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How to sex a bearded dragon

Bearded dragons are some of the most sought-after reptiles in the pet-keeping hobby. Because of this high demand, it’s very important for breeders to know how to sex a bearded dragon for breeding purposes.

From the average keeper’s standpoint, it also helps to know how to sex a bearded dragon naming, potential health issues, and temperament.

Some people believe that you can determine the sex based on the behavior of your bearded dragon. Although males and females do have certain characteristics at times, it’s not a very accurate way to determine the sex of your bearded dragon.

With that said, there are 3 main ways in which you can sex a bearded dragon. Some people prefer one over the others, and depending on the handler, each one can have a varying degree of accuracy.

Read next: How to set up your bearded dragon terrarium with examples.

Hemipenal bulge

Although this method is difficult to use in younger dragons, it has proven to be a very simple and effective way to sex a bearded dragon. All you have to do is lift the tail, and look for a hemipenal bulge.

A male bearded dragon hemipenal bulge is shown in the image above. What you’re looking for are the two bulges on either side of the tail.

This is an image of the female hemipenal bulge. As you can see, it’s much different from the male’s. What you’re looking for in a female is one distinct bulge, right in the middle of the base of the tail.

Looking at the hemipenal bulge is by far the easiest answer to how to sex a bearded dragon, but there are others.

How to sex a bearded dragon with a flashlight

Bearded dragons have something called femoral pores, otherwise known as preanal pores, in the base of their tail, near their reproductive organs. These pores are used to secrete pheromones that can attract mates during breeding season.


In this image, you have a male on the left and a female on the right. This image makes a lot of sense if you take the information in the previous section into consideration.

The male has 2 distinct hemipenes that are located on the edges of the base of the tail, and the female has 1 in the center of the base.

All you need to do to accomplish this is gently place the flashlight on the top side of your dragon (make sure the flashlight is not too hot) and shine it down through the base of the tail.

How to sex a bearded dragon with a probe

When talking about how to sex a bearded dragon, probing is probably one of the most controversial methods. This is simply because if it’s done incorrectly, it can harm your bearded dragon.

We definitely don’t want that, so if you choose to use this method, please proceed with extreme caution.

This practice involves forcing the rear vent of the dragon open and pulling out its sex organs with a pair of tweezers or a similar tool. As you can imagine, this can cause a lot of damage if your movements are even slightly off.

The same can be said about probing any lizard or snake. While it is probably the most accurate way to determine the sex of a bearded dragon, it is by far the most dangerous.

The conclusion

Many bearded dragon breeders and keepers around the world have used these 3 methods above for years now. If you’re inexperienced, I highly recommend that you avoid probing. Instead, give the other two, just as effective methods a shot. They require far less effort and don’t pose the possibility of harming your scaly friend.

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