What Is Bearded Dragon –– Description, Origin, and Characteristics

Have you been asking questions about a bearded dragon? Or Do you want to own a bearded dragon but need to know more than just what you have already heard? Then this page is all about the description of bearded dragon, where it came from, and the things you should expect when you own one. 

The bearded dragon has become a lot more popular over the years. It was introduced in the United States first around the 1990s. And, a lot of people uses them as pets. As a result, you are likely to find a bearded dragon in most pet shops in the case you want to own one. Let us now answer the question “what is a bearded dragon?”  

Bearded Dragon Description  

A bearded dragon is an animal from the lizard family. It is commonly between 12 inches to 24 inches long from the head to the tail. That is to say, it falls into the class of middle-sized lizards. Moreover, there are various species of bearded dragons. But, we are going to focus more on the inland bearded dragon, the “Pogona Vitticeps”. Chances are if you own a bearded dragon, it would be the Pogona Vitticeps. On the other hand, the bearded dragon appears in various colors which helps you to figure out the environment it is from.  

The Origin Of The Bearded Dragon  

The bearded dragons are naturally found in the desert regions of Australia. The natural habitats of these lizards include the desert, savannah, and woodland. And, these habitats are typical of the southeast part of northern Australia and the east half of southern Australia. They are found mostly in bushes and on trees. Moreover, when it warm the bearded dragons are commonly seen basking on rocks. But, during extremely hot conditions they burrow into the soil. 

The Various Species Of The Bearded Dragon  

Here are the various Pogona species that exists. These different species vary in size and environment they are found. They include: 

    • P. Vitticeps  
    • P. Barbata  
    • P. Minor Mitchelli  
      • P. Minor Minor 
    • P. Nullabor  
    • P. Henrylawsoni  
      • P. Minor Minima 
    • P. Microlepidota 

The Physical Appearance Of The Bearded Dragon

  

The bearded dragons are generally of a yellowish-brown color. They appear in different shades of this color. The head of the bearded dragon is triangular in shape. In addition, it has lines of spikes that look like thorns. Moreover, around the throat region, there are lines of spiky scales that tend to flare up especially when the animal feels threatened. These spiky scales looks like beards when they flare up, hence the name bearded dragon. Further, these scales can change colors, it can become darker especially when breeding. 

With its four thickset legs, the bearded dragon supports its flat body. The body has enough muscles with lines of spikes running down the sides of the abdomen. Moreover, just like other lizards, the bearded dragon has a tail that constitutes half of the total length of the animal. However, unlike other lizards, the tail of a bearded dragon cannot grow back when it cuts. 

The Sizes Of A Bearded Dragon  

Apart from the Pogona Microlepidspecie which about 4 to 6 inches in length, other species will typically range between 12 to 24 inches in length. As a result, the Pogona Vitticeps which is the most common species has a maximum size of 24 inches. However, most times the bearded dragons do not grow up to their maximum sizes. That is to say, the size of your bearded dragon is affected by some factors which include environment, health and nutrition, and sex.   

  • How Environmental Factors Affect The Size of Your Bearded Dragon  

The place of growth of a bearded dragon will affect the maximum size it can grow. For instance, if you place a young bearded dragon in tight space it will not grow to the maximum size. On the other hand, when it grows freely in an open space, it is more likely to attain the maximum size.  

  • How The Health And Nutrition Of Your Bearded Dragon Affects The Size 

It is natural that a well-fed and healthy bearded dragon will grow rapidly and to the maximum size when compared to an underfed and unhealthy one. Therefore, if you want your bearded dragon pet to grow to the full size, make sure it is healthy and feed it properly.  

  • How Sex Affects The Size Of Your Bearded Dragon  (Female Bearded Dragon)

This is naturally evident in most animals that the male grows bigger than the female counterparts. As a result, if you own a male bearded dragon, then it is more likely to grow big up to the maximum size. 

Determining The Sex Of Your Bearded Dragon  

At a tender age, it is quite difficult to tell whether your bearded dragon is a male or female. That is to say, they appear to be all female when they are young. Therefore, you have to wait till their maturity to determine accurately the sex of your bearded dragon. Note also that most bearded dragons attain sexual maturity between 8 to 12 months of age. 

When this animal gets to maturity, follow these steps to determine the accurate sex of your pet.  

  • Step 1: Get your bearded and gently lift the tail part making sure you do not lift it beyond 90 degrees.  
  • Step 2: Take a close look at the underside of the tail, just slightly above the slit.  
  • Step 3: If your bearded dragon is a male, you will see two bumps beside each other just above the slit. Moreover, these bumps will become more pronounced as the bearded dragon gets older. On the other hand, a female bearded dragon will just have a single bump at the center of the tail right above the slit.  

Note: If you are not sure about the sex for any reason, it is best to visit the vet to help you with the process.  

The Temperature Needs Of A Bearded Dragon  

The temperature that is optimal for a bearded dragon is around 78 to 88°F during the day and between 70 to 79°F during the night. Certainly, the bearded dragon is a cold-blooded animal. Consequently, it requires extra heat to aid digestion. That is to say, if the bearded dragon gets cold, it finds it difficult to digest foods and as a result can fall sick.  

It is advisable that if you own a bearded dragon, there is a need to constantly check the temperature of its cage. Therefore, get a good thermometer and always take a reading of the place where your pet spends most of its time. By so doing, you will find out the temperature it enjoys more.  

The Temperament Of The Bearded As A Pet  

The bearded dragon is naturally tender and docile even in their wild habitat. As a result, it is almost impossible to hear that a bearded dragon is aggressive. They will simply freeze, flare up their thorny scales, or change color when they feel threatened. Therefore, it is less a wonder why they are adopted and loved as pets.  

At first, they may appear skittish especially when they are still young. However, with time they will get used to the owner and start enjoying the company. Above all, they love being held by humans and stroked. 

The maintenance of a bearded dragon as a pet is inexpensive and less burdensome. Just a basic daily care routine is enough to keep your pet healthy and active. On the other hand, taking the pet for outside activities can be an added bonus.  

Bearded Dragons Are Actually Venomous  

The researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia found out in 2005 that bearded dragons produce mild venom. However, the venom is not poisonous to human beings and most other animals. As a result, most researchers see it as a trait they inherited from their ancestors which they used for hunting. But, the use of the venom now is yet to be ascertained.  

How Bearded Dragons Communicate 

Bearded dragons are not vocal. Therefore, do not expect to hear sounds even when things go wrong. However, they can only produce a low hiss when threatened.  

Most of the communication processes of the bearded dragons lie in their ability to change color, head bobbing, wave arms, and assume postures. You are more likely to see these activities when there are many bearded dragons in one place. It could be a basking site or area of abundant food. For example, head bobbing and flaring of beards are usually signs of dominance. It is used by the dominant ones to protect their territory when challenged. On the other hand, waving of the forearm signals submission. 

When there is a confrontation and no submission, the animals will respond by circling themselves which will lead to a standoff or a fight. When a female bearded dragon bows her head in a rather slow manner, it usually signifies submission to a male counterpart. Similarly, before mating the male will be seen in an intense bobbing of the whole body.  

The Scientific Classification Of The Inland Bearded Dragon  

Kingdom – Animalia 

Phylum – Chordata 

Subphylum – Vertebrata 

Class – Reptilia 

Subclass – Lepidosauria 

Order – Squamata 

Suborder – Lacertilia 

Family – Agamidae 

Genus – Pogona 

Specie – Vitticeps 

Last Thoughts  

If you intend owning a bearded dragon as a pet, we believe you are now aware of what bearded dragon is all about. On the other hand, most pet shops can only offer an inland bearded dragon that is the Pogona Vitticeps. As a result, we focused more on this species.