Puff the Bearded Dragon Bearded dragons are medium-sized lizards with triangular-shaped heads. They have rows of spiked scales beneath their head which puff up, resembling a beard, and can change colors. —thebeardeddragon.org
You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine.
Did you know that dragons are real creatures? Well, maybe not the dragons of fairytales, but there are quite a few lizards, sea creatures, and insects that are referred to as dragons. One such dragon is the bearded dragon. This dragon is a lizard which is a kind of reptile. Let’s recall some basic characteristics of reptiles. As a reptile, bearded dragons are able to breathe air, they are cold blooded vertebrates, and they have scaly skin. But what makes the bearded dragon a bearded dragon? What makes it special? Let’s find out!
Most lizards have legs, external ear openings, movable eyelids, and lay eggs, though there are a few species that have lost one or more of these characteristics. The bearded dragon is lucky enough to have all of these. However, one they don’t have is the ability to regrow limbs like other lizards. So, if you have a pet dragon that’s lost its tail, you’re out of luck!
Remembering what we learned about reptiles, bearded dragons have spiny scales all over their body. Underneath their chin and around their neck, they have rows of spiked scales that can puff out depending on their mood. These special spikes can even change color! But why do they change color, and what does it mean? Bearded dragons’ scales can change color for a variety of reasons, the main ones being for thermoregulation, camouflage, and communication with other dragons. Bearded dragons will also communicate with each other by bobbing their heads and waving their arms. It’s quite fun to watch!
We currently know about 8 different species of bearded dragons, all fondly referred to as “Beardies.” All Beardies are native to Australia, but Pogona Vitticeps, more likely known as the Central or Inland Bearded Dragon, is the most common species to be seen in the United States as a pet. Bearded dragons can be anywhere from 4-24 inches in length depending on the species. They mature at over just a year old and can live as long as 14 years in captivity, compared to the maximum of 8 years that a wild Beardie gets to experience.
Bearded dragons were introduced to the States in the 1990’s and have rapidly become a popular reptilian pet since then. While Australia banned the export of wildlife in the 1960’s, it is believed that any of the Beardies found outside of the country were smuggled out and have since then been bred in captivity.
Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they will eat both plants and animals. In fact, they’ll eat almost anything, although not everything is best for a pet Beardie. As young dragons, their diet will consist of mostly carnivorous options. But, once they reach adulthood, their diets will take a 180 and will consist of mostly plant vegetation. In 2005, scientists discovered that bearded dragons have a mild venom, similar to that of a rattlesnake, that aids in their hunt for animal matter. Don’t worry though! A bearded dragon’s venom, for the most part, is harmless to humans and will cause no long lasting side effects.
The Bearded Dragon is another example of God’s wonderful creative powers. With this lizard’s ability to change color and camouflage, and to puff out their neck and chin spikes, and communicate by bobbing their head and waving their arms, just shows how amazing a Creator we have! One who also has a sense of humor! Heaven will be a fun place filled with amazing creatures that we can take an eternity to explore! Can’t wait!
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