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Bearded Dragon

 (other names: Pogona vitticeps, Beardy)

Bearded Dragon
origin:Central Australia
life expectancy:5-8 years or more
family:Diurnal
grooming: Needs groomingsize: Medium
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History [ edit ]

The Bearded Dragon, or "Beardy" as their fanciers affectionately call him, is a lizard native to Central Australia and belongs to genus Pogona which comprises seven species. The most common species is the yellow-headed (Pogona vitticeps). None of the species is considered endangered or threatened. The Bearded Dragon was named after the spines that line their throats, which are flared-out when the animal senses a potential danger and the Australian word for this type of lizard. Bearded Dragons live in rocky, semi-arid regions and arid, open woodland habitats. They are good climbers and spend a good amount of time perched on bush branches and even on fence posts but they also enjoy basking on rocks. They are social and easy to tame and handle reason why they are considered adequate for beginner reptile owners. However, prospective owners should take into account that rearing a Bearded Dragon properly requires a fair amount of time. Besides, their dietary requirements are complex and suitable habitat demands special equipment. Despite these difficulties, those who choose to have  a Beardy as a pet will certainly be marvelled by the range of fascinating behaviours displayed by this animal, namely their “greeting behaviour” (a signal of submission), which consists of lifting one of their front legs in an almost circular motion, as if they are waving. As they are diurnal (sleeping at night and up during the day), they can be watched during the day.
editing: History [ close ]
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Appearance [ edit ]

The Bearded Dragon is a medium-sized, stocky lizard of the Agamidae family, with a large, triangle-shaped head and prominent spines along their sides and skin of the throat that have developed into spiny points. The spines around the throat form a sort of shield that looks like a beard and are the Beardy’s most distinctive feature. Bearded Dragons can grow as large as 25.40 cm (10 inches) without the tail or 60.96 cm (2 feet) including the tail and, as a pet, they are considered to be a "giant" lizard.  Males are larger than females. There is substantial geographic variation in the body colour of this species, which can range from grey to brown and reddish-brown to bright orange. The ventral surface colour varies from pale to dark grey, with white elongated spots bordered with black. Mature males have dark "beards" which become black during mating periods. Bearded Dragons colour ranges from the "normal" sandy coloured tans and beiges to reds, oranges, and golds. Their shades of colour change depending on emotional state, to regulate the body temperature (from a light to a dark shade) or to conceal from potential menaces. When sick, injured, or dying the back turns black and the legs pale yellow.
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Behaviour [ edit ]

Bearded Dragons are social and docile animals, even in the wild, seldom showing aggressiveness in captivity unless they feel insecure in the environment provided. They appear to enjoy human company although the juveniles may be skittish. Young Beardies have a way of communicating nonaggression by performing a clear "wave", known as the greeting behaviour. They are curious and like to explore their surroundings using their tongue. Bearded Dragons are territorial and two males may fight when caged together. A male and female Bearded Dragon can generally be kept together, but not before they are two years of age and only if, however, if the male becomes too aggressive during the mating season it has to be removed. The most frequent problems with Bearded Dragons caged together are the smaller ones being prevented from eating or kept away from the heat sources by adult, larger, Dragons, who may even see their smaller cage mates as a meal. A larger cage decreases the possibility of aggression but the Dragons caged together have to be closely monitored. To display dominance during the breeding season Dragons (males and females) flare-out their beards. To show aggressiveness towards other members of the group they curve their tail slightly at the end and bob rapidly their head. When threatened, they reinforce their intimidating appearance by flattening out their bodies and standing erect with their mouth wide open. Bearded Dragons are semi-arboreal and like to perch a little bit off the ground.
editing: Behaviour [ close ]
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Handling [ edit ]

To take up a Bearded Dragon, place your hand under its abdomen and gently lift it out. While the dragon lies on your palm, keep your fingers gently curved around its abdomen.
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Reproduction [ edit ]

Bearded Dragons reach sexual maturity at one to two years of age. Clutches may reach eleven to sixteen eggs in early summer which are laid in nests dug in sandy soil. Hatching occurs three months later, the juveniles weighing as little as 2.1 grammes. Generally the juveniles are born banded and with an orange stripe near their eyes. This pattern becomes less visible as they mature. Unmated females may also lay eggs.

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Health [ edit ]

Bearded Dragons are very healthy. The main problem is a calcium/vitamin D3 deficiency resulting from lack of UV light. Occasionally they may suffer from respiratory infections, pseudomona, gastroenteric infections, coccidia and egg-binding. Mites and internal parasites may also be a problem. Some may suffer from partial paralysis associated with hind leg extension.
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Housing [ edit ]

Habitat: 122 x 33 cm (48 inch x13 -inch) 210 lit (46 gallon UK; 55,5 gallon US) tank or larger per animal with a secure screen top cover, well-ventilated, yet able to retain heat. Overcrowding can lead to aggression and stress.

Substrate:
For adults: washed play sand, paper or indoor-outdoor carpet.
For juveniles: Paper towelling, papers, or indoor outdoor carpeting.

Decoration: half logs, branches and sturdy rocks, they can climb to and some plants to provide hiding places.
 
Temperature: Temperature gradient required, both horizontally and vertically, as well as a basking spot closer to the heat source and a hiding area at both ends of the temperature gradient. Three thermometers required: basking spot, warm area, cool area.
Day temperature: 35 -40 C (95-105 F) basking temperature; 26-30 C (80-85 F) cool side.
Night temperature: 18-21C  (65-70 F.

Lighting: Combination of fluorescent and incandescent light fixtures. Exposure to sunlight required for good health. If impossible UVB light from special reptile black lights or combination lights should be provided. UV rays do not penetrate glass, thus a sunny window does not provided the UV light needed by Bearded Dragons.
Light-dark cycle: 12 - 14 hours light/day. Timer is recommended.

Humidity: Fresh water should be provided in a shallow dish and replaced daily form drinking and soaking. Beardies can be lightly misted, but the environment should never be wet or humid.

Habitat cleaning: Daily, disinfecting with a 1:10 dilution of household bleach and replacing subtract once a week. Hands should be carefully washed after handling Bearded Dragon or they cage for they can harbour Salmonella.

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Diet [ edit ]

Omnivores. Combination of insects, pinky mice (for adults) and greens and vegetables. Vegetables: 30-50% for an adult; 10-25% for hatchlings and juveniles. Juveniles should be fed 2-3 times daily. Calcium supplement 3-5 times per week for adults; every day for juveniles. Hatchlings should be fed very small crickets and very small/hatchling locusts.
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Care Level [ edit ]

Relatively easy. Ideal for beginners. Nails need regular trimming .


Cautions: Keep in a tank with a tight lid.

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