Firstly, welcome to PogoPogona.com a collection of information I have learnt first hand from keeping and breeding various Bearded Dragons. I am not a qualified herpetologist so while I have written a lot of information on this website for Beardies and pretty much everything that you’ll need to successfully keep them as a pet, this is no substitute for a good book on the subject if your are new to keeping these dragons.
The most commonly found Bearded Dragons in the wild are also the most commonly found in the pet shops (Pogona Vitticeps and Pogona Henrylawsoni). Due to their friendly, inquisitive and hardy nature they are ideal as beginner pets for anyone (even young children) interested in keeping reptiles. They also display a variety of characteristics and mannerisms from head bobbing, tail waving and arm waving – not to mention changing colours, puffing up their beard and bodies.
The most common you’ll find will be the Pogona Vitticeps and although naturally they are a variety of browns and beige after decades of breeding in captivity a variety of different colour strains are available. The Pogona Vitticeps will live for up to 10 years and grow to around 24 inches/ 60 cm head to tail in good conditions (this also means they will require a fair amount of space) – a good pet shop/ breeder will keep them in small groups or singularly in a large enclosure. If you don’t have the space then although normally more expensive, the Pogona Henrylawsoni, also known as the Rankins or Lawsons Dragon, is a dwarf species with much of the same characteristics but will only grow to around to half the size.
More about Bearded Dragons
Bearded Dragons are the common name for given to a small group of lizards known also as Pogona which are found only throughout Australia. Pogona are a genus of Agaminae which in turn is one of six sub families of Agamidae. Agaminae refers to the family of Agamids that are found throughout Africa, Asia and Australia. Pogona are also listed under the Agamidae sub family, Amphibolurinae, which are found throughout Australia and New Guinea.
All Bearded Dragons outside of Australia will be bred in captivity as it is now illegal to export them, this also means that there are only two common species of Pogona available outside of Australia, Pogona Vitticeps and Pogona HenryLawsoni – although these have been crossbred to produce Pogona Vittikins.
Common features of the Agamid Lizard
Essentially what this means is that while there are more than 300 species of Agamids they all share common traits. Many species are referred to as dragons and by knowing some of the most common features of the Agamid then you’ll be able to spot a healthy or unhealthy Beardie and avoid poor handling. Firstly their tails unlike other lizards do not regenerate, so if a predator (or owner) grabs the tail, a dragon won’t shed it’s tail. This also means that if your beardie gets an infection in the tail then it may need to be amputated. Strong tails are also a sign of a healthy/ happy dragon and should be checked in young dragons as it can show signs of damage from more aggressive members if kept confined within a group – normally the first sign of issues.
Agamids should usually have strong legs so adults can sometimes be pretty hard to keep a hold of and can move pretty fast when they need to. While they don’t spend all their time in trees, having strong legs also lends itself to most of the Agamidaes semi-arboreal preference. Along with this the Agamid lizard has excellent vision, is diurnal (active during the day), are primarily found in hot environments and will feed upon insects, spiders, worms, some vegetation and in larger species some small mammals. This means that to keep a Bearded Dragon, you’ll need to provide a large dry, and hot area with some climbing space and basking areas.
They can also change colours to some degree to reflect their mood and for communicating/ mating. This is the what leads to the Pogonas common name of the Bearded Dragon, adults can inflate their throat and change it’s colour and especially when darkened it looks like a beard. Although they can also slightly vary the colours of their body it’s generally not as pronounced as their beard. When threatened, they will puff up the beard and it will turn very black and they may even hiss – again a sign of stress.
Another feature of Agamids are the arrangement of teeth that are in an Acrodont formation, meaning that they are positioned on the outer rim of the jaw rather than on the inside – the consequences of this for keeping Pogona is their eating habits and ability to chew their food, a greedy dragon fed small prey in quick succession (especially small worms) will not always chew the food leading to poor digestion. Also feeding oversized prey will also result in poor digestion and more likely impaction of the gut where they can’t chew properly – a rule of thumb is to feed nothing longer than the width of the back of the head. Also should be noted that oversize prey and overfeeding in young dragons will result in paralysis in the rear legs and will be fatal – basically all the food that they eat gets stored up and this can put pressure on the spine if they have trouble expelling the waste.
Pogona also additionally have spiny scales, although location of these is varied between species of Pogona, in the most common Bearded Dragon, these are along the jaw, back of the head and along the sides of the body.Share this page: