Bearded dragons are relatively new pets and are complex little reptiles with enormous personalities. They have a shorter lifespan in the wild, but when cared for properly, they can live in captivity for about ten to fifteen years. Here are 9 interesting facts about these intriguing creatures!
9. They originate from Australia
Just as Kangaroos are native to Australia, bearded dragons also only live in the wild in the land down under. However, they were introduced to the United States as pets in the 1990s and are also popular as pets in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Owning a bearded dragon as a pet in Hawaii is illegal because it is considered an environmental threat.
8. Their chin and scales are like mood rings
A bearded dragon's chin and scales act like a mood ring, changing colors and textures to convey emotions. Their chin scales turn black when they feel aroused, stressed, or threatened. They can also puff up the scales on their entire body to appear spiky and make them look more prominent when they feel threatened or overwhelmed.
When they are happy and content, their chin scales will more closely match the rest of their skin, and the scales will lie flat and smooth.
7. They can regenerate their teeth
Many species of lizards can regenerate their tails and even limbs if they lose them. Bearded dragons cannot. They can, however, regrow their teeth if they lose them. Bearded dragons have polyphyodont (front) teeth and monophyodont (back and side) teeth. The monophyodont teeth are permanent, but bearded dragons often lose their front teeth while capturing their prey. Luckily, they can regrow them.
6. They can communicate via body language
A remarkable fact about bearded dragons is that they can communicate with each other, and even humans, through their body language. Bearded dragons will wave when they recognize another bearded dragon. They will do the same with their owner. Waving is also a sign of submission in bearded dragons because they will wave at bigger, more dominant dragons.
Bearded dragons also nod, or bob, their heads to exhibit dominance. Head bobbing is also part of a bearded dragon’s mating ritual. Males bob their heads rapidly to show interest, while females nod back slowly in return.
5. They sometimes sleep standing upright
Have you ever been so tired that you felt like you could fall asleep while standing straight up? Well, a fun fact about bearded dragons is that they sleep upright. Many bearded dragon owners have noted that their beardies sleep in awkward positions, such as propped up against the wall or decorations in their tanks. As unusual as this may seem, it's not. Even bearded dragons in the wild have been spotted snoozing, standing up against tree trunks.
4. They are omnivores
Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and meat (animals). They enjoy fruits and vegetables such as kale, collard greens, dandelions, carrots, cucumbers, small pieces of apples, squash, and bell peppers. Meat-wise, beardies enjoy munching on small insects like crickets, cockroaches, earthworms, mealworms, and wax worms. And, of course, they require plenty of fresh water throughout the day.
As bearded dragons get older, they need more protein in their diets. This can be found in the form of Dubia roaches and pinky mice.
3. They are mainly sedentary but enjoy some activities
Bearded dragons are great pets because of their docile nature, and they are often sedentary, even lazy at times. However, this doesn't mean that they loathe activity and exercise. There are several activities that bearded dragons enjoy. They like to go for walks, especially on a leash.
Bearded dragons can also run at speeds of up to 9 mph, which doesn’t seem too fast, but for a reptile, it is. So be prepared if you have your bearded dragon off leash and they spot something interesting, like food. They’re liable to dart off after it.
Bearded dragons are also climbers and swimmers. They like to climb rocks and trees, especially if doing so takes them closer to sunlight or UV lighting because they love to bask. They also love to swim, and some bearded dragons can hold their breath for up to two minutes underwater.
2. Avocados and fireflies are their kryptonite
While fireflies are enchanting and magical insects, they severely threaten bearded dragons. Fireflies contain a steroid that is toxic to them. Eating these can cause serious heart damage and even death.
Another food that bearded dragons can't have is avocados. While they're a source of healthy fat for humans, they're dangerous for bearded dragons. This is because avocados contain oxalic acid. Even if consumed in low doses, oxalic acid can make bearded dragons sick. Large amounts over time can be lethal.
1. They can see in color
Bearded dragons can see the world in vivid colors. They are tetrachromatic, which means they use four cones to see and interpret color. Humans only use three, meaning bearded dragons have a broader color spectrum than we do! This comes in handy since bearded dragons are omnivorous. They can distinguish the various colors of the fruits and vegetables they love so much.