Bearded Dragons aren’t often accosted with killing each other. They make great family pets, so much so that many owners often consider introducing a second Bearded Dragon into the family home. This decision comes with a lot of questions and concerns and this is when it really is wise to know if there is a possibility of them killing each other.
This is a question that I’ve spent a long time researching as well as using my own experiences to give you the best answers possible.
So can Bearded Dragons kill each other? Yes, It’s actually possible for Bearded Dragons to kill each other. There are many motives as to why one Bearded Dragon could kill another but the reasons will usually point to a fight for dominance and food.
Read on to find out what situations can cause Bearded Dragons to kill each other, if you should ever house 2 Bearded Dragons together and what to do if you notice any problems.
How Can Bearded Dragons Kill Each Other?
Bearded Dragons can actually kill each other in several ways. Some are obvious while others are less so and can take a number of months for the Bearded Dragon to die.
Let’s take a look at both the obvious and less obvious ways that a Bearded Dragons can kill each other.
Attacking Another Bearded Dragon
‘Attacking’ another Bearded Dragon is the most obvious way that they would kill each other and certainly the one that springs to mind first.
Bearded Dragons can fight or attack each other for a whole host of reasons but it’s usually when 2 Dragons are trying to fight for dominance.
It’s also unwise to house an adult Bearded Dragon with a baby or juvenile.
When a Bearded Dragon attacks another Dragon, the most common situation for one to end up losing their life is if the Bearded Dragons greatly differ in size.
Bigger and more dominant Bearded Dragons can easily overpower babies and juveniles. They are also known to eat the dead Bearded Dragon in an act of cannibalism afterwards.
Bullying is a little different to a one on one fight or attack. Bullying can take several weeks or even months to eventually kill a Bearded Dragon and it often starts with small and unnoticeable events.
The more dominant Bearded Dragon may start by nibbling the tail of the other Dragon or nipping a toe etc.
This can then escalate into harsher and more vicious attacks. It’s also very stressful for the Bearded Dragon on the receiving end of the abuse.
This is very common for Bearded Dragons that are kept in larger groups as one will often get singled out and picked on by the group.
Bullying can quite easily lead to death for the Dragon on the receiving end and if you keep 2 of more Bearded Dragons in a tank you should keep a close lookout for bite marks and on tails and legs on a regular basis.
Social dominance doesn’t always mean that one Bearded Dragon is physically violent to another Dragon but this can be a very dangerous situation all the same.
Bearded Dragons are very solitary and if someone invades their space they aren’t always welcome.
You will usually find that one of the Bearded Dragons needs to prove they are the boss and they will display certain behaviours to show this such as:
- Fast head bobbing
- Puffing up the beard
The other Bearded Dragon will usually show they are submissive and don’t want any trouble by displaying certain behaviours such as:
- Slow head bobbing
- Arm waving
You might think that once this social hierarchy has been established then there won’t be any problems but this is actually where the problems start.
The dominant Bearded Dragon can make life very difficult for the submissive one, let’s take a look at how.
The dominant Bearded Dragon will usually get very protective over the food that comes into the tank and the submissive Dragon can often be too scared to go anywhere near live insects in case the other Dragon gets angry as they are feeding as well.
Even food such as greens and veg can be heavily protected by the dominant Dragon. The water bowl is yet another closely guarded item that can be out of reach for the passive Dragon.
All of this can lead to undernourishment and dehydration and if it’s left to go on for a long time it can at the very least make the Bearded Dragon very ill as I’m sure you can imagine and unfortunately in some cases, it can even lead to death.
Another closely guarded commodity is light. The dominant Bearded Dragon will often not let the other Dragon anywhere near the basking area. If you want to learn everything an owner needs to know about basking then check out my post on basking here
This can lead to serious health problems. Even if they are lucky enough to get food or if you hand feed them, if they aren’t allowed to bask then they won’t be able to digest the food they have eaten.
This can easily lead to gut rot which can turn serious very quickly and even lead to death.
The more dominant Dragons also display behaviour of laying on top of the other Dragon in order to stop them getting any heat and absorbing all the heat for themselves.
This may look like they are being friendly at first but it’s just another sign that there are problems in the tank.
Dominant Bearded Dragon will also demand much of the tank for themselves. They will have their favourite spots and not let the other Dragon anywhere near.
This can lean the submissive Dragon to find a hiding spot which depending on your tank set up will be in a cave or tunnel out of the way and in the dark. They will then stay there most of the time.
This, in turn, means they aren’t just missing out on vital basking time but also time under vital UVB rays.
Without these rays ultimately they won’t be able to absorb calcium and they will likely suffer from metabolic bone disease and even death in severe cases.
Killing Each Other Over Females
Placing 2 males in a tank with a female is a recipe for disaster. Male Bearded Dragons will fight and even kill each other for the chance to mate with the female.
Sometimes it’s not as obvious as a full-blown fight and a dominant Dragon might be established, if this is the case then the passive Dragon may be starved on both food and vital light as mentioned above.
It’s also worth noting that Bearded Dragon can get aggressive at the mating season as their hormone levels increase so putting 2 males in a tank together in this situation is like putting 2 boxers in a ring.
Should You Ever House 2 Bearded Dragons In The Same tank?
My answer to this question is a resounding NO! I would never house 2 or more Bearded Dragons in the same tank.
The number of problems that you are likely to face just isn’t worth the risk. It’s not fair on either Bearded Dragon and you will just end up causing them unneeded stress.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t have more than one Bearded Dragon at home though. You just need to make sure that they are housed in different tanks and ideally in different rooms so they can’t see each other.
I’ve written a post about all the different situations where you might want to house 2 Bearded Dragons together and if it’s a good idea or not, you can check the post out here.
Spotting The Danger Early
If you are really insistent on housing 2 or more Bearded Dragons together then you really must keep an eye out and monitor the situation at all times.
If you notice the start of one of the situations we’ve mentioned in this post then you need to act fast before one of your Bearded Dragons gets injured, killed or becomes very ill.
You then have 2 choices, the first is to house the affected Bearded Dragon in another tank, ideally in another room out of sight of the other Bearded Dragon.
The second option is to sadly give the Dragon up to a good home. This is unfortunate but if you don’t have room for another tank in your home then this is your only option as 2 or more Bearded Dragons that are showing aggressive or dominant behaviour can’t be housed together as this could lead to one being killed.
Are male or female Bearded Dragons more aggressive? Male and female Bearded Dragons have their own personalities that can affect aggression levels and things such as mating season can also make a difference, however, on the whole, male Bearded Dragons are more aggressive than females.
Do Bearded Dragons get along with each other? As a general rule of thumb, Bearded Dragons don’t get along with each other. Keeping 2 or more Bearded Dragons in the same tank or even allowing them to socialise can be a huge risk and one that will end up with aggressive displays of dominance.
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