Bearded dragons are found in the open woodlands, deserts, and scrub forests of Australia and New Guinea. Their diet includes plants, insects, small animals, fruits, and leaves. They have an average lifespan of four to ten years.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Reptilia
Order - Squamata
Suborder - Iguania
Family - Agamidae
Genus - Pogona (8 species)
Common Names - Central Bearded Dragon, Inland Bearded Dragon, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Western Bearded Dragon, Dwarf Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons vary in appearance based on their species, but all of them have a throat pouch that they can expand. They also have broad, triangular heads, short legs, and rounded bodies. Their coloring ranges from dull brown to dark brown with gold or red mixed in. The males also have darker beards than females. Bearded dragons vary in size and can weigh between 10 and 18 ounces and measure between 18 to 22 inches long.
Bearded dragons typically reach reproductive maturity when they are one or two years old. Males attract females by bobbing their heads. Females lay between 15 to 25 eggs at a time and leave them in a shallow nest. They can also lay eggs several times in one year.
Bearded dragons use their beard to show aggression and to attract females during courtship. When they become aggressive, their beard becomes dark in color and expands. Bearded dragons are also known for waving their arms to recognize other members of their species and as an act of submission. Adult males are known to be very territorial.
Bearded dragons used to be exported more often to support the pet trade, but Australia placed restrictions on native wildlife exports in the 1960s. They are still kept and bred as pets, especially the inland bearded dragon species.
Bearded dragons have not been throughly evaluated, although the Eastern bearded dragon has a status of Least Concern. These reptiles are not believed to be in danger of population decline, although they are in high demand as pets due to their social nature and calm temperament. Continued habitat loss could affect their numbers in the future.