When a bearded dragon is young it is often very difficult to ascertain what sex they might be. The body proportions of males and females are different. Male dragons tend to have a large head in comparison to their body size while female dragons are often smaller overall and have a large body and medium sized head.
Adult dragons often mature sexually by the age of eight months and it is then much easier to differentiate between the sexes as males have enlarged, rounded pores on the underside of their thigh by the femur bone. There are some subtle physical differences that enable you to tell a male from a female.
First of all you need to know that there is no one characteristic that is peculiar to a particular gender of bearded dragon. One common difference is that a male dragon will often have a thicker tail than a female; although age is also a factor when it comes to the dimensions of a dragon’s tail. While both sexes display both dominant and submissive behaviour it is generally the case that the male displays more dominant behaviour than the female.
One way of telling an adult male dragon from a female is to look underneath. If you find two clearly separate bulges then the dragon is a male but if you find only one bulge then it is likely that the dragon is female. There is also a method that should only be used by experienced vets – and even then it is dangerous – this is known as probing and can cause the sex glands to be made visible from the vent. This method is not often used because it can harm the dragon.
When male and female dragons are together then there are clear courtship rules. The sexually mature male will bob its head, stamp its feet and darken its beard during courtship. He will then chase the female and attempt to mount her, sometimes biting the flesh of her neck to position her. If the breeding is successful then the female will lay her eggs four to six weeks later. The female may bury up to two dozen eggs and will guard them jealously threatening anyone who attempts to touch the eggs with a gaping mouth. The eggs should be incubated for between 65 and 75 days. Once the eggs are hatched the mother has no interest in the baby dragons.
If you handle a baby dragon you should place your finger under their chin and extend it to support the body; then transfer it to the palm of your hand without pressing it. Young dragons grow fast and may display their coloration by the age of two months