Do Bearded Dragons Get Hurt While Breeding?

Are My Bearded Dragons Fighting Or Mating

Pain is something impossible to avoid when any living being is trying to reproduce and bring life into the world. But along with the natural process, there are lots of other reasons that can lead to pain or hurt. Now the question is – do bearded dragons get hurt while breeding?

Bearded dragons do get hurt while breeding, especially for reasons like mating injuries and aggressive behavior with other dragons. These injuries can be anything from major to minor. And during the breeding process, they can also get injured due to issues like egg binding.

But how would you stop them from getting hurt, as you can’t always keep an eye on them? Well, we thought you were going to ask that. So, we’ve kept the answers ready below. Just keep scrolling to reach there.

Key Takeaways

  • Bearded dragons mostly get hurt while breeding for reasons like mating injuries and aggressive behavior with other dragons.
  • The injuries take place under two phases – During mating and post-mating.
  • Choosing compatible pairs and providing adequate space can reduce the chance of getting hurt to a certain extent.
  • A hurt bearded dragon shows signs like physical changes, lethargy, decreased appetite, etc.

How Do Bearded Dragons Get Affected While Breeding?

Hold on a second! Who said there are only one or two reasons that can cause injuries or negatively affect bearded dragons while breeding? There are more, and if you’re really into breeding, you need to know these.

1. Aggressive Behavior

During the breeding seasons, the aggressive behavior of bearded dragons reaches a whole other level. This is mostly seen in male dragons as they try to establish dominance over female beardies.

With this kind of aggression, physical injuries are nothing uncommon. Yes, we’re talking about mostly bites and scratches. They’re even seen biting the limbs or neck of female lizards while attempting the mating. This usually ends up in wounds or skin abrasions.

2. Egg Binding

Right after the mating injuries, if there’s anything that causes pain to beardies, it’s egg binding. This, in fact, leads to major health problems among the females. In this issue, it becomes tough for the lizard to lay eggs as they get trapped in their reproductive system. Egg binding can be so painful that it can kill the reptile if not treated quickly.

3. Stress

Thanks to the constant courtship and mating attempts, bearded dragons often stay stressed most of the time during the breeding season. The constant stress can take a toll on their health and lead to issues with their immune systems, digestion, and general health.

Things can go so bad that their appetite might change, along with serious fatigue. Plus, the odd behavior can also be triggered if the stress level is too high.

4. Health Complications

Breeding is definitely a natural process for bearded dragons. But sometimes, when pushed too far, it doesn’t only create new health issues but worsens the pre-existing issues. For example, if the dragon was suffering from metabolic bone disease, the breeding process would eat up a ton of the lizard’s calcium and leave it with weaker bones.

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5. Inadequate Nutrition

There is no alternative to a greater calcium and nutrition intake if a female bearded dragon wants to produce healthy offspring. So, the breeders need to ensure that in every possible way.

But if it misses the required nutrients, the process takes in a ton of nutrients and leads the reptile, along with her eggs, to nutritional deficiencies. And guess what comes next? Exactly! A sick female beardie and weak or deformed hatchlings.

6. Mating Incompatibility

One of the common mistakes that breeders make, especially inexperienced ones, is they make incompatible pairs and try to breed through them. But this can lead to injuries and other difficulties. When the size of the beardies is different, they face difficulties during copulation. As a result, the one with a bigger size gets the other one injured.

7. Egg Laying Complications

No, we’re not talking about egg binding again. The thing is, once the mating is done and the female gets pregnant, the next thing they ask for is a perfect nesting spot to drop their eggs. But when they fail to get that, they become super stressed and even become unable to lay the eggs, which ultimately leads to serious health issues.

8. Egg Consumption

You’ve heard it right. Female beardies do eat up their eggs, sometimes. This mostly happens when they’re under three circumstances. First, they do it when they’re under immense stress. Second, when they’re inexperienced, they might eat up their eggs. And three, they do it when they’ve got some serious nutritional deficiencies.

But eating the eggs is not the worst part here. It’s what comes next. Eating their own egg can lead to not only imbalances in the dragon’s diet but also can create serious digestive issues.

9. Nesting Injuries

Nesting is a process that requires physical effort. Though it’s a natural thing to do for gravid bearded dragons, this too can lead them to injury. If the substrate they’re nesting on is too tough for them to dig, they might lose their nails in the attempt, and can even injure their limbs and snout. This is why it’s often suggested to use a substrate that will make it easier for them to dig.

10. Physical Exhaustion

Well, let’s call it the inevitable part. There’s no way to deny that breeding is a physically demanding and exhausting process for beardies, whether you’re thinking about males or females. There is so much energy involved in constant courtship and mating attempts that leaves them physically exhausted.

But that part goes for the males. For females, it’s still a long way to go as they need to carry the eggs and invest all the nutrients and energy required to complete the process. In fact, as the whole journey is a stressful one, it ultimately leads to fatigue and stress-related health issues.

How To Stop Bearded Dragons From Getting Hurt While Breeding?

Well, you can’t completely save your beardie from getting hurt, as breeding itself is a painful process. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep it to the minimum. All you have to do for that is –

1. Choose Compatible Pairs

What kind of pair you’re picking for breeding has a lot to do with pain management. So, make sure you’re picking beardies that are compatible with each other in every possible way, including size, age, and health.

Otherwise, you’ll see aggressive behavior in them and eventually difficulties during the mating attempts. By the way, if a beardie is naturally over-aggressive, it’ll be better if you can just keep them off the breeding list.

2. Provide Adequate Space

Give the reptiles a space that you’ll find adequate for themselves and won’t feel cramped even a bit. The best thing about a spacious breeding enclosure is it’ll take down the chances of territorial dispute and the same goes for the chances of confrontations.

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3. Monitor Interactions

We know you can’t keep your eyes on them all day long. But still, try to observe their breeding interactions, so that you can detect the signs of aggression, stress, or discomfort among the beardies, if there are any. In case you see something like this, intervene instantly to prevent injuries. Even if needed, get them separated from each other.

4. Control Introduction

Don’t just drop two reptiles in the same cage. This will do nothing but trigger stress and aggressive behavior among them. Make sure you’re introducing them gradually. This will allow them to become used to each other’s presence.

5. Supervise Mating Attempts

When your male beardie is mounting the female, supervise their behavior properly and check if any of them are showing aggressive behavior or not. Plus, you need to monitor the female’s response as well. Otherwise, you might not be able to prevent overexertion or injuries during the mating session.

6. Provide Retreats

Things going wrong during a mating season is nothing unusual. But when it happens, your reptile should have proper hiding spots, caves, or other retreats, and it’s your duty to ensure that.

Not only the mating session, but these might be helpful for a female when it doesn’t want to face the male. This will save them from potential aggressive behavior of the male or any other related stressful situation.

7. Proper Nutrition

This is something both of the beardies need for internal healthiness, not the external. Make sure both of your beardies’ health is in optimal state and good enough for breeding. To pull this off, what you need to provide is a well-balanced diet that is not only rich in calcium but also all the other essential nutrients.

8. Monitor The Female’s Health

Between male and female, it’s the female that faces most of the health issues, both internal and external. So, you need to keep an eye on her, not only before the breeding but also during and after breeding. This includes observing if there’s any sign of stress, egg binding, discomfort, or unusual behavior.

9. Provide Nesting Substrate

Not getting the chance to lay their eggs is enough to create serious health hazards for female bearded dragons. So, to skip that hassle, make sure you’re getting a suitable nesting area covered with appropriate substrate for digging. The right substrate matters a lot for two reasons – one, it makes the laying easy, and two, a proper nesting spot lowers the risk of injury

10. Separate After Breeding

Once the lizards are done with the mating, separate them from each other. Otherwise, none of them will be getting a break from constant interaction or mating attempts. This break is a must for both of them as it allows them to recover individually and reduce stress.

11. Limit Breeding Frequency

We know, as a breeder, you’d think of the profit that you’d get from each of the offspring. But you need to limit the breeding frequency if you really want the well-being of your bearded dragons. This will let them have the required time to recover and get their strength back.

12. Regular Health Checks

One of the best ways to keep your beardies health top-notch is by conducting regular health checks. Here, you need to monitor any kind of changes in their behavior and health condition. This way, it’ll be easier for you to track the health issues earlier and take the initiative to prevent them in the first place.

13. Seek Veterinary Guidance

There might be issues that not even you can fix as a breeder. So, consult a reptile veterinarian if you see your lizard encountering any complications. They’ll get you all advice, guidance, and assistance to make sure that your reptile is healthy again and ready for the breeding process.

9 Types Of Injuries That Can Happen To A Bearded Dragon During Breeding

There are basically two phases of breeding where a bearded dragon might get injured or hurt – mating and post-mating phase. So if you look at injuries, you can divide them as per the phase. Let us make it a bit easier for you with a table.

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Types of InjuriesPhaseCause
Types of InjuriesPhaseCause
Skin Abrasions and ScratchesDuring matingBite from the male partner
Bite MarksDuring and post-matingConflict due to aggressive and territorial behavior
Stress-Induced InjuriesDuring and post-matingAggressive interactions and constant courtship attempts
Mating-Related TraumaDuring matingThe physical gripping behavior of the male
Tail DamagePost-matingConflict due to aggressive and territorial behavior
Egg-Related InjuriesPost-matingDifficulty laying eggs or egg binding
Nesting InjuriesPost-matingRough substrate and lack of nutrients like calcium
Physical ExhaustionPost-matingThe physically demanding and exhausting breeding process
General Health DeclinePost-matingThe stress and energy expenditure associated with breeding

11 Signs That Indicate Potential Injuries/Stress In Bearded Dragons During Or After Breeding

Once the reptile gets hurt or in serious stress, you’ve got no other choice but to cure or fix it. But for that, you need to understand first whether it’s hurt/stressed or not. Don’t worry; finding that out isn’t that hard as all you need to do is look for the following signs.

1. Behavioral Changes

It’s true that bearded dragons are calm lizards. But a hurt or stressed bearded dragon shows increased aggression when it’s in pain. Plus, you’ll see them showing restlessness in their regular behavior as well.

2. Decreased Appetite

Like humans, lizards too don’t feel like eating when they’re under stress or pain. So, if you see a drop in your beardie’s appetite, or refuse to eat anything, there’s a high chance of it dealing with stress, pain, or discomfort.

3. Weight Loss

One of the most accurate measurements of good health is balanced body weight. As breeding itself is a physically demanding process, it needs the lizard to have a proper body weight. But when a beardie is stressed or injured, it might lose a part of its weight as its energy expenditure ratio goes higher or eating frequency goes down.

4. Lethargy

We’ve already told you the energy expenditure during breeding goes higher. But that’s not the only thing that can increase their lethargy. Being injured or stressed too can make them exhausted.

5. Agitation

Beardies, in a lot of ways, express that they’re hurt or unhappy, and one of those is being unusually agitated. You might see them displaying rapid or erratic movements when they’re hurt or stressed. After all, the pain and discomfort don’t let them settle down easily.

6. Abnormal Posture Or Movement

When physically hurt, beardies try to feel comfortable with different postures and some of them might seem abnormal. This kind of behavior can include acts like holding a limb or sitting at an unusual angle. Plus, with all the weaknesses in their limbs due to injury, it might become kind of tough for them to move normally.

7. Physical Changes

No, you won’t have to try too much to find this out as it’s mostly external. Yes, we’re talking about the visible wounds, scratches, or bite marks on their body that take place right after a mating session.

8. Stress Marks

You probably haven’t heard about something like this before. But it’s true that beardies do display stress marks. These are basically dark bands that you’d see on their belly scales.

9. Difficulty In Breathing

Beardies are probably among the few reptiles that can be killed by stress, especially during and after breeding. It can even lead to Labored breathing or open-mouth breathing. These are basically signs of respiratory distress, which stress can exacerbate to a huge extent. 

10. Avoiding Interactions

Bearded dragons are never too much into social interactions. But when they’re hurt or stressed, they skip the minimal social interactions they do. They even say no to mating attempts as well.

11. Lack Of Nesting Or Digging Behavior

During the breeding season, female beardies focus a lot on nesting. But if you’re seeing that they’re showing no interest in that, though they’re gravid, there’s a high chance that they’re probably hurt, stressed, or facing issues with egg laying.

Before We Go…

Breeding is indeed a challenging phase, for both owners and the beardies. So, to make the best use of this phase, it’s kind of a must to know how the reptile works during this time. Well, in case you’re not fully aware of the breeding behaviors, we help you out on that part with our blog – Interesting Bearded Dragon Breeding Behaviors Owners Should Know. Just click and get surprised.

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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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