Dig Deeper

Overview Taxonomy

Overview

“Where I live”

Also known as inland bearded dragons, these semi-arboreal lizards are native to eastern and central Australia. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including desert, scrubland, and dry forest.

“How I live there”

Central bearded dragons live in the Australian Outback – the vast, remote interior of the continent – where food is hard to come by. They are opportunistic omnivores that are ready to eat anything that comes their way (within reason). They feed on plant matter as well as insects and occasionally small rodents and lizards.

These sun-loving dragons spend much of their time basking. Because they are cold-blooded, they require a warm environment to maintain their body temperature.

Bearded dragons’ skin color tends to vary based on the color of the soil where they live, which lets them blend in with their surroundings. They are good climbers and are often found on tree stumps, tree branches, and fence posts.

Central bearded dragons live normally solitary lives and are territorial. They will defend their turf from other bearded dragons. However, they may also congregate at a favorite basking or feeding spot and will encounter others during breeding season. Rather than vocalizing, they communicate with each other through body language.

“Making my mark”

When threatened, central bearded dragons inflate their beards and open their mouths wide to appear larger and more intimidating. Their beards also turn dark – sometimes jet black! Indeed, their entire bodies can darken somewhat when they are feeling threatened or aggressive.

Both males and females have beards, but males display their beards more, during courtship and in aggression.

Central bearded dragons also arm-wave. They will stand on 3 feet and move the fourth foot in a slow, circular pattern. It looks as if they are waving hello, and it’s their way of telling other dragons “I’m one of you!” Smaller dragons also arm-wave in a show of submission to larger dragons.

“What eats me”

Central bearded dragons have a number of known predators, but none poses a significant threat to the species. These predators include introduced foxes, feral cats, gull-billed terns, birds of prey, black-headed pythons, dingo, and goannas (Australian monitor lizards).

Raising Young

Wild central bearded dragons mate during Australia’s spring and summer, between September and March. Bearded dragons kept as pets, though, can breed year-round. Females dig burrows, deposit up to 2 dozen eggs, and then backfill the nests in order to conceal them. Baby dragons hatch out after an incubation period of 78-85 days.

Conservation

Central bearded dragons are common throughout their native range. They are listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN, the world’s leading conservation organization.

These lizards are protected in Australia and cannot be collected from the wild. In the 1960s, Australia banned their export. However, because this species is so widely bred in captivity, central bearded dragons remain common outside of Australia. They are popular as pets because of their manageable size and endearing temperament.

Before considering this or any other reptile as a pet, though, be sure to do your research. Learn how to properly care for a central bearded dragon and be sure that you can take full responsibility before bringing one into your home and into your family.

 

Taxonomy

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Class: Reptila
  • Genera: Pogona
  • Species: vitticeps