Wasatch Reptile Expo 2002

Herps & Habitats Bearded Dragons

Congratulations! You have just purchased a quality Australian bearded dragon! Your dragon hatched in September/October of 2001. With proper care and attention, your bearded dragon can live for a long time. We have compiled some useful information to make keeping your bearded dragon happy an easy and enjoyable task. We have included Care Information, Feeding Suggestions, Disease guidelines and more. Please visit our informative web site for additional information, pictures, and links. You will find us on the web here. We are always glad to help you with any questions or concerns you may have.

The Australian Bearded Dragon

COMMON NAME: Australian Bearded Dragon (generic), Inland Bearded Dragon

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pogona vitticeps (was Amphibolurus, Wagler, 1830). Other species of Pogona include: barbata, henrylawsoni, minor, minima, nullarbor, mitchelli, nobbi. There are approx. 25 species of Pogona.

FAMILY: Agamidae

DISTRIBUTION: Australia, Tasmania

RANGE: Beardies are found in rocky semideserts and outer forest areas, wet coastal sand dunes and open woodlands, as well as arid inland scrublands. The P. vitticeps is widely distributed throughout the non-coastal areas of the eastern states through the eastern half of south Australia and north to southeastern Northern Territory.

DESCRIPTION: The most obvious feature is a characteristic beard on a wide, massive head. Scales on the posterior throat skin and the skin along the sides of the head have pointy extentions. With the aid of the hyoid bone this area can be spread in a threatening display to increase the apparent size of the head when viewed from the front. Scales along the sides are also spiny. Males have femoral and preanal pores. Moderate color changing capabilities are restricted to lightening and darkening and is often an indication of the lizards weak ability to regulate temperature. Most are diurnal dwellers, with semi-aboreal traits. Many will bask on fence posts or on fallen logs. Beardies often remain in deep burrows during the heat of the day.

TEMPERATURE: Optimal beardie temperature will vary. Daytime temperatures should range from 80-85°F (26.7-29.4°C), with one or more basking areas reaching 90-100°F. Night temperatures should drop to 75°F and supplemental night lights and heat sources are usually not necessary.

LONGEVITY: Dragons can live 7-10 years with the record being 10 years 1 month for P. vitticeps and 9 years 11 months for a P. barbatta (Slavens 1992).

To properly care for your dragon, you must:

Feeding Your Australian Bearded Dragon

Wondering what you should feed your Australian Bearded Dragon? Here are some suggestions that you should try! Your bearded dragon should have a varied diet of many fresh foods as well as insects. Each dragon will like different things so try many varied vegetables and fruits often to find out what your dragon likes best! Remember to chop up all produce into bite size pieces and to feed insects that are the right size for your dragon. As they mature, dragons will eat a variety of other foods that include kale, squash, carrots, bananas, apples, oranges, dandelions, bok choy, butter or Romaine lettuce, peas and green beans. Parsley, collard greens, rapberries, strawberries and peaches are also good choices. Vegetables should make up the better portion of the diet.

Use combinations of the following to add interest, color and texture to the meal!

NOTE:Do not feed your dragon iceberg lettuce. It has no nutritive value and more than likely will cause massive amounts of loose stool.

Calcium and other supplements:

You should supplement the diet with calcium, and probably with D3 (which comes from natural light) as well. Rep-Cal powder is a commonly used supplement that contains calcium and vitamin D3 but no phosphorus. Added phosphorus can depress calcium metabolism. Sprinkle powder directly on the fruits and vegetables. Dump feeder crickets into a plastic bag, add a pinch of powder and shake gently to coat before offering them to your dragons.

Use multi-vitamin supplements (such as Herptivite) very sparingly, no more often than once every two weeks. Some brands of these supplements are excessively high in vitamin A which can cause multiple health problems. For instance, they can fatally depress calcium levels. Remember, that a varied diet made up of many types of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens is the best way to avoid serious health problems.

Disease Hazard Guidelines

NOTE: Random studies of reptiles in general indicate that more than 90% carry samonella, a germ that can be passed to humans. To date no bearded dragon has been implicated in human cases of the disease. This does not mean that beardies are not capable of getting and transmitting the germ, so obey all guidelines offered below to minimize risk.

©2001, Herps & Habitats.