Squamata (Amphisbaenians, lizards and snakes)
HABITAT AND RANGE
Bearded dragons are native to the eastern portions of southern Australia. They inhabit a variety of habitats including desert scrublands, grasslands and dry woodlands.
Bearded dragons are squat bodied lizards with moderately long, strong tails and a distinct series of enlarged keeled scales across their throats. When frightened or displaying, they will gape and expand the scales on the throat pouch to show off a dark ‘beard.’ Adults measure up to 24 inches long including the tail. Pineal gland is apparent as a small indentation on the middle top of the head. Pineal eyes regulate hormones such as melatonin which is important in biological clock synchronization.
Bearded dragons are omnivorous and generalists. 20% of their diet is generally plant matter while the rest is made up of insects, spiders, other small invertebrates and the occasional small vertebrate.
REPRODUCTION AND LIFESPAN
Sexual maturity is reached at 1-2 years of age and mating occurs during the Australian summer of September through March. Females dig a burrow and lay up to 24 eggs per clutch and up to 9 clutches per year. Eggs generally hatch after 55-75 days if incubation temperature is around 29 degrees C. Females can store sperm.
Bearded dragons are diurnal heat loving lizards with a preferred body temperature of 88 degrees F.