Pogona are a genus of lizards containing seven species, which are often known by the common name bearded dragons. The term "bearded dragon" is most commonly used to describe the Central Bearded Dragon. Members of this genus live in the arid, rocky, semi-desert regions and dry open woodlands of Australia. They are adept climbers, spending time on branches and in bushes, even found on fence posts when living near human habitation. Pogona bask on rocks and exposed branches in the mornings and afternoons. The species are found throughout Australia.
Template:Expand section The genus is in the subfamily Agaminae of the family Agamidae. Their characteristics include spiny scales arranged in rows and clusters. These are found on the throat, which can be expanded when threatened, and at the back of the head. The species also displays a hand-waving gesture, this is to show submission between Dragons. They also have a head bobbing act to show dominance. They do have the chameleon-like ability to change colour during rivalry challenges between males, and in response to temperature change and other stimuli.They can reach to the size of about 13 to 24 inches.
Bearded dragons, agamid lizards of the genus Pogona, are often kept as pets, most commonly Pogona vitticeps, the Inland or Central Bearded Dragon. Pogona describes seven species naturally found in arid, semi-arid woodlands and rocky deserts in central Australia.
They are a popular species among children, because of their friendly and calm nature, along with the relative ease of caring for them.Template:Citation needed Most bearded dragons kept as pets have broad triangular heads and flattened bodies, with adults reaching approximately Template:Convert from head to tail and weighing Template:Convert.
Bearded dragons originate in the deserts and woodland of Central Australia. They spend much of their time basking in the sun on rocks and low branches. When the weather reaches near 38-50°C or 110 degrees Fahrenheit, Beardies bury themselves underground to cool down. Being ectothermic, they frequently need to find a balance in temperatures to keep their temperature constant.
The origin of these dragons have exposed them to blinding heat full of UVA and UVB sunlight as well as cooler places to rest such as beneath rocks, under leaves or underground.
Pogonas are both omnivores and diurnal. They forage for food like small lizards, insects, mammals, flowers, fruit and other plants in the daytime. Wild Bearded dragons are accustomed to catching wild, live insects and small mice.
Currently, bearded lizards are bred in captivity worldwide. This is because exporting them from Australia is illegal and, for some species, very limited. Bearded pets that are bred in captivity are just as healthy as wild bearded dragons.
Bearded dragon habitat Edit
Bearded dragons need a large enough habitat to allow for a variety of distances from the heat source. A glass aquarium is recommended for security, ease of maintenance, and pet viewing. To avoid the expense of multiple habitats as your pet grows to adulthood, consider using a partition that can be easily adjusted. This way, throughout the life of the pet, you can use a single large aquarium, 55–70 gallons (208–264 litres).
White melamine is a material that keeps the cage very bright which is important for stimulating a dragon's appetite. The light (and the UVB) stays inside the cage rather than escaping through the glass sides of an aquarium. Glass fronts will allow the dragon to check out their world and interact with you.
Housing young bearded dragons Edit
Babies and small juveniles can be temporally housed in a 10–20 gallon aquarium. Young bearded dragons less than Template:Convert in length need to be housed in a 20 gal long aquarium. This will last them for a few months only though as they grow quickly. You can use Profile Extended Storage Bins. The milky white sides of the bins prevent the dragon from becoming terrified in new surroundings and not eating for the first few days, which can become a serious problem.
Housing adult bearded dragons Edit
Adult dragons should be housed in a 90 x 45 x 60 cm exo-terra glass vivarium
Males have a distinct set of pre-anal pores between the back legs and have hemipenal bulges at the vent. Females usually have no bulge past the vent or only one. Contrary to some beliefs, they do have pores, however they are less noticeable than a male's. The pores are easy to see when looking at the dragon's underside. Males and females are of comparable size, although males usually sport a larger head, a thicker tail base and slimmer bodies than the females. There are cases where a female has a bigger head and tail than her male counterpart. Mature males will turn their throat pouches (beards) black during courtship to signal dominance, although females have also been known to do the same.
Bearded dragons are native to the central Australian desert, where food is often scarce. Bearded Dragons are omnivorous, capable of subsisting on a wide variety of food sources.
A typical captive bearded dragon's diet consists mostly of leafy greens and vegetables, supplemented regularly with insects. Crickets are the most popular feeder choice, but bearded dragons can also be fed other insects such as black soldier fly larvae, mealworms, locusts, superworms, waxworms, silkworms, butterworms, and even certain varieties of roaches. Young dragons require a significantly greater insect-to-plant matter ratio in their diets than adults. Sometimes they like to eat things like young mice e.g. pinkies and small lizards.
Not all insects are equally recommended as feeders, however. The mealworm, a popular feeder insect for other kinds of reptiles, has a hard chitin exoskeleton which makes it difficult for dragons to digest. It is also relatively low in nutrients. Waxworms and superworms can be given as occasional treats, but should be fed sparingly as they are extremely fatty (think of these as being the bearded dragon equivalent of chocolate bars). They are best used as food for undernourished or gravid bearded dragons. The size of the insect being fed must also be taken into account. The general rule of thumb is that the food being provided must not be larger than the space between the animal's mouth endings; feeding anything larger could lead to fatal impaction.
Roaches are becoming a popular feeder for bearded dragons. The most common are Blaptica dubia, Blaberus discoidalis and Blatta lateralis. Blaptica dubia are slow movers, non-climbers, non-flyers and can have a mild odour. Blaberus discoidails is a popular roach for residence in Florida, they are similar to Blaptica dubia except they get a bit bigger and the females have wings. Blatta lateralis are a small roach about the size of a cricket, they can not climb smooth surfaces but they are fast.
Dragons enjoy many types of leafy green vegetables, including: collard greens, spring greens, escarole, turnip greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, parsley, and carrot tops. It is also recommended that this portion of the animal's diet be supplemented with a variety of finely diced fruits and vegetables. Feeding a mixture of these plants ensures a wider variety of nutrients, and variations in texture to aid digestion.
Other greens or vegetables and fruit that an animal may eat include grapes, strawberries, raspberries, papayas, melons, apples, peaches, pears, orange-fleshed squashes, mangoes, pattypan squash, pumpkins, green beans, peas, maize (corn), carrots or their tops, beetroot, nasturtium, alfalfa (lucerne), celery, rosemary, oregano, basil, hibiscus, pansies, carnations and rose petals.
Poisonous and dangerous foodsEdit
Insects captured in the wild are not recommended, due to the increased risk of pesticide exposure and viruses. Fireflies and all other animals with bioluminescent chemicals are fatal to bearded dragons.
Avocado and rhubarb are generally thought to be fatal if fed to a dragon.Template:Citation needed Spinach contains high oxalates which bind to calcium and in large amounts can lead to metabolic bone disease. Kale and cabbage also contain oxalates, but the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is relatively small and definitely does not outweigh the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute calcium to the meal plan. If a bearded dragon's digestive tract is healthy, and it receives adequate ultraviolet light and temperature, it will gain significant benefits including absorption of calcium from calcium-rich food plants that also contain oxalic acid.Template:Citation needed Bearded dragons also cannot eat citrus fruits. Template:Citation needed. Bananas are not recommended for regular feeding to bearded dragons as they are very high in phosphorus which can conflict with the dragon's calcium absorption.
Bearded dragons are generally a hardy lizard that can live ten or more years, but are still susceptible to various illnesses. Common ailments include parasitic diseases, calcium deficiency, respiratory diseases and stomach impactions. Even with proper care your pet may become sick. It is important to find a reptile veterinarian before an illness occurs.
Genetic disease Edit
Genetic diseases are hereditary health problems of bearded dragons. They occur in the offspring of dragons that are closely related. Some genetic diseases involve deformed limbs, tails, and possibly extra appendages.
Calcium and vitamin D3 deficiencies Edit
When a bearded dragon has deficiencies of Vitamin D3 it can cause seizures, stunted growth, deformities, poor bone growth, and brittle bones. Vitamin D3 and calcium problems can be solved by making sure your bearded dragon receives proper lighting and dietary supplements.
Beta-Carotene deficiencies Edit
A deficiency in Beta-Carotene will cause the coloration of your bearded dragon to fade over time. This is especially prevalent in lizards with bright color variations. The easiest way to rectify the problem is to include carrots and yellow vegetables in the bearded dragon’s diet.
Overfeeding babies and juveniles Edit
Overfeeding baby and juvenile bearded dragons causes paralysis in the hindquarters and is usually fatal. It results from the pressure of the food bolus on the spinal nerves. Therefore, do not overfeed the young lizards and do not give them insects that are too large.
It is not uncommon for bearded dragons housed together to inflict injury upon less aggressive lizards. They may lose toes or tail tips from the combative behavior. The injury should be treated with a disinfectant ointment. If aggression persists, separate caging is the only way to stop the fighting.
Respiratory infection Edit
Signs of respiratory infection are gaping, noisy breathing, and mucus discharge from the nose and mouth. It is usually caused by low temperatures, high humidity, or both. You should keep your bearded dragon warm and at a relatively low humidity. It is often necessary to seek treatment from a veterinarian.
Gastrointestinal infections and parasites Edit
Signs of gastrointestinal infection are weight loss, lack of appetite, and foul-smelling diarrhea. This type of illness must be treated by a veterinarian.
Insects, green foods and unclean conditions may cause parasites. Signs of parasites include emaciation, runny droppings or feces with a bad odor. Respiratory problems can arise from too much or too little heat, or from high humidity. These are signified by mucus, raspy breathing with the mouth open, increased effort to breathe and blocked nasal passages. However, these can be corrected by improving housing conditions and administering antibiotics.
Fungal infections Edit
Fungal infection are caused by a warm, damp environment. The infection occurs in a cut or scrape on your bearded dragon. It should be treated with an anti-fungal ointment.
Egg binding Edit
Egg binding can be caused by calcium deficiency, being under or overweight, or the bearded dragon can not find a suitable egg nest. Have a deep, soil substrate available for your lizard to dig a nest. If egg binding is caused by a different reason, you will need to take the animal to the veterinarian. If there is a suitable spot to dig a nest and the animal stops eating for days and keeps looking for a place to lay its eggs, there is a problem.
A female can keep sperm in her body for months, therefore laying several clutches of eggs. In each clutch are around 20 - 30 eggs. Males have a hemipenis which only comes out before he breeds. Eggs take 60 - 70 days to hatch. They must be incubated at 80-84 °F (27-29 °C) with a lot of moisture. Template:Citation needed
Template:Unreferenced section A person handling a bearded dragon must make sure all of its body is being supported. Beardies like all four limbs to be supported. It must not be held by its chest without extreme care, as it may make it difficult for the animal to breathe. The most comfortable position for the animal is lying down on the person's chest. Miniature bearded dragons are very friendly as long as they have been handled since they were young. Many owners report an almost dog-like affection Template:Citation needed. It is advised to not pick up a dragon by their tail. Bearded dragon's tails do not grow back and should be treated with care. In the wild predators often approach from above, so if one does so, the beardie might think that the human is a predator and run away. Choose to gently 'scoop' up your beardie in both hands, supporting arms and legs. If children will be handling, be sure to teach them proper support and approach. If handling the Eastern Bearded Dragon, hold it carefully and make sure it is immobilized since they can be aggressive, which could lead to accidents.
The following is a list of species in genus Pogona:
- Pogona barbata Cuvier 1829
- Pogona henrylawsoni Wells & Wellington 1985
- Pogona microlepidota Glauert 1952
- Pogona minima Loveridge 1933
- Pogona minor Sternfeld 1919
- Pogona nullarbor Badham 1976
- Pogona vitticeps Ahl 1926
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Template:Cite book
- ↑ Hades Dragons. hadesdragons.co.uk. Retrieved on 7 September 2009.
- ↑ Bearded Dragon*. Oakland Zoo. Retrieved on 7 September 2009.
- ↑ Jaeger, Jeremiah. Bearded Dragons Care Sheet. beardeddragon.org. Retrieved on 6 February 2008.
- ↑ Frequently Asked Questions (26 May 2007). Retrieved on 6 February 2008.
- ↑ Tosney, K. W. (January 2004). Caring for an Australian Bearded Dragon. University of Miami. Retrieved on 6 February 2008.
- ↑ Impaction in Bearded Dragons. beardeddragons.org (7 July 2006). Retrieved on 6 February 2008.
- ↑ Beautiful Dragons. Nutrition Content. beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com. Retrieved on 6 February 2008.
- ↑ Bearded Dragon Care Sheet. beardeddragons.co.za. Retrieved on 7 September 2009.
- ↑ Two Cases of Firefly Toxicosis in Lizards. Cornell University. Retrieved on 6 February 2008.
- ↑ Bearded Dragon Diseases. beardeddragoncenter.com. Retrieved on 7 September 2009.
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