Bearded dragons are cute creatures with elaborate body designs. They have
Are Bearded Dragons Amphibians?
No, Bearded Dragons could resemble some amphibians. Especially those more stationed to the water. Bearded dragons live predominantly inland. Amphibians shuttle between land and water. Bearded dragons do have several similarities with amphibians. But there are still many differences between the vertebrates. These differences prove that the dragon is not an amphibian.
Then, What About Amphibians?
The word ‘amphibian’ is a combination of the Greek prefix ‘amphi’ and ‘bio’. ‘Amphi means ‘both‘ and ‘bio’ means ‘life’ The combined form is ‘amphibious’ and it translates to ‘both kinds of life‘. An amphibian is a creature with ‘both lives’. The term is adapted to mean organisms who can live on both land and water effectively. They use their skins as secondary respiratory systems to achieve this. Some of these animals lack lungs completely. They completely rely on their skin for breathing. Examples of amphibians include the Toads and frogs. salamanders and newts and caecilians are also in the class. Frogs dominate the amphibian world almost up to ninety percent.
How Are We Sure that the Bearded Dragon is not an Amphibian?
There are many facts that prove that bearded dragons differ from amphibians. From their movement to their diet and all the way to their reproduction. These differences extend to habitat and even respiration. Bearded dragons stand apart as reptiles. Amphibians are a class on their own. Here is each factor that sets them apart.
Amphibians are similar to the bearded dragon and other lizards. But lizards are reptiles and reptiles don’t require water to breed. The bearded dragon especially will not be found on the direct surface or side of a water body. Amphibians require water bodies for reproduction. The bearded dragon however does not. The skin of an amphibian is permeable to water through pores that make dermatological respiration possible. On the other hand, the skin of the bearded dragon is rough and sealed. It is suitable for sunlight absorption. Bearded dragons need to incubate their eggs. Amphibians often lay their eggs in water. This means that bearded dragons need heat to hatch young ones. But amphibians require water and coolness for their own young to be born.
Amphibians are restricted to moist areas to keep their skin damp though they hope well on land too. They use their skin for breathing and thus need to yo keep it damp all the time. The bearded dragon is not a ‘tenant’ on land whose boundaries are marked; it can dwell on trees and rocks. It can thrive in cages in zoos and on cemented floors in houses when they are kept as pet. The bearded dragon enjoys hot and cool places. But it cannot survive in damp places for long. It needs to stay hydrated. But it requires is light and heat just as badly. Lights are important to it. Especially the ultraviolet. It helps it to keep its skeletal structure strong and to enhance overall health.
UV radiation destroys the skin and even eggs of amphibians. Sometimes it could also affect their eyes. That is why the destruction of the ozone layer gradually poses threats to the continued existence of these creatures. They are more active at night. The bearded dragon on the other hand requires ultraviolet radiation for enhanced health. The light helps it in calcium absorption. The bearded dragon enjoys the heat and light of the sun for extended periods of time. Amphibians cannot survive too long in the hot sun.
Amphibians like the frogs cohabit. They make advertisement calls to attract the opposite sexes and also warn males to steer clear of their immediate territories. They make these calls in groups. Amphibians are generally social among themselves. The bearded dragon is a solitary animal. You find it curled up in a dark corner sleeping soundly or gazing. Two or more amphibians might stay together in peace and mind their businesses. Two or more bearded dragons in close quarters can end disastrously. This is especially so if they are both males! Bearded dragons will literally fight to the death if they are enclosed together. They compete for everything.
Bearded Dragons can change colour. They do this to show specific emotions. It is never for the purpose of camouflage. But most amphibians change colours for camouflage. It helps them stay out of the reach of diurnal predators. The bearded dragon’s color changing is limited only to some specific hues. However, the typical amphibian can be any colour it wants.
Nocturnal Versus Diurnal
It is an established fact that the bearded dragon is an animal that dwells in the day. It enjoys the sun and the cool too. We can’t say the same for most amphibians. That’s because they are nocturnal. Amphibians cannot make good pets because they are most active during the night and sleep through the day when humans are awake. But bearded dragons are perfect diurnal animals.
Meal is a potpourri of things for the captive bearded dragon. They eat insects, worms, fruits, etc. It is slightly different for amphibians. Their main focus is on slow-moving prey. The earthworms and spiders are just two out of a number of prey the regular amphibian fancies. But there’s an exception: the Brazilian tree frog includes a considerate amount of fruits in its diet. This doesn’t change the fact that the bearded dragon is more diverse when it boils down to feeding though.
Amphibians have feet that adapt to their multiple ways of life because of their dual habitats. Their toes are primarily webbed to aid navigation in water bodies. These feet also possess adhesive toe pads that help them in climbing. It also helps them establish friction on surfaces other than water. Other forms of designs to support their lifestyles include their forefeet which consist of four fingers and their hind feet which comprises five fingers. Some amphibians like the caecilian are totally without limbs. They move by burrowing like earthworms. Amphibians have no claws. The bearded dragon’s feet design is differently because of its permanent adaptation to land. These feet consist of five toes and pads for climbing to bask at heights. They lack webs between the toes because they are not designed to stay in the water.
Amphibians make a variety of sounds for a variety of occasions. These sounds range from squeaking to grunting to hissing to croaking to rattling and even barking. These sounds are used to send out mating calls or ward off rival males and potential predators. They also use it to make a social connection. Only the salamanders are silent amphibians. Although the California giant salamander reportedly makes sounds which resemble rattles on some occasions. No one would have been able to keep the bearded dragon as a pet if it were this noisy! The bearded dragon is like the typical salamander in the sense that it almost never makes a noise. This is one major reason why it is favoured over animals of its kind.
Defense Mechanism and Toxicity
Many amphibians produce different defense mechanisms to keep them alive. These help them meander out of the reach of predators. It also helps them overcome natural and environmental risks that threaten them on daily bases. Frogs secrete mucus which keeps their skin so slippery they are difficult to hold down. The mucus is not only slippery though. It can be harmful enough to fatally injure predators. Some salamanders even possess poisonous skin that makes them deadly to touch. Humans, as well as, birds and reptiles could be poisoned by this. However, poisonous species use dazzling colours to warn predators of their toxicity. An example is the fire salamander displaying a mixture of yellow and black. The bearded dragon is neither poisonous nor secretes deadly mucus.
The bearded dragon is a harmless reptile of the lizard family. It is not an amphibian in any way. Amphibians usually have a smaller life expectancy than bearded dragons. Bearded dragons live their lives on land. Amphibians may survive on land for a while. But they need water to remain relevant.