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Sea Life, Animals
& Exhibits

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Inland Bearded Dragon

(Pogona vitticeps)

The inland bearded dragon gets its name from the spikes located under its chin which resembles a beard. The bearded dragons look much fiercer than they are.  The “spines” on the sides of their heads and bodies might look intimidating, but they are actually soft. When bearded dragons are excited or alarmed, they expand their throats to look much bigger. They have acute vision, with full color, but poor depth perception. It also has a photosensitive organ, or third “eye,” on the top of its head, which can sense light and shadows. It has ears — holes on the side of its head — that provide excellent hearing. On the roof of its mouth, it has a Jacobsen’s Organ, which provides for keen smell and taste. Lying against the ground, it has a sense of touch that can feel vibrations transmitted through the soil.

Habitat

Bearded dragons are lizards that are native to Australia. They live in the arid, rocky, semi-desert regions and open woodlands. They are adept climbers, spending time on branches and in bushes, even found on fence posts when living near human habitation.

Diet

These lizards are omnivores (eating both meat and plants), voracious eaters of invertebrates and small vertebrates alike. They also forage for soft plant matter, including greens, fruits, and flowers. Like most desert dwellers, they spend the hottest part of the day in underground burrows and are well adapted to the cool desert nights. Bearded dragons live in harsh environments and are well adapted to eat whatever food is available. During harsh seasons, they survive on nutrients and fat reserves stored in their large abdomens. If required, they will dig into the ground and remain dormant for long periods of time until unfavorable conditions, such as unusually hot or cold weather, improve.

Behavior

Bearded dragons reach sexual maturity at 1 to 2 years of age. During courtship, a male will indicate his interest by rapidly bobbing his head. If the female is receptive to the male’s overture, she will begin to bob her head, but at a slower rate. During copulation, a male’s throat area “beard” will visibly darken to nearly black, while a female’s throat darkens to a lesser extent. Females normally lay clutches of 15-25 eggs in shallow nests dug into sandy soil. Hatchlings weigh about .07 ounces at birth and average 4 inches in length. Young usually grow rapidly and gain adult size within a year.

Predators

Predators include large goannas (sand monitor lizards), dingoes, and birds of prey.