Breeding Bearded Dragons: A Comprehensive Guide

Breeding bearded dragons (Pogona spp.) can be a rewarding but complex endeavor. These popular reptile pets are known for their unique personalities and distinctive appearances, making them a favorite among herpetology enthusiasts. If you’re considering breeding bearded dragons, it’s essential to approach the process with knowledge, preparation, and a commitment to responsible breeding practices. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about breeding bearded dragons.

You may also want to read about the perfect Bearded Dragon habitat.

Preparation and Planning

Breeding bearded dragons requires careful planning and preparation. Before embarking on the breeding journey, consider the following factors:

Breeding Bearded Dragons
Breeding Bearded Dragons

1. Selecting Breeding Pairs:

Choose healthy, genetically diverse bearded dragons for breeding. It’s essential to select pairs that complement each other in terms of size, coloration, and overall health. Avoid inbreeding to reduce the risk of genetic issues in offspring.

2. Age and Health:

Breeding age for bearded dragons typically begins at around 1.5 to 2 years old. Ensure that both the male (referred to as a “stud”) and female (referred to as a “dam”) are in excellent health. Schedule a veterinary check-up before breeding to detect any underlying health issues.

3. Enclosure and Habitat:

Prepare a suitable enclosure for the breeding pair. It should be spacious, well-ventilated, and equipped with proper heating and lighting. Provide hiding spots and a laying area for the female. Maintain a clean and hygienic environment to minimize stress.

4. Temperature and Lighting:

Maintain appropriate temperature and lighting conditions in the enclosure. Bearded dragons require a basking spot with temperatures around 95-100°F (35-38°C) and a cooler side with temperatures around 75-80°F (24-27°C). UVB lighting is essential for calcium absorption and overall health.

5. Diet and Nutrition:

Ensure that both the male and female are in optimal nutritional condition before breeding. Provide a well-rounded diet, including a variety of insects and fresh vegetables. Supplementation with calcium and vitamin D3 is crucial.

The Breeding Process

Once you’ve prepared the breeding environment and your bearded dragons are in prime condition, it’s time to initiate the breeding process. Bearded dragons typically breed during the warmer months, so timing is crucial.

Breeding Bearded Dragon
Breeding Bearded Dragons

1. Introduction:

Introduce the male and female to each other in a controlled and supervised setting. Monitor their interactions to ensure that they do not become aggressive. Males may display head-bobbing or arm-waving behavior, which are signs of courtship.

2. Copulation:

Mating behavior may include the male mounting the female and biting the back of her neck or head. Copulation can be intense and last for several minutes. Mating sessions may occur repeatedly over several days if successful.

3. Gravid Female:

After successful copulation, the female becomes gravid, meaning she is carrying eggs. As the eggs develop, her abdomen will visibly enlarge. During this time, it’s crucial to provide her with a suitable laying area, such as a nesting box filled with moistened substrate (e.g., coconut coir).

4. Egg Laying:

The female will lay her eggs in the nesting area, burying them in the substrate. Bearded dragons typically lay clutches of 15-30 eggs, although the exact number can vary. Ensure that the substrate remains moist but not waterlogged to facilitate egg laying.

5. Incubation:

Once the eggs are laid, they must be carefully incubated to ensure proper development. The incubation temperature should be around 84-88°F (29-31°C) to produce a mix of male and female offspring. Higher temperatures tend to produce more males, while lower temperatures produce more females.

6. Hatching:

Bearded dragon eggs typically take 50-75 days to hatch, depending on incubation temperature and other factors. When the eggs start hatching, it’s essential to provide a suitable enclosure for the hatchlings, including appropriate heating and lighting.

7. Caring for Hatchlings:

Hatchlings are delicate and require specialized care. Offer small, appropriately sized insects and finely chopped vegetables as part of their diet. Keep them in a separate enclosure from adult bearded dragons to prevent aggression or cannibalism.

Challenges and Considerations When Breeding Bearded Dragons

Breeding bearded dragons can present challenges, and it’s essential to be aware of potential issues:

1. Egg-Bound Females:

Some females may have difficulty laying eggs, which can lead to complications. Signs of an egg-bound female include lethargy, loss of appetite, and straining to lay eggs. If you suspect a female is egg-bound, consult a reptile veterinarian immediately.

2. Cannibalism:

Adult bearded dragons, including the male, may exhibit cannibalistic behavior toward hatchlings. To prevent this, separate hatchlings from adults as soon as they hatch.

3. Genetic Health:

Bearded dragons can carry genetic health issues, such as metabolic bone disease (MBD) or color morph-specific ailments. Responsible breeding involves avoiding known health issues and promoting genetic diversity.

4. Overpopulation:

Breeding bearded dragons without a plan for housing and caring for the offspring can lead to overpopulation and inadequate care for the animals. Ensure that you have a plan for rehoming or caring for hatchlings before starting a breeding project.


Breeding bearded dragons is a complex and rewarding endeavor that requires careful planning, preparation, and commitment to responsible practices. If you’re considering breeding these captivating reptiles, ensure that you have the knowledge and resources to provide proper care for both the breeding pair and their offspring. Breeding should be undertaken with the goal of promoting the health and well-being of these beloved animals, rather than solely for profit or novelty. With the right approach, you can contribute to the conservation and enjoyment of these remarkable reptiles in captivity.