Eastern Bearded Dragon
Bearded Babies in the Backyard
Around March, be on the lookout for some Eastern Bearded Dragon youngsters emerging from the soil. Eastern Bearded Dragon adults mate from August to December each year, and the hatchlings emerge about 45 to 79 days later. So if you're in the right place at the right time, you might spot some.
At 9 cm long, these babies might be easy to miss, but what they lack in size, they make up for in numbers. The mother lays up to three clutches during the breeding season of 14 to 31 soft shelled eggs, which are each about as long as a 10 cent piece.
Click to watch a video of some pet Bearded Dragons hatching. And see what baby Eastern Bearded Dragons look like, by clicking here.
Eastern Bearded Dragons aren't shy about visiting your backyard. They're great buddies to have around as they will eat up snails, insects, grasshoppers, beetles, katydids, small lizards, worms, flowers, fruits, and the occasional mouse. Avoid using chemicals in the garden, and the Eastern Bearded Dragon will take care of the bugs for you.
The needs of the Eastern Bearded Dragon are as simple as they get. They need their food, their partner and a patch of sunshine, and it's up to you whether you agree that they have their priorities straight there.
Trees fulfill most of their needs, as Eastern Bearded Dragons can climb up to escape danger, get some sun or just keep an eye on the scenery and spot any attractive females that may be strolling past. Look out for them basking in the sunlight of a branch, log or even on your fence.
Growing up to 55 cm, it would be hard to miss an Eastern Bearded Dragon if it didn't have such a brilliant natural disguise. They range from grey, black and dark brown through to lighter reddish-brown and ochre shades, which are just perfect for blending in with bark, rocks, logs and dead branches.
You can tell an older Eastern Bearded Dragon by the pale blue, green or yellow markings they develop on their forehead as they age. They have a row of spikes along their side that continue up their forearms. This is a good way to tell them apart from their close relative, the Central Bearded Dragon
Click to find out what other kinds of bearded dragons live all across Australia. Other common kinds of bearded dragon include the Dwarf Bearded Dragon, found in the west of Australia, and the Inland Bearded Dragon which is found in western New South Wales and Queensland, northwestern Victoria, and eastern Northern Territory and South Australia.
Given that they're calm and peaceful lizards, the Eastern Bearded Dragon's first line of protection is the simplest. Just stay very still and let their rocky appearance act as camouflage until danger passes.
But if they get frightened, their beard extends forward and they open their mouth wide to flash the bright yellow colour inside, which usually scares off potential predators. Try to keep your cat indoors as much as possible, to avoid a confrontation with this buddy.
Keep your eyes peeled if you live in eastern Australia, particularly if you're south of the Cape York Peninsula, as this is where the Eastern Bearded Dragon is most commonly spotted
Don't be caught out calling this buddy a frill-necked lizard. Frill-necks are only found in northern parts of Australia and their frill goes all the way around their heads. The Eastern Bearded Dragon's beard is a little less impressive, but no less important when it comes to defending themselves against a possible menace.
If you observe some funny behaviour from the Eastern Bearded Dragons over the mating season, be polite about it. The males will attempt to get the attention of attractive females passing by wild waving and head-bobbing. Not very elegant, but it sure is effective.
DID YOU KNOW?Waving and bobbing isn't the only way these dragons get the attention of the opposite sex. Up to 75 different display sequences have been observed in their mating rituals, with a repertoire that includes head-licking, push-ups and even colour changes. These are definitely the go-to dragons to consult if you ever need help with your flirting techniques.
TIPWatch out for Bearded Dragons and other lizards sunning themselves or looking for food on your driveway, or along the edge of a road or highway. It's also a great idea to check any long grass for dragons and Blue-tongues before mowing.