The bearded dragon's scientific name is Pogona Vitticepsand they are medium sized lizards which are generally 12-24 inches in length from their head to the tip of their tail. There are many different bearded dragon colorswhich sometimes can help tell you what environment they came from.
Heads- The bearded dragon's head is triangular shaped and contains rows of spikes that resemble thorns. Beneath their head, the bearded dragon will have rows of spiked scales which when puffed up resembles a beard. These scales can also change colors, turning darker, when breeding.
Body- The bearded dragon is supported by four stout legs and they have well-muscled flat bodies with a row of spikes that runs down each side of the abdomen. Their tail is generally half the length of their body, and unlike other lizards will not fall off and regenerate when threatened.
Bearded dragons are only naturally found in Australia's desert regions. Generally they are found in the southeastern Northern Territory and the eastern half of South Australia. Their habitats included woodlands, savannahs, and deserts. It is not uncommon to find them basking in branches, on stumps, or rocks during the morning there. Bearded dragons were not introduced to the United States until the 1990's. Since then they have dramatically increased in popularity and can be found in just about every major pet store.
Adult bearded dragons are very territorial. As they grow, they establish social hierarchies in which aggressive and appeasement displays form a normal part of their social interactions. The beard is used for both mating and aggression displays. Both sexes have a beard, but males display more frequently, especially in courtship rituals. Females will, however, display their beard as a sign of aggression also. The beard darkens, sometimes turning jet black and inflates during the display. The bearded dragon may also open its mouth and gape in addition to inflating its beard to appear more intimidating. Head bobbing is another behavior and it can be seen in both females and males; they quickly move their head up and down, often darkening and flaring their beard. They do this to show dominance over smaller males, weaker males, if a male wants to mate with a female or other animals they feel threatened by. Another behavior is arm waving, done by both males and females. Standing on 3 legs the bearded dragon would lift one of its front legs and move it in a circular motion. Arm waving functions as species recognition, and it is a sign of submission. Smaller males will often respond to larger males by arm waving. Females will also arm wave to avoid male aggression, often in response to a male's head bobbing.
Juvenile and baby bearded dragon diets consist mainly of insects. A juvenile bearded dragon eats insects three times a day on average. The amount of insects they eat depends on the dragon itself and how much it can eat. Crickets are the most popular insects fed to bearded dragons, but they can also be fed other insects such as black soldier fly larvae, locusts, superworms, waxworms, silkworms, butterworms, grasshoppers, hornworms, and even some varieties of roaches, such as Dubia roaches. Bearded dragons also eat increasing amounts of plant based food as they grow; adults should have a diet consisting of more than 60% plant matter. The most important of this plant matter being leafy greens.
Examples of suitable plants:
- Some vegetables, such as carrots and courgettes (which are useful for providing water to bearded dragons)
- Some fruit, such as pears and apples, in small quantities
- Leaves, such as turnip greens, bok choy and collard greens are suitable on occasion while dandelions and endiveare suitable as staples.
- Most squash can be fed often, such as butternut squash and acorn squash