Do Bearded Dragons have Beard?

Trusty: And now it’s time for Who Smarted. Hey, Smarty Pants. You’re never going to guess who my special guest on this Who Smarty episode is. Here, I’ll give you a hint. They have a beard. No, it is not Abraham Lincoln delivering a smarty burger dress and no, it’s not Zeus [thunder clap] or Santa Claus. Ho! Ho! Ho! But those are great guesses. No, today’s beardy guest is my friend. Rascal.
Sarah: Huh?
Trusty: See, I told you you’d never guess it. Anyhow, my friend Rascal might not be one of our greatest presidents, a Greek God, or the giver of presents, but he’s bearded and he is named after a cool mythical creature we did a recent episode on [breathing fire]. Now, can you guess?
Rascal: Hmm? What’s with all the suspense? Just tell them I’m a bearded dragon.
Trusty: That’s right. Rascal is a bearded dragon. Now, I know what some of you might be wondering. Can Rascal fly and breathe fire? [thunder clap] [breathing fire]. No, he cannot. And does Rascal have a big long hairy beard? No, he does not. So, what exactly is a bearded dragon?
Rascal: I’m an easygoing reptile that makes a great pet [applause]. Oh, and I can do some awesome things.
Trusty: Woo. What do you think Smarty Pants? If you have a bearded dragon, you know we’re in for a fun time. And if you’ve never heard of bearded dragons before, get ready to learn some pretty cool things about them. Like where do bearded dragons live? How big do they grow? Why are they called bearded dragons and what makes them such great pets?
Rascal: Do you want to tell them or me?
Trusty: Hang on Rascal. I know you’re excited, but first we got to do the theme song. It’s time for another whiff of Science and history on

Theme Song
Who’s smarted? Who’s smarted? Who’s smart? Is it you? Is it me? Is it science or history? Listen up. Hey everyone, we make smarting lots of fun. Who’s smarted?
Rascal: Hello. This thing on?
Trusty: Yes, Rascal. It’s on. We’re recording.
Rascal: Sorry.
Trusty: It’s okay. Hey, Smarty Pants. I’m here with my pal Rascal, the bearded dragon. As you mentioned earlier, bearded dragons are reptiles. So, Smarty Pants as a reptile, would that make Rascal warm blooded or cold blooded? Yep. Most of you know your animal facts. Reptiles are coldblooded.
Rascal: But I’m a really nice guy.
Trusty: Of course, you are a Rascal. Now, Smarty Pants as a coldblooded animal, does that mean bearded dragons prefer to live in warm or cold places? The answer might surprise you.
Rascal: Despite our cold blood bearded dragons, like things warm. We make our home in habitats like deserts, woodlands or flat grassy plains called Savannahs. We love resting on rocks and climbing through trees and bushes.
Trusty: Here’s an even harder question that even the bearded dragon owners might not know. Smarty Pants, can you name the country Bearded dragons are native to? Now, native to means the place where an animal originates from. Did you say Australia? Hey, that’s where my lunch stealing friend Robert Maroon lives.
Rascal: I would never steal your lunch unless you like eating mealworms, king worms and crickets.
Trusty: Nope. All yours. Of course, bearded dragons are omnivores. Do you know what that means Smarty Pants? That means they eat meat and plants. What veggies do you eat? Rascal.
Rascal: I like greens, like parsley and kale and veggies like peppers and sweet potatoes and some fruits.
Trusty: Hmm. Maybe I’d better hide my lunch from you on salad day.
Rascal: Not cool, dude.
Trusty: Speaking of cool. While bearded dragons do depend on arid conditions and heat to survive. Sometimes, the desert can get too hot even for them. How do bearded dragons stay cool on super-hot days? Do they A, bur underground B, go swimming or C, like ice cream?
Rascal: When it gets too hot for us, we burrow underground to cool off.
Trusty: If you said A, great job. Okay, let’s address your name. You’re called a bearded dragon, but neither of those things are true. After all, you don’t have any hair on your chin?
Rascal: Nope. Hair is more of a mammal thing.
Trusty: So, is your name ironic?
Rascal: No. The bearded part of our name refers to our ability to puff our throats and make our nest darker to scare predators away. Humans thought this looked like a beard, so they called us bearded.
Trusty: Huh, makes sense.
Rascal: I also have neck spikes to protect me and help me look bigger.
Trusty: Oh yeah, you definitely look bigger, but still way smaller than a dragon. Smarty Pants, how big are bearded dragons? Are they A, about one pound, B, about three pounds, or C, about five pounds? The answer is a one pound.
Rascal: Even with my beard and spikes, I only weigh around 1.1 pounds.
Trusty: That’s only a little more than a loaf of sandwich bread.
Rascal: Yep. We’re pretty small and there’s lots of bigger animals that would love to snack on a bearded dragon sandwich. So, now you know why our beards are so important.
Trusty: Gotcha. Okay, so that covers the bearded part. As for the dragon part, your face does kind of look dragon like. But since this is a podcast, why don’t you describe yourself so the Smarty Pants can mentally picture what you look like.
Rascal: Sure. I love describing things. I like most bearded dragons and tans with a little red and gold mixed in. We can also be gray or brown. My head is shaped like a triangle.
Trusty: Ooh, like a slice of pizza.
Rascal: Do I have to worry about you eating me?
Trusty: No, you’re fine.
Rascal: As you can see, my tail is about half the length of my body. Unlike other lizards, bearded dragon’s tails don’t fall off and grow back. Also, you’ll notice I don’t have external ear structures, just two holes on the side of my head.
Trusty: How’s your hearing if you only have holes and not ears?
Rascal: Surprisingly good. I can press my ear holes against the ground and hear vibrations. [vibrations]. You’ll also notice my eyes are on the side of my head. This helps me see all around so I can quickly spot predators. You know the saying, “Eyes on the side we hide.”
Trusty: What animals do you need to worry about in the wild?
Rascal: Oh, we have quite a few predators. Birds, snakes, large lizards, wild dogs, and foxes,
Trusty: Huh? That is quite an enemies list.
Rascal: I wouldn’t call them enemies. Everyone’s got to trustee, including me. Luckily bearded dragons have something pretty cool that helps us catch prey.
Trusty: Smarty pants, what helps bearded dragons catch their prey? Is it A, their spikes, B, their claws or C, their tongues?
Rascal: If you said C, tongues, good job. We don’t have to chase our prey, which is good since we’re not what you’d call fast. Instead, we use our sticky tongues to grab food.
Trusty: Oh yeah. How does that work?
Rascal: Believe it or not, we’re good climbers. Our feet are shaped like human hands, and each finger or toe has a strong claw on it. These help us easily climb trees and rocks. From up high, we can look down at a bug or a worm crawling around on a branch below us and dinner is served.
Trusty: And I’m sure your colors help you blend into your surroundings; what’s known as camouflage.
Rascal: That’s true. For a bigger meal, we might wait for a mouse or a small lizard to go by and then we bite it. We let out some venom, which kills it quickly so we can eat it without a fight.
Trusty: Okay. Okay. Things are getting a little gross here.
Rascal: I’ve seen the way you eat pizza. I wouldn’t talk.
Trusty: Huh? Fair point. Do you have a hard time finding things to eat in the desert?
Rascal: Yeah, it isn’t always easy. Luckily, we can go a few days without food.
Trusty: Not me. I can barely go a few hours
Rascal: I’ve noticed. But that’s also because you’re always expending energy. Bearded dragons are very good at saving energy, especially during a particular time of year.
Trusty: Hmm. We’ll learn what that is as well as the more fun bearded dragon facts right after this Quick break and a word from our sponsors.

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Trusty: Now back to Who Smarted Rosco [Snoring]. Rascal, wake up. We’re back.
Rascal: That wasn’t me. It’s the sound effects guy.
Trusty: Huh? What?
Josh: Sorry.
Rascal: Ah, I thought you were conserving energy. Speaking of Smarty Pants, how do bearded dragon save energy? Do they A, sleep more in the winter, B, eat more in the summer, or C, nap more in the spring? The answer is they A, sleep more in the winter.
Josh: [snoring] Huh-huh? What? Sorry. I’m jet lagged from the long flight to Australia.
Trusty: Anyway, Rascal.
Rascal: Since the winter months are colder with less sunlight, it’s not really a favorite time for bearded dragons. So, we sleep a lot more and save a ton of energy.
Trusty: Ah, you’re like me. I just love the spring and the summer.
Rascal: Oh yeah. That’s the best time to be a bearded dragon. It’s when our babies hatch.
Trusty: Very good. Any idea what a group of bearded dragon eggs is called? Is it A, a carton B, a clutch, or C, a basket?
Rascal: If you said clutch, you’re right. And while the eggs you get in the grocery store come in a dozen or 12, a female bearded dragon can lay over 20 eggs at a time.
Trusty: That is a lot of cute baby bearded dragons. Aw, by the way, what are baby bearded dragons called? Are they beard lits, dragon puppies, or hatchlings?
Rascal: Why Hatchlings of course
Trusty: Makes sense. Even if dragon puppy sounds pretty cool. How big is a hatchling?
Rascal: Hatchlings start out only two to four inches or five to 10 centimeters long.
Trusty: Aw.
Rascal: When a bearded dragon is young, it sheds its skin every few weeks as it grows bigger. When a bearded dragon is 2-years old, it’s fully grown.
Trusty: When a human is 2-years old, it’s still a toddler. Do adult bearded dragons shed their skin?
Rascal: Yep. I shed my skin twice a year.
Trusty: That’s better than every few weeks.
Rascal: Definitely. We shed in patches and when we’re shedding, we eat less and are less active.
Trusty: I hope this isn’t a sad question, but how long do beard or dragons typically live?
Rascal: In the wild, we can live up to 10-years, but many people like to keep us as pets.
Trusty: You know, something tells me a bunch of our Smarty Pants listening have bearded dragons as pets and one even has one named Rascal.
Rascal: What can I say? It’s a great name. And also bearded dragons or beardies as some of our human friends like to call us are one of the most popular reptiles to keep as pets.
Trusty: So, what makes a bearded dragon such a good pet?
Rascal: We’re a good pet size. We’re also playful and get along well with humans.
Trusty: Smarty Pants, when did bearded dragons first go from living only in the wild in Australia to being pets in the USA? Was it A, the 1970s, B, the 1980s, or C, the 1990s
[I love the 90s]
Trusty: Compared to other pets, bearded dragons haven’t been in the United States very long. If you said, C, the 1990s, you’re right.
[I love the 90s].
Trusty: But beardies have become pretty popular in a short amount of time.
Rascal: We’re not just popular with humans, we also like each other. Bearded dragons are pretty social and similarly sized lizards can live together.
Trusty: How do you communicate with other bearded dragons?
Rascal: We use our bodies to communicate with other bearded dragons and humans can learn what our movements mean too. If I bob my head at another bearded dragon, I’m showing it that I’m the boss.
Sarah: Whoa.
Trusty: Huh. I thought you were just nodding your head yes.
Rascal: Waving my arms means I’m okay with the other bearded dragon being the leader.
Trusty: Huh? I thought you were just waving, hello.
Rascal: And of course, if my beard flares out and gets darker, I am feeling threatened and scared. I can even change color if I am fighting with another bearded dragon.
Trusty: Oh. And if my mouth is open, that means I’m hungry. Ah-ha.
Trusty: Me too. Ah-ha.

A big smarty shout out to Forest in Duanesburg New York. We’re so glad to hear how much you love listening to Who Smarted every morning on the way to School with your Mom. Keep on Smarting on Forests. This episode, Bearded Dragons, was written by Sarah Sweet Tech and voiced by Mateo Perotti and Jerry Colbert, technical Direction, and sound design by Josh Hahn. Who Smarted is recorded and mixed at the Relic room Studios. Our associate producer is Max Kaminski. The theme song is by Brian Suarez, with lyrics written and performed by Adam ‘Tex’ Davis. Who Smarted was created and produced by Adam ‘Tex’ Davis and Jerry Colbert. This has been an atomic entertainment production.

[Child growth]