Inevitably, most people who purchase a bearded dragon fall completely in love with the little creature. This is mostly due to the amazing disposition of the bearded dragon. Their personality and charm get the best of dedicated owners. One issue that the majority of new owners do not understand is the bearded dragon’s actions. In their natural habitat, bearded dragons only come in contact with each other for breeding or for territorial fights. Bearded dragons are not social reptiles and neither wants nor require the company of another of their species.
The average new owner performs their research by reading articles and forum posts online. They create a new cage around 4ft x 2ft x 2ft for their baby and suddenly the baby bearded dragon so small. Added to that are their docile personalities and the owner instantly falls in love. They are so cute that this new owner purchases an addition to the family by bringing home a second baby. It seems somewhat comical to watch the babies chase each other around the tank. Or as shown below, basking together often “hugging” or one sitting one on top of the other.
All of these antics make it appear that the two babies are getting along. Unfortunately, this is not the case and are all signs of dominance and aggression. In the wild only the strongest survive, which means the fittest bearded dragons acquire the best food, basking sites, and light.
Housing two bearded dragons in captivity creates a hostile environment where one become the dominant dragon. The weaker of the two is not able to escape the dominant bearded dragon. One side effect of this scenario is one dragon will grow at a much faster rate than the other.
Below are two pictures showing the injuries of bearded dragons that were housed together.
Notice the foot missing on the bearded dragon. The dominant bearded dragon became hostile that the weaker beardie was in his territory. Therefore, he attacked his tank mate in hopes to rid his territory of the intruder.
There is a time when housing multiple bearded dragons will work. It has been known that two females of the same age and same approximate size may be housed together successfully. On the other hand, housing two males in the same scenario will end with one or both dragons severely maimed and disfigured or possibly even dead. Housing a male and a female together will result in the male repeatedly mating with the female, which will end up with a stressed female, which could be fatal or the female having egg binding, which is fatal.
These dominant traits are typically seen when babies reach 3-5 months old. Industry standards allow a maximum of 5 babies in one bin. However, even this scenario can end in tragedy as shown in the photographs below.
The breeder of these babies had all the proper heating and food. These five babies were housed in the same bin. However, this tragedy ended in death for the beardies suffering injuries this young.
It is difficult to believe that these docile reptiles can create such havoc on each other. It is a simple fact that bearded dragons are not social creatures and should not be socialized together. The risks are too great to attempt housing multiple bearded dragons together.
The only real company they need is their humans. If you spend time with your dragon they will never be lonely. Just give them love and in doing so give them proper housing and care.