Bearded Dragon Facts

We see bearded dragons everywhere. From specialty reptile shops and hobby shows to the average neighborhood pet store, bearded dragons are not hard to find. You may be surprised to learn that this favorite of the pet trade has only been in America for a couple of decades. Read on to find more fascinating bearded dragon facts.

The bearded dragon that we know and love is only one of many species. It now comes in a wide variety of colors and scale sizes. Bearded dragons are intriguing because of their capacity to change colors, change diet as they age, and speak their own language to each other and even to caregivers. Bearded dragons can grow back teeth but not tails. They produce a very mild venom which is harmless to people.  They can walk on leashes and their size is dependent on you giving them good care. Learn many more fascinating facts about dragons in this article.

Most bearded dragons in the pet trade look somewhat similar to their wild ancestors. Many other varieties of color, scale, and size have also been developed. However, you may know that your bearded dragon is very calm and endearing, but you may not realize that she has her own language to communicate with other dragons and she may use it to communicate with you as well.

Bearded dragons have all kinds of unique physiological traits, like their ability to change colors, their capacity to regenerate teeth, and the fact that their diet changes so dramatically when they get older.

Bearded dragons have a very mild venom, a leftover trait from some distant ancestor that is not the least bit dangerous to people or household pets. A common insect which you may not expect is highly toxic to dragons.

Bearded dragons like baths and can even walk on leashes, and the size an adult dragon grows to is dependent largely on the care that you provide. Read on to learn many more fascinating facts about dragons.

1. There are Many Species of Bearded Dragon

When most people think of a bearded dragon they are visualizing a yellowish lizard with darker markings. This is the Inland bearded dragon, the dragon most common in the pet trade. In fact, there are many types of bearded dragon or members of the Pogona genus.

The Pogona Barbata is a large dragon with a very dark beard, dark tail, and more slender body then the Inland bearded dragon. Pogona Henrylawsoni, or the Lawsons bearded dragon, is a little yellow dragon that only gets to be 12 in long. The rare Pogona Microlepidota is even smaller, growing to only 4-6 inches long.

2. Bearded Dragons Come in a Variety of Colors, Scale Types, and Sizes

People have been breeding Inland bearded dragons in captivity for a long time now. Selective breeding has produced a range of fascinating colors and scale as well as size varieties. Leatherback bearded dragons have smaller scales than normal bearded dragon, which makes them look and fel smoother and makes their pattern more striking as well.

Silkback bearded dragons have even smaller scale than leatherbacks. Their scales look as smooth as skin. If you have a child who wants to be able to handle and pet the dragon, a smooth dragon may be more appealing to you. Furthermore the smaller the scales, the more visibly striking the pattern of the dragon. On the other hand, reducing the appearance of spikes makes a dragon look a little bit less like a dragon.

German dragons are bred to be larger than normal dragons, up to 50% larger. If you are looking for a more significant pet without increasing the level of care involved a German dragon might be a good choice for you. German dragons come in a range of color varieties.

Bearded dragons were bred to come in a range of colors from incredibly striking red, pink orange, and yellows to dragons that appear white or even silver, to dragons that have striking blue or purple colors. Some color morphs only have bright colors when the dragons are juvenile, such as blue, while other colors remain throughout the dragon’s lifetime.

3. Bearded Dragons Speak Their Own Language

Wild bearded dragons are not necessarily highly social animals, but they are very accustomed to living near members of their own species. Dragons can vocalize with hisses or grunts, but most of their communication is much more subtle. The posturing of a dragon’s body can tell other dragons a lot about how it is feeling. Dragons trying to impress other dragons or scare off predators use what they were named for, a dark-colored dewlap that looks like a beard.

Bearded dragons wave with a very distinct, unmistakable motion. Dragons do this as a wocial gesture.  Submissive males will wave to more dominant males and females will wave to males or to one another. Some bearded dragons even wave to their caregivers. Try waving to your dragon with a wide slow motion and see if she waves back.

4 . Bearded Dragons Change Diet as They Age

When you think of what a bearded dragon eats, you probably think of bugs. When your dragon is little, she will eat mostly bugs, but the older a bearded dragon gets the more veggies it will enjoy. In fact, a bearded dragon’s diet changes dramatically between the time they are babies until they are adults. Baby bearded dragons eat over 80% insects, while adult bearded dragons eat over 80% plant matter.

Dragons will also begin to enjoy a greater variety of fruits and vegetables as they get older, so if your dragon has rejected something that you have offered before, you should still try offering it again later in the dragon’s life.

5. Bearded Dragons can Change Colors

Like many lizards, bearded dragons can change their color slightly. Dragons cannot change from brown to orange or green, but they can lighten or darken their overall shade. Dragons may change colors due to stress, become darker to show dominance or ward off a predator, or become darker or lighter to adjust to temperature.

Darker colors attract more heat while lighter colors ward off heat You can tell whether your dragon is trying to get warmer or cooler by what color she is.

6. Beared Dragons Have Not Been in the USA Pet Trade Long

Bearded dragons were only introduced to the United States in the 1990s. They have exploded in population since then due to the ease with which they breed year round and their relative hardiness in captivity. This, combined with endearing personalities, distinct behavior, and a great size and lifespan for most households make bearded dragons one of the most popular pet reptiles in America today.

7. Bearded Dragons Produce Harmless Venom

About a decade ago, it was discovered that bearded dragons produce a very mild venom which is harmless to humans and most other animals. Since dragons don’t bite to protect themselves from attack and don’t use venom to capture their prey, it is thought that this is a leftover trait from an ancestor in the dragon’s evolutionary past.

8. Bearded Dragons in the American Pet Trade Are Descendents of Smuggled Dragons

It has been illegal to export wildlife from australia for the pet trade since the 1960s, and so the vast majority of bearded dragons in the American pet trade today are descendants of dragons that were smuggled out of Australia in the latter part of the 90s. At this point, bearded dragons have been so extensively bred in captivity that many individuals are very unlike their wild ancestors.

9. Bearded Dragons are Chill

Bearded dragons are known as one of the most passive and relaxed reptiles in the pet trade. They are tolerant of handling, even by children, with minimal training and conditioning. Many dragons come when they are called or when they see their caregiver. Thet even seem to enjoy being pet and sitting with their people.

You can leash train a dragon on a harness made especially for reptiles more easily than most other reptiles.  Some dragons even tolerate being dressed in clothes.

10. Bearded Dragons can Grow back Teeth but Not Tails

Unlike many lizards which can regenerate a lost tail, if a bearded dragon to loses his tail he will never get it back. For this reason, it is important that you never handle a dragon by its tail.

However, bearded dragons do often lose teeth when they are grabbing or ripping at their prey. Their teeth will grow back in a little while. If you notice that your dragon loses a tooth while feeding, don’t worry.

11. Bearded Dragons Look Bigger When Scared

When threatened, bearded dragons can puff out their beards and flatten their bodies, making them look much bigger and more threatening. This may scare off the predator, who may decide that the dragon is too much of a challenge. It may also cause just enough hesitation for the dragon to run away to cover.

12. Bearded Dragons are Pretty Slow

Lizards are generally considered some of the athletes of the reptile world, with some species able to achieve astounding speeds over the ground and even over the surface of the water.  Bearded dragons, on the other hand, are not particularly fast. Bearded dragons can run only about nine miles an hour.

13. Bearded Dragons Live Between 4 and 10 Years

bearded dragons tend to live longer in captivity.  dragons that do not have to compete with other dragons for resources and dragons that do not breed tend to live longer.  Egg binding issues are a common cause of illness and death in female bearded dragons. While it is possible for a solitary female bearded dragon to lay unfertilized eggs, this will not necessarily happen.

14. Bearded Dragons Like Baths

Bearded dragons don’t have many opportunities to find water to soak in in the wild. They love the chance at a good bath in captivity, however. If you provide a bowl for your bearded dragon it is very likely that she will choose to soak in it herself. You can also put your dragon in shallow water outside of the terrarium.

15. How Big a Dragon Gets Depends on External Factors

Your dragon’s size is affected most by sex, with male dragons being significantly larger than females. The breed of your dragon is a consideration, since some bearded dragons, like German bearded dragons, have been bred to be larger. A dragon’s parents are a good indication of her overall size.

A Dragon will only get as large as her environment can support. Failing to provide a large enough enclosure for your young dragon could result in her growth being stunted. Finally, your  dragon’s health will affect her size.

Dragons will grow large if they are fed plenty of well-balanced food and don’t have to compete for resources. Dragons that are not stressed by environmental conditions like other pets or over handling will be able to achieve their full size.

16. Bearded Dragons can Walk on a Leash

Your pet bearded dragon can walk on a leash like a cat or a ferret. Only attempt an activity like this if your dragon is already very tame and accustomed to being handled. If your dragon is looking for a little more exercise and some natural sunlight, a walk on a specially-made reptile leash can be a great way to let her have some fresh air.

17. Bearded Dragons can Run on Their Hind Legs

When a bearded dragon is very frightened and wants to run away as quickly as possible, he may run on his back legs. Bearded dragons are not built for speed. Their long heavy bodies are slow, so getting the momentum of running on the hind legs can help increase speed.

This sudden change in posture can also confuse the predator. Furthermore, running on the hind legs reduces the heat on the body from the hot ground being covered.

18. Bearded Dragons See in Color

Your bearded dragon sees the world like you do. Bearded dragons see in color and have relatively good vision, useful for identifying the movements of small insects.

19. Bearded Dragons Open Their Mouths to Cool Down

If your dragon opens her mouth while basking she may have gotten too hot. Opening the mough is a way to reduce her temperature. If you only have one level available to your dragon for basking provide your dragon with more levels. Reduce the distance from the lower level to the heat source so that your dragon can find her ideal temperature.

20. Fireflies are Toxic to Bearded Dragons

Never feed your dragon wild-caught foods since you may mis-identify insects and since insects can carry pests or disease. That said, if you do ever feed your dragon wild-caught foods, be very, very careful never to feed them fireflies since these are highly toxic to bearded dragons.


Bearded dragons are incredibly fascinating reptiles. They have unique communication and endearing personality which will make you feel like you get to know your own dragon very well. It is amazing to think about how widespread this little lizard has become throughout the United States in only a couple of decades. Once you get to know a dragon, you may not be surprised. This is a charming little lizard that has everything it takes to be a favorite American pet.