Scientific name: Pogona henrylawsoni English name: Dwarf bearded viper Lifespan: 6-10 years Distribution: Central Queensland, Australia Legislation: Not protected Toxicity: Non-toxic Appearance This is a popular species of agam that is smaller than the common bearded viper. It will be approx. 25 cm long when fully grown. The tail makes up about half the length. The head is rounder than the common bearded dragon and the beard is less developed. Legs and tail are relatively short. There are a few larger spines behind the jaw area and a row of spines along the side of the body. The coloring can range from olive to yellowish brown with two rows of oval markings along the back. The underside of the body is white, but is also occasionally seen with a gray marbling. Juveniles may have orange color around the ears and on the back, but this will usually fade with age. Males can be recognized by two hemipenal bumps on the underside of the tail. Males will often display the characteristic head nodding behavior along with a gray neck during mating season. Biology The dwarf bearded dragon is a diurnal species that comes from a dry, harsh environment. In nature, it prefers to sit on elevations in the terrain, e.g. ground mounds, small rock ledges or rocks, where it finds shelter in accessible cracks. Keep in terrarium Dwarf bearded agams require a dry, well-lit desert terrarium. A terrarium with the dimensions L: 100 cm x W: 50 cm x H: 50 cm is suitable for an adult couple. The terrarium must be set up with a layer of sand at the bottom as well as rocks/stones and cork bark to allow for climbing and seeking shelter. Particular attention should be paid to arranging stones and bark so that it stands securely, thereby assuming that the animals can be injured or trapped under the decorations. A space is created where the animals can sunbathe and warm up by placing a spot bulb at one end of the terrarium. It must be 45-50 °C in the sunny area and the temperature must drop to 28-30 °C at the opposite end of the terrarium. It is important that the animals can choose between warmer and cooler areas in the terrarium, so that they have the opportunity to choose their preferred body temperature. A fluorescent tube with 10% UV-B light and a daylight tube for approx. 14 hours a day. All heat and lights should be turned off at night to allow the temperature to drop to 18-24 °C. It is recommended to use a thermostat to prevent overheating – especially in summer. Food Dwarf bearded dragons are primarily insectivores, but will also enjoy a bit of green food. Appropriately sized crickets, crickets, cockroaches, giant mealworms and mealworms can be used. Greens can include romaine lettuce, Chinese cabbage, arugula, dandelions and other greens and edible weeds from the garden. Insects should be shaken with lime at each feeding and once a week they should also be shaken with vitamin powder. Cubs should be fed 2-3 times a day, young animals once a day and adults fed every other day. A small water bowl should be available and chicks and young animals should be sprayed with water once a day to ensure they drink. Dwarf bearded dragons do not drink much, as they cover a large part of their fluid needs through food. Signs of disease Healthy animals have clear eyes and are clean around the eyes, mouth, nostrils and mouth. The animals should move freely and be alert when picked up. The hip bone should not be particularly visible at the top of the tail and the animal should not be overweight either. Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) is caused by insufficient calcium intake and/or UV-B light. Symptoms include tremors, paralysis, deformed spine, swollen limbs and broken bones. Missing toes and tail tips are common and are not an immediate cause for concern as long as there is no risk of infection. Inactivity and lack of appetite are typically symptoms that can mask a number of illnesses. A veterinarian should be consulted here. Handling should be limited, as this can cause stress and an increased risk of disease. It is not recommended to handle young animals. Other Adult males can fight and should therefore not be kept together. Dwarf Bearded Dragons can be kept in pairs or in small groups of no more than one male. The dominant male nods his head to show dominance and occasionally the neck area will also change color from white to grey. Submission is signaled by a waving gesture. Most pygmy bearded dragons can become very tame and can be handled for short periods at a time. Color change is not very marked in pygmy bearded dragons, but they may lighten or darken depending on temperature and mood. All dwarf bearded dragons available are captive bred and are relatively hardy if well cared for. Cubs grow quickly and should be separated by size if kept in groups. Breeding To get the bearded dragons into breeding mood, you can give them a winter hibernation of 7-8 weeks, at a daytime temperature of 17-18 degrees and 25 degrees in the heating area. The length of the day must be 10 hours. The night temperature should be approx. 15 degrees. It is important to slowly lower and raise the temperatures so that it does not go too quickly for the bearded dragons. Especially when lowering the temperature, it is important to go slowly. You have to be sure that all the feed it has in its stomach is absorbed before it gets too cold. Reptiles need heat to be able to absorb their food, so just before and while they are in hibernation they must not be fed as it is too cold for them to be able to absorb the food and the food will therefore rot in their stomachs and the bearded dragon will eventually die from it. When the animals are at normal temperature again, you can start feeding again. After the winter break, mating will take place. This can take place quite violently and you may have to separate the parties for a short period. After mating, an egg-laying box is placed in the terrarium. The box must be large enough that the female can easily turn around in it. At the bottom of the box is a good layer of a mixture of moist vermiculite and sphagnum. In this box, the female will then lay her up to 20 eggs. Hatching of eggs The eggs are carefully placed in an incubator and hatched over 60-75 days at approx. 30 degrees. The young are cared for in the same way as the adults, but they must be fed a little more often. You should keep the young in a terrarium by themselves to ensure that the adults do not eat the young. Some bearded dragons mate and lay eggs without hibernating. Caring for cubs Cubs are looked after just like adults, just with the right amount of feed and extra vitamins and minerals.