Bearded Dragons and Sexing: The Key to Proper Care

There are various reasons why keepers might want to know the gender/sex of a Bearded dragon. Bearded dragons show, what is called, sexual dimorphism, meaning that sexes are visually distinguishable. Growing Bearded dragons can generally only be accurately sexed from six to eight months of age or when they reach 25 to 30 cm / 10 to 12 ” in length (snout-to-tail).

Generally, male Bearded dragons have bigger heads and more slender bodies when compared with similar-sized females. Female Bearded dragons have more rounded bodies with smaller heads. Males also have darker beards and a thicker tail base when compared with females. A more accurate way to distinguish between Bearded dragon sexes is to look for the presence of hemipenal bulges and/or femoral pores.

Bearded dragon sexing

The most accurate way to sex Bearded dragons is by looking at the vent area on the underside of the tail base. Just behind (towards the tip of the tail) of this opening, there will be two visible bulges in males (called the Hemi-penises – which will make two bulges with an ‘hourglass’ indentation in the middle) and one very slight bulge in females (i.e. one bulge in the middle of two indentations).

The tail base area of a male Bearded dragon. Note the two Hemi-penal bulges situation on the base of the tail, just above the vent area.

The tail base area of a female Bearded dragon. Note the absence of bulges on the base of the tail, just above the vent area.

In some cases, the femoral pores, which are more distinctive in males, can also aid in sexing. Bearded dragons with distinctive femoral pores can be positively identified as males, but adults without these pores are not necessarily females (i.e. some males might not have femoral pores). A female will almost always be without femoral pores.

Male Bearded dragon with distinctive femoral pores. Note the small, circular structures on the legs and below the vent area.

Female Bearded dragon without femoral pores. Not all Male Bearded dragons will have femoral pores, but all female Bearded dragons will be without them.

How To Tell If A Bearded Dragon Is Male Or Female

1. Hemipenal Bulges

If you’re trying to tell if your Bearded Dragon is male or female, then it’s important to check for hemipenal bulges. Hemipenes, which are found in the majority of male reptiles, are similar to a mammal’s penis. These hemipenes are usually stored inside the base of the tail and can be visible from the underside of the base.

If you can see two bulges along the underside of your bearded dragon’s tail, then it’s likely that your dragon is male. If there are no bulges visible, then it’s likely that your bearded dragon is female. However, just because there are no bulges present doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your dragon is female – there could still be some other indication, such as size differences.

Make sure that your bearded dragon is comfortable with being held before attempting to identify hemipenal bulges. It’s also important to note that this isn’t the best method for sexing younger or unhandled individuals as it can cause injury. Therefore, it might be best to use an alternate method when dealing with these types of dragons.


Identifying a bearded dragon’s sex is important to do, especially when you have a single beardie. In order to do this, there is a method one can follow.

Firstly, you need to hold your Beardie comfortably by the stomach and lay them on your left palm so you are looking at their back from a bird’s eye view. Make sure they’re comfortable and won’t struggle so that they don’t get injured.

Secondly, use your right hand firmly grasp the tail about one-third of the way from the base and pull it upward and towards its head. Keep lifting its tail until you can fully expose its cloaca. This should make the tail base area easily visible.

Thirdly, depending on if your Beardie is male or female, you should be able to see two or one bulges respectively in either lateral or horizontal positions near or above the center of the cloaca respectively. Finally, note that this method can be used for any Beardie older than 12 weeks; however, it may be difficult to see the hemipenal bulges in younger ones without the help of a flashlight due to their smaller size.

Flashlight Method

The Flashlight Method is a great way to sex your bearded dragon if you are having trouble identifying them. It is similar to how you can shine a flashlight on an egg to check the inner contents and applies the same principle to checking your bearded dragon’s tail base.

To do this, hold your bearded dragon in the same position as before, with its stomach on your left palm so you are looking at its back from a bird’s eye view. Make sure they are comfortable and not going to struggle.

Then firmly grasp their tail about one-third of the way from the base with your right hand and pull it upwards towards their head, being gentle and slow so they aren’t injured. Once the cloaca is exposed, shine a flashlight at it from the top side (dorsal) while looking at it from the bottom side (ventral).

To identify a male bearded dragon, look for two dark red hemipenal bulges with black shadows on each side. Females will have one singular black bulge in the center of the tail area. By using this method, you can easily determine whether your lizard is male or female without much difficulty.

2. Tail Size

One way to differentiate male and female Bearded Dragons is the size of their tail. Male bearded dragons tend to have a wider and thicker tail base than females since their hemipenes are stored in the base of their tails. Females, on the other hand, will have much sleeker and narrower tails that taper distinctly at the base when viewed from the top down. This can be seen even in younger, juvenile Bearded Dragons as well.

Aside from the size of their tails, male and female Bearded Dragons also differ in the size of their head and whether they have beards or not. By looking at these physical characteristics along with the tail size difference mentioned above, you can determine if your Bearded Dragon is male or female.

3. Head Size

Male and female bearded dragons can be distinguished by head size; males typically have wider and thicker heads which they use for intimidating opponents in the wild. This is much easier to see when they are fully grown, as juveniles usually have similar-looking heads.

In addition to thicker and wider head sizes, male bearded dragons also often have different presentations of spikes on their heads. These reptiles usually have much darker beards that puff up and become rigid when threatened or during mating attempts. Females also puff their dark beards, but only when threatened.

To differentiate males from females just by looking at them, pay attention to head size and spikes presence. If the head is wide with a darker beard that is presented more frequently, then it’s likely a male bearded dragon.

4. Body Size

One of the most reliable ways to tell if a bearded dragon is male or female is by looking at the body size.

Generally, males are larger in body size than females due to the fact that they need the size advantage to be able to compete with other males and hunt. As a result, males usually reach up to 24 inches long while females only reach 19 inches.

Adult bearded dragons usually weigh between 380 and 500 grams. You may notice that female bearded dragons will usually fall on the shorter side and lighter side of this range while males tend to be towards the heavier end–with some even having over 100 grams difference!

It’s also important to note that male bearded dragons usually have a wider head and thicker tail base compared to female dragons. The female’s head should be slender and their tail should taper off at the base in an elegant fashion.

5. Femoral Pores

Femoral Pores are a great way to tell if a Bearded Dragon is male or female. These pores are located inside the thighs of a Bearded Dragon and secrete pheromones during breeding or social interactions. The size and pattern of these pores can typically be used to determine the gender of the Bearded Dragon.

Males tend to have femoral pores that are larger, more distinct, and easier to see, whereas the femoral pores on females are typically smaller, about the size of a pinhead.


Ensure your reptile is comfortable with being handled before you start searching for femoral pores. Place your hand on its back, pick it up and rotate your hand so that its belly is viewable. If your Bearded Dragon is male you should be able to observe larger clearly defined circles on its inner thighs.

Beginners may have difficulty sexing Bearded Dragons from femoral pores alone as it can be hard to compare without having another known-sexed Bearded Dragon present for comparison. As such this technique should not be used on individuals under 12 months old as their femoral pores look almost identical in both males and females at this age.

6. Cloacal Opening

The cloaca is an opening used for waste and breeding in reptiles, which is also called the vent. Its size can be different in sexually dimorphic lizards as males usually have a wider cloaca than females. This is where the hemipenes—which are organs necessary for breeding—are everted during reproduction.


To check if your Bearded Dragon is male or female, you’ll need to observe its cloaca. First, make sure it’s comfortable with being handled so that it isn’t struggling when you pick it up. Rotate your hand so that you can see the inner thighs and cloacal opening.

If it’s a boy, its cloacal opening will be wider than a female’s—although this difference will depend on the individual’s size. However, it’s best if this method is combined with other techniques like checking for a hemipenal bulge to sex a Bearded Dragon accurately.

Remember that males need time to grow up in order for these distinctions to be seen, so this method cannot be utilized on individuals under 12 weeks old.

7. Behavior

Behavior can be a great indicator of whether a bearded dragon is male or female. Male bearded dragons, in particular, tend to be more territorial and show their dominance with a dark beard, head bobbing, and hissing.

Black Beard

When a male displays his dark beard, it is usually achieved by bobbing his head. This behavior is used to signal to other males in the region that this particular dragon is dominant and should not be challenged. Black beards are also used to ward off predators and make the specimen appear larger. Females rarely grow black beards unless they are feeling threatened.


Hissing is another behavior that can indicate the gender of your bearded dragon. They may hiss during mating seasons as a way of asserting dominance over other males in the vicinity. Captive dragons typically are not known for hissing, but if your dragon does then it’s most likely a male.

Head Bobbing

Head bobbing is one of the key signs for distinguishing between a male and female bearded dragon as well––males will usually engage in aggressive bobbing whereas females use subtle movements when trying to display authority over their territory.

Physical Differences

Cloacal openingWideNarrow
Base of tailWideNarrow
Pre-anal and
femoral pores
HeadLarge, WideNarrow, Long
BeardLarge, black
in color
Smaller, not
as black


At What Age Can you Identify if Your Beardie is a Male or a Female?

If you want to know the gender of your beloved bearded dragon, then you need to make sure that it’s mature enough. Generally, you can’t identify the sex of your beardie unless it’s at least 8-13 weeks old. Experienced owners and breeders usually find out the differentiation between male and female dragons earlier – sometimes even when they are just 4-5 weeks old!

To determine the exact age of your pet, check with the breeder or record any information that was given to you when you bought your bearded dragon. Reputable breeders will keep records of their beardies’ birth dates and other life events that would be helpful in determining an approximate age range.

You can also measure the length of your pet to get an idea of its age range. It is recommended that you take several measurements though so that the estimated age range is accurate. You may have to use a ruler or measuring tape (in centimeters or inches) for this purpose. Once you have all these measurements, compare them with known growth charts for bearded dragons and make an educated guess as to how old your furry friend is!

Don’t forget to measure its tail too when measuring a Bearded Dragon. Grab your ruler or measuring tape, and measure from its head to the end of its tail.

0 to 1 month3″ to 4″ inches
2 months5″ to 9″ inches
3 months8″ to 11″ inches
4 months9″ to 12″ inches
5 months11″ to 16″ inches
6 months11″ to 18″ inches
8 months13″ to 20″ inches
12 months16″ to 22″ inches


Male vs Female Bearded Dragons

Male vs Female Bearded Dragons is a popular topic of conversation among those who keep reptiles, and the differences between male and female bearded dragons can be quite striking. Male bearded dragons are highly aggressive and competitive compared to their female counterparts, which leads to some physical differences between them.

Male Bearded Dragons tend to have larger overall body sizes and bigger heads in order to appear more intimidating. They also communicate through pheromones, leading them to have bigger and more defined femoral pores than females. Females tend to be more submissive and usually display arm waving as a sign of submission.

During breeding season female dragons will often dig in the corners of their enclosure in preparation for laying eggs. They may also need more calcium and food during this time as well. It’s important to note that while younger male bearded dragons may also display submissive behaviors, they become much more aggressive as they grow older. Knowing these differences can help you provide better care for your own pet bearded dragon!

Comparison Chart

Hemipenal bulgeTwo bulges on the lateral sides of the bottom of the tail base.Single bulge that runs horizontally above the center of the cloaca.
Femoral PoresLarge clearly defined circles on their inner thighs that run in a line from the beginning of the thigh to the knee joint.Smaller, harder to see and around the size of the head of a pin.
Cloacal OpeningUsually wider as their hemipenes are everted during breeding.Narrower.
BeardPuff their beard spikes much more frequently and have much darker beards.Only inflate their spikes when threatened.
Head SizeThicker, wider heads that they use to scare prey in the wild.Narrower and smaller heads.
Tail SizeThe presence of their hemipenes makes their tail base much wider.Much narrower tail bases that taper sharply.
Overall SizeUp to 24 inches long and 500 grams so that they can hunt and compete with other males.Often naturally lighter and shorter, reaching up to 19 inches long and 400 grams.
BehaviorsAggression, hissing, stamping their feet, puffing their beard, digging, arm waving (juvenile) and head bobbing.Submission, digging (breeding), arm waving and head bobbing.


How to determine the sex of a baby bearded dragon

When it comes to determining the sex of baby bearded dragons, it can be pretty tricky. Adult beardies are much easier to sex because their characteristics are more developed. In order to get an accurate assessment of your baby’s gender, you will need to wait until they are at least 12 weeks old. However, even then sexing your baby beardie may still not be entirely accurate.

There are two main techniques for attempting to determine the gender of young bearded dragons: tail size and hemipenal bulges. While these methods can help you make an educated guess, they often cannot determine the exact sex definitively.

Tail size- When using tail size to determine your beardie’s sex, look for females’ tails which are narrow and taper sharply towards the base. Males have slightly thicker tails at the base that become more prominent as they age. Some experts say that head size should also be considered but this is difficult to distinguish in babies and thus it is not recommended.

Hemipenal bulges- The flashlight technique is another way to help you make an educated guess on gender. Shine a flashlight on the hemipenal bulges located just past the ventral scales behind their hind limbs. Females will usually have more symmetrical bulges whereas males have larger raised bumps that protrude outward farther.


Sexing your bearded dragon can be tricky, but using the methods outlined in this article can help you figure out whether it is male or female. By being able to identify the sex of your pet, you will be better able to provide the best possible care for it.