You may be asking yourself, “What is a bearded dragon?”. Here we will answer that question for you!
A bearded dragon is a medium-sized lizard that hails from the desert and semi-arid regions of Australia. Bearded dragons are members of the Agamidae lizard family. They have a relatively large mouth and a triangular-shape head that contains rows of thorn-like structures that resemble thorns on a rose bush. The body of the bearded dragon appears to be somewhat flat and contains a row of the spikes on each side. They can reach lengths of 18 to 24 inches, including the tail, in captivity.
How Did The Bearded Dragon Get Its Name?
The bearded dragon gets its name due to a natural defense mechanism. When the bearded dragon feels threatened, or coerced, it will flare its throat (gular pouch) making the head look much larger than it really is. This throat area is covered with prickly scales that resemble spikes and can turn a dark gray to black color. This effect gives the appearance of a “beard”, hence the name bearded dragon.
Different Species of Bearded Dragons
There are eight different species of bearded dragons in the Pogona family. The most common bearded dragon found in pet stores today are the Inland Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps).
- Eastern bearded dragon (Pogona barbata)
- Dwarf bearded dragon (Pogona minor)
- Inland or central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
- Western bearded dragon (Pogona minima)
- Small-scaled or Drysdale River bearded dragon (Pogona microlepidota)
- Mitchell’s northwest bearded dragon (Pogona mitchelli)
- Nullabor bearded dragon (Pogona nullabor)
- Rankin’s or Lawson’s bearded dragon (Pogona henrylawsoni)
Bearded Dragons As Pets
Bearded dragons have become very popular pets in recent years due to several factors:
- Friendly demeanor – bearded dragons have a very docile, almost submissive, attitude. They can be very friendly and actually can desire to be held and petted. This makes them a very attractive pet lizard, indeed.
- Ease of care – bearded dragons are relatively easy to care for. As long as suitable housing and the proper foods are given, the bearded dragon is one of the easiest pets to maintain.
- Unique appearance – bearded dragons have a dinosaur-like appearance that tends to be attractive to most enthusiasts. In recent years, many breeders have developed pastel-colored dragons, among many other color variations, including orange, red and yellow colored dragons. The Sandfire breed has become a very popular variation in recent years.
- Manageable size – since bearded dragon do not get extremely large they are easy to house and handle, compared to larger lizards such as the iguana.
- Hardy health – with some basic health care bearded dragons can live upwards of 10 to 15 years in captivity and do not have specific health requirements like many other lizards such as chameleons or turtles.
The bearded dragon is a great choice for a pet lizard, and one I’m sure you will enjoy owning one (or several) for many years!