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What Is a Central Bearded Dragon?

Karize Uy
Karize Uy

A central bearded dragon is a type of reptile categorized as a “dragon lizard.” This dragon belongs to the genus pogona and bears the scientific name “Pogona vitticeps.” They are populous on the continent of Australia, where many other bearded dragons live. This reptile is sometimes referred to as the “inland bearded dragon.” This lizard has a similar appearance to that of an iguana, and evolutionarily, biologists think that it is possible both reptiles are siblings.

This reptile is named the “central bearded dragon” because it has a loose skin flap beneath its throat that can inflate when it is threatened, making it look like it has, indeed, a beard. The “beard” is further emphasized by having a darker color than the overall color of the reptile’s body. Generally, the color of this bearded dragon species comes in shades of tan, brown, yellow and red, imitating the color of the arid lands they reside in. This reptile can subtly change its color to control its temperature, and over the course of its life, also has the ability to entirely change its color. Its tan-toned skin can turn into a blackened one just before its death.

The loose flaps of neck skin on the central bearded dragon can inflate when the lizard feels endangered.
The loose flaps of neck skin on the central bearded dragon can inflate when the lizard feels endangered.

Aside from the beard that can make the reptile seem bigger and more terrifying, another defense mechanism of the central bearded dragon is its rough and spiky skin. In reality, the spikes are quite rubbery to the touch; they just seem to be hard and sharp to make the reptile look unappetizing to predators. The reptile’s body is also rather flat, becoming even flatter during threatening instances, perhaps to make the dragon look larger and become lower to the ground. The dragon can also make a hissing sound when aggravated.

Like many other lizards in its family, central bearded dragons have sturdy limbs that help them run, climb, and escape quickly from becoming a prey. They can even stand upright and walk on two forelimbs if they need to cool themselves from the hot soil. The central bearded dragon is said to be a diurnal reptile, meaning it is usually awake during the day and rests during nighttime. It is also an omnivore that eats a variety of vegetables, insects, and other smaller animals in sight. Its daytime activities would include hunting and foraging for food, lying out in the sun, or burying itself in the soil when it becomes too hot.

The central bearded dragon can grow very long, as long as 2 feet (about 60.9 cm) — its tail and body are about the same length. The reproduction phase will usually begin during springtime when the female dragon will lay up to 30 eggs and wait until approximately 70 days for them to hatch. A baby bearded dragon will already be 3 inches (about 7.6 cm) when it hatches, growing longer as it matures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Central Bearded Dragon?

The Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) is a species of lizard native to the arid, central regions of Australia. It's known for its distinctive beard-like collar of spiny scales, which can puff out when the dragon feels threatened or is trying to assert dominance. These reptiles are popular pets due to their docile nature and expressive behaviors.

What does a Central Bearded Dragon eat?

Central Bearded Dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. Their diet in the wild consists of insects, smaller animals, and vegetation. In captivity, they are often fed a mix of live insects, such as crickets and mealworms, along with greens, vegetables, and occasional fruit to mimic their natural diet.

How long do Central Bearded Dragons live?

With proper care, Central Bearded Dragons can live for 10 to 15 years in captivity. Their lifespan in the wild can be shorter due to predation and harsher living conditions. Providing a well-maintained habitat, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups can contribute to a longer, healthier life for these reptiles.

What kind of habitat do Central Bearded Dragons need?

Central Bearded Dragons require a warm, arid environment similar to their natural Australian habitat. In captivity, they need a spacious terrarium with a temperature gradient, UVB lighting for vitamin D3 synthesis, and areas to climb and bask. The enclosure should also have a cooler, shaded area where they can regulate their body temperature.

How do you tell if a Central Bearded Dragon is male or female?

Sexing Central Bearded Dragons can be done by looking at physical characteristics. Males typically have larger heads and broader bases of the tail than females. They also have more pronounced femoral pores and hemipenal bulges near the base of the tail. These differences become more apparent as the dragons reach sexual maturity.

Can Central Bearded Dragons be handled?

Yes, Central Bearded Dragons are generally amenable to handling and can become quite tame with regular, gentle interaction. It's important to handle them carefully, supporting their body and legs, to prevent stress or injury. Frequent handling can help build trust between the dragon and its owner, making it a rewarding experience for both.

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    • The loose flaps of neck skin on the central bearded dragon can inflate when the lizard feels endangered.
      The loose flaps of neck skin on the central bearded dragon can inflate when the lizard feels endangered.