Reptiles

Bearded Dragon

NOTE: We have two species of bearded dragon — the bearded dragon (Pogona barbatus), and the inland or central bearded dragon (pagona vitticeps).

RANGE
The bearded dragon is found in eastern and southeastern Australia (not including the Cape York Peninsula or Tasmania).
The inland bearded dragon is found throughout the interior of the eastern continental states of Australia.

HABITAT

  • The bearded dragon is found in a wide range of habitats, from wet forests to arid scrubland.
  • The inland bearded dragon tends to inhabit very arid locations.
  • Both species are semi-arboreal.

SIZE
Hatchlings: Between 4 – 5 inches in length.
Adults: 10 inches from snout to vent, close to 2 feet in total length including tail.

LIFE EXPECTANCY
Up to 18 years in captivity

REPRODUCTION

  • Sexual maturity reached at one to two years of age.
  • Sexually mature males have blackish beards that darken considerably during courtship and mating.
  • Females lay clutches of 11 – 30 eggs early in the summer. They deposit their eggs in a nest which they dig in sandy soil. The eggs hatch in about 60 – 80 days.

DIET
Wild: Insects and vegetation, including fruits and flowers.
Zoo: Assorted fruits and vegetables, mealworms, flowers, crickets, pink mice, salad greens (kale, collard, turnip, mustard, dandelion).

BEHAVIOR

  • When threatened, these lizards will stand raised on all fours, puffing out their bodies and the loose skin at the lower jaw.
  • The scales along the throat skin and along the side of the head have spiny extensions which add to the dramatic effect of the defense stance.
  • They will also open their mouths to display a bright yellow lining and tongue. All of this is a bluff, to try and scare off an attacker. If the attacker persists, the dragon will run away or charge and attack.
  • These lizards are diurnal and they may remain in burrows during the hottest part of the day.
  • They are social animals and will interact with other breaded dragons with a variety of displays, such as hand waving, head bobbing, licking, etc.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • These lizards are alert, hardy and personable.
  • When fleeing, they will run for short distances solely on their hind legs, with the front part of their bodies held erect.
  • Bearded dragons come in an array of colors including red, orange, yellow, white, transparent and scaleless (in captivity).
  • They possess an ability to change from light to dark and back.

STATUS
Common