How to Tame Your Dragon! Bearded Dragon Captive Care

Photographs By Austin P Taylor

Moving through the aisles of any shop selling reptiles and you’ve no doubt seen the “Poster Child” for the herpetoculture industry. Whether they’re staring at you from labels on the shelves or babies watch you walk by their enclosure hoping you’re going to drop a few crickets inside, you have seen them. I am of course speaking of Pogona vitticeps known to most of us as the Inland Bearded Dragon or just simply the Bearded Dragon.

Technical Taxonomy

Most people when speaking of Bearded Dragons on a whole are referring to Pogona vitticeps the Inland Bearded Dragon. While not as plentiful in a captive environment there are two other species of the genus Pogona which are also known as Bearded Dragons. They are Pogona barbata the Eastern Bearded Dragon and Lawson’s Dragon Pogona henrylawsoni. As I said, the former two species are not as plentiful in the industry of herpetoculture and this is due to many factors. In the following week I am more concerned with providing accurate, honest information about Pogona vitticeps, later I may cover the other species.

All of the Bearded Dragon species are included in the family Agamidae, which includes other popular species such as Uromastyx, Chinese Water Dragons Physignathus cocincinus, and even the (make sure to see our friend Deloy of the Frilled Warrior Project) Frilled Lizard Chlamydosaurus kingii. In the genus of Pogona, there are a total of seven species. The Coastal Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata is the largest of the Pogona sp. measuring in at around 25” total length.  Lawson’s Dragons, which are today commonly called Rankin’s Dragons Pogona henrylawsoni, rarely reach a length of more than 11” in total length, making them the smallest of the species. Rankin’s Dragons have no “beard” to speak of as do others of the species. The most commonly sold species, the Inland Bearded Dragon Pogona vitticeps, reaches a total length of 22”. If you want the in-depth story about that captive care of the Bearded Dragon we invite you to download our eBook, which was written from more than a decade of experience and edited by todays most prolific herpetoculture/herpetology author, Dr. Robert G. Sprackland Taming the Dragon