The Inland, or Central Bearded Dragon certainly
inherited their name in all honesty... it derived from the way they can enlarge or 'blow out' a flap of skin under their lower
jaw when upset or disturbed. Aside from blowing their beard out, they may also darken the color there to almost black which
creates a bearded display. The Bearded Dragon is native to many different habitats and regions of Australia. They thrive in deserts, grasslands and woodlands... in
unpopulated and populated areas. It is said by many herpetologists who have come across Bearded Dragons in the wild, that
one can walk right up to one and the little guy wouldn't mind... and possibly even pick it up with little or no fuss being
raised by the animal. Their temperament is extremely docile and trusting, therefore making it an excellent pet... even for
children and beginners. The adults can reach up to approximately 2ft in length, with the average being 18 - 20 inches. Hatchlings
are approximately 3 to 4 inches in length (head to tail) and should be 5 inches at the end of their first month. By the end
of their second month, they should be at least 6 inches in length with considerable more body weight. We have found that with
proper care and a little luck, Bearded Dragons can reach 9 inches within 2 months, with the average being 7 or 8 inches. From
2 - 6 months we have found the average growth rate to be approximately 1/2 inch a week, with some weeks being 1 inch or more
to 1/4 inch or less.
The most endearing aspect of owning a Bearded Dragon is it's interactive
nature. Some of the displays you will see are almost comical.
This is often seen being done by male Bearded Dragon when determining
a hierarchy or during breeding season. The Bearded Dragon will 'blow out' its beard by extending a bone-like structure covering
flap of skin therefore giving the appearance of a beard. The color of the skin there will also change color to look almost
black... I have also noticed this color change to extend down to cover the Bearded Dragons chest area. I have also seen this
used as a defensive gesture when a Bearded Dragon is threatened or startled. Beards are not limited to males; the females
will show off their beards as well for various reasons.
This is a dominance display. The Bearded Dragon seems to be saying " Who is the boss here?" It is performed
quite frequently during the breeding season to gain the attention and/or submission of a female Bearded Dragon and always
when your Bearded Dragons are given new territory to conquer. Like Placing them on the floor in your living room.
This is often seen being done by the females in the cage and the less 'dominant' males in response
to a 'beard display' or 'bobbing episode'. This is the submissive gesture in recognition and deference to the dominant male.
Along with arm waving, I find that some Bearded Dragons will bow down slowly to the Dominant one. This looks like a bobbing
scene in slow motion.
This is most often seen during breeding season. It seems to signify a certain level of alertness and
acceptance. Juvenile Bearded Dragons will also do this when stalking its prey.
There are seven species of bearded dragons the genus Pogona in Australia
barbata - the Common Bearded Dragon - found down the East coast, extends well into the interior as well. P.
microlepidota - a slightly smaller lizard, found only in the Kimberley
area of the far North West. P. minima - the Western Bearded Dragon - found on the
sandy soils of the South West. P. minor - the Dwarf Bearded Dragon - also in the west, this one is found well
into the centre of Australia as well. Probably the most arid-dwelling of the Pogonas. P.
mitchelli in the Northwest. P. nullarbor - found on the Nullarbor Plain in the
south of Australia. P. vitticeps - the Inland Bearded Dragon - central Australia.
Hold a Bearded Dragon
Did you see the movie "Holes"? It pictures these strange and frightening creatures that puff up and attack! Those scary looking
lizards are called Bearded Dragons. However, don't let the movie, or their unique looks, scare you. They are really gentle,
friendly and easy to hold.
the lizard slowly until you are able to gently pet its head.
the Bearded Dragon has blinked or closed its eyes, it is calm enough to pick up.
put your hand under its body. You might want to use your thumb and forefinger to support the front arms while the body rests
in the palm of your hand.
up the Bearded Dragon and place it on your arm, chest or lap and they will most likely stay there comfortably while you pet
- When you are
ready to put it back, repeat the process above.
Bearded Dragons love to be
petted, go on walks and play in water.
Do not tease the lizard with your finger
as it might think it's a worm and chomp!
If you are calm when dealing with these
animals then most likely they will be calm for you.
Enjoy the experience.
If the Bearded Dragon is bobbing
its head or has a puffy beard - do not attempt. They are busy communicating, to you or another lizard, and they may bite.
If this happens put an object between it
and the other dragon/animal because there might be a fight.
When intimidated, they flatten their bodies and stand erect with mouth gaping. The light-colored mouth lining, spines bordering
the lower jaw and puffed-out blackish beard give a formidable appearance. This defensive display has earned these lizards
the common name of the Bearded Dragon. Aggressiveness to other members of the group is shown through body language. The tip
of the tail is slightly curved at the end and the head is bobbed rapidly. Submission is signaled by rotating the arms in a
full circular motion, which looks a bit like waving. Ritualistic sparring matches take place in which both animals are in
flat postures, beards and tails up and outward; they circle each other, biting at one another's tail, but usually no damage
is done. Their ability to change shades of color, from light to dark, helps them to regulate body temperature. Color changes
can also depend on emotional state, and may also be used for concealment. When injured, sick, or dying the back becomes black
and the legs pale yellow. Australian desert lizards often make their escape by rising on their hind legs and running bipedally.
They cannot run as fast as when using four feet, but perhaps this behavior aids in temperature control. They lift their bodies
from the hot ground to lose the heat they generate in running. This reduces the amount of heat they take in from the ground
and increases the cooling airflow over their bodies.