Bearded dragons have an extensive list of different behaviors they are known to partake in and use for communication purposes and are some of the most docile and loving reptiles that you could keep as a companion and pet. So, it might be quite alarming and upsetting to witness your beloved bearded dragons fighting one another and you may be curious about what could have caused this out of the ordinary aggression and behavior in your otherwise laid back reptiles.
Well, the answer may not be near as complicated as you might think.
Bearded dragons will fight for a few different reasons, including territorial dominance, food, and mating. Due to these reasons, you should not house two male bearded dragons in the same enclosure as tempers are known to rise between the two.
If you are housing two bearded dragons in the same enclosure, it would be pretty safe to say that they are both male and one should be relocated to a different enclosure of their own.
Bearded dragons are extremely territorial over their space, their food, and their mate, so it is important to keep males separated from one another and in their own enclosure. If you wish to house multiple bearded dragons in the same enclosure, it would be wise to only have one male and one or two females, unless you are not interested in breeding your bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons make amazing companions, especially if you are a reptile enthusiast, but sometimes they exhibit strange behavior that requires a little research. It is rare for bearded dragons to show aggression for no reason at all, so let’s take a look at the possible reasons behind your bearded dragons fighting one another.
Reason 1: Territorial Dominance
Bearded dragons are solitary creatures and prefer to spend their time alone, away from other bearded dragons. Bearded dragons thrive in solitude and prefer the ability to roam freely around their territory without running into any other creature, not just other bearded dragons.
Though they enjoy the companionship of humans, any other animal that poses a threat to their space will be in for a horrible fight from the bearded dragon that dominates that area. Wild bearded dragons will fight to kill, and their domesticated counterparts are no different.
Male bearded dragons are usually the most territorial and have zero issue participating in a fight for dominance and although it is uncommon, females will fight for dominance on occasion as well. It is best to only have one bearded dragon to a single enclosure to decrease the chance of your bearded dragons fighting one another as it can become a deadly showdown to dominate the basking space, food, and even mating rights, which we will discuss as well.
Reason 2: Food And Basking Dominance
In the wild, bearded dragons are known for fighting for dominance, not just over territory but food supply as well. If you are housing more than one bearded dragon together in the same enclosure, the larger, older, or more dominant bearded dragon will stand its ground for a more than fair share of the food, leaving the smaller, submissive dragon to only be able to eat what is left over.
To initiate this submissive behavior, bearded dragons will fight for their right to the food; the larger dragon will often intimidate or fight the smaller dragon to show dominance and create the perfect, submissive environment. Bearded dragons are also notorious for basking in the sun, or under a heat lamp, and they will fight for the best spot in the area or enclosure.
If a bearded dragon is not receiving the appropriate amount of heat and light, they can experience serious health issues, and cause them to experience a failure to thrive and could lead to their death. It is very important to provide your bearded dragons with their own space and their own heat and light source in order for them to experience the best life possible.
As previously stated, male bearded dragons are much more likely to fight for dominance than female bearded dragons, but that does not mean that females don’t have their feisty streaks.
Reason 3: Mating Rights
Housing a male and a female bearded dragon in the same enclosure comes with its own set of risks, especially if there are multiple males. When it comes to romance, animals are known to fight for what they want and their right to produce offspring; bearded dragons are no exception to this behavior.
As previously mentioned, male bearded dragons will fight one another to the death, and feel no shame in fighting over a particular female’s attention. If you only have a single male and a single female in an enclosure together, a fight can still occur, along with other issues if they are housed for an extended period of time. If this is your arrangement with your bearded dragons, the male will continuously mate with the female.
Female bearded dragons are known to lay up to as many as 20 or more eggs at a time and can even store sperm to lay multiple clutches from one mating session, this phenomenon could rear upwards of 40 or more baby bearded dragons, if you are not prepared to deal with this magnitude of breeding, it would be best to keep your bearded dragons separated. This constant mating and laying of eggs will slowly lead to her death and leave you with a ton of offspring to care for.
Now, it has been known for a female to grow irritated with a male and fight him off of her if she is not in the mood to reciprocate his advances, and males have also been known to attack a female for not being submissive. It would be best to not house more than one bearded dragon in the same enclosure for long periods of time.
Reason 4: Stress
Bearded dragons will experience a number of behaviors and emotions when in serious duress, including aggression. If you have been housing multiple bearded dragons together and they have never fought or showed signs of aggression, and now they are, stress could be playing a role.
As previously mentioned, bearded dragons are loners by nature and are not fond of other bearded dragons, at all. So, when you place more than one in an enclosure, like two females, over time they become stressed due to the other’s presence which will in turn become aggression and fighting as they begin to exert dominance over the area.
Bearded dragons need to be dominant over their space, having another bearded dragon in that space causes stress and aggression in otherwise docile creatures. Other signs of stress to look for in your bearded dragons are lethargy, glass surfing, refusing meals, and waving their arms; if you notice any of these signs while housing multiple bearded dragons together, especially aggression or fighting, separate your bearded dragons into their own enclosures.
Reason 4: Hormonal Changes
Baby bearded dragons can usually be housed together; it doesn’t normally become an issue until they reach maturity, especially with males. Once bearded dragons reach puberty, as early as 6 months in age, their hormones begin to shift as they ease towards maturity.
Females are known to show aggression and possibly even partake in some fighting amongst themselves during their ovulation cycles. Males will begin competing with one other once they enter puberty, either for dominance or female attention; aggression towards other bearded dragons becomes a serious issue for maturing males.
Once your bearded dragons reach the start of their puberty, or juvenile stage, it is best to separate your bearded dragons into enclosures of their own to reduce the risk of fighting and injury.
Bearded dragons prefer a solitary lifestyle and require their own space to fully thrive properly and live their absolute best life. To cut down on the competition for food, heat and light, space, and mating rights, it is recommended to house only one bearded dragon in an enclosure or tank.
Your bearded dragon will thrive and lead a better and healthier life if they are provided with their own space to roam and dominate. Bearded dragons are known to fight other bearded dragons to the death for dominance of an area, wild or domesticated.
If your bearded dragons are fighting one another, it is time to get them their own personal space to prevent injury or death. If one of your bearded dragons has been harmed from a fight or you have questions and concerns, contact your local herp vet for further guidance, information, or treatment.
If you currently own or plan to own multiple bearded dragons, it is extremely important to learn their behavioral communication techniques, along with warning signs of stress and aggression. Remember, bearded dragons do not get lonely, they actually thrive in solitude and would much rather hang out with you than any other bearded dragon or animal.