Bearded Dragon

The Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps), also known as Inland Bearded Dragon, Central Bearded Dragon or Beardie, is common in eastern and southeastern Australia. It gets its name from the large pouch or "beard" that it inflates when alarmed; at the same time it opens its mouth to expose the lemon-yellow interior. Quiet and confiding, it becomes very responsive to its keeper.

Bearded Dragon, Bearded Lizard
Bearded Dragon Amphibolurus barbatus
Photo by Larysa Johnston

Growing to a total length of about 18 in., the basic color is mottled gray, darker beneath, but when sun basking or when excited, this becomes diluted with yellow and white blotches. It requires a roomy terrarium with infrared basking heat and facilities for climbing. For a single species a 75 gallon desert or savannah type terrarium will provide enough space, but to promote natural behavior you will need a larger aquarium or terrarium. The air temperature should be in the range of 77°-86°F) with local basking surfaces to 104°F. This and many other basking lizards will appreciate unfiltered natural sunlight in the summer if it can be arranged. When they are cold the Bearded Dragons are reclusive and inactive. The temperature should be reduced at night, and a short winter rest period at reduced temperatures is recommended.

Its primary diet is insects. Feed on a variety of invertebrates, baby mice, and regular vitamin/mineral supplements. Chopped greens, such as collards, romaine, mustard, and grated vegetables should be regularly offered. May take some ripe fruit. Bearded Dragons seem to be prone to calcium metabolism disorders. Make sure that the calcium/phosphorus ratio is at least 2:1 in favor of calcium and enough vitamin D3 is provided to allow absorption of calcium. Watch for signs of weakness, lethargy, tremors or soft paws and seek veterianary advice immediately. Large, well-fed females can produce over 100 eggs a year with 35 eggs per clutch. With proper care can live up to 10 years.

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