Bearded Dragon

Identifying A Bearded Dragon

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Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata)

These fascinating reptiles, affectionately known as “beardies” to pet owners and reptile enthusiasts alike, are one of the most recognisable species of lizard worldwide. Bearded dragons are a part of the pogona family, which comprises eight recognised reptile species and are most well-known for their spiky body and “beards”.

Not only are bearded dragons popular as pets, but they can also be spotted in the wild, basking in the sun or hunting for insects in and around gardens across the country. The Eastern bearded dragon, in particular, can be found throughout most of Southern Australia, as well as in regions of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.


About the Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons get their common and scientific name from the Greek word “pogon” which means beard. This refers to the sharp spikes that run along the sides of their bodies and under their jaw, making up their famous beards. This is the most recognisable characteristic when identifying a bearded dragon.

When upset or threatened, this flap puffs up and turns to a dark, near-black colour, a common sight for any beardie owner! Male beardies will also use this tactic during mating season. 

Larger species of bearded dragon can grow up to 60cm in length, while the pygmy bearded dragon may only reach half of this length. In addition to their spikes, all members of the Pogona family have flat bodies, broad angular heads, and stout legs.

Bearded dragons also come in a variety of colors, depending on their specific species and gender. Males are typically brighter than females, and their colours range from grey, yellow-beige, light brown, brown, to black. Interestingly, they can also change colour when threatened or facing aggressors, and their body temperature regulation causes them to become lighter in hot weather and darker in cold weather.


Where Can You Find the Bearded Dragon?

Depending on the species, the bearded dragon can be found across Australia, most often in arid or semi-arid habitats. These lizards prefer environments such as woodlands, tropical savannahs, coastal dunes, deserts, and heathlands.

Despite their stocky appearance, bearded dragons are skilled climbers and runners, and can often be seen basking and soaking up the sun on tree stumps, fence posts, tree branches, and boulders. However, as urbanization continues to encroach on their natural habitats, they may even wander into gardens, so don’t be too surprised if you spot one sunning itself by the pool!

In the colder winter months, you may see fewer wild bearded dragons as they enter a state of brumation, conserving energy until warmer weather returns. As the days become warmer, bearded dragons become more common as males will put on a show to attract females, flaring their beards, bobbing their heads, and biting the tails of competitors to win their favour. 


Is The Bearded Dragon Dangerous?

Although some research has shown that the bearded dragon does have primitive venom glands, this venom has little impact on humans. They are not a dangerous species and will instead react defensively when they feel threatened, rather than lash out or attack.

When threatened or alarmed, the bearded dragon will puff out their beard, and face the would-be attacker with an open mouth, often making low hissing sounds. The lizard may also expand its body to make itself appear larger by inhaling air and puffing out its abdomen.

It is important to remember that bearded dragons are equipped with sharp teeth that curve towards the back of their mouths, which can make their bites strong. However, despite their formidable appearance, these lizards are not known to be overtly aggressive.


What Does the Bearded Dragon Eat?

Bearded dragons are omnivores and have a broad diet that includes various types of fruit and greens, invertebrates such as ants and beetles, and a small range of vertebrates, including other lizards such as the three-eye worm skink.

Much like their wild counterparts pet bearded dragons should always receive a diverse diet that includes all of their favorite foods. It is important to provide a variety of foods to ensure that your bearded dragon receives all the necessary nutrients for good health.


What to do if you see a Bearded Dragon

If a wild bearded dragon wanders into your garden or yard, there’s no need to be alarmed! These reptiles are harmless to humans and most pets. However, it’s best to keep dogs, cats, and children away to prevent the lizard from becoming stressed and displaying defensive behaviour. If the bearded dragon is simply passing through, there’s no cause for concern and it is best to wait for them to move on.

If you are worried that a bearded dragon has taken a liking to sunbathing in you yard or they are lingering on your property contact the Snake Rescue Sunny Coast team. We can safely capture and relocate the lizard to a more suitable location.

Identifying A Bearded Dragon

Frequently Asked Questions

Bearded dragons are a common reptile species and can be identified by looking for the following characteristics:

  • Flat body
  • Broad, angular head
  • Stout legs
  • Sharp spikes that run along the sides of their bodies and under their jaw
  • Vary in colours and range from a grey, yellow-beige, light brown and even black

If you are unsure if you have encountered a bearded dragon, be sure to contact the team at Snake Rescue Sunny Coast. We can help safely identify, catch and relocate unwelcome snakes from your home or garden.

To distinguish between a male and female bearded dragon, there are several methods you can use.

  • One way is to look at their colouring. Males are typically brighter than females.
  • Another way is to check their femoral pores, which are located on the inside of their hind legs and secrete chemicals used for mating and marking territory. Males have larger and darker femoral pores, while females have smaller and less visible ones.
  • Lastly, females are usually smaller in length and head size compared to males.

Bearded dragons can bit if they feel threatened or stressed. However, they are not known to be overtly aggressive and will usually display defensive behavior such as puffing out their beard and making hissing sounds before resorting to biting.

Yes, bearded dragons have teeth that are curved towards the back of their mouths, effectively making any bite a strong grip. If you have a wild bearded dragon that needs relocating, it is best to leave it to the professionals at Snake Rescue Sunny Coast. 

Bearded dragons are not considered a dangerous species and are generally safe to handle. They may react defensively when they feel threatened but are unlikely to attack humans or other pets.

Yes, there are a number of reasons a bearded dragon may change colour. Most commonly bearded dragons can change color when threatened or facing off with potential aggressors. They can also change color through body temperature regulation, becoming lighter in hot weather and darker in cold weather.

Yes! Bearded dragons make fantastic pets. With the right environment and temperature they are easy to care for and have a gentle temperament, making them a popular choice among reptile enthusiasts.

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