Bearded dragons in the wild
Wild Bearded dragons are still in existence today. Because of their natural calm and docile nature, these lizards were easily introduced as a household pet.
Years ago, the first pet Bearded dragons were directly taken from their natural wild environment and were domesticated. These lizards were so adaptive, and popular, that the majority of pet Bearded Bearded dragons today were bred in artificial environments.
Wild Bearded dragons
By studying Bearded dragons in their natural environment one can get an idea of how to keep them as pets. In the wild, Bearded dragons are adapted to arid eucalyptus and acacia velds, brushlands, sandy and rocky plains and short grass velds. Wild Bearded dragons spend much of their time in bushes and trees or basking on rocks. They do this during the daytime.
In nature, Bearded dragons eat a variety of small lizards, mammals, insects and plants. In the wild, they feed on vegetation such as dandelions, other flowers and various seeds. Their main source of insects is wild beetles. In times where insects are scarce, Bearded dragons can survive by only eating plant material.
When the temperatures are too hot to handle, wild Bearded dragons will either move to shade or dig underground. To protect themselves from predators such as larger snakes and birds, a Bearded dragon’s colour will blend in with their natural habitat. By opening their mouths and inflating their bodies and beards, Bearded dragons can also make themselves look larger and more dangerous than they really are.
With their brown colouration, relatively small size, large mouths, dry, rough skins, flat appearance, speed and ability to dig and climb, Bearded dragons are perfectly adapted for desert conditions. They do not need a lot of water to survive and because they can draw their energy from the sun, they need relatively little food.
Because of high egg hatching failures and mortalities among baby and juvenile Bearded dragons, females will lay multiple eggs over several periods during the breeding season. Babies will hatch during late spring / early summer where the temperatures are warmer, plants and insects are more abundant and there are better chances for rain.
The Australian deserts
The Australian dessert, actually a combination of smaller desserts, is classified as being semi-arid instead of a proper dessert. The earth is covered with red sand and fiery cinnabar coloured rocks. Vegetation is generally sparse and there are large areas that are totally depleted of surface water. The mid-day temperatures rise to around 40 ºC / 104 ºF and nighttime temperatures drop to as low as 17 ºC / 63 ºF. There are little places to hide and rainfall is very limited.
Australia’s seasons are at opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.
When looking at the day-night rhythms in the Australian deserts one will see a clear difference between the daylight length in summer and the daylight length in winter. During the summer, the period between sunrise and sunset will about 14 hours. This gives about 10 hours of night time. In the winter the sun will shine for about 12 hours per day. During autumn and spring the daylight length will gradually change towards or away from 14 hours per day. Bearded dragons have a well-developed pineal gland that helps them to determine the season of the year. Also see Bearded dragon photoperiod for more information.
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