Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pogona Bearded Dragons, By Sharon Powell

                   Photograph Compliments of Rainbow Bearded Dragons

                   Publication:  Kid Headliner, Elementary Activity Reader

If reptiles are your favorite, then you will soon discover the Bearded Dragon to be one of the most unique and fun loving pets you could ever own. Like Sunny and Hypo pictured in this month’s issue, Bearded Dragons seem to possess a personality all their own, and can adapt quite well in captivity when provided adequate means of support. The vibrant orange-red and yellow tones found within many species makes them a pet everyone will admire.
Bearded dragons originate from various regions of Australia, and are considered gentle of nature. Only when the dragon feels threatened will they flee to safety.

Like most wild predators “Bearded Dragons are equipped with a set of teeth fused to both sides of their mouth. The Dragons front teeth fall out quite often and grow back on a regular basis. Only the back teeth remain intact and are used for cutting and slicing their food in order to promote a healthy means of digesting.
Bearded Dragons are also very good listeners, and possess two oval shaped ear openings on the sides of their head. If you look closely you can see the thin membrane inside the Dragons ear drum.  The tiny membrane is used to enhance sound waves within their environment.

Most all lizards are very small when born. The Bearded Dragon is less than 3” in length and weighs no more than 2 oz. Although they are less than the size of a pencil, their growth patterns are quick to change. Dragons grow an average of 2” per month, and will reach adulthood within less than a year. A full grown Bearded Dragon weighs approximately four to six lbs. and can range between eighteen to twenty inches in length. The life expectancy for the reptile is somewhere between ten and twelve years.

Some of the most significant features of anatomy belonging to the Dragon is their tail, eyes and support provided by their "stocky legs and claws." The Dragons tail is slightly rounded, and longer then the body.  The tail is commonly used to support themselves when sitting, or may be used as a weapon of defense against predators. The legs are also perfect for climbing and running at high rates of speed within a split second. Although the Dragon is quick to move, they are unable to run long distances. The claws are an excellent tool for digging and climbing, and to assist them when consuming food.

Skin Color
There are eight species of Bearded Dragon and all offer a rainbow of colors to choose from. The bright-orange reds are a favorite to many pet lovers, as is the brown, grey and yellow species. It is wise not to let their skin color fool you because Dragons are able to change skin tones when feeling threatened. Camouflage is a common defense mechanism many wild animals and reptiles possess and the Bearded Dragon will use it to intimidate predators.

The Bearded Dragon is a tough little creature, and their thick skin is proof that life in the hot sun is something to be taken seriously. All reptiles are ectotherms, or cold blooded animals, and require basking in the sun for several hours per day in order to maintain a comfortable body temperature of 85 degrees. Their thick layer of skin also acts as a protect ant from loss of moisture and injury against predator attacks. Although their skin is thick and rigid, it remains soft to the touch. Like most humans, dry skin is a condition some of us find overwhelming. Although humans do not shed large amounts of skin like the Bearded Dragon, we do experience flaking in dry weather conditions. The Bearded Dragon will shed their skin several times per year in order to maintain moisture by releasing the old layers. Shedding old layers of skin is a healthy part of molting and assures the reptile remains free of disease.

It may seem a bit strange to invite your pet Dragon to dinner, but this could never be farther from the truth. In fact, Bearded Dragons are omnivores and highly attracted to bright colored foods, such as the red and yellow types of fruits and vegetables. Besides enjoying a toss salad on a daily basis, they will also feast on a “chirping cricket” or slimy green worms such as meal, or the crawler types used for fishing. It is also important to provide plenty of vitamin D and Calcium powder for your Dragon to promote strong and healthy bones.

Bring along your favorite pair of sun shades when enjoying an afternoon of sunbathing with your Dragon. Although all reptiles are cold-blooded, they are able to control their body temperatures by moving in and out of the sun throughout the day. This allows the Dragon to maintain comfortable body temperatures. They will also seek comfort from a warm rock, or use the heat from the ground. When night falls, the Dragon is usually lodged between a rock or inside the bark of a tree to stay warm. The reptile will search for almost anything able to supply warmth, providing their survival is not threatened.

Now that you have learned some very important facts about Beaded Dragons you may decide that they are the perfect choice when selecting a reptile as a pet. To find out more about reptile species go to your local library or contact for a special purchase offer. Simply inform them you read this article and receive $15.00 off the purchase price of any Bearded Dragon in stock……...S. Powell, 2010

1.) Steve Grenard, Your Happy Healthy Pet, Bearded Dragon, (e.2), Wiley Publishing, & Howell Book House Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2008.
2.) Manfred Au, Bearded Dragons, Barrons Educational Series, Munich Germany, 2008.

No comments:

Post a Comment