Group: Scaly (Squamata)
The bearded dragon belongs to the genus Pogona, which includes the terrestrial and semiarborrican lizards, and which is included in the family of the agámidos, a group of scaly saurians. Its origin is found in the Australian outback, that is, in the semi-arid interior of Australia, as well as in the deserts and savannas of the south-east of that country.
It lives in desert and semi-desert regions, in rocky and arid areas, although specimens can also be found in open forests.
Physical features of the Bearded Dragon:
Like the rest of the agámidos, it has the big head, the strong legs,and the long tail. The males are larger than the females reaching to measure 60 cm.When they are adults including the tail, which usually reaches half the total length. They weigh about half a kilo.
Its head is triangular and is surrounded by a series of thorny scales (although not sharp) under the neck, similar to a beard and responsible for its name. In times of reproduction or a threatening situation, they show their spines inflating the double chin, which turns blackish. At the same time, they open their mouths and raise their tails to look more dangerous.
Its body is somewhat flattened dorsally and presents on both sides the same thorny scales that it looks on the beard. It can be brown, brown, gray, yellow, red or orange, and sometimes it changes slightly in tone to regulate its body temperature. Along the back, it has two rows of spots.
Bearded Dragon Lifespan
The answer to the question how long do bearded dragon live? Varies widely. The average lifespan of a bearded dragon is between 5 to 8 years depending on how good you are in taking care of him.
The behavior of the Bearded Dragon:
The bearded dragon is a friendly and sociable reptile. It is quite docile and can be manipulated without major problems, although it must be treated gently so that it does not get stressed. It is very curious and active, especially for the day since they are of daytime habits. Although it is a peaceful animal, it is very territorial.
Terrarium for a Bearded Dragon:
The bearded dragon is terrestrial semiarboricola and needs a terrarium longer than high. Therefore, the length should be 90 cm. At least, the depth of 30-40 cm. And the height of 40 or 50 cm. It must be well ventilated and properly sealed to prevent leaks. The substrate in its natural environment is sand, but in captivity, it is better to use a shell for aquariums or coarse sand, since common sand can be poisoned by ingestion. When they are young, it is best to use strips of paper or artificial turf.
On the other hand, the dragon needs a place to hide and a rest area. You can use clean rocks and logs to build caves, which should be well fixed to avoid any possible collapse.
It is advisable that the resting area is illuminated by natural light so that the animal can rest in the sun. However, we must bear in mind that, despite being animals from the desert, they spend the hottest hours of the day in fresh hiding places and, therefore, they must have access to some cool place to be able to regulate their body temperature. It is also important that the sun does not directly affect the terrarium, as it could overheat by altering the interior temperature.
During the day the temperature should be maintained between 25º in the coolest part and 30º in the warmzone, without descending 21º at night. As sources of heat, a ceramic bulb or a spot can be used, especially in winter.
Like all diurnal animals, they need ultraviolet rays to synthesize vitamin D, which is responsible for fixing calcium. That is why it is necessary to placea special UV tube for reptiles that must be on for at least 12 hours a day.Also, you have to change the tube from time to time following the manufacturer’s specifications, since the number of ultraviolet rays it emits decreases progressively with the passage of time. During the night, the light must be off to avoid causing stress.
The terrarium should never be wet.
Feeding and care for the Bearded Dragon:
They are omnivorous animals, that is, they feed on insects and plants. When they are young, the proportion is 50%, but when they reach adulthood, their diet becomes almost exclusively vegetarian. They can eat crickets, grasshoppers,and worms up to twice a week while vegetables should be available 24 hours a day. They eat escarole, carrot, chard, pumpkin and some fruits like mangoes, apples or pears. Avoid certain foods such as spinach and lettuce. It is also advisable to supplement your diet with vitamin and calcium complexes.
You must have at your disposal at all times a shallow container of fresh water.
The bearded dragon has a very fast metabolism and defecates several times a day. It is necessary to collect the feces daily to avoid parasites and clean the terrarium completely at least four times a year.
On the other hand, although it is docile and easy to treat an animal, it must always be handled carefully, with great patience and delicacy, first trying to get used to its caretaker. To catch it you have to put your hand on the gut, placing the thumb rubbing the back of the animal.