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Understanding the

Agama Bearded

Dragon Lizard

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The Yellow Headed Bearded Dragon Agama

The Bearded Dragon Agama, also known as the Yellow-headed
Bearded Dragon Agama or the Inland Bearded Dragon Agama is
native to Australia. But, is more at home in arid regions that
are desert-like or have very little vegetation. Unlike some
lizards, they are not arboreal, they will climb on
surrounding rocks and vegetation, but do not make their
homes up off of the ground. In the wild you will often find
them basking on rocks or vegetation, they are not nocturnal
like some lizards.

Bearded Dragons have a beautiful sandy color and are big -
some growing up to 20 inches long. Young Bearded Dragon
Agamas are often mistaken for the Horny Toad. Their head is
large and wedge shaped, with pronounced scales. They have
small eyes on the sides of their heads, with pointed tips
protruding from the top of the eye area. Their snout is
somewhat pointed and the nostrils are spaced far apart. The
ear canals are located on either side of the head and under
and far away from the eyes. The forehead slopes back and
comes back into multi pointed short frills at the back of
the head and under the neck. Folds of scales and skin drape
around the base of the neck. Both legs come out directly
horizontal to the body and almost give the lizard a bulldog
look. They also have distinct multi-pointed short frills
that come out from behind the back of the leg socket and
extend back along the torso to the back legs. The back legs
come out much like the front and a long tail extends from
the back of the lower torso. They are quite a dramatic-
looking lizard.

The Bearded Dragon Agama is very docile and becomes an
excellent pet. Like most lizards, it does not much like
being handled, but will tolerate it much more than many
other lizard species. Bearded Dragons are omnivores and will
eat most anything they can catch: Mice, other smaller
lizards, bugs, flowers, etc. They will dig burrows for
themselves, and when it becomes too hot for them they will
burrow underground to cool their body temperature, only
later coming out to bask and eat.

These lizards are more social than most, and although not
very active are certainly more entertaining than some other
lizard species. When threatened they will extend their neck
ruffle and flatten themselves to the ground, making
themselves look wider and therefore more threatening. Like
other reptiles, Dragons use their tongue to explore their
environment and will often display there tongue when they
are comfortable with their surroundings.

One major consideration if you are looking at the Bearded
Dragon Agama as a pet is that this is a long term
commitment. Bearded Dragon Agamas can live up to 12 years -
a good decade of your life in which they will be your
companion. So if you are not ready to commit yourself to the
care of this animal for a decade of your life you should not
buy this lizard as a pet.

Next, and before you buy your Bearded Dragon Agama, you will
need to study how to provide the best habitat possible for it.

The cage will likely be your Dragons' home for many years,
and must be comfortable for them. They need to be kept in a
large glassed-in enclosure, and do not keep more than two
together in the same cage. Also, the two lizards should be
the same size, putting two lizards together when one is
smaller than the other is asking for trouble. The bigger one
will pick on the smaller - if not eat it. Never overcrowd
lizards, because proper heating and ventilation are
absolutely necessary for their survival.

If you are keeping two, a 3 to 4 foot long glassed-in
enclosure should be enough space. Provide some vegetation
and climbing sticks and rocks for your Dragons to climb or
bask on. They will also need something they can climb under
and hide themselves when they feel the need - a "lizard
tunnel" from the pet store, or half a hollow log.

Their pen must be cleaned often, so keep that in mind when
furnishing the tank. The more things you put in the cage,
the more stuff you have to move in order to get to the
bottom of the tank to clean it. You will need some
heating/UV full spectrum lamps and a thermometer to
accurately gauge the heat within the enclosure. Bearded
Dragon Agamas like the temperature around 75 to 80 degrees
Fahrenheit, never below 75 F. And their basking area should
be 95 to 100 degrees F.

To keep the humidity right you should mist the plants in the
enclosure occasionally using distilled water, and fresh
drinking water is essential although you will not see them
drink often. Feeding Bearded Dragon lizards is simple, just
drop some cut up vegetables and live feed insects such as
crickets and mealworms into the tank. They are perfectly
capable of catching the insects or small critters

Their diet should be about twenty percent vegetation and the
rest should be protein foods like bugs or small mammals.
Keep in mind that the bigger they are the more they will eat
and vice versa. Don't expect a baby agama to eat a mouse, it
just isn't likely and it will hurt the little lizard if it
tries. Bearded Dragon Agamas will shed occasionally and some
have trouble with it like other lizards. Sometimes misting
the affected lizard with distilled water will help them shed
the rest of their skin.

Over all, the Bearded Dragon Agama is an attractive lizard
that makes a very good pet if you are shopping around for a
lizard. You are unlikely to have any problems with biting or
nervous habits. It is a really nice lizard and although it
is not a lizard for beginners, if you are truly interested
in lizards and wish to expand your pet collection, the
Bearded Dragon Agama is a good pet to have for a good decade
of your life.

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