The bearded dragon is a lizard and lizards are a species of reptile. There are a number of species and subspecies of bearded dragons but the species that is most commonly found, as a household pet is the Pogona Vitticeps – the central or inland bearded dragon.
All species of bearded dragon lizards originally emanated from Australia although they have now been exported all over the world. Under the right conditions they do well in captivity and are therefore widely bred.
In their natural, Australian habitat all the different species of the bearded dragon are spread across that country’s many regions. As a result of the spread across different regions the color of the bearded dragon ranges from light tan to dark brown or green; often with highlights of black, red and gold. The color of the lizard is largely dependent on the conditions of its natural habitat – this means that in desert or scrub areas they will lean towards light tan, and in forested or cultivated areas they are more likely to be green. Their colors can be subject to change depending on the lizard’s internal condition. They are sometimes selectively bred when they are in captivity to produce brighter gold or red coloring.
In its natural habitat the juvenile bearded dragon often resides in trees and will hide itself by burrowing into any holes in the trunk. When the bearded dragon reaches adulthood it remains largely on the ground, however, it will climb when it wants to bask in the sun or forage for food. A good number of these lizards can be found in desert areas where there are rocks on which they can bask or burrow under to protect themselves from the cold nights common to desert areas. They will also use the edges of the rocks when they need to shed their skin.
In captivity a plastic or wood and glass aquarium should be used with a 20-gallon minimum size for juveniles and at least 40 for the adult. Their housing should be twice the bearded dragon’s total length when fully stretched out and should be at least 16 inches wide to allow the lizard to turn around.
You should place at least one or two largish rocks in your lizard’s habitat, as it will need this for basking and shedding its skin. Only naturally formed rocks should be used – such as those found in your back yard or in wooded areas. The rock or rocks should also be big enough for the bearded dragon to burrow under at night. In the daytime it will need plenty of light and in the evening it will want a shady, cooler environment. The idea is to simulate its natural habitat as far as possible.