If you’re trying to decide between getting a bearded dragon or a leopard gecko — or if you want to add a new reptile to your existing family — you might be wondering if you can keep these two species together.
Bearded dragons and leopard geckos cannot live together since they are both territorial and will fight and kill intruders. Further, they have different enclosure, humidity, temperature, and feeding requirements and could infect each other with deadly parasites and bacteria.
This article explores exactly why these popular pets make terrible tank-mates, what deadly parasites they could infect each other with, and if it is okay to keep baby bearded dragons or dwarf bearded dragons with leos.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Can Bearded Dragons Live With Leopard Geckos?
Bearded dragons can’t live with leopard geckos and they should never be kept in the same enclosure.
Putting these two species in the same tank creates a serious risk for them both and is guaranteed to end badly. At best, you’ll have two stressed lizards; at worst, you’ll be left with only one surviving lizard.
Why Do People Think Bearded Dragons Can Live With Leopard Geckos?
It’s easy to think that bearded dragons and leopard geckos can coexist because they do have a few things in common. There are overlaps between each species’ ideal temperatures, humidity and lighting needs.
They’re both also easily handlable, friendly reptiles — this is partly why they have become such popular first-time reptile pets.
However, this is where the similarities end and the many differences that make these species dangerously incompatible begins.
Tip: Wanna know which reptile is the better pet? Read our article on bearded dragons vs leopard geckos here!
Why Bearded Dragons Can’t Live With Leopard Geckos
There are numerous reasons why you shouldn’t keep a bearded dragon and leopard gecko together. Here’s a breakdown of the main reasons why:
1. They Need Different Habitats
Despite having similar environmental requirements, bearded dragons and leopard geckos are distinct species that come from different parts of the world.
Mimicking conditions that will allow both species to thrive can be difficult to achieve in one tank.
Coming from the Australian outback, bearded dragons need a lot of exposure to UVB lighting, whereas UVB isn’t essential for leopard geckos (although it can be beneficial).
Bearded dragons need a larger tank (about 75-120 gallons) that includes verticle climbing areas. Leopard geckos are happy in a 20-gallon tank with lots of hiding places and crevices.
If put in too large an enclosure, especially one with a giant beardie in it, a leopard gecko might be too nervous to come out of its hiding spot.
2. Bearded Dragons and Leopard Geckos Could Fight Until Death
Beardies and leopard geckos are both territorial in nature, especially males. So even if you could make a habitat that suits them both, making them share a tank is almost asking them to fight.
Although the leopard gecko would put up a courageous fight, the bearded dragon has the obvious size advantage.
To put this in perspective from the leopard gecko’s point of view, it would be a bit like arriving at college and discovering that your roommate is a silverback gorilla who thinks that the room is his!
To make matters even worse, wild bearded dragons occasionally eat smaller lizards. So, a battle for dominance in a contained environment could have a nightmarish end.
A fight between these usually gentle animals could easily end with the bearded dragon eating the leopard gecko!
Can you keep baby bearded dragons or dwarf bearded dragons with leopard geckos?
Baby bearded dragons and dwarf beardies (Pogona Henrylawsoni) are closer in size to an adult leopard gecko, but the same rules still apply — don’t keep them together!
They’ll still fight and smaller beardies (baby or dwarf) would still try to eat a leopard gecko. This could cause great distress to both reptiles.
Unlike a dog, which may develop a bond with a much smaller animal and not pose a threat, a baby bearded dragon will soon grow up to view the gecko as lunch.
Can you keep female bearded dragons with female leopard geckos?
Although female bearded dragons and female leopard geckos aren’t usually as aggressive as males, keeping them together could still lead to a deadly situation.
Females belonging to both species can still be very territorial and will fight any intruders.
While female beardies do tend to be smaller than their male counterparts, they’re still giants compared to a leopard gecko. In a fight, the beardie would easily dominate a leopard gecko, and it would likely end in tragedy.
3. Both Reptiles Would Feel Stressed
No immediate fighting doesn’t mean that two reptiles can comfortably coexist. So, even if a beardie and leo seemed to tolerate each other, there’s a high chance that both reptiles would feel stressed by the presence of the other.
Experts advise that leopard geckos should be kept alone as even interaction between conspecifics (members of the same species) can be quite stressful.
With this in mind, imagine the stress a leopard gecko would feel in the presence of a much larger bearded dragon.
4. Bearded Dragons and Leopard Geckos Have Different Sleeping Patterns
Bearded dragons are diurnal, meaning they’re active during the day, and leopard geckos are crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn).
While you might think that this would be good for avoiding conflict, there’s more chance of it causing even more problems.
The conflicting sleeping patterns would mean that neither of them is ever able to relax enough to get a good night’s sleep.
Imagine trying to sleep while your college roommate gorilla is up and about. You’d quickly end up tired and stressed, just like these reptiles.
5. One Might Eat the Other’s Food
Feeding times would pose another problem. Bearded dragons are omnivores, so they need a mix of insects and plants in their diet. Leopard geckos are insectivores, so they mainly eat crickets or mealworms.
If you have a beardie and a gecko in the same tank, one of them is almost certainly going to eat the other’s food.
As leopard geckos like to hide and may be intimidated by sharing a space with a beardie, the bearded dragon could eat all the insects.
This would leave the gecko with nothing to eat which could have fatal consequences. If the beardie fills up on invertebrates, it could get a nutrition deficiency from not consuming enough plants.
6. Bearded Dragons and Leopard Geckos Could Introduce Illnesses to Each Other
If you created the perfect vivarium and found a bearded dragon and a leopard gecko that weirdly don’t fight but do respect each other’s sleep and food, they could still end up killing each other!
Reptiles are susceptible to a range of diseases and parasites, many of which can be passed from one reptile to another.
For example, the intestinal parasite cryptosporidiosis, which is often asymptomatic in bearded dragons, can cause stick tail in leopard geckos and be lethal.
Tip: Wanna know if bearded dragons can live with Uromastyx? Read this article!
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