Bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)

Text Dan Mueller

This is Little D. Little D is a bearded dragon or Pogona vitticeps.

These lizards can reach a snout to tail length of anywhere from 16-24 inches long. The life span for a dragon is 4-10 years. A healthy dragon should be able to live up to the age of 7.

Out in the wild, bearded dragons can be found throughout eastern Australia with habitats including arid woodlands and arid rocky semi-deserts. The bearded dragon are expert climbers, and can be found on branches trees, or even fenceposts when near human inhabited areas.

Small spikes can be seen on their bodies but these spikes are not sharp, just soft skin. They have long fingers with claws to help with climbing. Eyes are located on the side of the head and a dragon must turn its head sideways to see straight.

Bearded dragons come in a variety of colors such as red, yellow, orange, pastel, and beige with spots on all of the lizards.

 

 
Behaviors....The bearded dragon has a variety of different behaviors. The bearded display is how the name of the dragon came to be. A bone-like rod that is on both sides of the lower head moves outward and pushes the skin out, given the appearance that it has a beard. This behavior is done primarily by males during breeding season and is also used as a defensive behavior. When it feels threatened, the bearded dragon flattens its body out and puffs out its beard which will turn black. The mouth will also open showing its teeth.
still taken from Dan's DV video on bearded dragon behaviour...
 
 

Head bobbing is another behavior usually a breeding one determining dominance among males. The dragon will move its head in an up and down like motion. The fast head bob is territorial showing who is the boss. A slow bob is a sign of submission.

Arm waving is another behavior that is a submissive display. The dragon will stand on 3 legs raising one front leg and waving it in a circle. It is done by juveniles and females will retain this behavior.

 


What they eat....Bearded dragons are omnivores and have a huge appetite. They feed on insects, invertevrates, small vertebrates, green plants, fruits, and flowers. In captivity, crickets are the staple food and green vegetables such as kale should be included in the diet.

 
In the basking behavior of the bearded dragon, the dominant males will perch on the highest branches and basking areas.

 

 
Bearded dragons generally enjoy handling. In handling bearded dragons, gently scoop up the lizard with your hand under the belly. Dragons are very trusting and will not necessarily hold on, so always take care to support a dragon.

* These photos may be used for non-profit educational purposes. Please give credit to: Esther Iglich : eiglich@mcdaniel.edu