When it comes to captivating creatures, bearded dragons surely stand out. These fascinating animals, native to the arid lands of Australia, are not only fascinating pets but also boast an array of distinctive characteristics and behaviours that often surprise their owners and admirers. Let’s plunge into the world of bearded dragons and explore 15 astonishing facts about these charming lizards.
1. Pogona: A Unique Genus
Bearded dragons are members of the Pogona genus, encompassing eight distinct species. Each species has its unique set of characteristics, yet all share commonalities such as a spiky, ‘beard-like’ collar and hardy survival instincts evolved over millennia in Australia’s harsh desert environments.
2. Arm Waving as a Means of Communication
These expressive reptiles use a variety of movements to communicate. One such signal is arm waving, where the bearded dragon lifts one of its front legs and waves it in a circular motion. This is generally a submissive gesture, signalling non-aggression to other bearded dragons.
3. The Beard that Turns Black
One of the most striking features of the bearded dragon is the blackening beard, which happens when the animal feels threatened or during mating season. The ‘beard’ darkens and expands, making the dragon appear more formidable to predators or more attractive to potential mates.
4. Ability to Change Colours
Not many know that bearded dragons are capable of colour change. It’s a handy skill that helps them regulate body temperature. They turn darker to absorb more heat and lighter to reflect sunlight when it’s too warm.
5. Masters of the Tail Language
Bearded dragons possess a unique way of expressing themselves through tail language. Rapid tail movements indicate agitation, while a slow-moving tail often indicates contentment.
6. Eye Bulging: A Strange Sight
Eye bulging can be disconcerting to see but it’s a normal part of a bearded dragon’s behaviour. This is thought to be a method of stretching their skin in preparation for shedding.
7. Prolific Egg Producers
Female bearded dragons are known for their prolific egg production. A single female can lay up to 20 eggs in one clutch, and they can produce multiple clutches per breeding season.
8. They Have a Third Eye
Also known as the parietal eye, this organ on the top of their head can sense changes in light and shadow. While it can’t form images, it helps in detecting predators’ movements from above.
9. Bearded Dragons Can Run on Two Legs
When at high speeds, bearded dragons often resort to bipedal locomotion, running on their two hind legs. This bizarre behaviour offers them greater speed when escaping predators.
10. They Puff Up to Look Bigger
When feeling threatened, bearded dragons puff up their bodies, appearing larger and more intimidating. This is an effective method of warding off potential threats.
11. Their Sizeable Lifespan
With proper care, bearded dragons can live up to 10-15 years in captivity. This considerable lifespan makes them long-term companions for reptile enthusiasts.
12. Omnivorous Diet
Bearded dragons are omnivores, enjoying a varied diet that includes insects, fruits, and vegetables. This dietary diversity is crucial for their well-being and health.
13. They Do Brumation
Similar to hibernation, brumation is a period of dormancy that bearded dragons undergo. During this time, their metabolism slows down, and they eat and move less.
14. Wide Temperature Tolerance
Bearded dragons can withstand temperatures as high as 100°F and as low as 70°F. This broad range is an adaptation to their native arid habitats.
15. They Have an Extensive Vocabulary
Believe it or not, bearded dragons have an extensive behavioural vocabulary. They use various gestures, postures, and movements to communicate everything from joy to discomfort, making them incredibly expressive pets.
These fascinating creatures never cease to surprise us with their array of behaviours, adaptations, and characteristics. Indeed, bearded dragons are much more than their spiky appearance, offering endless learning opportunities about the intriguing world of reptiles.