The bearded dragon is so called because of its ability to puff out a pouch in its throat. The pouch has prominent spikes on the scales which when puffed gives the effect of a having a beard. The beard can change color and become black. This behavior is found in both male and female dragons and is sometimes used as a form of communication between the sexes.
There are several different species of bearded dragons and their behavior varies, to see the variety of species please visit our post about different types of bearded dragons.
The bearded dragon is a very social animal and it communicates through gestures such as bobbing heads at one another, flattening their bodies as they circle each other and gaping their mouths. They will also swish out their tails and use their tongues to check out each other and their environment.
Their range of gestures also includes submissive gesturing which is used to tell another dragon to back off, this is done by raising one arm and either holding it still or moving it slowly in a circular movement. In the wild they are quick to establish a hierarchy but in captivity adapt to their carers and aggressive gestures become less obvious – except when there is new territory to conquer.
Bearded dragons are curious creatures and like to be out and about exploring their environment. Some dragons recognize human attempts to mimic their gesturing and if you bob at them they will sometimes bob right back. The dragon has a laid back but very interactive nature and often appear to be trying to communicate with their carers. However, if you have ever seen a number of bearded dragons together then you will know that their full social repertoire is reserved for each other.
If you have more than one dragon then you will be able to observe their hierarchical behaviour as one may climb on top of another. Male and female dragons will display mating behaviour but sometimes this can be overly aggressive and they may need separate housing. Very often dragons breed well in captivity and when they are properly incubated the eggs hatch well.
Captive stock is often healthier and parasite free when obtained from reputable breeders. Captive breeding has also resulted in a number of different color changes, even though such dragons are of the same species. Most of the dragons available today are bred in captivity either in the USA or Germany as it is now illegal to export them from their native land of Australia.
It sometimes happens that if you have two dragons or more then one will stop eating and may require special feeding. This generally indicates that they are feeling intimidated by the others and may need to given separate quarters.
Should you decide to get your dragon a companion then try to ensure that it is of a compatible size. It is not unknown for bigger dragons to eat their smaller companions.