Weird and wonderful facts about bearded dragons

Kim Kardashian, posting on Instagram, has shared an adorable photo of daughter North West twinning with her bearded dragon, both pet and owner wearing fuzzy pink bathrobes.

“Meet the newest member of our family, Speed. I really wasn’t planning on liking Speed the way I do but she grew on me!” the reality star wrote alongside the photo, explaining that the lizard was inherited from a friend after they babysat (or should that be ‘beardie-sat’?) it for a week.

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A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian)

It may look like an unusual choice compared to a fluffy puppy or kitten, but beardies, as they’re known, are actually one of the most popular pet reptiles in the world, and they’re very interesting creatures.

Read more: Pets and Australians – who owns what

In honour of the latest member of the Kardashian clan, here are seven fascinating facts about bearded dragons.

1. They don’t really have facial hair

The species name comes from the ‘beard’ of spiny scales around their necks. When a bearded dragon opens its mouth as part of a mating display, or if it feels threatened, the scales puff out and turn darker, making them look even more beard-like.

2. They come from Australia
The bearded dragon or pogona genus is native to our home. In the wild, these cold-blooded lizards are found in deserts, shrublands and woodlands, which is why you’ll need a temperature-controlled vivarium if you want to keep a beardie as a pet.

3. They’re faster than they look

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If you’ve ever seen a bearded dragon sitting stock still in a vivarium for what seems like hours, you might think it’s a bit of a lazy lizard. While they are sedentary for the most part, bearded dragons can reach speeds of up to nine miles per hour (15kmh).

4. They hibernate in winter
Reptiles such as bearded dragons go through something called brumation, which is a bit like hibernation for mammals. During this period, which usually lasts up to three months and happens over winter, the beardie will be even more sedentary than usual, retreating into a darker place, sleeping more and eating less.

Read more: Extraordinary facts about snakes

5. They can swim
Although they can happily survive in bone-dry deserts, bearded dragons are also content in water, either cooling down in a shallow pool or swimming like a crocodile, inflating themselves with air to stay afloat.

6. They have lots of celebrity fans
Kim Kardashian isn’t the only famous face with a fondness for bearded dragons. Other celebrities who’ve been pictured with their reptilian pets include former One Direction star Zayn Malik, model Chrissy Teigen and actor Chris Pratt.

7. They communicate by waving

If you see a bearded dragon raising an arm, it’s not just stretching. The reptiles are known to wave to one another to signal submission to a more dominant lizard, and many a beardie owner has reported their scaly pet ‘waving’ to them.

Do you have an unusual pet? Do you often see bearded dragons in the wild?

– With PA

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