What Is a Bearded Dragon?

Featured Article, Home & Family, Pets
on March 22, 2013
what is a bearded dragon

Shaving dragons is not at the top of anyone’s list who wants to stay alive. Perhaps that’s why bearded dragons are so popular. Here are the basics on this lovable pet.

Physical description. The Bearded Dragon describes the animal as a medium-sized lizard about 12 to 24 inches from head to tail tip. The bearded dragon’s head is shaped like a triangle with rows of spikes shaped like thorns. The bearded part of a bearded dragon comes from the rows of spikes beneath its head that puff up to resemble a beard. These lizards have four legs, flat body, rows of spikes on each side of the abdomen and a tail about half the length of its body. The bearded dragon’s tail does not regenerate if cut off.

Bearded dragons in nature. If you’re planning on taking the family station wagon into the deserts of the southwestern United States to capture a bearded dragon as a surprise gift for your nephew, you may get a bigger surprise than you expected. Bearded dragons are natively found only in the desert regions of Australia—typically in the southeastern part of the Northern Territory or the eastern half of South Australia. The branches, rocks and stumps of these regions’ savannahs, woodlands and deserts are common loafing spots for the bearded dragon. If you wish to find them in the U.S., your best bet is the local pet store where they can be found lounging in cages.

Bearded dragon size. Factors contributing to just how big you can expect your pet dragon to get include the size of its habitat, its gender, and its diet and health. You can limit the size of a bearded dragon by placing it in a too-small cage. A still-growing bearded dragon put into a small cage will never reach full size. Male bearded dragons are usually larger than the females, and different species of the animal are more likely to grow larger. A bearded dragon’s diet also influences its size. One that is fed correctly and is well-nourished will reach its maximum size much quicker.

Bearded dragon tank basics. Bearded dragons get stressed out if their tank is too small. Although baby dragons only require about a 20-gallon tank, full-grown dragons may require up to a 120-gallon tank. Keep the tank bright. Full spectrum lighting from 12 to 14 hours per day will keep the dragon happy. The tank should also be heated. The warm side of the tank should range between 95 and 110 degrees, and the cool side should be around 85 degrees.

The bearded dragon diet. Feeding your pet bearded dragon the wrong food will prove detrimental to its well-being. Bearded dragons are omnivores. Their diet consists primarily of insects, vegetables and non-citrus fruits. Baby bearded dragons require more insects than adults—20 to 60 crickets per day—and should be supplied a variety of appropriate fresh vegetables.