Do bearded dragons fight each other?

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It can be easy to get the wrong idea about bearded dragons if you have never owned one. You know, they are reptiles, and the projection of this species by the media and antagonists has not been the most decorative, so it isn’t unusual to be a bit skeptical. However, owners of bearded dragons know how wonderful a pet these animals can be. Beardies are intelligent, can play, bond, understand basic gestures, and even have mood swings. All of these abilities and behaviors make beardies a perfect pet, just like other popular ones.

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In families that are warm enough to keep beardies, it is sometimes common to find two beardies together in the same confinement or cage, especially if they are babies. This situation is also a common sight in places where these animals are bought. Seeing up to 4 babies stacked in one cage is not unusual, and this paints the picture that it is alright to keep beardies together.

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The above projections have actually made some starting owners of beardies feel that it is okay to keep more than one of these pets together, and they will get along. But how true are these claims? Are beardies actually cool with each other that they do not fight?

Bearded dragons are solitary animals which means they enjoy their space and would not mind staying alone. Granted, maybe you must have seen a couple of beardies stacked together as babies, but this barely works for long. Beardies are highly territorial, which means they like to mark their spaces. From history,
animals who have territorial characteristics have one thing in common. They fight!

A beardie will not mind going toe to toe with another one if it gets the slightest sense of territory invasion. This could lead to a bloody faceoff that could result in severe injuries. For example, having two adult male beardies locked in the same confinement will lead to a fight 95 out of 100 times. Beardies are so intolerant of each other that they wouldn’t mind fighting for dominance.

Having a male and a female may not lead to a fight as they could both share space, but that does not mean that you should rule out the possibility of a
clash happening once in a while, and this also applies with having two females together. Even as babies, when the territorial instinct is still at the lowest, domesticated beardies are known to struggle for basking spots leading to them stacking themselves on each other to claim dominance and basking rights.

From all of the instances presented above, it is clear that bearded dragons do fight, though how often it happens is heavily based on the genders involved.

Do bearded dragons fight each other
Do bearded dragons fight each other

How Do I Know If My Bearded Dragons Are Fighting Or Mating?

Bearded dragons are generally calm and quiet animals and can be an example of what an ideal pet should be like. They usually go about their business quietly and are almost always willing to let you pick them up anytime you want and only show resistance if they are upset or irritated. All of these behaviors project beardies as the model pet, which they are. However, there are moments or days when beardies, especially the males, lose their calm nature and put it aside during mating.

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It may be pretty tricky to understand your beardie behavior during mating, even as a veteran owner. These pets display characteristics similar to fighting during this period, making it difficult for you to understand the cause of a particular fight. 

Typically beardies are territorial, so fights are not so uncommon. In fact, beardies could fight every day, and this can make it really difficult to know if a particular flight is due to heat when you have a male and female stacked together.

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Knowing how confusing it can be to differentiate a fight from a mating process, we have decided to help you understand if your beardie is fighting or not? First, the best way to know your beardies are about to mate is by marking the calendar. Beardies typically breed during summer, so this should be the first to check when your tolerant male suddenly becomes aggressive towards its female home mate.

Another thing to check would be the male skin color before it attacks the female. If the color of its head has been dark for several days before the attack, they are likely mating.

Behavioral change is also something to look out for. If your male beardie suddenly becomes aggressive toward everything, including you, it is most likely due to the mating phase being close. It is common to experience frequent and violent head-bobbing during this period, while the female waves its hand to express submissiveness. The male, at this point, will jump on the female to start the mating process.

The process of mating among beardies is quite violent, rough, and can be confused as fighting. The male could bite and tear the female skin at the head, lips, and even beard. The female can suffer severe injuries during this time.

However, despite these violent behaviors, the mating process only lasts a couple of seconds and could be another identifier as a fight would typically last longer. Beardies are violent when mating, so knowing everything stated would go a long way in helping you know if your bearded dragons are fighting or mating.

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Why is My Bearded Dragon Fighting?

Bearded dragons are solitary animals that like to be alone. They do not like other bearded dragons as they are territorial, which translates to them not wanting to share their tank with other beardies. These pets love to be alone and explore without the interference of any other similar species. While they can actually tolerate other animals such as cats and dogs, they aren’t so keen on their own kind. This characteristic is so deep that a bearded dragon may attack its reflection due to an identity mistake.

Fighting in bearded dragons is caused by the way they perceive each other as competitors. Another bearded dragon around usually means sharing food and light when in a cage. This makes the bigger dragon angry and it may seek to finish the smaller one, so it has everything to itself. Therefore, it’s best to separate your beardies by creating their own confinements to thrive rather than place them together as roommates.

Some owners usually feel if two or at least one docile beardie is in a cage, the possibility of a faceoff will be eliminated or at least reduced to the barest minimum. However, this is not true as there is nothing that is a suitable cohabiter in the world of these dragons. Any animal around them is seen as either a prey, a predator, or a threat, and they would aggressively attack if they are bigger. Even during mating, the female and male dragons must be brought together only for a short period as they could start fighting after mating, which could lead to severe injuries.

Also, if two males are placed together in the same space, they would fight till one gives up and becomes submissive to the other. However, expressing submissiveness in a confined cage is extremely difficult as the less dominant dragon will be left with few food options, affecting its health and eventually leading to its death.

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Can Bearded Dragon Hurt Each Other?

Bearded dragons are very territorial and can hurt each other for a couple of reasons. In some cases, a fight can break out due to the introduction of a new beardie. The extent of such conflict is dependent on the genders involved. Two males will hurt each other till one eventually submits while a male and female or two females may be more tolerant and barely fight.

Another scenario that could make beardies hurt each other is the intention of establishing dominance. If two dragons are introduced in a cage simultaneously, a power fight may occur, and the dominant one will end up a victor. In almost all cases, the bigger beardie gets bragging rights. 

Also, apart from hurting each other, beardies can take it to another level by displaying cannibalistic tendencies. A dominant beardie can hurt the weaker one, kill it and eat parts of it, such as the tail and limbs. To avoid this situation, the best solution is to keep your bearded dragons away from each other. If you have more than one bearded dragon, you can get separate houses for them or have a cage with various confinements, so they never get to interact physically except for mating purposes. However, if you cannot avoid this, you will have to be very committed to watching your beardie’s behaviors to know the dominant one and always try to keep it from the passive one. Also, you should make sure you always feed them to avoid fights triggered by hunger.

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Why Is My Bearded Dragon Biting The Other One?

Biting in the bearded dragon is a common behavioral pattern that could be influenced by different reasons. These calm animals may lose their cool and bite for varying reasons like territory protection, hunger, and fear.

Bearded dragons are good hunters and greedy eaters, and this behavior is manifested right from childhood, with young beardies fighting to eat or bite any moving creature that is small enough for them to handle. Also, when two bearded dragons are kept in the same confinement, the tendency to bite and injure each other will be more common due to lack of enough space in their home, so it’s best to get a bigger confinement or at least a glass to keep them separated. This would help contain their aggressive behaviors. It is important to note that aggression is more common among two males than two females or a male and a female.

Another reason your bearded dragons could bite each other is when you have an adult male and female ready for mating in the same cage. During mating, the male beardie becomes very aggressive and may bite the female. These bites can be intense to the extent of tearing the skin. After mating, it is very common to find visible bite marks on female beardies in areas like the lips, beard, and head.

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Can We Have Two Bearded Dragons Together?

Bearded dragons have needs that owners usually get to find out as they care for their pets. Some of the basic needs include a heat source, a suitable vegetable for their diet, the best partner to mate with, and the best setup for their cage. While all of these needs are basic requirements, a significant need to consider is how beardies like to live. 

Usually, bearded dragons are better off alone than when they have any other animal around. In the wild, these animals are solitary, which means they are always by themselves and do not need partners or a social clique to live a happy and healthy life. This instinctive character makes bearded dragons thrive better. Therefore, it may be counterproductive to stack them together to make them happy.

In very few cases, though, raising two of these animals can be successful if their needs are attended to individually and separately. You can do this by getting a house with a separating glass.

Bearded dragons are very territorial, and it is ill-advised to keep two males together as they won’t be able to cohabit. Raising two females might be successful as they will tolerate each other in most instances. The same goes for male and female housemates. This, however, does not mean they will never fight.  

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Will Bearded Dragons Eat Each Other?

Bearded dragons are known to fight and get very violent with each other. These fights can lead to the death of the passive dragon in a phase that could be instant (after a fatal duel) or over a period of time due to malnourishment as the dominant beardie usually guards everything that comes into the cage including water. While all of these are common practices and behavior of beardies, what isn’t so common is the act of cannibalism.

Bearded dragons from their style of living are the ideal pets to have, which can make it unimaginable for these beautiful creatures to be cannibals. However, research in the wild has shown that these animals can be cannibalistic. Adult males have been known to kill young and juvenile beardies and eat them afterwards. This occurrence is quite common in the wild and happens when there is no other alternative to food. However, this behavior is extremely rare and almost non-existent among domesticated beardies due to human conditioning and control.

What Not To Do With Bearded Dragons?

As a beardie owner, trying to get your beardie the best of comfort is always fulfilling, so it is no surprise that owners continuously try to find out the best way and methods to take care of their beardies. 

While there are many things you could do to give your dragon the best, knowing the don’t’s is also equally important as putting your dragon through stress due to ignorance can outdo all other good and loving gestures. So here are some things not to do with your bearded dragon.

Bringing In A New Beardie: This can be highly fatal as beardies don’t react or interact well with their kind, especially males. Bringing two beardies together will likely lead to a fight that could be bloody and fatal, so it is advisable not to do it.

Poor Handling: Beardies rarely bite, but when they do, it is because they hate something or feel threatened. One of the common reasons owners get bitten by their dragon is because of poor handling. Grabbing your pet suddenly can startle it and cause it to react by biting. Also, picking it up by the tail or head can be a really bad idea as you could severely hurt it.

Bad Food: You would want to make sure you are giving your dragon the best food to improve its health as a poor diet could lead to unhealthy conditions. It will help if you give it more veggies than insects. You should only feed your pet with the smallest of red meat due to the high-fat concentration in beef. Doing this will help improve its health and increase its lifespan.

If you can avoid all of these things, you would have solved a lot of problems that would have affected your dragon’s health.

Conclusion

Bearded dragons are really great pets, and getting one is an excellent idea as long as you have the resources to take care of it. Knowing the characteristics and behaviors of these unique reptiles before getting one can help set you up to speed.

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We have in this article discussed a lot of things about beardies and what could trigger aggression from them. These traits were comprehensively explained so as to inform and educate you of the do’s and don’ts if you seek a healthy lifestyle for your beardie.

Hazel Buckley
Hazel Buckley

About Hazel Buckley
Hazel is an animal enthusiast and educator who grew up on a farm which her parents owned in Ingogo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  The farm was situated right under the Majuba Mountains - the site where the Anglo-Boer War was fought. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.