Mate?
Bearded Dragons sexually mature between 8 – 18 months, at which point they are able to mate and reproduce. It is suggested to wait until at least 18 months to mate Bearded Dragons to ensure they are completely finished developing.
The rate at which both male and female Bearded Dragons sexually mature is quite a large range.
18 months is the best age to consider a beardie as an adult and ready to breed, but some beardies have been observed breeding at 8 months.
Sexual maturity is much like puberty, in that it varies for every individual both with when it starts and how long it takes to be complete.
Breeding after the age of 18 months will ensure all growth and development has finished and reproduction will be more successful and produce healthy offspring.
Breeding while your beardie is still young may result in a lack of resources for both reproduction and development and stunt both of these processes.
Here’s a guide complete with tables and charts that show how fast bearded dragons grow…
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Mate For?
Bearded Dragon mating is a short process that only lasts a few minutes and can easily be missed if not observing. The courtship process leading up to mating takes a longer time than the mating itself.
Prior to mating, Bearded Dragons will display to each other to show interest and gauge reception. If both Bearded Dragons are reciprocal then they will mate.
During mating, the male will climb on the back of the female and bite her neck to keep her in place.
The two then intertwine their tails so that their cloacas touch and mating can occur.
After a few minutes mating is complete and the male will dismount and move away.
In terms of how long Bearded Dragons mate for in their lifetime, Bearded Dragons are able to mate for their entire life. They are very opportunistic and when the opportunity arises they will take it.
The general consensus around beardies owners is to retire their dragons after 6 years as after this time the complication of mating will start to rise and if mated a lot in their life they will start to exhaust their resources and age quicker, potentially lowering their lifespan.
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Mate?
Bearded Dragons mate just once per year. Female Bearded Dragons can retain male sperm for up to a year to continue to fertilize their clutches of eggs. She can drop up to 5 clutches of fertile eggs from one mating.
Bearded Dragons only breed once per year. In the wild, they will mate in spring or early summer. This mating happens after brumation as brumation help them be more healthy and viable for successful breeding.
A female needs to mate just once but a male may go on to mate with multiple females.
In captivity, Bearded Dragons will mate at any opportunity but many experienced beardie keepers will mate their dragons in spring, particularly if their Bearded Dragons go through brumation.
This replicates natural circumstances as much as possible to produce thriving offspring.
Your Bearded Dragon pair should be housed separately and only put together for a few days until they have mated.
If housed together they may continue to mate and exhaust themselves and their physical resources, causing illness and poor reproductive success. They should only be mated once per year.
If you have considered housing 2 or more bearded dragons together then we strongly recommend you check out this article that covers all the must know facts…
Do Bearded Dragons Have A Mating Call?
Bearded Dragons do not have a mating call. They do not use vocalizations for courtship. Instead, they use visual cues such as body language. This includes physical displays, eye contact, and color change.
Many animals use vocalizations as a way to socialize and engage in courtship. Bearded Dragons are not social animals and rarely gather except in feeding areas or prime basking spots.
As a prey species and do not want to draw more attention to themselves than needed, so opt for body language over vocalization for courtship.
The only noise you may hear your Bearded Dragon make is a soft hissing noise as a sign to bask off when it feels threatened.
You can find out all the reasons why beardie’s hiss in our new guide here…
If you hear this sound during the mating rituals of a pair of Bearded Dragons you probably need to separate them as one of them is feeling threatened and uncomfortable.
The female may hiss at the male if she is not reciprocal to his aggressive advances.
Why Is My Bearded Dragon Not Eating In Mating Season?
There are few different reasons why your Bearded Dragon may not be eating during mating season. If it’s a female it could be due to her being gravid, they often lose appetite as they near egg-laying. If it is a male he may be more stimulated by a female than eating.
Mating season is responsible for a lot of hormonal changes with your Bearded Dragon. These hormones will alter your beardies’ behavior and can affect their appetites.
A hormonal male that is in with a female or even housed in the line of sight of a female will likely become hyper fixated on her and be more stimulated to try to court and mate than he is interested in eating.
Only keep your male in with your female for a few days and when they are apart, ensure they have a visual barrier from each other so they can rest.
A female in breeding season that is not eating could be preparing to lay eggs.
As she gets nearer to dropping her eggs she will get more uncomfortable and restless and often stop eating altogether. Monitor her closely over these days.
If her eggs are overdue and she still is not eating it’s important to monitor that she hasn’t become egg bound.
Not eating is a common symptom of an egg-bound Bearded Dragon. Other symptoms include lethargy, unresponsive, or stressed out.
If your gravid Bearded Dragon stops trying to prepare to lay and becomes lethargic she may need a vet visit as there is a possibility she may be egg bound.
How To Tell If Your Bearded Dragon Wants To Mate?
A Bearded Dragon that wants to mate will display visual courtship behaviors in presence of the opposite sex. A male will bob his head, stamp his feet and display his beard which will darken. A reciprocal female will bob back and wave her arm in submission.
Bearded Dragons are a visual species and they will use a lot of body language to communicate with each other as with you as their keeper.
If your Bearded Dragons are separate you can tell if they want to mate with each other if you see them communicating from across the space between them.
The male will display to the female, bobbing his head and puffing her beard out. He may scale the glass trying to get to her. A female who wants to mate will bob her head in return and wave her arm as an act of submission.
When in the enclosure together these acts will continue and the female will continue to respond if she wants to mate.
A female that does not want to mate will try to escape the male and may scale the glass in an attempt to do so.
You may note your Bearded Dragon approaching breeding season by their behavior towards you.
They may become more aggressive by displaying their beards, darkening their beards, or open-mouth behavior towards you.
Are bearded dragons really aggressive as a species? Here’s all you need to know…
Do Bearded Dragons Have A Mating Season?
Wild Bearded Dragons will have a mating season of September – March as this is spring and summertime in Australia. Captive Bearded Dragons can breed anytime but are most successful after brumation.
A wild Bearded Dragons mating season is limited to spring and summer as this is when temperatures are optimal for a high level of activity and food sources are most available to fuel reproductive behaviors.
Bearded Dragons will also perform best reproductively after a period of brumation that naturally happens in the winter months.
They are at their most viable and fertile at this period and the end of brumation will signal hormonal changes.
In captivity, Bearded Dragons can be bred at any time during the year but many keepers replicate their natural breeding cycles by breeding in spring and summer months after a brumation period has been undertaken.
Why Won’t My Bearded Dragons Mate?
Mating comes naturally to Bearded Dragons. If your Bearded Dragons are not mating then there is likely something wrong with either their pairing, their health, the provided environment, or your husbandry. If provided with the best, Bearded Dragons should mate.
It’s a natural instinctive drive for all animals to mate to pass along their genetics.
That’s all life is about on a basic level for animals! A healthy and happy Bearded Dragon given the opportunity to mate with a suitable partner, should easily and happily mate.
If your Bearded Dragons are not mating there could be many reasons why, lets go over some:
- Incorrect sexes – this may seem a silly question but you will be surprised at how easily this mistake is made. Are your Bearded Dragons a male and a female? Mis-sexing of beardies can result in the wrong pairing. To sex look at the physicalities – males will have a larger head as well as visible hemipenis bulge and femoral pores above the base of the tail.
- Age – if either one of your pair of Bearded Dragons is under 18 months old, then they may not be mating as they may not have reached sexual maturity yet. Only attempt to breed beardies 18 months or older.
- Poor husbandry – reproduction uses a lot of physical resources so beardies won’t attempt to reproduce if they do not have all their other needs met. Ensure your enclosure set up, lighting, heat, and diet are all top-notch for a healthy Bearded Dragon to engage in mating.
- Lack of seasonal cues – captive beardies will breed at any time of the year but are much more successful after a period of brumation followed by the spring and summer seasons. To encourage successful reproduction follow a seasonal change through the year.
- Health issues – if none of the above is an issue and your beardies still won’t mate then there is the possibility of underlying health issues going unseen. A visit to the vet and a health screening can help undercover any hidden issues.
Will 2 Female Bearded Dragons Try To Mate?
Bearded Dragons have obvious differences between sexes that both us and the dragons themselves can easily recognize. Two female Bearded Dragons will not try to mate with each other. Regardless, Bearded Dragons should always be housed alone.
There is a range of physicalities that allow us to tell a male from a female Bearded Dragon including males having large heads, hemipenis bulges, larger femoral pores, and more aggressive behavior.
Female Bearded Dragons use these characteristics and more such as chemical signals and body language to recognize a male over a female. This helps them identify who is a candidate to successfully mate with them.
Two female beardies will not try to mate with each other as they are aware that the other is a female and incompatible to mate with.
This does not mean they are okay to be housed together. Bearded Dragons are solitary and should be housed alone except for brief periods of mating. Males especially can cause harm if housed together.
Females together may not be as aggressive as males but it will cause them to be stressed and uncomfortable.
Can Bearded Dragons Self Reproduce?
Bearded Dragons cannot self reproduce. Bearded Dragons procreate by sexual reproduction and aren’t physically capable of parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction). A female needs male fertilization to produce fertile eggs.
Parthenogenesis is a reproduction strategy that many reptiles and amphibians are capable of where an egg can develop an embryo without sperm fertilization, so no male of the species is needed.
Pathogenesis produces exact copies of female genetics and does not produce the genetic diversity that sexual reproduction does.
Bearded Dragons reproduce by sexual reproduction to increase genetic diversity to create a population of resilient and adaptable individuals to increase survival and population.
Your Bearded Dragon will not produce fertile eggs without being exposed to a male for mating and fertilization.
A female beardie can still lay infertile eggs and her care should be adjusted whether the eggs are fertile or not, as either way it will be a physical burden on her and a drain of resources.
Increase a gravid females protein and calcium in her diet. Assist with hydration by providing electrolytes in the water supply.
Do You Need A Licence To Breed Bearded Dragons?
Rules surrounding Bearded Dragon breeding depend on your location. In places where Bearded Dragons are traded freely, there are few restrictions on breeding. In Australia, licenses are required to keep and breed Bearded Dragons as they are a native species.
Breeding of reptiles is often allowed by law if the reptile is not on a protected or endangered list.
Wild Bearded Dragons are protected by federal law in Australia, so no beardies can be taken from the wild anymore. Any pet Bearded Dragons must be bred in captivity.
Australia requires reptile owners to be licensed and only possess Bearded Dragon subspecies that are native to their area to limit the risk of escapees or illegally released pets having an effect on the species genetics of the local area.
Not all existing species of Bearded Dragon have been exported outside of Australia and all exportation is now illegal.
Breeding Bearded Dragons in the UK and US is largely unmonitored and unlicensed but you should always check with your local government or ministry of environment/agriculture/wildlife to confirm what your obligations are as reptile owners and potential breeders.
Do Female Bearded Dragons Have Periods?
Bearded Dragons do not have periods. The menstrual cycle is part of a process that supports some mammalian reproduction and live birth. Reptiles do not reproduce this way, rather they lay eggs for external development.
Menstruating animals are limited to just primates, bats, and a couple of species of rodents. Periods are the shedding of the uterine lining upon failed fertilization of a released egg.
Bearded Dragons and other reptiles do not support growing fetus’ inside their uterus so do not need this extra-uterine lining, thus not have periods.
Menstruation is needed for primates due to a large number of genetic disorders and a low reproduction rate.
The uterine lining can detect abnormalities in a developing embryo and stop development as not to waste resources on a low survival rate.
A reptile’s reproduction strategy involves laying a lot of eggs in hope of some surviving, rather than investing a lot of resources into few offspring.
For this reason, Bearded Dragons do not have a cycle that determines fertility and causes periods. They are able to reproduce at any opportunity.
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