How to Tell the Gender of your Bearded Dragon

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Are you confused if your bearded dragon is a he or a she?

We know how you love your pet bearded dragon and love to call your friends home to see it. But there is one thing that you still cannot figure out, right! 

There is nothing hanging thereunder, and by that, we mean the gonads that would be helpful in determining if your cute Bearded Dragon is a male or a female. This is the case with a lot of other reptiles as well. However, trust us to tell you the sure shot way to determine the sex of your pet. You are going to hit the bull’s eye, you simply rest assured. 

The hemipenal bulges are the best way to tell the bearded dragon’s sex:

Now, before you jump to conclusions that it is a very long drawn process to be able to determine what hemipenal bulges are and that you may have to do some intense research into it, let us make it clear – you do not have to know anything in-depth about the hemipenal bulges. All you have to do is to lift the tail of your pet bearded dragon and observe the bulges near its vent. 

 The hemipenal bulge on the male bearded dragon:

When you lift up its tail to be able to see its vent, you will notice two hemi penal bulges on both sides of its tail. Remember, if there are two bulges, one on either side of its tail, then it is a male bearded dragon. 

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The hemipenal bulge on the female bearded dragon:

The female hemi penal bulge is a single one, and it is mostly situated in the center of its tail exactly outside its vent. 

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How to observe the hemipenal bulges:

It is easy to lift the tail and to observe the hemi penal bulges closely. They are quite prominent, and you cannot miss it. But the only thing that you will need to be cautious about is to be really gentle in lifting up its tail.

A bearded dragon belongs to the lizard family and like all lizards, can perform autotomy or drop and deglove its tail in response to any threat. This defence mechanism in other lizards is not so much a trouble because they will eventually grow back their tails. A bearded dragon’s tail will, however, never grow back like before. The grown tail will be shorter and look more like cartilage.

Everyone knows that it is its tail that is one of its main assets! They look oh so majestic with their huge spiny tail trailing after them! Therefore, gently lift it up and don’t hold it up for painfully long periods. You don’t want it to have any kind of discomfort or pain. 

Wouldn’t your breeder help you with the sex of your pet dragon?

This is a good question to ask your breeder. But the fact remains that most of the bearded dragons are adopted when they are still smaller than 7 or 8 inches. This is the time about which the hemi penal bulges start becoming apparent. 

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If you are purchasing a young bearded dragon, we are afraid the breeder will not be helpful with any information on it except with guesswork! But if you are buying an adult size bearded dragon or one that is transitioning into one, all you need is lift up its tail gently and voila!

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The torchlight hack!

Now say that you do not want to hold its tail even for a few seconds, there is one more way to check out those hemi penal bulges. Make the room dark and shine a torchlight or a flashlight under your bearded dragon and observe. In the torchlight, you will be able to see the penal bulges without actually discomforting the creature clearly. 

Here is an advisory of what you must never do!

Probing or trying to pinch out its sex organs in a bid to making sure it is something that you must refrain from completely. Some of the breeders will probe the animals with all kinds of sharp instruments down there so as to ascertain their sex. It is done to snakes and so many more reptiles. 

In fact, there are probing sets with sharp unsterilized instruments available easily over the shop counters or even online. This is the kind of stuff that you must shy away from whatever the reason. 

Probing is so detrimental to the bearded dragon’s health that it may turn out to be fatal for it!

Humanity feels dead when we hear about Pogonas (yes, that is what bearded dragons are actually called) die of their owner’s negligence or inquisitiveness. Removing the sex organs may sound so easy, but it is not so easy to fold them back and get them inside. They will never be like before, and the pet can suffer irreparably. We understand that this is one topic that is the proverbial elephant in the room, but somebody had to address it. We are completely against any sort of cruelty to animals. Yes, probing with sharp objects comes under the purview of cruelty only. 

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And this happened!

We decided to ask a few people how they thought we could determine the sex of their beardie and we were stumped with how so many of them said that the male could be identified with its more dominating character of bobbing its head and the puffed black beard when it is in a competition or plain excited. 

But this is not entirely true! Female bearded dragons are known to puff their beards too, and they can also exhibit dominating head-bobbing traits – some sexism there, eh. 

So people, the hemi penal bulges it is! It is the most foolproof way to tell the sex of that beautiful creature that is perhaps basking in the UV light of your room or attempting to climb up on you, clinging to your tee!
And before we leave you, here is a fun fact about the Pogonas. While breeding them, the incubation period temperature can switch their sexes irrespective of their chromosomal genes. A temperature of 34 C or 93.2 F will mean that the hatchlings will turn out to be females, and if the temperature is maintained low, say, 30 C or 86 F, they will turn out to be males! 

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