Bearded dragons have become one of the popular household pets in the U.S. Also known as ‘beardies’; these animals have a rugged, attractive appearance that sells them as exotic pets.
If you own a bearded dragon or are planning to, you may not have all the facts about this lovely reptile in terms of its physical structure, wellness, and temperament.
For that, this article lists fascinating and fun facts about bearded dragons. Read on.
Facts About Bearded Dragon Anatomy & Physiology
1. Although they are called bearded dragons, they do not actually have a ‘beard’ or facial hair. Their beards are made of spiny scales that puff under the necks and darken to resemble a beard.
2. Fully grown bearded dragon males are 17-24 inches long.
3. Female bearded dragons can measure up to 20 inches.
4. Beardies are exothermic and regulate temperature through their mouths.
5. Bearded dragons can be born with two heads (bicephalic) and live with them.
6. Their mouth has an organ called vomeronasal or Jacobson’s organ connecting to the nasal cavity to sense smell.
7. They lick the environment with their tongue to familiarize themselves.
8. It is challenging to differentiate a male from a female since they are androgynous. But you can use femoral pores and large dark beards to spot a male.
9. Females can store reproductive material after mating to fertilize themselves again. This helps them lay sets of eggs to maximize their offspring.
10. Incubation temperatures can alter the sex of a bearded dragon. Extreme high temperatures can change developing embryos with male chromosomes into females.
11. Even though the bearded dragon lives a lazy life, it can run at speeds of 9mph.
12. Beardies swim by inflating their bodies with air for buoyancy. Their swimming motion resembles that of a crocodile.
13. They can enjoy a nap while standing on their hind legs. They lock their hind legs, lean against something, and sleep!
14. These lizards can lift off their front legs and run on their back legs. It turns out that when they run, the center of gravity shifts to the back. This means they pick up more speed and are more maneuverable with their back legs.
15. When they shed their old skin, the new skin may have different colors and patterns.
16. These lizards change the color of their scales. They will lighten their scales to reflect heat during the hot season to prevent overheating. During the cold weather, they can turn their scales dark to absorb heat.
17. Warmer temperature slows down the bearded dragon’s learning ability.
18. They are semi-arboreal and have a firm grip on their claws to hold on to trees and bushes.
19. . They have an expansive view of prey since their eyes are placed at the sides of the head.
20. They can look and focus on prey using one eye.
21. Bearded dragons secrete a mild venom that is poisonous to insects but harmless to people.
22. Their eyes have the necessary rods and cones to see different colors, which is beneficial when distinguishing fruits and vegetables.
23. Their heads can collect water, and they’ll use the contours on their head to funnel the collected liquid into their mouths.
24. The dragons conserve every drop of water, including liquid urine. They excrete uric acid as a white powder.
25. Beardies have strong jaws that clasp and crush insects with hard shells like beetles.
26. Their short tongues capture insects and worms.
27. Their tail makes up almost half their overall length.
28. Bearded dragons have sharp and serrated teeth.
Facts About Bearded Dragon’s Health & Wellness
29. They have a lifespan of 10-15 years with proper care.
30. Bearded dragons regularly shed and regrow their front teeth but not their tail.
31. Apart from the front teeth, the rest of the teeth are permanent.
32. Fireflies are a poisonous diet to bearded dragons. The insects have a steroid that harms the lizard’s heart and can lead to death.
33. Oxalic acid in avocados makes bearded dragons ill.
34. Bearded dragons should not drink milk or dairy products. Their digestive system cannot process milk.
35. Lack of proper lighting, calcium, dehydration, and an improper diet can cause impaction. Impaction occurs when solid substances build up in the beardie’s digestive system and blocks any food from passing through.
36. Beardies reach sexual maturity from 8-18 months.
37. The dragons need UV lighting for their bodies to make vitamin D. Vitamin D helps them absorb phosphorous and calcium from their food.
38. Bearded dragons need adequate humidity for hydration and shedding their skin.
39. They are active during the day.
40. Beardies are omnivores and feed on live insects and vegetables.
41. They love going on walks, and you can put a leash on them.
42. A tennis ball, a feeder ball with live insects, a mirror, or laser pens are great toys to stimulate a beardie.
43. Lack of stimulation can lead to depression.
44. They can carry and spread Salmonella germs.
45. Common health conditions of beardies include mouth rot, metabolic bone disease, respiratory infections, and adenovirus. But with a good diet and environment, the lizards are hardy animals.
Facts About Bearded Dragon’s Communication Cues
46. They wave at other lizards to acknowledge them!
47. The dragons also wave to show submission in the presence of more giant, dominant dragons.
48. Bearded dragons recognize humans because they wave at their keepers.
49. When beardies frequently lick their owners, it is a display of affection.
50. To please a mate, males bob their heads, pound their feet on the ground, and wave their arms.
51. Males use fast head bobbing to show dominance or compete with other males for a mate.
52. A slow bob accompanied by an arm wave indicates submission.
53. Bearded dragons’ scales can convey their mood and emotions.
54. Tense and spiky scales are a sign of distress. Flat, smooth scales are an indication that the lizard is happy.
55. When a bearded dragon’s spikes turn black, it could signify that they feel threatened or stressed.
56. At other times, the black spikes indicate that the lizard is ready to mate. They change their color to black, a reason why it is called the bearded dragon.
57. They hiss when threatened or defending their territory.
58. In the wild, bearded dragons interpret eye contact as a threat or challenge. Should they face prolonged eye contact from a large predator, they close their eyes to escape the visual threat.
59. Pet beardies close their eyes when petting or stroking as a sign that they are uncomfortable. Unlike cats and dogs, these lizards communicate their distress and discomfort by closing their eyes.
Facts About Bearded Dragon Behavior
60. They are solitary and docile animals.
61. Beardies are pretty sedentary.
62. They love sunbathing and are often found lying on top of each other to soak more UV rays.
63. The males attack unsubmissive females.
64. Their calm, gentle nature makes them fun to put clothes on.
65. The lizards do not attack when threatened. Instead, they will flee. But they can get mad. Signs include biting, hissing, head bobbing, and gapping.
66. Bearded dragons go through brumation in the fall or winter. They stop eating but drink water sporadically.
67. Beardies love carrots. It is speculated that they love their bright orange color.
68. Females tend their eggs until they hatch.
69. They dislike the smell of their poop and choose a single litterbox in their cage to avoid it.
70. They prefer pooping outside their cage.
71. Most bearded dragons enjoy a warm bath.
72. These lizards will, at times, stare at their owners. This is because they are intrigued, curious, and learning. Besides, they also find it entertaining.
Other Facts about Bearded Dragons
73. Even though beardies have become popular house pets in the U.S, they are native to the deserts of Australia and only came to the U.S in the 1990s.
74. It is illegal to own a bearded dragon in Hawaii.
75. Bearded dragons are intelligent and can imitate the actions of other beardies.
76. They can be trained through patterns and routines to reinforce desired behaviors.
77. They respond to their names, particularly when enticed with food. But it takes repetition and commitment for the conditioned reflex action to work on the beardie.
78. Bearded dragons can be potty trained.
79. Calm, soft, and gentle music is pleasurable for beardies, but it can startle them too.
80. A mother beardie may try to eat her hatchlings in the wild.
81. Unlike other lizards, pet beardies mate all year round except during brumation. However, they have a mating season while in the wild.
How many facts about the bearded dragon did you find surprising and interesting? Well, if they were a couple, why not share this knowledge with friends and family?
Featured Image Credit: Kevin Khoo, Shutterstock