Saturday, August 11, 2012

About the Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons originate in Australia. The most common species in the pet industry is the Inland Bearded Dragon, Pogona vitticeps, which was formerly called Amphibolurus vitticeps. The Inland Bearded Dragon is sometimes referred to as the Central, or Yellow-headed Bearded Dragon. Other members of the Pogona genus include:
    bearded dragon
  • Pogona barbata — Common Bearded
  • P. henrylawsoni — Rankin's
  • P. minima — Western
  • P. minor — Dwarf
  • P. mitchelli — Northwest Bearded
  • P. nullarbor — Nullarbor
  • P. microlepitoda
Natural Environment
The Inland Bearded Dragon lives in the arid woodlands and deserts of central Australia. It spends much of its waking hours in bushes and trees, and is also found basking on rocks. When it is extremely hot, the bearded dragon will burrow underground. The bearded dragon is diurnal and an omnivore. It forages for food such as insects, small lizards and mammals, fruit, flowers, and other plant material during the day time.

Physical Characteristics
The Bearded Dragon is tan to yellow in color. It is called "bearded" because of the dragon's ability to flare out the skin in the throat region when it is threatened or territorial. Its body has a flattened appearance, which becomes even more pronounced if the dragon is alarmed. There are spines on the throat, sides of the head, and sides of the body. The head is wedge-shaped, and the Bearded Dragon has a tail that is almost as long as the body.
It is difficult to distinguish males from females among hatchlings and juveniles. When they become adults, sexual differences become more apparent. The males generally have larger heads and larger, darker beards. The femoral pores of males also help to distinguish them from females.

Body Language:  Beard Inflation, Head Bobbing, Arm Waving, Color Changing
Adult bearded dragons are 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 turns dark to 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 when the male quickly bobs its head up and down, often with a darkened beard. The male head bobs to show dominance to both smaller insubordinate males and females that he would like to mate with.
 Another interesting behavior is arm waving. The bearded dragon stands on three legs and waves one of its forelimbs in a slow circular pattern. One function of arm waving seems to be species recognition. Arm waving is also used to show submission. A small bearded dragon responds with arm waving when confronted with a larger, more dominant bearded dragon. Females also arm wave to avoid aggression from males, especially if the male is head bobbing.
 When feeling defensive or aggressive, they will flatten their bodies, gape their mouths, hiss, and sometimes inflate their beards as well. They can change their entire body coloring to be lighter or darker in accordance to mood and temperature, but the color changes are not anywhere in the realm of what a Chameleon can do.

Source of Information:Pictures: Joe McDonald/Corbis Images |
Contributors: Information provided courtesy of
All or part of this information was provided by the link toAnimal Diversity Web and Museum of Zoology of the University of Michigan.

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