18 Interesting Bearded Dragon Breeding Behaviors Owners Should Know!

Come on! You know beardies are among the most interesting reptiles. Otherwise, why you would have thought of owning or breeding them in the first place, right? But there is a bunch of interesting breeding behavior that we believe all the owners should know.

The behaviors of bearded dragons can be divided into two parts – pre-mating and post-mating. In the pre-mating, they showcase behaviors like head bobbing, arm waving, changing color, etc. In the post-mating, or let’s call it the pre-egg laying phase, they show behaviors like decreased appetite, restlessness, digging, etc.

But is that all? Well, no! There is more and a single paragraph is not enough to explain their behavior during breeding. Want to dig more? Then keep scrolling. 

bearded dragon closeup
Owner: Bailey Cissell

Top 18 Breeding Behaviors Of Bearded Dragons You Should Know About

If you’re thinking about breeding behaviors, you can divide the whole process into two segments – pre-mating and post-mating. But in both of these segments, they show tons of interesting behavior that you should about as a bearded dragon owner or breeder. Let’s start with –

Pre-Mating Behaviors

The name itself is enough to understand that these behavior take place before the mating. But, the pre-mating segment actually includes the mating process as well, and the post-mating end in laying the eggs. So, what comes in the pre-mating? Well, the first and most common one is –

1. Head Bobbing

This is something you’ll actually see in both males and females. But if you’re comparing the frequency, males are ahead in that race. They basically use it to signal their dominance and communicate with other beardies. But as an exception to all of these, they use head bobbing while approaching and courting a female bearded dragon.

2. Color Intensification

Not like the chameleons, but bearded dragons too can play a bit with colors and they mostly do that in their breeding season. You’ll notice this change in their throat region. Yes, we’re talking about the part that you call the ‘beard’. It’s said that they turn black or darker color during the breeding season as it improves their thermoregulation.

3. Scent Marking

Sounds surprising? Same to us! But it’s true that using scent marking is one of the most common techniques of male bearded dragons to attract females. They actually got a gland that we know as the femoral pore. You’ll find it on the underside of their hind legs.

This gland releases a waxy substance that contains pheromones, which are used as scent markings to attract females during mating season. They usually rub this on rocks and other object within their territory. This creates a scent trail that ultimately draws the attention of female beardies.

4. Arm Waving

Unlike the previous ones, we can’t count this one as a direct mating behavior of beardies. After all, they use it more often to communicate with other beardies or regulate their body temperature. But male beardies might use this for attracting a possible mating partner as well, especially during the breeding season.

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5. Increased Activity

Being too much active and restless too can be a sign of the arrival of their mating season. And unlike the previous one, this one is applicable to both males and females. You might even see your male beardie being more territorial than ever. And the females? Well, you see them roaming around restless as they’re more into searching for suitable nesting sites at this time.

6. Increased Appetite

A boost in the appetite is nothing unusual for male beardies during the breeding season. The reason for this kind of heightened food intake is getting a ton of energy that they need for courtship and mating. But the females don’t show much of a change in the appetite part.

cute bearded dragon closeup
Owner: Belle Starr

7. Increased Basking

Is your beardie spending too much time basking? Then probably it has taken the breeding season seriously. By the we’re not talking about the males here as the females do the same. Actually, they need enough heat to maintain their metabolic rate and overall health and we all know how much important these are for the lizards to reproduce.

8. Circling And Courting

Male bearded dragons stay desperate to have a mate and do a lot of things to drag the attention of a potential mating partner. You already know about bobbing their heads, waving their arms, and displaying different colors. But when they see a female, the first thing they do is circle her as a part of their complex courtship rituals.

9. Female Receptivity Signals

How to know whether a female bearded dragon is ready to mate or not? Well, if you’re seeing it raising her tail and flattening her body when the male approaches, count her as ready as the male. This kind of posture not only signals her readiness to mate but also makes the alignment during copulation way easier.

Post-Mating Behavior

Once the mating part is done, all you can do is wait for the bearded dragon to get pregnant and lay eggs. But even in this period of time, they show some interesting behaviors such as –

Owner: Ashley Whitley

1. Restlessness

We know you’ve seen this in pre-mating behavior as well. But the truth is, for females, it keeps going till they lay their eggs. You’ll actually see them moving too much and searching for a perfect nesting place. As a part of their natural behavior, they can’t help finding a safer place to lay their eggs.

2. Nesting Behavior

Let’s just call it their digging behavior. Like lots of the other reptiles out there, they too like laying their eggs that they prepare by digging. In the wild, they do this to save the eggs from all the predators and possible hunters. This is an important indicator for breeders as it shows the sign that the lizard is finally pregnant.

3. Reduced Activity

Beardies are among the lizards that love to explore around. But once the pregnancy stage hits, female beardies lower their activity as they get tired easily at that time. You won’t even see them try much for hunting or catching a bug.

4. Reduced Appetite

Producing eggs eats up a ton of female beardie’s nutrition. So, they should eat more, right? But things walk in a different way here. With the body focusing more on egg development, the female’s appetite goes down. So, don’t get surprised if you see your lizard is not taking any interest in her favorite insect anymore.

bearded dragon looking over a net
owner: Brandy Hoosier

5. Weight Gain

Pregnancy leads to significant weight gain in female beardies. They can gain up to 10% of their total body weight during this period of time. With an expanded abdomen, this kind of weight gain slows them up as well, which later on affects their food hunting.

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6. Resting Near Nesting Site

Where you’ll see your bearded dragon the most once it gets pregnant? The answer is – close to their nesting site. Actually, with the time for egg laying coming close, they feel it safe to stay close to their nesting site. So, they prefer taking a rest in an area near to it. By the way, they do it when they’re almost ready to lay the eggs. 

7. Longer Basking Time

Beardies maintain a certain amount of time every day basking. But once the females get pregnant, they start spending more than the regular under the heat lamps. It basically helps them in maintaining optimal body temperature and for digestion and egg development, it’s more than important.

8. Protective Behavior

During this stage, female beardies may exhibit protective behavior, especially when they’re close to the time to lay their eggs. They can become quite territorial and aggressive during the breeding season and they mostly do that when they’re feeling threatened or stressed.

9. Increased Sensitivity To Stress

You already how sensitive bearded dragons are to stress. And guess what? They become more prone to stress during breeding time or pregnancy. Even with the regular handling that they used to take normally, they might behave aggressively to that. So, you better keep your hand off for that time at least.

How Much Time Bearded Dragon Takes To Lay Eggs?

If the mating gets successful, you won’t have to wait for more than 4 to 6 weeks to see your bearded dragon pregnant. The fact is, female beardies are capable of storing sperm from a male bearded dragon for several weeks. They use this sperm later at a time to fertilize their eggs. 

And the gestation period? Well, like we said before, it lasts for 4 to 6 weeks once the female gets pregnant. This is where you need to play your part as an owner or a breeder. You need to get her everything she needs, starting from a suitable nesting area, and nutritious food to getting rid all of kind stressful elements around her.

We guess you’re thinking about the number of eggs you might get. Good news: a female bearded dragon can lay 5-30 eggs per clutch. On top of that, she can do it up to 6 times per year.

How To Know That Your Bearded Dragons Are Perfect For Mating?

Breeding bearded dragons is a game of patience. But what you need more than patience is knowledge, especially regarding knowing the suitability of a bearded dragon for mating. Now the question is – how would you know that your bearded dragon is good to go for mating? Well, you can start by checking the –

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1. Age

It’s true that bearded dragons become mature by the age of 8 months. But when it comes to proper mating for breeding. But we don’t suggest putting a beardie up for breeding unless it’s at least 18 months. Before that age, pushing it for breeding might lead to nothing but health issues, not only for the parents but for the offspring as well.

2. Size

When it comes to size, you need to check out if it’s at least 16 inches or not. Usually, beardies that kind of size are considered ready for mating. Plus, lizards with a standard size are large enough to handle the physical demand of both mating and egg-laying.

3. Weight

If your lizards are less than  0.77 lbs or 350 grams, don’t put them up for breeding or mating. By the way, this weight might vary on the basis of the species of your bearded dragon. But you shouldn’t let your beardies mate if they haven’t reached at least 80% of their maximum growth potential.

4. Health

Don’t even think about breeding or mating if your beardie got any serious health issues. If you’re really into getting high-quality offspring, make sure that your beardies are healthy and well-fed.

5. Appetite And Hydration

The key to having better health is a healthy appetite and being well-hydrated. So, if you’re beardies are missing on these in the first place, don’t count them as suitable for mating or breeding. After all, if they miss proper nutrition or hydration, successful reproduction will be too tough to pull off.

6. Behavior

Yes, behavior too can say a lot about a beardie being good enough mating. Usually, mature beardies are more calm and docile compared to juveniles. So, they won’t become aggressive easily or go into defensive mode. Even if you’re handling them, they’ll be more tolerant of that.

7. Pores

Once male beardies become mature, they develop visible pores on their hind legs. They use these pores to release pheromones that can attract their possible mates. So, if your reptile got something like this, count it ready for mating.

8. Head Shape

Mature bearded dragons come with a bit of difference in their head shape as well. Compared to the juveniles, they’ve got a broader head shape. You’ll notice this more easily that got comparatively more pronounced “beard” or throat pouch.

How Much Does It Cost To Breed Bearded Dragons?

Investing is necessary for every business, even for one as unusual as bearded dragon breeding. So, how much money do you think you’ll need to launch your own breeding business? Well, we can get you a rough estimate, though. However, keep in mind that the final cost will vary depending on the size of your operation.

Cost ItemEstimated Cost
License or Permit$50 – $500
Bearded Dragon Breeding Pair$80 – $1,800
Housing and Enclosure$200 – $1,500
Heating and Lighting$100 – $500
Food and Supplements$50 – $100 per month
Veterinary Care$100 – $500 per year
Marketing and Advertising$50 – $200
Shipping and Handling$50 – $150 per shipment
Total Estimated Cost$680 – $4,350

Before We Go…

If you’re getting started with breeding, then there’s something you might feel like trying too, sooner or later. Yes, we’re talking about cross-breeding. But we’d say – DON’T! Why? Well, we’ve got an entire blog talking about this. Want to check it out? Feel free to click on Why Is Cross Breeding Bad For Bearded Dragons?

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.

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