Have you ever wondered what type of animal a bearded dragon is?
How do you tell amphibians and reptiles apart?
Bearded dragons are one of the most popular reptile pets in the world, but at first glance, they also seem like amphibians.
This may lead you to wonder:
Are bearded dragons amphibians?
Although the two categories often get confused, a bearded dragon is a reptile, not an amphibian. Though there are similarities, significant differences in behavior, physiology, diet, and environment prove the bearded dragon’s classification.
Look ahead for more details on why the beardie fits in this category.
Table of Contents
What Is An Amphibian?
There are several common qualities which make amphibians a distinctive group of animals.
While there may be some crossover in traits and physical makeup between amphibians and some reptiles, there are more differences than similarities.
Amphibians and Water
Amphibians both breed and hatch their eggs in cool water.
Usually, amphibians like frogs or newts will stay close to bodies of water or in areas with lots of rainfall.
While there are amphibians which live in deserts, these animals will wait for rainfall events to start calling for mates and breeding.
Amphibians have adapted to living both on land and in water.
Their permeable skins serve as secondary respiratory systems, allowing them to get oxygen from both water and air.
Their webbed feet have evolved adhesive pads with no claws, allowing them to climb and travel through water using friction.
Most amphibians are nocturnal, meaning they are active during nighttime and in low light.
Though your pet lizard needs UV light as an essential nutrient source, amphibians and their eggs cannot tolerate UV radiation or sunlight in the same way.
Adult amphibians are carnivores and, mainly, insectivores.
Even though amphibians are opportunistic eaters, most of them will stick to eating slow-moving smaller prey.
Earthworms, spiders, slugs, and snails are easy sources of food.
Smaller water creatures like crayfish are also readily available.
Bullfrogs will eat faster and bigger animals, including mice, rats, snakes, and even birds or bats.
Amphibians are social animals and live most of their lives in groups.
This is especially true of frogs.
If you live near a marsh or wetter environment, you have probably heard groups of frogs singing with and to each other.
Most amphibians will vocalize, or make noises, to communicate with each other.
Like many reptiles, amphibians will use their coloring as camouflage to help hide themselves.
Many amphibians change color for this and other purposes.
There are amphibians which signal to predators using bright colors, a method of aposematism, or warning pursuers.
The poison dart frog is a great example.
Its variety of bright colors signal to hungry animals they are not worth eating.
Amphibians secrete mucus through their skin.
This mucus is slippery, helping them escape a predator if caught by one.
Sometimes, this mucus will be poisonous, giving a predator a nasty surprise.
How Do Bearded Dragons Compare?
Though there are some common qualities between amphibians and bearded dragons, there are enough significant differences to prove a bearded dragon is not an amphibian but a reptile.
Bearded Dragons And Water
Unlike amphibians, bearded dragons do not require water to breed or lay eggs.
In fact, bearded dragon eggs need the opposite conditions from amphibians to hatch.
Heat, dryness, and incubation are the required environmental controls.
Although bearded dragons do need drinking water for hydration, an enclosure which is too damp will potentially cause health problems.
Bearded dragons are native to Australia’s deserts and have evolved to survive in drier and hotter environments than amphibians.
Unlike amphibians, a bearded dragon’s skin is not permeable but rough and scaly.
It would not be able to breathe through its skin in water the way an amphibian would.
A bearded dragon’s skin is ideal for absorbing sunlight.
Its feet do not have webs or adhesive pads for traveling through bodies of water.
A bearded dragon has clawed feet, ideal for climbing rocks and finding basking spots in the desert.
Unlike most amphibians, bearded dragons are diurnal, meaning they are most active during the day.
They need as much contact with sunlight, and with UV light, as possible.
Amphibians and their eggs cannot tolerate sunlight and UV light in the same way as a bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons are omnivorous.
Captive bearded dragons eat a mix of live insects, veggies, and fruits.
Their ideal prey, usually crickets and dubia roaches, are more fast-moving than amphibians’ usual food.
Like amphibians, wild bearded dragons will sometimes eat other reptiles and rodents.
However, wild beardies will also sample leaves and flowers.
No Social Life
Bearded dragons are solitary animals.
This is incredibly important if you are planning on adopting or buying a pet bearded dragon.
Two bearded dragons have been known to fight to the death if they are in the same enclosure.
This contrasts with amphibian life, where groups of hundreds of frogs or salamanders will live in harmony with each other in the same environment.
Unlike amphibians, bearded dragons do not usually communicate through making sounds.
In fact, they will barely vocalize at all.
Like amphibians, bearded dragons primarily rely on camouflage and barely moving to escape predators.
They are usually tan-colored, which serves them well in the desert.
However, they will also change color based on their moods.
Unlike amphibians, they are not poisonous and do not secrete mucus to escape predators.
Bearded dragons also have a variety of defense mechanisms to scare predators.
When a predator like a goanna or a bird finds a bearded dragon, the beardy will extend the pouch under its bottom jaw, sometimes darkening its beard.
Their beards make their heads appear larger.
In addition, beardies flatten their bodies, making their whole bodies seem larger, too.
Bearded dragons also gape or open their mouths when displaying their beards.
This will often lead to biting.
Unlike other lizards, bearded dragons cannot detach or drop their tails to escape.
They will not regrow a tail if they lose it accidentally.
We hope this article has helped you answer if a bearded dragon is an amphibian.
There are significant differences in behavior, diet, and environment which distinguish a bearded dragon from amphibians.
While there may be similarities, there are enough differences which classify a bearded dragon as a reptile, not an amphibian.
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