12 Exciting Facts About Bearded Dragons

1. They Are Legally Bound to Their Homeland

Australia has prohibited the export of its wildlife, including bearded dragons, since the '60s. Yet, even after that—between 1974 and 1990, some have estimated—a stock was smuggled out of the country for captive breeding.

2. They Wear Their Emotions on Their Chins

The signature beard of these dragons behaves almost like a mood ring, going black when the animal feels threated, stressed, or aroused.

3. Bearded Dragons Can Climb Trees

Although wild bearded dragons are mostly terrestrial, they are technically semi-arboreal and can become expert tree climbers when needed.

4. Bearded Dragons Communicate With Nods and Waves

Bearded dragons are beloved for their anthropomorphic body language—namely head bobbing and arm waving.

5. They Collect Water on Their Heads

The desert where bearded dragons come from is a droughty place, and animals adapt to the arid environment with quirky ways of capturing and storing water.

6. Bearded Dragons Can Regrow Their Teeth

The ability to regenerate teeth is a quality shared by many reptiles. Bearded dragons are unique, though, in that they have both polyphyodont and monophyodont teeth, even on the same jawline.

7. They Can Run at Human Speed

The bearded dragon's top speed, believed to be 9 mph, compares to human running speeds.

8. Females Can Store Sperm for Later

Females have an unusual ability to store sperm in their reproductive tracts, then fertilize the eggs themselves so long as that sperm is put to use within the same breeding period.

9. They Can Sleep Standing Up

Forums in the beardie-owning community are awash with anecdotes about pet dragons sleeping in highly awkward positions, like propped up against the glass walls and ornaments inside their tanks.

10. They Can Change Color Like Chameleons

For starters, the chameleon's evolving colors are more prominent than the bearded dragon's, but also, the bearded dragon can isolate parts of the body it wants to change color.

11. They Pee Powder

Instead of peeing liquid, it releases uric acid in the form of a white powder or chalky paste—called "urate"—which it has evolved to do as a means of retaining water in the hot, dry Australian wild.

12. Male Beardies Become Females in Warm Temperatures

Studies have found that male bearded dragons subjected to temperatures 96.8 degrees and above during embryonic development transition to females 100% of the time.