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In this article, I have described the fun facts about Bearded Dragons and have answered the questions of whether Beardies are endangered species.

What is a Beardie?

Bearded dragons are a type of non-venomous lizard that is native to Australia with a scientific name, Pogona Vitticeps. They are also popular pets in many households in the US since their introduction in the 1990s. Beardies get their name from the beards that they have on their chin and throats.

In 1985, Richard Wells and Ross Wellington wrote a seminal study on the Classification of the Reptilia and Amphibia of Australia and since then a lot of studies have been done on Beardies (Source 1, below). Prior to this 1985 Study, the only Beardie species known was the Pogona Barbata, the Eastern bearded dragon which was discovered by Georges Cuvier in 1829.

They live in the wild and prefer a warm and dry climate and are best suited for the climatic conditions in Australia. Beardies have become popular pets in many households since their introduction in the United States in the 1990s.

They are friendly and docile, which makes them a good choice for first-time reptile owners.

Are Bearded Dragons Endangered?

Bearded dragons are not an endangered species and are not listed in all the major databases listing species that are at risk of being extinct. In fact, their population is quite stable in the wild. They are classified as least concerned by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN is a global organization that assesses the conservation status of plant and animal species.

The IUCN uses a set of criteria to classify species into different categories, including least concern, near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered.

There are a total of eight species of bearded dragons. The most common one is the Inland Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps).

The eight species are:

  • – Pogona Barbata, the Eastern Bearded Dragon
  • – Pogona Henrylawsoni, Rankin’s Bearded Dragon
  • – Pogona Minor Minor, the Dwarf Bearded Dragon
  • – Pogona Mitchelli, Mitchell’s Bearded Dragon
  • – Pogona Nullarbor, the Nullarbor Bearded Dragon
  • – Pogona Occidentalis, the Western Bearded Dragon
  • – Pogona Vitticeps, the Inland Bearded Dragon
  • – Pogona Minor Minima, the Pygmy Bearded Dragon

The World Wildlife Fund(WWF) which lists the top 100 most endangered species did not list any of the 8 Bearded Dragons species in their list of endangered species.

Some other species that were classified by WWF as endangered include;

  1. Poison Dart Frog
  2. Loggerhead Turtle
  3. Leatherback Turtle
  4. Sea Turtle
  5. Red Panda
  6. Sloth
  7. Tree Kangaroo
  8. African Wild Dog

What is the ‘least concern’ classification?

Bearded Dragons were classified by IUCN under species of ‘least concern’ in terms of their risk of getting extinct from a declining population. This classification is given to species that have a large and stable population in the wild. They are not under any immediate threat of extinction.

Snapshot showing listing of Pogona Nullabrbor under species of 'least concern' by IUCN
Snapshot showing listing of Pogona Nullabrbor under species of ‘least concern’ by IUCN

However, this does not mean that their populations are not declining. In fact, their populations may be declining very slowly over time.

Wildlifelearningcenter.org says on their website that ‘no conservation effort is needed for bearded dragons at this time.’ It goes on to note that ‘excluding heavily urbanized areas, most Bearded Dragon populations in Australia are secure and under no known threat.’

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in Australia to Protect Bearded Dragons:

In 1999, The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources (DEWR) listed the Bearded Dragon under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The EPBC Act is designed to protect threatened species, ecological communities, and important habitats. The Bearded Dragon was listed as a protected species because of its declining population in the wild.

Although their populations are not under any immediate threat of extinction, their populations have been declining over the years.

A number of factors have been identified as being responsible for the decline in their populations. These include habitat loss, introduced predators, and disease.

Habitat loss is a major threat to Bearded Dragons. Their natural habitats are being destroyed by human activities such as agriculture, mining, and urbanization.

As their habitats are destroyed, they are forced to move into smaller areas where they compete for food and shelter. This can lead to a decline in their populations.

Introduced predators such as snakes and foxes are also a major threat to Bearded Dragons. These predators kill and eat Bearded Dragons. This can lead to a decline in their populations.

The disease is another factor that can lead to a decline in Bearded Dragon populations. They are susceptible to a number of diseases, including respiratory infections and parasites.

These diseases can kill them or make them weak and unable to compete for food and shelter. This can lead to a decline in their populations.

Through the 1999 ACT, the Australian Government established a Species Profile and Threats Database listing which provides information about species and ecological communities listed under the ACT.

As of this publication in May 2022, there are 20 reptiles classified as endangered in the database and no species or sub-species of Bearded Dragon are listed.

What Are The Factors That Determine If An Animal Is Endangered?

There are several factors that determine if an animal is endangered.

  • Size of population: The first factor is the size of the population. If the population of a species is very small, it is more likely to become extinct.
  • Rate of Decline: The second factor is the rate of decline. A species may have a large population, but if it is declining rapidly, it may still become endangered. A 2011 study found an increased rate of Central bearded dragons getting injured and at times having fatal injuries.
  • The number of locations: The third factor is the number of locations where the species can be found. If a species is only found in one location, and that location is destroyed, the species will become extinct.
  • Degree of threat: The fourth factor is the degree of threat to the species. If a species is threatened by habitat loss, pollution, or hunting, it is more likely to become endangered.

What Are The Fun Facts About Bearded Dragons?

  • Bearded dragons are fascinating creatures with many unique features. Here are some fun facts about them:
  • -Beardies can change the color of their skin to match their surroundings.
  • -They have a third eye on the top of their head that helps them detect predators.
  • -Beardies can drop their tails as a defense mechanism. The tail will grow back, but it will not be as long as the original.
  • -Bearded dragons are one of the few lizard species that can vocalize. Read our answer to questions of whether Beardies are lizards.
  • -They are omnivores and eat a variety of insects, vegetables, and fruits.
  • -Bearded dragons are native to Australia.
  • -An average bearded dragon can grow to be 2-3 feet long.
  • -Bearded dragons can live up to 15 years in captivity.
  • The body of a Beardy has a tan to yellow color with a series of dark bands running down its body and tail. They have a light-colored belly. The head has a spiny “beard” which is used to intimidate predators and can be black, brown, or orange. When they feel threatened, they will open their mouth and sometimes hiss.
  • Beardies have long claws that help them climb and dig. Their tails are long and can be up to half the length of their body. Males have thicker and longer tails than females.
  • Bearded dragons are found in the deserts, woodlands, and grasslands of Australia. They live in a wide range of habitats but prefer dry, open areas where there are plenty of places to bask in the sun.
  • Bearded dragons are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day. They bask in the sun to regulate their body temperature and will spend most of their time on rocks or branches.
  • At night, they will sleep in burrows or crevices. During the winter months, they may aestivate, which is a type of hibernation.
  • Bearded dragons are opportunistic feeders and will eat a variety of food items. Their diet consists of insects, small mammals, reptiles, and birds. They will also eat fruits and vegetables.
  • In the wild, their life expectancy is 8-10 years. However, in captivity, they can live up to 15 years.
  • Bearded dragons are popular pets in the United States. They are relatively easy to care for and make great companions. If you are thinking about getting a bearded dragon, be sure to do your research to ensure you can provide them with the proper care.
  • Bearded dragons shows submission or greet others by waving one of their front legs in the air slowly. If two males are vying for dominance, they will do a “beard display” where they open their mouth, puff out their beard, and bob their head up and down.
  • If you see a bearded dragon doing this, it is best to give them some space as they may become aggressive.
  • Mating season for bearded dragons typically occurs between October and March. During this time, males will become more aggressive as they compete for females.
  • Females will lay their eggs in a nest burrowed into the ground. The female will stay with the eggs until they hatch and then leave. The young are on their own from that point on.
  • Bearded dragons are not currently listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List. However, their populations are declining in some areas due to habitat loss and hunting.
  • In Australia, bearded dragons are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This act makes it illegal to harm, trade, or collect bearded dragons without a permit.
  • A young bearded dragon of less than 6 months can live in a 20-gallon tank but an adult bearded dragon needs a 75-liter tank.
  • Bearded dragons are known to be intelligent and can identify their owner. They can also be trained to do simple tricks such as wave or stand on their hind legs.
  • Bearded dragons are social animals and do best when kept in pairs or groups. However, males should not be kept together as they will become aggressive towards each other.
  • Bearded dragons are a popular choice for reptile enthusiasts and make great pets for first-time reptile owners. If you are considering getting a bearded dragon, be sure to do your research to make sure you can provide them with the proper care.

Conclusion: Are bearded dragons endangered?

No, bearded dragons are not currently endangered. However, their populations are declining in some areas due to habitat loss and hunting. In Australia, they are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This act makes it illegal to harm, trade, or collect bearded dragons without a permit.

Bearded dragons are a popular choice for reptile enthusiasts and make great pets for first-time reptile owners. If you are considering getting a bearded dragon, be sure to do your research to make sure you can provide them with the proper care.

Some other helpful guides;

Sources/references:

  1. Wells, Richard W.; Wellington, C. Ross. 1985. “A Classification of the Reptilia and Amphibia of Australia”. Australian J. Herp. Suppl. Ser. (1): 1–61. (Genus Pogona, p. 19).
  2. Hutchinson, M. (2018). Pogona barbataIUCN Red List of Threatened Species2018: e.T170419A83493237. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T170419A83493237.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
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