Bearded dragons are one of the easiest lizards to look after, and make great pets for older children and adults. They are easy to handle and have lots of character. Smaller dragons can be delicate so younger children should be supervised when handling them. These dragons are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day, and can live up to 10 years old. They do not need a great deal of space and their needs can be easily met in any home. Males are larger than females and if cared for properly, can reach their maximum size of 60cm in one year.
They do not have the same needs for companionship as most mammals do, so are happily kept on their own. Once they are comfortable around their owner, they seem to enjoy being handled and will quite happily sit on your knee or shoulder. It is not always possible to sex them when they are small. It is important to note that males tend to fight when they mature, whereas females may live peacefully together. A male who is housed with one or more females will form a fairly natural social group, although breeding is almost inevitable. Bearded dragons lay eggs which need to be incubated at the right temperature and when hatched these need to be raised for several weeks away from their parents before they are allowed to go to new homes. It is important to note that it is often very difficult to find homes for babies.
Both males and females ‘head bob’ to each other, which is one of the ways they communicate. Both sexes also communicate by waving one of their front legs. This behaviour is natural and can be seen even when dragons are kept alone.