Having a friend is always nice. Having somebody to talk to and bounce ideas off of is something that’s healthy and enjoyable in life. So, the logical thing to do is to get your dragon a friend, right? Can a bearded dragon live with a buddy?
Do bearded dragons like to be alone? Yes. Bearded dragons are solitary animals that go about their days all on their own. They do not want or need interaction with other dragons to feel happy. It is healthier for your dragon to have his own habitat, living alone. He won’t be lonely or lacking enrichment if you do not provide him with a buddy.
Now you know that bearded dragons are best when kept alone. Why do they live like this? What could happen if two beardies go in the same habitat? Read on to find out.
Bearded Dragons Are Territorial
Your beardie loves being around you. He is friendly, loves to see you, and is not afraid of your hand. It just makes sense to bring him a friend, right?
Not so. Dragons do not need a company. In fact, you will probably recognize a few of the behaviors we will talk about now. These behaviors happen when a dragon feels like his territory is being infringed upon.
Puffing the Beard
Bearded dragons will puff up their beard to make themselves look bigger next to a predator or perceived threat. When one dragon infringes on the others’ territory, the two may puff their beards in an attempt to scare one another.
Lying on One Another
In other animal families, like hamsters or guinea pigs, animals snuggling together is so cute. For beardies, it is different. Remember, your dragon needs a UVB light to feel healthy and good.
Blocking another beardie from getting that light is a symbol of dominance – do not confuse it with an adorable action!
Bobbing of The Head
When your dragon bobs his head, this is a signal that the dragon is acting territorial if you added another beardie to the habitat. It is a sign that the newcomer to the tank is not welcome.
Beardies may bob their heads at one another, one moving faster and the other one slower. It is yet another example of territorial behavior. The beardie moving faster is the dominant one, while the slower dragon is submitting to the dominant dragon.
Bearded dragons may hiss at one another as a means of appearing fierce and scary. They might even open their mouths up wide to appear scary.
Why Are Bearded Dragons Territorial?
You can thank Mother Nature for being the reason as to why bearded dragons are territorial. It is ingrained in their nature to be territorial. In doing this, dragons are able to establish their territory and procreate with female bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons do not live in groups when they are in their natural habitat. Adult males actually mark their territory using femoral pores. Territories are guarded with the utmost of care. Males are not welcome in that cordoned off the area.
If another male does enter, a fight will break out, and the stronger dragon will stay away while the weaker retreats.
If a female enters the territory, she will be seen as a potential mate and pursued as such. If mating does take place, eggs will be buried in that particular territory before she departs. If the female is not ready or does not care to mate, she can leave.
Even baby bearded dragons do not seek the care of a parent when they are first hatched. They rush along to go find some food, their first instinct after they are born is to run from other dragons and predators, finding a safe place to live.
What If Two Male Dragons Live Together?
Putting two male dragons in the same habitat is not a good idea. There will be a lot of aggression, and the dragons will fight with one another, attacking each other and sometimes fighting to the death.
In the wild, death may not happen because there is the option of running away. Even if the other one submits, this is not healthy.
The weaker bearded dragon that submits to the dominant one will become visibly stressed. It may fail to eat, stay in a corner by itself, hide, or turn their skin black, which means they are stressed out.
They are often weak, thin, and utterly sick looking.
Males have been known to suppress their gender also when they come across a male bearded dragon that is stronger and more dominant than them. It is very stressful for the dragon to do so.
Circumduction, or waving, is another indication of submission. The dragon will lift one of his front limbs and move it in a circle. Beardie owners often refer to it as waving.
An oppressed, submissive bearded dragon is prone to becoming weak and stressed out. It can easily become malnourished, which leads to death. Worse, they may be killed by the dominant male residing in the tank.
Our bottom line? Keep male dragons separated.
What About Female Bearded Dragons?
Keeping two female bearded dragons together is not a big deal- it certainly can work. You should still carefully monitor their behavior to make sure one is not stressed out when placed with the other.
Most of the time, female bearded dragons will not show territorial behavior, and this makes it more doable to keep them together in a group. At the same time, even female beardies can be aggressive to one another, so keeping a close watch on them is critical.
Does My Beardie Like Being Around Me?
You may wonder, if these reptiles love being alone so much, do they actually enjoy being around their owners?
The answer is probably yes. If in the wild, your dragon would not depend on you for necessary sustenance like crickets, veggies and fruits, water, and of course, a little fun every now and again.
Beardie owners all around the Internet talk about the bonds they have formed with their reptiles and how they enjoy snuggling with and holding their dragons while watching TV or surfing the Internet.
Some beardies will even come to the glass when their owner comes in the room, hoping their owner comes over with a tasty treat or some freshwater.
In sum, they enjoy being around YOU-but not so much other bearded dragons! Also, keep in mind that a bearded dragon liking its owner is completely different from a dog liking its owner, for example.
Don’t feel bad if your bearded dragon is all alone in his or her habitat. They actually like it better that way, and you, as the owner, are being responsible and kind by keeping the dragon by itself.
This way, the dragon has access to all food, water, and enrichment activities he wants, without having to live in fear of being dominated by another dragon.
Plus, the habitat stays cleaner and fresher this way, and the bearded dragon has much more room for basking, resting, eating, and playing.
While it may seem unfathomable for us humans to live without a friend, understand that bearded dragons don’t need the companionship of their same species to be happy and healthy.
So, enjoy your time with your beardie, and don’t worry about providing another scaly friend!