Central Bearded Dragon

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Pogona vitticeps

DIETInsects, small vertebrates, and vegetation including fruits and flowers

RANGENative to Eastern and Central Australia

HABITATDesert, dry forests and scrublands

Central Bearded Dragon

Status: Not yet evaluated

Mid-sized stocky agamid with prominent spines along its sides and a large, essentially triangular shaped head. Forming a sort of shield around the snout is a jaw pouch which, when swollen, looks like a beard. Both males and females have this beard. This wide ranging species has considerable geographic variation; its ground color varies from shades of brown, gray, and reddish-brown to bright orange. Coloration of the ventral surface ranges from pale to dark gray with white elongated spots edged laterally with black. Mature males have dark beards which become black at time of courtship and breeding. This skin coloring is dependent on the color of the soil in their habitat. Adults can grow as large as ten inches in body length, two feet in total length. Males are larger than females.

Habitat/Range: Native to Eastern and Central Australia, in habitats such as desert and to dry forests and scrublands. They are a semi-arboreal lizard and time is spent both on the ground and in trees, bushes and on fence posts.

Diet in Wild: This lizard is omnivorous and consumes many types of insects, small vertebrates, and vegetation including fruits and flowers. Their stomach is large to accommodate large amounts of food.

Diet in Zoo: Crickets or superworms, fruits and vegetables

Predators: Snakes and kookaburras.

Life Cycle and Social Structure:   Sexual maturity is achieved at one to two years of age. Mature females typically lay clutches of eleven to sixteen oblong leathery eggs in early summer. The eggs are deposited in nests dug in sandy soil and the young hatch 3 months later. Males have hemipenes (two bulges under the tail), whereas the females have an absence of hemipenes, although it is difficult to distinguish in young dragons. Diurnal (active during day) Adult bearded dragons are territorial. They establish social hierarchies as they grow in which aggressive and appeasement displays are a normal part of social interaction. Beard display is primarily used for courtship and males are mainly the ones to show this behavior.

Life Span: They have a lifespan 4-10 years

 Interesting Facts:

  • Very docile and trusting temperament, making them popular in the pet trade
  • Beard display is seen by male dragons when determining hierarchy or during breeding season
  • Arm waving behavior: The dragon will stand on three legs and slowly rotate the fourth one in a circular motion. This is believed to be a sign of submission and of species recognition.
  • Head bobbing behavior: a sign of dominance exhibited by males

Conservation Message: Make sure if you are going to have one of these animals as a pet you research its requirements before you get one. Know where you’re pet is coming from- make sure it’s not an animal that was removed from the wild.

What You Can Do: Without the proper light source, these animals can develop metabolic bone disease easily. Research you’re pet before you decide to get one.

Bibliography:
Encyclopedia of Reptiles, Amphibians, and other Cold-Blooded Animals. Burton, Maurice. 1975. Octopus Books Ltd, PP 160-161.
“The Inland Bearded Dragon”, The Vivarium, Vol. 4, No. 5., Mar/Apr 1993.
“The Social Life of Bearded Dragons”. Zoonooz, June/July, 1995. San Diego Zoo.
http://australianherpetology.com/
http://bearded-dragon-care.net/