Bearded Dragons are becoming very popular pets all over the world. Owners are now considering having multiple Bearded Dragons and having them living in the same tank, but is this a good idea? Let’s take a look.
So can Bearded Dragons live together? Bearded Dragons really shouldn’t live together. By nature they are solitary reptiles and housing more than one Bearded Dragon in a single tank can cause lots of problems such as stress plus battles for dominance, territory, food and more.
Read on to take a closer look at why Bearded Dragons shouldn’t live together and when it might be ok for them to live together.
Why Shouldn’t Bearded Dragons Live Together? A Closer Look
Housing more than one Bearded Dragon in the same tank can on occasion be totally fine and you will not witness any problems. This, however, is a huge gamble and not something I would ever recommend.
In the wild Bearded Dragons are solitary reptiles and they hunt and live alone.
When they are in captivity they expect to live exactly the same way in their tank and adding more Bearded Dragons can cause lots of problems.
Let’s take a look at the problems that more than one Bearded Dragon living together can cause.
Bearded Dragons Living Together Can Cause a Fight For Dominance
Because Bearded Dragons are solitary reptiles if they are forced to live together with another Dragon there can often be a fight for dominance.
Males are the most eco-driven by nature but females can also fight for dominance on a rare occasion.
Usually if one of the Bearded Dragons is younger or smaller than the other Dragon then they will be forced to submit to the older and more aggressive Dragon.
This fight for power and dominance can cause unneeded stress to both Bearded Dragons.
Bearded Dragons Living Together Can Cause Stress
As we just touched upon, a fight for dominance can cause stress for all Bearded Dragons involved.
This stress can lead to loss of appetite and in some cases, the less dominant Bearded Dragon may not want to eat at all through the stress this causes.
This can be especially harmful to your Bearded Dragon in the first few months of their life when food is vital to support the rapid growth they are experiencing.
In fact, they will do 90% of their growth in the first 12 months of their life so ensuring their appetite is it’s maximum in this period is highly recommended to ensure they grow and stay healthy.
The Fight For Food
When Bearded Dragons are housed together it’s not just a lack of appetite through stress that can lead them to not eating and not getting the vital nutrients they need to grow and be healthy.
Often the bigger, older or simply more dominant Dragon can take most of the food and the other Dragon isn’t left with the full meal you are expecting them to receive.
This can happen for 2 reasons, the first is that the more dominant Dragon will be faster and a better, more experienced hunter so they will be able to catch live feeders a lot easier than the other Dragon.
This will obviously lead them to take more than their fair share of the food.
The second reason is that the more dominant Dragons are known to intimidate the weaker Dragons so they are scared to take the food on offer.
If you insist on having more than one Bearded Dragon living together then you may be forced to hand feed both of your Dragons to ensure that they get an even share of the food at meal times.
Bearded Dragons Often Don’t Get Sufficient Heat When Living Together
Bearded Dragons need to bask under heat lamps in captivity. This is very important to their health including aiding their digestion.
After a meal, they need to bask to digest the food they have just eaten. If not this can cause lots of health problems such as gut rot where the food basically sits in the stomach and rots in an undigested form.
When more than one Bearded Dragon is housed in the same tank it’s common to see one of them hogging the basking lamp and not letting the other Dragon bask.
The main reason for this is through dominance like we have already spoken about, although this can also happen because Bearded Dragons get very territorial and one Dragon will protect a certain area in the tank.
The areas they like to protect are usually hides, caves and of course the basking spot.
As we have already mentioned this can have a very negative effect on the Dragon that can’t get enough heat because this is vital and is yet another reason why it’s not a good idea to have Bearded Dragons living together.
Have you ever wondered how long a Bearded Dragon can go without heat? Check out this post I’ve written on it right here
Can Two Male Bearded Dragons Live Together?
Having 2 male Bearded Dragons living together in the same tank is probably the worst combination for many reasons.
There will always be the odd story of an owner that has successfully housed 2 male Dragons together with no problems but these stories are few and far between and really not worth taking the risk because if something goes wrong then you will have to split them sharply.
The ego and the hormones of the male Dragons make it very hard for them to live together as they will more often than not fight for territory, dominance and food which will leave one of them stressed and ultimately with health issues in time.
You can certainly have 2 male Bearded Dragons in your home but i would always strongly recommend to keep them in separate tanks.
If you do decide to keep 2 male Bearded Dragons together then it’s advisable to try and make sure that they are roughly the same age and size to reduce the possibility of bullying and dominance, although there isn’t any guarantee. Well respected blog ‘Animals Mom’ says, you need to pay attention to the size and never let two Bearded Dragons in the same tank if you differ greatly in size.
Can a Male And Female Bearded Dragon Live Together?
It’s possible to have a male and female Bearded Dragon living together in certain circumstances.
Although you need to be aware that will always be some criteria that need to be met as well as some potential issues you can run into.
The first thing you need to be aware of is that housing a male and female in the same tank is going to lead to a strong likelihood that the female is going to get pregnant.
Females can lay around 20 eggs in a single clutch and can lay 3-4 clutches in a single mating.
This means that you may have anything from 40-80 eggs plus either in the tank or in an egg incubator.
If you are wanting to breed Bearded Dragons then you will be prepared for when the hatchling arrive but if not then this can be quite a shock.
You will need lots of extra 20-40 Gallon tanks, space to put the tanks, lighting and heat lamps for the tanks, food for all the hatchlings plus the added expense of the electricity bill and more.
This is something that you will need to think long and hard about before you put a male and female in the same tank.
You also need to make sure that the female is at least 2 years old before you put them in the same tank as a male. If a female is allowed to breed before this age then it can cause health issues. This advice is also given by respected blog ‘spruce pets’ who make a point of this in their post on the same subject.
Having more than 2 males and 1 female in the tank can also cause a lot of issues with fighting and dominance. This is something that i would strongly recommend avoiding to keep the risk of aggressive behaviour to a minimum.
Can Two Female Bearded Dragons live Together?
If you are determined to have 2 Bearded Dragons in one tank then having 2 females in the same tank is the safest way to do it.
This is because females are generally less competitive over territory and food etc.
With that being said, i still think it’s a bad idea and a decision that you should make with caution.
Even female Dragons are known to fight and get aggressive. This can cause stress, loss of appetite and more.
The risk of seeing major problems is certainly less when your house 2 females together than any other combination but i would always recommend giving your Dragons their own tank so you can be sure they will be both healthy and happy.
Can Adult And Baby Bearded Dragons Live Together?
Introducing a baby Bearded Dragon into the same tank as an adult Bearded Dragon is potentially putting the baby into a situation where they are going to get bullied and intimidated.
They often won’t be allowed food or heat from the basking lamp and can also be restricted territory.
Many people will often have a Bearded Dragon for a couple of years, really learn how to care for their Dragon and love being an owner.
This will then lead them wanting to get a second Bearded Dragon, which is totally fine.
The problem is that the owner will usually put the new baby Bearded Dragon in the same tank as the adult Bearded Dragon that they have had for a couple of years.
If you want 2 Bearded Dragon or more it’s best to separate them into different tanks.
Here’s a great post that shares what size tank you should use for your Bearded Dragon from a baby to an adult. This can save you a lot of hassle and money in the long run when choosing tanks. This post also recommends the best tanks for both babies and adults.
Always remember that they love to be alone and have their own territory so introducing a smaller Dragon into the tank will only lead to conflict for the younger Dragon.
Can You Bring Two Baby Bearded Dragons up Together In The Same Tank?
It’s actually possible to bring 2 baby Bearded Dragons up together from the same clutch in the same tank and have no problems.
It’s also possible that at any point you will start to get problems with aggression, territory, fighting over food and the basking light.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you just don’t know, and if you try it you are taking a big risk that one day, right out of the blue big problems will start.
You should always have a second tank ready just in case something happens and you need to separate them quickly.
What To Do If You Have Two Bearded Dragons Living Together And You Notice Problems?
Is there anything you can do if you already have more than one Bearded Dragon living in the same tank and you are starting to see problems?
Well, luckily yes there is, however, there are only really 2 things you can do to effectively stop the situations we have talked about in this post.
The first one is to simply split the Bearded Dragons up into separate tanks. This is the quickest, safest and less stressful option for both you and your Dragon.
The only problem with this is that you will need extra space for another tank, time to clean another tank, extra lighting and basking lamp and also the increased electricity bill.
The second option is to go through the heartbreaking process of giving one of the Dragons away.
This may seem very cruel to begin with but if you can’t separate them and give them their own tanks then this really is your only other option.
You can’t leave aggressive or stressed Bearded Dragons in the same tank because this just isn’t an option, period.
You will need to think long and hard about these two options but ultimately it’s keeping your Dragons happy and healthy is the main thing.
How to Tell If a Bearded Dragon Is Feeling Intimidated
When 2 Bearded Dragons live together there are often telltale signs if one of them is feeling intimidated as they will start displaying certain behaviours to show how they feel.
Here are some of the more common behaviours that you can expect an intimidated Bearded Dragon to display.
- Slow head bobbing (Here’s a post all about head bobbing)
- Arm Waving (Here’s a post dedicated arm waving)
- Loss of appetite
The dominant Bearded Dragon will often show certain behaviours too that will indicate that they are trying to be aggressive or dominant towards the other Dragon such as:
- Laying on top of the other Bearded Dragon
- Fast head bobbing
- Puffing up the beard (Here are the reasons why Bearded Dragons puff up their beard)
- Standing tall and proud
These behaviours can be displayed for a number of reasons so it’s not a given that it’s because they are being aggressive or submissive, however, it’s certainly something you will need to keep an eye on if you house 2 Bearded Dragons together.
What Size Tank Do You Need For 2 Bearded Dragons? If you have 2 Bearded Dragons living together you should have a tank that is at least 4 Gallons for babies, 80 Gallons for juveniles and 120 Gallons for adults. This will allow them to have their own space and reduce the risk of territorial battles.
Do Bearded Dragons Get Lonely? Bearded Dragons don’t get lonely. They are solitary reptiles by nature and love their own space in their tank. If you interact with your Bearded Dragon and give them regular stimulation then this is all they need to be happy.
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