Bearded dragons are one of the most popular lizards to own as pets. They’re quite docile and laid back. It’s not hard to see why people would want to have more than one. They usually enjoy (or at least deal with) human company but despite all of this, one question remains… “Can my bearded dragon have a roomie?”
So, can bearded dragons live together? Bearded dragons are better off living on their own. While they can potentially live together, by nature they are solitary and territorial creatures. Their health and happiness do not depend on having another dragon for company, in fact, the opposite is more truthful.
If you do decide to keep two bearded dragons together in the same enclosure, you need to put safety measures into place, so they don’t harm one another. In this safety guide, we’ll cover the steps to take to keep them safe, how to create the best enclosure, and other precautions and advice. Let’s get started!
Why Bearded Dragons Are Better Off on Their Own
First, let’s reinforce this: bearded dragons are really happy to be alone. They like their own space, and they are happy to fight for it when necessary. Here are some reasons it’s good to keep just one dragon in an enclosure at a time.
- Bearded dragons can harm each other in fights over territory.
- If a male and female bearded dragon are both in the same enclosure, there is a high possibility of reproduction. This can be a big issue if you aren’t planning on breeding them.
- If two males are together, it’s almost certain they’ll fight.
- If two dragons are of different sizes, the bigger one will always win out. The smaller ones can get easily injured or even starve.
The Dangers of Multiple Bearded Dragons Living Together
As mentioned, bearded dragons are great pets, but while they typically live alone, it is not unheard of for more than one bearded dragon to live in an enclosure peacefully. To assist in your decision in whether or not your bearded buddy should have a roommate, let’s examine in detail the risks of multiple bearded dragons living together in an enclosure.
Bearded Dragons Are Intensely Territorial Creatures
They may be cute, but for the most part, bearded dragons do not like sharing space with other bearded dragons. The males, especially, can have the most intense territorial streaks when it comes to another dragon inhabiting their enclosure.
Two or More Males Together
When it comes to multiple male bearded dragons occupying the same enclosure, you can be sure that it will be a very intense and violent territorial battle that will result in one or both of the bearded dragons becoming injured. If you decide to let your dragon live with a buddy, be sure that the two are not males. Ever.
Males and Females Together
If you decide to have a male and female bearded dragon living together, you must understand that there is a strong possibility that they will mate and reproduce. There’s another thing to look out for as well when it comes to mating. The male bearded dragon is highly aggressive when it is looking to mate, and it is not uncommon for them to injure the female.
When mating, a male bearded dragon will bite the mouth or neck of the female to hold her in place to keep from running away. These bites tend to leave wounds.
Due to the male bearded dragon’s aggressiveness when it comes to living with other bearded dragons, it is not recommended to be placed in an enclosure with a female dragon unless you are trying to breed them.
Two or More Females Together
In the case of female bearded dragons, it can potentially work. They are not as aggressively territorial as their male counterparts. If you still want your male bearded dragon to have company, try placing him in an enclosure with 2 female bearded dragons.
If one of your dragons gets a bite or scratch due to fighting or mating, here is how to care for them:
- Flush the bite wounds with salt water to clean the bite sites.
- Make sure to apply antibiotic ointment to the wound locations to reduce the risk of infection.
- After cleaning the wounds and applying the antibiotic ointment, cover the affect areas with a pad to encourage healing.
- If the injury is deep, looks infected or impairs your beardy’s mobility; you may need to take your pet to the vet
When it comes to keeping bearded dragons together, size is important. You need to pay close attention as when size is involved in the animal kingdom, typically the little guy does not come out on top.
A significantly larger bearded dragon in the same enclosure of a smaller one can lead to injury or death. The bigger and stronger bearded dragon will snatch up all of the food in the enclosure, and this could lead to the smaller one dying of starvation — not a great way to go.
With this in mind, if you want to have 2 to 3 bearded dragons in the same enclosure, make sure that they are equal in size. You don’t want to lose one due to it not getting enough food to eat.
Important Safety Points For Keeping Bearded Dragons Together
- If you have more than one bearded dragon in an enclosure, pay close attention to how they are interacting. If you notice any aggressive behavior at all, such as biting, scratching, or if one or more of the dragons appear to decline in health, vitality or size, the dragons need to be separated immediately!
- A female bearded dragon should not be placed in an enclosure with a male until she has reached 24 months old. Even then, the female needs to be examined by a veterinarian and placed on a supplementation diet of vitamin D and calcium to ensure that she is healthy enough to mate if that is the intention.
- If you place a younger, smaller female dragon in the enclosure with a male and he mates with her, there is a risk that she will face quite a few issues, including egg binding, which prevents her from laying her eggs. If she has this issue, you will need to see a veterinarian.
Can Adult Bearded Dragons And Baby Bearded Dragons Live Together?
This is a good question. Unfortunately, bearded dragons are not very maternal creatures, and a mother bearded dragon will usually not attempt to defend her eggs. Aside from this, there are other issues that could pose a risk to baby bearded dragons in an enclosure with their adult counterparts:
- Again, adult bearded dragons will keep the baby dragons from eating by taking all the food, leaving them to die of starvation.
- Bearded dragons are opportunistic feeders. Baby bearded dragons run the risk of becoming an adult dragon’s lunch.
Under no circumstances should a baby bearded dragon be housed in an enclosure with an adult. These dragons do not have parental instincts or inclinations. In the wild, a baby bearded dragon will have to fend for itself to survive. This same rule applies in a domestic setting. Do not place baby bearded dragons with an adult, even if it is their mother.
Babies Do Well Together – for a While
You can place baby bearded dragons together, while they are still young. As long as their sizes are similar, all of the baby dragons will be able to eat, and no one gains the upper hand.
Bearded dragons that have been raised together from hatchlings do stand a better chance of getting along long term rather than two complete strangers. That said, once they get older and start to become more territorial, you will most likely have to separate them. As soon as you notice any aggressive behaviors, unfortunately, it’s time to give them their own enclosures.
I Have Two Male Dragons but No Space for Two Enclosures
If you’re asking this question, you clearly don’t plan on giving one away. However, you’re at an impasse. You don’t want to get rid of one of your buddies, but they can’t ever be together because of the intense territorial streaks. What do you do?
Don’t worry my lizard loving friend; there is a solution that can allow you to keep both of your bearded dragons but stop them from fighting all the time to secure territory. The answer is a multi-level vivarium.
A multi-level vivarium or terrarium for your bearded dragons is really no different than a normal one level enclosure. The only difference is that they are stackable so you can place individual enclosures on top of each other.
A Habitat for Multiple Bearded Dragons
So, you may be in the position that you already have two or more female bearded dragons or you’ve read most of the warnings but are still willing to take the risk.
If you really don’t want multiple terrariums, you will have to ensure that your enclosure meets certain standards to allow multiple dragons to reside inside together.
First of all, this really isn’t recommended unless you have multiple females. If you have a male, it’s recommended to have at least two females to share the burden of any unwanted attention, giving them more chance for respite from the males “advances”.
It is crucial to have an enclosure large enough to house your dragons, as well as give each dragon room to move around, bask, eat and sleep. For even just two dragons you should really aim for a terrarium size (or equivalent) of 150 gallons. Make sure you provide lots of branches, rocks and hiding places also.
Again though, if it’s at all possible for you to avoid going down this route then I would steer clear. Should things go wrong, and they likely will, the consequences can be fatal for your dragons.
If you are unsure of what type and size enclosure you need, visit the local pet store for assistance in learning your options and selecting the right one.
What If My Male And Female Dragons Need To Live Together For Mating?
If you want to put a male and female together for the purpose of mating, it should not be a long-term arrangement as touched on before.
Aside from the obviously aggressive behavior exhibited by the males, there is also some preparation involved before placing your male and female bearded dragons together.
- There is a minimum age for breeding. Depending on who you speak to, people will say that both of the bearded dragons must be at least 18 months old. However, for best practices, a veterinarian will say that the male dragon is sexually mature at 18 months and that the female dragon is at 24 months or 2 years old. They will also put them through an extensive physical to ensure they are healthy enough to reproduce.
- There is also a recommended size and weight for breeding. Both dragons should be a length of at least 18 inches from the snout down to the very tip of the tail. A healthy female should weigh about 350 grams. They will both also need to be checked regularly before mating for adenovirus, which is highly contagious and can be passed onto the babies.
- Prenatal vitamins for the mom-to-be. A female bearded dragon will also need to have her diet supplemented with vitamin D and calcium if she is deemed healthy enough to mate. The vitamin D and calcium supplementation are to ensure the strength of her eggs and prevent a calcium deficiency after laying the eggs.
- Ensure that the enclosure is suitable for two bearded dragons to live together during the mating period. It will need to be big enough for both of them to move around and also have enough branches and rocks for them to climb and hide from each other when they need to. You should really aim for 125 gallons or more but at the very least, you should have an enclosure size of 75 gallons.
- Prior to mating, they will need to undergo brumation. Brumation is the process of decreasing the lighting schedule of the bearded dragons, which in turn decreases their activity. You need to do this while they are still separated. Not when they are together.
- As lighting decreases during brumation, you’ll need to decrease the temperature, too. It should be 80 degrees Fahrenheit during daylight hours and 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the nighttime hours.
- During brumation, don’t worry if your dragons begin to eat and bask less, and hide more than usual. This is normal when their activity is decreasing before being place together for mating.
- Dragons will need to be in brumation for about 2 to 3 months before you mate them. After brumation has ended your bearded dragons will want to go back to resuming their normal activity and eating as before.
What Exactly Happens When A Male and Female Dragon Mate? How Violent Is It?
We’ve covered the step-by-step preparation involved in placing a male and female bearded dragon together in an enclosure. We’ve also mentioned that the living arrangement should not be long-term, due to the male bearded dragon’s aggressive tendencies when it is mating.
The process of mating goes something like this:
- The bearded dragons will perform a mating “dance” of sorts.
- Your male bearded dragon’s “beard” will begin to darken and become nearly black and this could possibly last a few days.
- The bearded dragons will start to chase each other around the enclosure and will make rolling and bobbing motions with their heads.
- The female bearded dragon will “wave” her hand in a circular motion to indicate that she is receptive to mating.
- The male bearded dragon will then stomp his feet and chase the female within the enclosure.
- This is the violent part. Once he has decided that he is going to mate with the female, he will take hold of the female by her mouth or neck to hold her in place to keep her from escaping, then climb on her to begin mating.
As you can imagine, with all the aggression from the male bearded dragon, the female will need a break from him, and sometimes Visa-Versa. Make sure that there are plenty of branches and rocks for the bearded dragons to climb and hide from each other to prevent harm.
After the bearded dragons have mated, the general rule is to leave them together for one week before separating them. After a week of separation has passed, you can then place them together again for a week at a time. Do not leave them together for longer than that.
If you want to learn more about breeding your bearded dragons, check out this guide. There is a lot more in-depth information in regard to this topic and it will better inform you of what you need to do to ensure successful mating.
To Wrap It Up
In this safety guide, we have covered everything you need to know about the potential risks of placing your bearded dragons together. We’ve also gone over what you need to know if you need to keep them together.
When it comes to the debate of whether or not bearded dragons can live together, there’s no definite answer. It can be agreed upon, however, that two male bearded dragons should not occupy the same space due to their territorial battles that are bound to occur. We’ve also established that baby bearded dragons should not live with adults due to the risk of starving or even becoming a meal themselves!
On the other hand, there are also a lot of bearded dragons that have been able to live together peacefully and happily with very little issues. Just be sure to have an extra enclosure on standby in case aggressive behavior does occur. In the end, it comes down to you and the personality of your bearded dragons.