Can Leopard Geckos Live with Bearded Dragons? 9 Reasons Why Not

If you’re anything like me, then you know exactly how hard it can be to choose a pet between your favorite reptiles.  First, you might want a bearded dragon, then, change your mind and decide to go with a leopard gecko instead.  But before you know it, you’re repeating the cycle again.  So at that point, this question might cross your mind.

Can leopard geckos live with bearded dragons? No. Not only is this a huge safety risk for leopard geckos, but there are also various different requirements for each pet that makes housing them together pretty much infeasible.

Territorial Issues

Just like most animals, especially ones that are males, these two particular pets are very territorial.  When you have two animals that want to stand their ground, housing them together, because of this, would make things very difficult between not only them but for you as well.

If you don’t know exactly how aggressive territorial animals get then let me tell you, it’s not a pretty site to see.  There’s constant fighting, attacking, and most of the time, it never ends until things get really bad between the two aggressors.

There may be some who think that they can tame or train certain territorial animals into being more calm or nice, but it’s in their genetics to behave this way and is not something that can be done easily or at all, for that matter.  Cats, for example, like to attack pets much smaller than them, but because their brains operate differently than reptiles, they’re able to be trained over time not to.

No matter how much we don’t want to believe it, the fact of the matter is that some species of animals are simply more intelligent than others.  So, when you’re dealing with animals like bearded dragons and leopard geckos,” training ” them to use the restroom in a certain area might seem a little more possible, but if we’re talking about training them to go against instincts that they’ve had since the beginning of time, the likely hood of that happening is very slim.

There would be constant bad blood between the two animals and due to them both having very territorial behaviors, the non-stop fighting and bickering will likely end up in death or at the very least, serious injuries that may or may not be treatable depending on the seriousness of the injury.

In order for this to ever be possible, you would have to have an eye on them 24/7, but even then, that still wouldn’t guarantee their safety.

Leopard geckos and bearded dragons WILL go neck-to-neck and unfortunately, there’s not much any owner can do about that, no matter how good they think they may be at caring for them.

Size Differences

As both animals get bigger, they eventually start to require bigger equipment and larger tanks as well.  That’s fine and all, but the difference between a leopard gecko’s size in adulthood is way different than a bearded dragon’s size in adulthood.

At the very most, you can expect a leopard gecko to reach about 9 inches and in some cases a little bit longer, but a bearded dragon in adulthood can actually reach sizes up to 2 feet in length while they’re in adulthood.

And while leopard geckos at full growth require tanks at least 20 gallons, bearded dragons will need a tank that is anywhere between 75 to 120 gallons large.  They require much more space than leopard geckos, therefore, making it very difficult for the two of them to ever be able to live together.

At that point, the leopard gecko will be living with a giant and in no way would ever be able to defend itself if it needed to.  Yes, they are both aggressive animals when it comes to living with other reptiles, but with bearded dragons, they easily have the size to back up their aggression.

This can be very intimidating to leopard geckos and would likely have them in constant fear of even living in their own habitat.  Bearded dragons are awesome pets to have, but if they want their space, they’ll get it.

If you want to check out more information about leopard geckos in adulthood just to give you an idea of how small they are compared to bearded dragons, then I recommend taking a look at this article that I wrote here.

Maybe knowing their size from birth up until they’re fully grown will really help put things into perspective when it comes to comparing them to bearded dragons.  

Constant Harassment

Because of their territorial nature, it’s almost inevitable that there will be lots of harassment going on.  And when I say harassment I don’t necessarily mean fighting over territory, but just overall picking random fights with each other for no reason just to show dominance.

This means that there would likely never be times where one of the animals will let the other one relax without trying to constantly pick a fight.  For example, your leopard gecko might be sleeping or eating and then out of nowhere get attacked by your bearded dragon simply for being in the same tank as them.

That might sound silly, but that’s just how they are.  If leopard geckos were the larger animal and bearded dragons were the smaller, then it’d be the same situation but the other way around.  Basically, leopard geckos and bearded dragons are bullies who want to claim a certain spot or area just to gain respect and authority within there space. 

They want to be the top dog and will take any steps possible in order to take and secure that position.  It would be nice to think that someday all living organisms can live together in peace without fighting, but because of ego and natural instincts, we’re not at that point yet. 

Humans even have a long way to go when it comes to this, so you can imagine how long it will take bearded dragons and leopard geckos to get to that point.  

Potential Prey

Humans are at the top of the food chain not because of our size, but because of how intelligent we are.  But when it comes to leopard geckos and bearded dragons, bearded dragons are the ones at the top of the food chain because of their size.

Considering how large they get once they are fully grown, it’s safe to say that they could probably eat a leopard gecko with ease without anyone even noticing.  Unlike leopard geckos who have a strict diet that they have to stick to, bearded dragons will eat almost anything, including other bearded dragons.  And unfortunately, when it comes to prey, they don’t discriminate.  They will and can eat anything that’s smaller than them that they can get ahold of.

This may not be much of a problem when bearded dragons are small, but as they grow big, there’s pretty much no question that they will end up eating the leopard gecko or any other reptile that they are paired up with.  Unfortunately, there have already been cases where this has happened, so it’s best to keep them apart in order to prevent recreating this type of situation with your pets.

You could put a hatchling bearded dragon in with an adult leopard gecko and if the bearded dragon were able to hold it’s own until it got older, it would still eat the leopard gecko.  No matter how long you keep them together, they will never build enough respect between each other for the bearded dragon not to eventually want the leopard gecko as a meal.

Different Needs & Requirements

Just like how they require different tank sizes, they also require different other things as well.  To solve the tank issue, you can and will have to buy separate tanks for each, but keep in mind that when it comes to bearded dragons, these tanks can run a little on the higher side because of how large they are.  

As they get older, you will have to continuously up and up their tank size, therefore, causing you to spend more money in the long run, but if you get them a larger tank from the very beginning, then it’ll work great for as long as you have them no matter how large they get.  If that’s something you’d be interested in, then I recommend checking this bearded dragon tank here on Amazon.

As for the leopard gecko terrarium, they are much smaller in size, so they don’t require nearly as much room although their tanks are still fairly large.  For their tank, I always recommend my personal favorite and that’s this 20-gallon tank by Exo Terra on Amazon as well.

For baby geckos, a 20-gallon tank will do just fine up until they reach adulthood and beyond.  But with baby bearded dragons, a 120-gallon tank might be a little overwhelming, so it’s best to do what others have done and section off parts of the tank and then remove these sections as they get older.  That’s what I did with my bearded dragon and have never had any type of issues doing it this way.  If you look online, you can see that many others have done it as well.

The goal is never to buy the most expensive tank you can find but to make the smartest decision now in order to prevent you from losing money in the future by always having to upgrade tank sizes.

Aside from tanks, though, they also require different foods, lighting, temperatures, and equipment.  Balancing all of this can be a bit of a challenge with two different reptiles in one enclosure.  

Parasite Spreading

When it comes to parasites and diseases, each species of reptile will a lot of the times have ones that are unique to them and, therefore, be more harmful to other reptiles than it is for the one that’s carrying it.  For example, a bearded dragon may be carrying around a parasite that can be easily curable for them, but if the leopard gecko happens to catch it, then it can be very deadly.

So, just because one reptile has a specific disease or parasite that can’t kill them doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t be harmful to other reptiles that it is around or has come in contact with. 

This is very unfortunate because a perfectly healthy leopard gecko or bearded dragon might die while the other one lives simply because they can’t handle the disease or parasitical infection the same way the reptile that gave it to them can.

For that reason alone, it is never good to even attempt trying to pair them together.  Even if they are two babies.  Certain reptiles like leopard geckos are already extremely prone to certain diseases and infections such as crypto and metabolic bone disease just from being overly stressed along with a few other factors, so you can imagine how bad it would be to have them paired with another reptile that could potentially put them at an even higher risk of catching other diseases.

A lot of these diseases can be extremely difficult or impossible to treat, so having something like that happen can end one of their lives forever.

Food Stealing

Unlike leopard geckos, bearded dragons like to eat a lot.  This is why they will eat almost anything that they’re able to fit into their mouth.  They have a very high metabolism compared to leopard geckos and will, without a question, try to steal its food during feeding time.

Not only can this be very frustrating for the leopard gecko, but it can also cause health issues as well because obviously, they need to eat in order to survive.  This goes with any species of animals.  Without food, a leopard gecko will starve. And because their food is where they get their calcium from, they will eventually develop MBD as well. 

I’ve covered MBD a few times within various different articles, but if you want a more in-depth look at what exactly this disease is, then click here to go to another one of my pages for more information.  In a nutshell, though, it’s a very serious and deadly disease that causes a slow deterioration to your leopard geckos body because of a lack of calcium.

If your leopard gecko is unable to get the right amount of calcium because the bearded dragon is eating it all, then this will eventually cause very serious problems for your leopard gecko.  Calcium and D3 are very important supplements for both animals, but because bearded dragons are a little ( or a lot ) more aggressive than leopard geckos, then your leopard gecko will likely get the short end of the stick just simply because of the bearded dragon’s size and fierceness.

Conflicting Sleep Schedules

Everyone knows that besides food, sleeping is probably the second most important thing that all living creatures need in order to function properly.  Without it, it can cause a plethora of very uncomfortable symptoms which can range anywhere from a loss of focus to confusion and stress.  And not only for us humans, but for leopard geckos and bearded dragons as well.

But because both these animals have different sleep schedules, it can be hard for them to get their proper rest in due to the other animal being up and active while they are trying to sleep.  For example, if your bearded dragon is laying down for the night and trying to get some much-needed rest in order to fully replenish for the next day, your leopard gecko would just be getting up and moving around the tank while the bearded dragon is trying to sleep.  The same goes for the bearded dragon.

The reason for this is because leopard geckos sleep in the day time while bearded dragons sleep at night, so having something constantly moving around and messing with stuff in the tank as one of them is trying to sleep can make things a little problematic for both of them.

Extreme Stress

Both animals get stressed fairly easily over a lot of different things, so if they are housed together constantly, then you can only imagine how this would make them feel.  Stress plays a large role in a reptiles life and if you know anything about them, then you should know that keeping stress levels down at all times is an absolute must for their health and wellbeing.

And unless you want them to be in a constant state of worry and anxiousness due to having to always watch their back or worry about if they’ll get their food taken every time they eat, then that’s another huge reason to not ever consider a pair up like this.

Conclusion

It’s very unfortunate that we’re not able to house bearded dragons and leopard geckos together because both of them are great pets, but sadly, there are just too many issues that can happen if they are put together.

As stated above, you can have both of them at the same time, but in order for it to ever work out, they would have to be in two separate tanks.  Aside from issues with their size, there are also many other issues that make doing this impossible.

No matter if these issues are safety related, territorially related, or because they require different types of care, it’s not wise to ever try to keep them together.  There are nothing but cons when doing this and will almost certainly end in a very bad way.