Friday, September 7, 2012

Bearded Dragon's Senses

A Bearded Dragon's Senses and Anatomy 

Vision Picture
© Clicksy at Flickr
Bearded Dragons rely largely on their eyes to sense what is around them.  They have good vision, with full color too. Since their eyes are on the sides of their heads, they have a larger field of vision than we do but their depth perception is downright bad.  This is why they often time their leaps wrong and bonk into things. 
Hearing Picture
© Jamie Duke
At first glance, someone unfamiliar with lizards may think that lizards are missing ears.  This is not true though, their ears are actually the holes on the side of their head.  They simply don't have lobes around them.  Their hearing is excellent.
Touch Picture
When pressed against the ground, a Bearded Dragon can sense vibrations. 
A Bearded Dragon's scales are rough and bumpy for a reason.  When it rains, the bumpy spots help collect water between them.  A Bearded Dragon will then bend downward, and all of the water will flow between the bumps to its mouth, where it can be licked up. 
When the Bearded Dragon becomes distressed or aggressive, their normally soft and rubbery spikes can abruptly become prickly.  They have a lot of control over their spikes, and they know to use it to hurt others who have senses of touch. 
They also have exceptional control over their limbs, they can lock them in place so that they can sleep standing up and other such feats. 

Taste and Smell Picture
© Jamie Duke
One sense they have developed quite  a bit more than humans is their sense of taste.  Their tongue in particular is unique.  The tip is adhesive, so that they can draw in their food easily with the stickiness of it.  They also actually taste their surroundings with their tongue to 'see' what is going on, in a watered down method of how snakes do the same thing.  What is actually going on is that they have a Jacobson Organ on the roof of their mouth that allow them to smell/taste really really well with it.  Many lizards are known for having a strong jaw and sharp teeth.  Bearded Dragons have unusual teeth.  Their front teeth fall out and grow back regularly.  These teeth are used, "for grasping and tearing live prey" (Grenard, Steve).  Their side teeth are permanent, and are fused to their jaws.  The side teeth are used for chewing vegetable matter.  They use their mouth, in addition to tasting, eating, and breathing, as a cooling device.  When they are hot, they open their mouth wide in what is known as 'gaping'.  This is just to cool themselves off, similar to how dogs pant and humans sweat. 

Picture© Jamie Duke  The Parietal/Third Eye
Another unique sense that they have has to do with the parietal/third eye.  I don't mean anything psychic here, of course.  The parietal eye is located at the top of their heads, and you can see this as an oddly colored scale in the center of the top of their heads.  What this does is sense heat and shadows, and possibly light.  In the wild, this serves as a warning if one of their main predators, birds, are swooping down at them.  It is also possible it helps them to bask.  


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This answered a lot of my questions about my bearedie! Thanks!