Australia is home to a famous reptile, the bearded dragon. These lizards inhabit the desert and woodlands of the Australian continent. With particular natural abilities, they are well-equipped for the harsh, dry environment. Like many reptiles, they depend on the temperature around them to keep warm and gain energy. This makes them cold-blooded. Warm temperatures give them power, along with aiding digestion. When bearded dragons are spotted in the wild, they can be seen sitting on a branch or rock in the sunlight. This is because they are regulating their body temperature by sitting in the sun. When the temperature is still rising in the early morning hours, the bearded dragon can change its skin color to a black shade to soak up the heat much easier.
Bearded dragons are omnivores. They feed mainly on insects during the hatchling and juvenile stages of life and feed primarily on plants as adults. Still, even when fully grown, they won't hesitate to eat a passing bug. Remarkable eyesight helps them see a moving insect or an approaching predator from great distances.
If a predatory bird or other large enemy is spotted, the bearded dragon will flee for cover with quick bursts of speed to avoid being eaten. When a bearded dragon cannot escape and must face its enemy, it will open its mouth wide to show its yellow mouth. Along with this, it will spread its ribs out to appear much larger than it is. Their most famous defense, though, is what gave the lizard its title. They will spread the membrane underneath the bottom jaw to reveal spikes that resemble a beard. This display can appear very threatening to animals and even people. If all else fails, they will resort to biting.
Male bearded dragons can reach a length of 2 feet. Females can grow up to 18 inches. However, some females have been known to get bigger than males.
In the woodlands, bearded dragons are very good at climbing trees. Their sharp, curved claws enable them to latch on rugged tree bark and scurry up a tree trunk.
In the wild, bearded dragons are solitary. They are very territorial against other bearded dragons. Males will display their dominance by bobbing their heads up and down while their beard changes to a jet-black shade. A fight can break out between two rival dragons. They usually only come together when it is time to mate.
Females do not look after their young. They will lay their eggs in the dirt and leave them. When their young hatch, they must fend for themselves. Most will not make it to adulthood due to predators that quickly overtake them. It will take about one year for them to reach maturity. They will be an easy target for birds of prey, dingoes, and crocodiles within that time.
Bearded dragons are famous in the pet industry due to their docile demeanor. They are one of the most renowned pet reptiles in the world. They are highly recommended for first-time reptile caretakers, with proper research. Wild bearded dragons differ in appearance from captive ones. Wild ones have a darker coloration, while captive-bred dragons have more of a light brown complexion. Skull shapes also vary between male and female bearded dragons. Males have a more triangular-shaped skull, while females possess a rounder-shaped head.