Bearded dragons are covered in soft spiked scales with a darkened ‘beard’ of longer spikes under the chin. The scales are a mottled beige colour. They are common pets and they have been bred to create different colours called ‘morphs’ and reduced scale types called ‘leatherbacks’.
Bearded dragons puff up their beards and darken them as a show of aggression or courtship, sometimes also bobbing their head up and down as a sign of dominance. They will also flatten their bodies and tilt them sideways, making themselves look bigger and more frightening.
Bearded dragons will mate between September and March (the spring and summer in Australia). The female will dig a burrow in sand laying up to 24 eggs, although she may lay many more clutches during the year. The female is able to retain sperm for up to a year.
These lizards live in very dry regions with little food available for much of the year. This means they are not fussy eaters and will consume a wide variety of food, including insects, plants and even small vertebrates.
The bearded dragon is listed as Not Evaluated by the IUCN and no research has been done into possible threats. However, they are popular pets so collection for the pet trade may affect their wild numbers.