Bearded Dragons come from Australia. So, the most common species in the pet industry is the Inland Bearded Dragon, which was formerly called Amphibolurus vitticeps. Also, the Inland Bearded Dragon is sometimes referred to as the Central, or Yellow-headed Bearded Dragon.
So, the Inland Bearded Dragon lives in the arid woodlands and deserts of central Australia. Also, it spends much of its waking hours in bushes and trees. Generally, when it is extremely hot, the bearded dragon will burrow underground. Also, the bearded dragon is diurnal and an omnivore. Additionally, it forages for food such as
- small lizards and mammals,
- flowers, and
- other plants.
Table of Contents
- species of bearded dragon
- creation of more variety by breeders
- importation is not allowed
- they are not legal in Hawaii
- they enjoy climbing trees
- change of sex
- they don’t really have a “season”
- bobbing of their heads to communicate
- they lay eggs
- ability to wave
- they live by themselves
- they are new to the united states
- they are very popular pets
- walking them
- they produce venom
- some things are very poisonous to them
- they can run on 2 legs
- they usually thermo-regulate through their mouths
- Ability to smell through their mouth
- they see in color their tale is half their length
- Inability of tails to regrow
- their teeth fall out and grow back
- they can swim
- their heads funnel water to their mouths
- they don’t urinate liquid
- Ability to sleep standing up
- they hibernate
There are Nine Existing Species of Bearded Dragons
That’s correct, nine! The most popular in captivity is the Pogona Vitticeps. Typically, it’s more than likely that this is the species of bearded dragon that you own.
Therefore, Pogona is the genus that indicates an animal is a bearded dragon. Then, the word that comes after is the species. Meanwhile, all are native to different parts of Australia and they are Pogona:
- Minor Minor
- Minor Mitchelli
- Minor Minima
Creation of More Variety by Breeders
Much like dogs, you can breed specific traits within a bearded dragon species. Also, in the breeding community these bred-for variants are called morphs. So, each morph has its own unique characteristics.
There are various commonly accepted morphs, each with their own identifying traits. Thus, If you ever go to a larger reptile show, you’ll see at least a few of these morphs on display and for sale.
So, here’s a quick rundown:
Classic or standard is the variety that is the closest to the bearded dragons you’ll find in the wild in Australia. Also, this is the most common type of bearded dragon.
Leatherbacks are a common morph. Generally, they have a smooth back and only have spikes on their sides and heads. Likewise, they tend to be more colorful.
Translucent or “trans” has a translucent skin and spikes. Also, they usually have solid black or dark brown eyes.
Hypomelanistic or “hypo” morphs cannot produce darker or even richer colors in their scales and spikes. However, they tend to be more pastel in their appearance. Particularly, purists will insist that a true hypo has completely clear nails as well.
Dunner is a morph named after the breeder behind their creation, Kevin Dunn. Likewise, the dunner lacks pattern in their coloring.
Silkbacks or “silkies” have no scales and are completely smooth. Generally, silkies tend to be the most colorful of all the bearded dragons morphs.
Restriction on their Importation
With as much talk above of the Pogona Vitticeps being native to Australia. In fact, almost no bearded dragons in captivity anywhere in the world are actually from Australia. Particularly, Australia has some of the strictest animal export laws in the world.
Likewise, in the 1960s Australia outlawed the export of bearded dragons. Hence, this is a big reason you see so many morphs. In fact, virtually all the bearded dragons in captivity in the US and Europe were bred to be pets.
Likewise, this is why they make such good pets. Generally, a wild bearded dragon would be very hard to care for and would likely not be docile at all.
They are not Legal in Hawaii
Bearded dragon breeders are in almost every state in the US.
Particularly, every state but Hawaii, that is. Typically, as a US citizen, you can have a bearded dragon for a pet in 49 of the 50 states. Though, if you live in the aloha state, you cannot have it.
They Enjoy Climbing Trees
Bearded dragons are actually semi arboreal. That is, they like to spend a good deal of time up in trees and bushes.
Of course, you already know this if you are a bearded dragon owner. Just give them something to climb in their vivarium and up they go! In fact, they are apt to spend majority of their time hanging out up high in their enclosure.
Likewise, this lends to their ability to hang out on your shoulder. Take them out, just place them on the front of your shoulder. However, the only problem you may have is that they try to crawl to the top of your head or down your back!
Also, one more interesting part of their penchant for climbing is that they often sleep up high in the trees, lodged or clinging to something while they sleep soundly!
They Typically Can Change Sex
They can actually change their sex. Now, this isn’t on command and it’s not something that your bearded dragon will ever do, but it does happen.
In fact, a study found that bearded dragon eggs incubated above 90* F/32* C changed from males to females prior to hatching.
They Have no “Season”
Speaking of eggs, morphs, and breeders, bearded dragons don’t really have a mating season, at least not in captivity. Also, breeders can breed them all year long. Likewise, as long as they are not in brumation they will actively breed.
However, this is not the case in the wild. That is, in the wild, they do have a mating season that the changing weather of the natural seasons determines.
They Often Bob Their Heads To Communicate
If you place a male dragon in an enclosure with several females, you are in for a bit of a show. That is, the male will start to quickly bob his head up and down. Meanwhile, this signals to the females that he wants to mate.
Thus, if the females approve, they will bob their heads back. Typically, the females do this at a slower rate. Generally, this slower head bob indicates it’s time for a little bit of beardie love!
Occasionally, your bearded dragon may bob its head for other reasons. It may just be a little too excited or is trying to say hi! Don’t worry! your bearded dragon is probably not coming on to you!
They Lay Eggs
Beardies can lay up to 20-25 eggs in a clutch. Therefore, of those, an average of 15-18 hatchlings can hatch per litter.
Basically, when all the head bobbing and mating rituals pay off, this is the result. Thus, a pregnant bearded dragon will find a spot, dig a hole, and deposit her eggs. Then, she’ll tend the eggs until they hatch.
This is one of many people’s favorite things to see them do. Typically, they’ll just be standing there and all of a sudden up goes an arm and they start waving!
However, this won’t happen often for bearded dragons that are alone, but happens when they are with other dragons.
Basically, researchers think this waving serves two purposes. One is to greet other bearded dragons and show that they are of the same species. Generally, it helps other bearded dragons know they are not predators or prey. However, the other is to show submission.
Also, when you keep them together, bearded dragons will almost immediately try to establish a social order. Basically, there will be a dominant beardie who asserts themselves over the others. Therefore, waving is a way to show submission without the need for violence or aggression.
Likewise, if you go to a show, a breeder, or a pet store where they keep multiple bearded dragons together in one enclosure, you’ll often see them sitting on top of each other.
This is just another show of dominance. Typically, it’s the bearded dragons on the bottom that did the waving.
However, it’s important not to keep your bearded dragon with another. This dominance play can be very stressful for your bearded dragon!
They Prefer to Live by Themselves
While this might really not be a new or strange fact for you, it’s important to understand none the less. Basically, bearded dragons should live alone.
Even though some of the behaviors listed above are social ones, still, your bearded dragon should have their own enclosure.
Many times, you’ll see images of multiple bearded dragons all living together. Usually, they are all piled on top of each other. That is, to humans it looks like they love each other and really like hanging out together. This is not true.
Likewise, the bearded dragon on the bottom is not having a good time. Instead, it’s a subject to superior dominance. Generally, this is stressful for any bearded dragon. Therefore, they would much rather be by themselves than to always have another beardie picking on it.
They Are Preys
While they are predators to crickets and dubia roaches, dragons are prey animals.
So, in their natural habitat of Australia, they always have to be on the lookout. Therefore, you’ll see them do this regularly. That is, they find high ground, burrow, or hide.
Meanwhile, in Australia, their most common predators are other lizards, birds of prey, and dingos.
Likewise, this is why their eyes are where they are. Interestingly, prey animals (think deer, for example) have their eyes on the side of their heads so they have a very wide field of view. Whereas, predators’ eyes (think lions or people) both face forward to facilitate hunting.
The location of their eyes is one of my favorite odd bearded dragon behaviors as they tend to tilt their head to the side to look at something. Thus, when your bearded dragon sees something she wants to eat, she hones in on it with one eye, head tilted to the side.
They are very Popular Pets
Bearded dragons have become a popular reptile to keep as a pet. In fact, worldwide they are the most common reptiles in homes. This is probably because of their low maintenance and docile nature.
Also, bearded dragons are very popular as pets that they are the third most common household pet after dogs and cats in several European countries.
You Can Walk Them Anywhere
With the purchase of a harness and a leash, it’s relatively easy to take your bearded dragon outside for a walk. Basically, there is a nice selection of harnesses that are on Etsy. However, they are also available from your local reptile store.
In fact, your bearded dragon will love time out in the sun.
They Produce Venom
While out on a walk, your bearded dragon is certain to attract attention. Usually, they are very good around people and you shouldn’t need to worry about them biting anyone. However, you will get asked about it.
Basically, it’s a common first question for someone to ask. That is, a follow up to that question is “are they poisonous?” Really, you might be surprised to find out that the answer, technically, is yes!
Further, bearded dragons sometimes excrete very mild venom. Although, while it’s harmless to people, it’s not to their prey, which are typically insects.
Therefore, if you want to have some real fun with people, tell them the truth. Yes, my bearded dragon is venomous!
Some Things are Really Poisonous to Them Specifically,
- fireflies and
Although, not that you were thinking of making your beardie a firefly and avocado sushi roll for lunch today, but just in case, make sure to avoid these two things. Generally, both are highly toxic to bearded dragons!
They Can Actually Run on Two Legs
Even though our scaly little friends normally scoot around on all four legs, they can run–and run well–on just their hind legs!
Meanwhile, in the wild, this is usually how they run from predators. On all fours, they can actually run up to about 9 mph (14.4 kph). However, they run slower than this on their hind legs, but speed isn’t their goal.
Particularly, because they cannot regulate their own body temperatures, they rely on the environment to do so. Thus, standing up and running on two legs exposes more of their body to the air as they run.
This in turn actually keeps them cooler thus enabling them to run for longer distances. Basically, this helps when avoiding predators!
They Often Thermoregulate Through Their Mouths
While running upright is a way to keep cool while running from a predator. However, bearded dragons have other tricks up their proverbial sleeves when it comes to keeping cool.
Literarily, you may have noticed your bearded dragon sitting in their basking spot with their mouth gaping open. This isn’t a case of bad manners at all. Instead, it’s a way for your bearded dragon to let some of the heat out of its body.
Meanwhile, bearded dragons are exothermic. That is, they regulate their temperatures using factors outside their bodies. Therefore, one of the funniest looking and strange techniques they use is this mouth gaping.
They Can Perceive Smell through their Mouth
Ever notice how dragons tend to test everything with their tongues? Certainly, that’s because their mouth houses their sense of taste and their sense of smell.
Likewise, they do smell through their nostrils too, but in their mouth is something called a Jacobson’s, or vomeronasal organ. Particularly, this is a duct that connects directly to the nasal cavity.
Thus, for your bearded dragon, this is a big part of the way they experience the world around them.
Their Tales Cannot Regrow
One of the craziest things about some bearded dragons is that they can intentionally drop their tale to get away from predators.
For example, a gecko would hit the ground and start wiggling around on its own while it continues to run. Really, they do this to distract a predator so the gecko can get away.
Over time, the gecko’s tail will certainly grow back. However, your bearded dragon does not possess this ability.
First, your bearded dragon can’t simply detach its tail to get away. Second, if they lose part or all of their tail, it will never grow back. Therefore, bearded dragons are incapable of this common trait among other lizards.
For bearded dragons it is brumation, but it’s a very similar thing. Also, bearded dragons in the wild do this seasonally. Basically, it’s a natural instinct that can last for weeks or even months!
Typically, in captivity, brumation seems hit or miss. While some bearded dragons do it, others do not. Therefore, if a bearded dragon owner is not expecting this, it can be alarming at first.
Particularly, the bearded dragon will find a safe place to sleep and it will curl up and not come out for quite some time. Occasionally, it may emerge to eat small food or possibly take a small drink, but for the most part, it will be sedentary.