Pogonas, or more commonly referred to as bearded dragons or beardies, are only found naturally in Australia. However, since the 1990s this animal has gained such popularity in the exotic pet trade that you can find them in almost every pet store in America. Due to their docile, gentle behavior and pleasant disposition, this animal has become a favorite with beginner herpetologists. They are very social and it is rare to find a bearded dragon that is aggressive toward a human. Being a reptile, they are still a high maintenance animal in captivity, requiring a fresh, varied diet loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as specific, somewhat expensive lighting, and hours of social interaction. Do not underestimate the commitment it takes to house any reptile.
Unlike some other lizards, a bearded dragon cannot regrow any lost limbs. The bearded dragon has a triangular head with spikes that resemble thorns. On their throat they have rows of spiked scales that lay flat when they are relaxed but can be puffed out for intimidating displays. This area can also change color, going to a darker, near-black that contrasts with their lightly colored bodies, giving them an impressive display to either warn off a predator or attract a mate. The males during mating season are often seen sporting their black beards, puffed out to impress the ladies.
Fun fact: Bearded dragons are venomous. In 2005 researchers at Australia’s Melbourne University discovered that bearded dragons produce a mild venom. It does not have an effect on humans or many other animals and most likely is a vestigial trait from beardie ancestors when it served more of a purpose.