If you are new to bearded dragons, fear not – this article will cover most of the basics that you need to know if you are going to adopt one. In summary, bearded dragons are medium sized lizards, they come in a range of different colours, and grow to around 24” in length. They have a calm temperament, are easy to look after, and spend a lot of time lounging around.
To look at them visually, they have triangular shaped heads, with rows of small spikes running along them. They are called bearded dragons because they have rows of spikes under their chins working back towards their bodies. When they puff out this area it resembles a beard, hence the name bearded dragon.
Their bodies are flat with a muscular build, and they have rows of spikes running down either side of their abdomen. They have four short legs, and a tail that is usually around half the length of their body. Their colours and markings are usually representative of where they came from, they are good at blending into their natural environment.
They are fascinating lizard to watch, a lot of people who own them end up buying a large glass tank and creating a fun living space for them. So not only can the bearded dragon grow and be content in its environment, but the owner can get hours of enjoyment watching them. They are not the most active of lizards, spending a lot of time motionless. But they can move quickly when they want to, so let them lose with caution.
Bearded dragons were originally found in central Australia. Where they live happily in the subtropical woodlands, deserts, scrublands and shore areas. They can be found almost anywhere across Australia, choosing to spend most of their time in trees and bushes. They are just at home climbing and resting on rocks, and when temperatures become too hot for them they’ll burrow underground.
It was in the 1990’s that bearded dragons became a popular household pet and ended up in pet stores across the country. They are easily found today, you will see a wide range of different types available in our adoptions section looking for a new home.
This is a commonly asked question, the thought of having a large lizard can be a bit overwhelming. However, you have nothing to worry about. Generally speaking bearded dragons do not grow longer than around 24”. There are a few different factors that determine how long a bearded dragon will grow, these are as follows:
There are a few different species and breeds of bearded dragon to look out for. The most common species is the Pogona Vitticeps, these are nearly always the bearded dragons you see for sale in pet shops around the UK. The Pogona Vitticeps grows to around 24” and is the longest of the species, other species vary from 24” all the way down to a small 4” bearded dragon.
Much like some other creatures, bearded dragons can have their growth stunted by their environment. For example a young lizard that is still growing will not reach its maximum potential if it is kept in a very small tank.
Providing enough good food and keeping your dragon in good health will encourage it to grow to a healthy, full size.
Around 12-14 years is on the optimistic side of a bearded dragon’s life expectancy. They do not live this long in the wild, largely due to the large amount of predators and other risks. But caring for your pet well will mean you may see it live as long as 14 years.
This is something to consider before adopting one, as rehoming older lizards is always more difficult than young ones. They don’t become much more problematic as they get older, just a little less active. They are known for being fairly robust health wise, and if you continue to take good care of your pet visits to the vet’s office should be rare.
Bearded dragons had a surge in popularity in the 1990’s, and are still popular today as pet lizards. They are easy to keep, meaning they can be good pets for beginners, or responsible children.
They have a very mild temperament, even when feeling threatened they will usually not show any signs of aggression. Instead they will puff up their throats, giving the ‘’beard’’ look, and hope to deter the threat.
Being at home in tanks or cages, if you provide plenty of space you do not need to take bearded dragons out for walks or exercise often. However, there are leads and harnesses available if you want to give them some exercise outside without risking letting them loose. Some people do opt to give their pets some freedom, but this is purely optional.
They are also very receptive to being handled, making them personable to many people. It may take some patients and a regular routine of handling your bearded dragon, but they will definitely tame to you over time. When picking up a bearded dragon do so very carefully. Never catch them by their head or tail and pick them up that way, always cup them under their neck and body and life them in a supportive manner.
Although first found in Australia, the exporting of bearded dragons stopped in the 1960’s. Obviously there are still some smuggled out of the country etc, but there are enough in captivity in other countries to easily find them from breeders, pet stores, or private owners.
Bearded dragons produce a non-harmful venom. This was only fully discovered around 2005, and seeing as it is not harmful to humans, or many other animals, it is largely redundant. But may have had some use many years ago and helped them with hunting.
Bearded dragons get their name because they look like they have a beard when they are puffing up their neck in defence.