The bearded dragon is scientifically known as the Pogona. It has to be the cutest and friendliest reptile ever. The average bearded dragon is a polychrome of hues. Its skin can be hard as rock or smooth as velvet. Its color ranges from a dazzling yellow to a fecund green and all the way to an almost see-through silver and to a mixture of two or more with tints like strewn polka dots.
Is it a Gecko?
No. It’s not. The bearded dragon is not a gecko even though it has some of the characteristics of a gecko. It belongs to the family of lizards and has toes that are adapted to stick to surfaces during climbing. It has a body shape somewhat similar to that of a gecko. But most geckos are known to be nocturnal animals that often race out of the reach of humans. This reason and many more will be enough to conclude that our beloved reptile is not a gecko.
The pogona identity
The pogona’s colloquial name is the “bearded” dragon. It’s a reference to the animal’s spiky throat which turns black for a couple of reasons. Such reasons include stress or fear or even a mild agitation.
The bearded dragon either spends time on trees and rocks or in human environments as pets.
Why people love it
People value these exotic animals for their beauty. Some of the beautiful things about it include a kaleidoscope of colours. Its small size and relative ease of maintenance also make it a favorite of many people. Another attractive feature is its silence and tamed nature. Its ability to get used to humans makes it stand out amongst reptiles. These animals are tame enough to sit on their owner’s lap while they watch TV. It can stay perched on the owner’s shoulder as he takes a walk in the morning sun. This dragon even runs towards its owner as he returns from work.
The bearded dragon originated from the Australian deserts. But it is now kept as a pet worldwide. It is a perfect climber of vertical surfaces like the wall gecko. This is due to its flattened body. It’s the size and adhesive limbs also contribute to this.
There are a lot of reasons why the bearded dragon is not a gecko. These reasons range from specific differences in body morphology to environment and habitat. Other differences can be found in behaviors and special affixations for adhesive abilities. I will discuss these reasons at length here so please read on.
How are dragons different from geckos?
There are many ways in which the bearded dragon is different from the wall gecko. Each of these differences is going to be discussed in detail in the following paragraphs.
This will sound like the least of the differences between bearded dragon and gecko . The reality is that most people notice the social differences before they notice the physiological differences between these two animals. The friendly dragon would be restricted only to nights in dark. If it was a gecko, It would slither up walls and send chills down the spine of people who are jumpy in the dark. However, the bearded dragon doesn’t inspire any fear with that beautiful skin embroidered with intricate patterns.
The bearded dragon sheds its rugged skin at regular intervals just like the gecko. But the gecko eats his as it slides off. This self-cannibalism is silently missing from bearded dragons. This is another proof that the dear bearded dragon is not a gecko.
Eyelids and eyesight
Geckos have complex eye systems that are developed to help them get accustomed to the dark. They possess a fixed lens in each of their irises. This enlarges so that more light can come in. This system is lacking in the bearded dragon. The bearded dragons require daily light to stay healthy. Most geckos cannot blink (because they lack eyelids) like the bearded dragon can. They can somewhat lick their eyes to keep them clean. This is yet another salient difference between the gecko and the bearded dragon. The bearded dragon can blink while the gecko can’t. This basic difference in feature affects how they see the world very heavily.
One of the many reasons why the bearded dragon is valued as a pet is its silence. You can compare it to a reserved and quiet teenager on his first day at high school — it almost never makes a sound. You will find your pet seated somewhere in some branch and staring. It will do nothing else but stare with those large and beautiful eyes. Geckos, on the other hand, make a variety of sounds depending on a range of factors. The gecko chirps like crickets or clicks like locks fitting into locks. Some geckos make a hissing or similar sounds when threatened. Others make very loud calls when they mate too.
None verbal communication
The bearded dragon has the ability to communicate without any sound. A bearded dragon waves a ‘hand’ to show submission to other bearded dragons just like a man can throw up both hands to indicate surrender or call for help across distance. It can also bob its head to show dominance. The cute thing is how it’s all similar to human gestures. Humans nod to show approval Humans also nod to show for example that we’re pleased. Perhaps the bearded dragon nodds to appreciate the fact that its counterpart succumbs to its authority! Funny pets!
Color change due to emotion
There is always a level of rivalry fights and battles when bearded dragons meet. This is often between males. It makes them to change colours like chameleon. It’s usually from their normal colours to black. They can also change to respond to temperature so they could absorb it well. But the gecko remains its dull self. It adapts to changes internally. There aren’t any captivating reports about interactions between geckos.
One of the major differences between the dragon and the gecko is the tail. The bearded dragon has a permanent tail. It likes its owner to stroke it as it gradually gets used to familiar touch. The gecko also has a tail alright. But they often lose their tails over time due to climbing.
The dragon feeds equally on plants and insects as it grows into an adult. This helps it to develop calcium. Calcium is essential to its health. However, gecko remains stuck to insects and related animals.
The bearded dragon requires light to remain healthy. It needs Ultraviolet B (UVB) to enable Vitamin D3 synthesis. This helps in the prevention of metabolic bone disease. This is the fatal weakening of the skeleton due to weak lightning and malnutrition. It happens If the bearded dragon doesn’t absorb calcium from its food or the concentration doesn’t contain calcium at all. Calcium plays a significant role in a number of biological developments in the dragon. Ultraviolet B (UVB) also helps to improve general health and safety issues. The gecko doesn’t require and absorb light as much as our beloved bearded dragon. The gecko really thrives more in the dark.
Diurnal VS Nocturnal
It’s simply the parallel stories told of a diurnal and nocturnal kingdom respectively. Both are kingdoms quite alright. But they have as many differences as they have similarities. The bearded dragon shares characteristics with the gecko. But it is certainly not a gecko. This is because one of them thrives best in the dark. The other however cannot survive without sunlight.
Research shows that bearded dragons are smarter than we thought. Researchers also proved that bearded dragons have the ability to learn through imitation. Bearded dragons can learn. But there is no evidence that geckos can learn too. The evidence available however suggests geckos have less intelligence than bearded dragons. This is evident in the fact that they run away from humans and don’t seem to even fit into a human household
On a Lighter Note
A dragon can’t shrink itself to the size and vulnerability of a gecko. Our beloved bearded dragon is a dragon. Only an animal as bold and daring as the bearded dragon could yank off its own cloak of fear and skepticism towards humans and come real close. Bigger reptiles still scamper away at the herald of human footfalls. Most of them are relatively bigger and more powerful than humans. Yet they shy away. How then can the gecko summon enough courage to come closer? It can’t. The Bearded Dragon is not the gecko. It never will be. It is a different species entirely.