If you own a bearded dragon then it also might have crossed your mind to add another reptile such as a tortoise to the family too, or vice-versa.
Before you do this, there are many questions that need answering. The main one being, do bearded dragons and tortoises get along?
In this post, we will answer that very question as well as looking at the different views from vets and experts to discover the scenarios when bearded dragons and tortoises get along and when it’s best to keep them apart.
So do bearded dragons and tortoises get along? Bearded Dragons and tortoises can get along in certain circumstances. Different species of reptile shouldn’t be housed together in the same tank but it’s possible for them to be housed in separate tanks and come into contact with each other with constant owner supervision.
Read on to learn…
- The reasons why bearded dragons & tortoises should never be housed in the same tank
- If bearded dragons & tortoises can get along when housed in the same room?
- If bearded dragons & tortoises get along when in direct contact with each other?
- Vital tips for bearded dragons & tortoises to get along with each other!
Do Bearded Dragons & Tortoises Get Along (More Info)
Once you’ve learnt to successfully house and care your first reptile this will often give you the confidence to add a second reptile to your family home.
Some owners decide to opt for a different reptile species for their second pet and a combination of bearded dragons and tortoises are common considerations.
Before you take the steps to bring home a second reptile it’s important to know if both the bearded dragon and tortoise are going to get along.
You might hear stories that lots of reptile owners have successfully housed multiple reptile species together including bearded dragons and tortoises.
It is possible for bearded dragons and tortoises to live in the same family home and get along fine (not housed together, more on this later), however, there is certain criteria that need to be met and things you need to be aware of before doing this.
The main question that owners want answering is if bearded dragons and tortoises can get along when in direct contact with each other?
There’s a good chance they can get along fine and many owners have both bearded dragons and tortoises in the same home but all reptiles have their own personalities and this will totally depend on how they react to each other.
Both bearded dragons and tortoises are known to have placid temperaments but if they feel threatened they can produce either aggressive or submissive behaviour.
You as an owner can play your part to help the transition of bringing a new reptile home a smooth one.
Let’s take a look at some important tips to ensure your bearded dragon and tortoise are comfortable in each others company.
Tips For Bearded Dragons & Tortoises Getting Along Successfully
In order for bearded dragons and tortoises to get along, there are some things you can do as an owner that will make the process a much smoother one.
Let’s take a look at the things you can do to enable both reptiles to get along and accept each other.
Quarantine For One Month
At first, this might sound pretty harsh but it’s actually very important to quarantine any new reptile you bring into your home for one month.
This is to ensure that the new reptile doesn’t have any parasites or ticks that can transfer to the reptile already living in your home.
Although this may not be something that will strictly allow them to get along better it’s still highly important.
Pet-MD talk about the risk of transferring parasites from reptile to reptile and highly recommend a one-month quarantine.
VCA-Hospitals also talk about how bearded dragon can easily get mites and ticks so this is something you should take seriously.
When we say ‘quarantine’ we mean to isolate the new reptile and make sure it has no contact with your other reptile for the one month period so you can be sure it is parasite free.
Introduce The Reptiles to Each Other Slowly
Once the one month period has passed and you are confident that the new reptile doesn’t have parasites you can now slowly start to introduce the reptiles to each other.
You should allow both the bearded dragon and tortoise lots of space so they don’t feel threatened or intimidated.
You should never place them close together or try and push them towards each other.
Just let them check each other out and after a few minutes separate them until the next day.
Keep slowly introducing them over a number of days and increasing the time they are in each others company if they both seem comfortable.
After a while, they should both accept each other, although this isn’t something that anybody can guarantee.
You should always be closely watching over them and never leave them in the same room unattended even if they seem to be getting along fine.
Make Sure Both Reptiles Are Happy
If at any point one of the reptiles doesn’t seem comfortable with the situation then you will have to use your judgement for what to do next.
The options are…
- Keep them separated for a while and try again in a week or so
- Persist with the method for a few days to see if they both adjust
- Keep them both separated permanently
Ultimately, you want to keep pets that are both happy and healthy. If either your bearded dragon or tortoise is stressed by the situation long term then it isn’t good for anybody.
Hopefully, this won’t be the case and they will accept each other and get along fine.
Now let’s look at housing arrangements and what are the best scenarios.
Do Bearded Dragons & Tortoises Get along When Housed Together?
The first thing that every potential bearded dragon and tortoise owner wants to know is, can they get along when housed together in the same tank?
Even though this is a logical question, our advice is to never house a bearded dragon and tortoise in the same tank.
This isn’t just our opinion either, the veterinary experts at Pet-MD also firmly state that different species of reptiles should never be housed in the same tank in their reptile do’s and don’ts article.
If you were to search up the temperature requirements of both bearded dragons and most tortoises you would find that they are very similar and this can lead owners to think it’s ok to house them together.
This is far from the truth as there are many other things to consider when housing two or more of the same species together let alone different species.
Let’s take a look at the most common concerns of housing bearded dragons and tortoises together.
Before I begin, I just want to say that not all bearded dragons and tortoises will be aggressive towards each other, however, there is always a risk that we believe isn’t worth taking.
Bearded dragons are solitary reptiles and generally don’t like the company of other bearded dragons let alone another species of reptile.
If another reptile such as a tortoise is added to their enclosure then this can cause lots of territorial conflicts and result in aggressive behaviour.
We have actually written a post shares the 12 reasons why your bearded dragon can get angry and some of the reasons may surprise you.
The last thing you want is for your bearded dragon or tortoise to be forced to display aggressive behaviour because they are trapped in the same living space.
Tortoises are also known to become aggressive when put in uncomfortable positions.
Exotic direct says that male tortoises are especially known to headbang and bite to mark their territory.
Although this is usually towards males of the same species, they can be aggressive to protect themselves in many other situations including other reptiles and predators.
Housing a bearded dragon and a tortoise in the same tank with no territorial issues has a small chance of being successful but it’s just not worth the risk.
If they are displaying aggressive behaviour then this can result in lost toes and worse.
It’s also not good for both reptiles stress levels. When reptiles such as bearded dragons and tortoises encounter aggressive or stressful situations they should only last a short period of time.
In the wild, they would remove themselves from the situation or the other reptile would remove from the situation depending on who is more aggressive and dominant.
If you house both a bearded dragon and tortoise in the same tank then neither of them has the opportunity to back away from the situation.
As well both reptiles showing aggressive behaviour, there’s also a possibility that one of them will become uneasy and even scared by the whole situation of being housed with another reptile.
This can easily cause one of the reptiles to become stressed and this is particularly true for bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons can get stressed and intimidated very easily when put into situations they are unsure about.
This can lead them to hide for prolonged periods and even feeling scared to come out and bask when they need to.
Heightened stress levels for any reptile aren’t good for long periods of time so it’s always better to avoid anything that can trigger them if possible.
Here’s a post that explains why it’s vital that your bearded dragon has places to hide in their tank.
Remember, there will always be owners that have successfully housed bearded dragons and tortoises together with no territorial, aggression and stress problems but the risk just isn’t worth taking.
Providing Equal Amounts Of Food
Tortoises are herbivores and require a healthy and balanced diet of greens and vegetables in their diet.
The experts at Exotic Direct say feeding a tortoise a calcium-rich diet is hugely important for bone health as well as shell development.
Even though bearded dragons eat live insects, they still require a high calcium diet provided by selected greens and veggies just like tortoises do.
If you housed a bearded dragon and tortoise together it would be extremely difficult to ensure that both reptiles received the number of nutrients especially calcium they need on a daily basis.
This is because the tortoise could eat both bowls of salad or vice-versa.
Either way, it would be almost impossible to provide equal portions of the greens that are vital to their health.
Check out this post that explains the role of calcium for bearded dragons in less than 5 minutes.
Do Bearded Dragons & Tortoises Get Along Housed In The Same Room?
It’s actually quite possible to have a bearded dragon and a tortoise housed in separate tanks but in the same room with no problems.
This will totally depend on the individual temperaments and personalities of your reptiles.
Some bearded dragons and tortoises may still be unhappy if they can see another reptile in the same room.
This can lead them to feel either aggressive or stressed through fear.
If you want to house your bearded dragon and tortoise in the same room then we would always recommend housing them far apart.
If you don’t get any problems then obviously all is good with the housing arrangement and you don’t need to adjust anything.
If you do have problems, however, then you need to make sure you have an alternate room in your home to house one of the reptiles.
You should already have this room prepared before you purchase the second reptile so if the problems arise then you can move the new reptile before the situation becomes too stressful.
Sometimes even just making sure both reptiles can’t see each other is enough to stop any kind of aggressive behaviour or stressful situation from developing but you definitely need to have a second room prepared just in case.
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