|P. vitticeps - detail of head|
Pogona is a genus of reptiles containing eight 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, (Pogona vitticeps). Members of this genus live in the arid, rocky, semidesert regions and dry open woodlands of Australia. They are adept climbers, spending time on branches and in bushes and near human habitation. Pogona species bask on rocks and exposed branches in the mornings and afternoons. They are found throughout Australia.
Several species of this genus, especially the central bearded dragon, are often kept as pets or exhibited in zoos due to their hardy nature and easy care in comparison to other exotic reptiles.
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The genus is in the subfamily Agaminae of the family Agamidae. Part of the Lizard family, their characteristics include broad, triangular heads and flattened bodies with 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. These spiny scales are used to scare off predators, yet they are not very sharp. Bearded dragons display a hand-waving gesture to show submission, and a head-bobbing display to show dominance between dragons. They have the ability to change color during rivalry challenges between males, in response to ambient temperature changes such as turning black to absorb heat, and other stimuli. Males grow up to 40 to 60 cm (16 to 24 in) long, and females up to 30 to 51 cm (12 to 20 in).
Bearded dragons --most commonly, the inland or central bearded dragon-- are kept as pets. Introduced as pets to the US during the 1990s, they are a popular exotic species pet even though Australia, from the 1960s onward, has banned the sale of its wildlife to the pet trade  They are a popular species among children because of their friendly and calm nature, and the relative ease of caring for them. Generally speaking the bearded dragon is a solitary animal but sometimes female dragons of similar size will often happily live together, though this requires a larger vivarium than used to house a single bearded dragon. Male bearded dragons are usually housed alone, as they will fight with other males and breed with females. Captive adults reach about 42 to 61 cm (16 to 24 in) from head to tail, weigh 350 to 600 g (10 to 20 oz) and live for about 8 to 12 years with good care.
Captive adult bearded dragon's diet typically consists mostly of leafy greens, vegetables and noncitrus fruits, supplemented regularly with insects. Juvenile and baby bearded dragon diets consist mainly of insects. Crickets are the most popular insects fed to bearded dragons, but they can also be fed other insects such as black soldier fly larvae, locusts, superworms, waxworms, silkworms, butterworms, grasshoppers, hornworms, and even some varieties of roaches. Mealworms should be considered a snack for bearded dragons because they contain a lot of fat and can lead to poor health. Young dragons require a significantly greater insect-to-plant matter ratio in their diets than adults. About 90% of a juvenile bearded dragon's diet is insects, but 90% of an adult's diet is leafy greens and vegetables.
- Browne-Cooper, Robert; Brian Bush, Brad Maryan, David Robinson (2007). Reptiles and Frogs in the Bush: Southwestern Australia. University of Western Australia Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-1-920694-74-6. "Pogona minor minor, Abrolhos Bearded Dragon"
- Jaeger, Jeremiah. "Bearded Dragons Care Sheet". beardeddragon.org. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Hades Dragons". hadesdragons.co.uk. 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
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