Bearded dragons are native to Australia. They are relatively new to America (introduced in the 90s) and have gained popularity over the years.
For the most part, bearded dragons are sedentary reptiles. They can sit for hours basking, gathering heat and UVB light. This might make you think they’re a bit lazy. But did you know they can run faster than they look?
Interestingly, this article will answer whether bearded dragons can run, how fast they can run, why they run, and many other things related to their speed.
Let’s get started.
Can bearded dragons run?
Most of the time, lizards just sit and do nothing. They don’t like to walk or run around. They can stick to walls and stare for hours without moving.
Bearded dragons are lizards. But can they run?
Bearded dragons can and do run. WorldAtlas listed them among the fastest reptiles in the world. They run for different reasons, which we’ll discuss shortly.
The interesting thing about bearded dragons running is that they don’t run on four legs but on their two hind legs. For a long time, scientists thought that running on their two back legs made them run faster. However, their back legs allow them to run further.
Why do bearded dragons run on their hind legs?
There are two reasons why they run on two legs.
First – as they reach their top speed, they move fast, forcing the center of gravity to shift. This shift causes the center of mass to change positions in the body. As a result, gravity pulls their bodies into an upright position.
Running on two legs isn’t intentional but an evolutionary error—it’s a result of physics.
National Geographic talks more about this issue by highlighting a study done by a team from the University of Cambridge who studied the running styles of 16 species of lizards running on a treadmill.
Second- the upright position allows them to change directions quickly at high speed, which makes them more successful at escaping predators and catching prey.
Why do bearded dragons run?
Bearded dragons are not naturally hyperactive animals. However, they can run if they have to or want to. Here are a variety of reasons why they can run.
To escape predators
In the wild, life is about survival, meaning bearded dragons have to be able to escape predators. Many animals can eat them, including:
- Birds of prey
- Snakes and other lizards
These predators are often larger and faster compared to bearded dragons. Therefore, they need to run as fast as possible to avoid being caught.
To catch prey
Bearded dragons are omnivores, which means they can eat meat and plants. They can’t survive on plant matter alone since they need protein. The kind of meat they prefer is worms, insects, and other lizards.
So, regardless of whether they live in the wild or in captivity, they’ll most likely chase down prey if they see one.
When bearded dragons sense a change in the weather, they can run fast to a safe spot. Sudden weather changes can be dangerous to them.
Some changes that can make them run to a different spot include:
- When it’s too hot or too cold.
- Extreme winds.
As pets, if the temperature of their tank is not right, they might try to run away.
If they’re scared or spooked
Your other pets, including cats, dogs, and birds, might scare or spook your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons consider larger animals predators, especially if they’re not used to seeing them around. This might make them run as fast as possible to a hiding spot.
However, it could be possible for all your pets to cohabit, but you need to give them time and be patient as they get comfortable with each other.
How fast can bearded dragons run?
The maximum speed a bearded dragon can run on average is nine miles per hour. However, their speed depends on several factors.
Bearded dragons are not particularly fast runners. But they can run fast, especially when they feel like their lives are in danger. In a life or death situation, they can run as fast as they can using their hind legs.
In fact, when scared, they can run at full speed and jump over obstacles along the way.
Factors that determine the speed of bearded dragons?
Just like humans and other animals, some bearded dragons are faster than others. Certain factors such as age, genetics, lighting, temperatures, and diet can affect their running speed.
An adult bearded dragon can run faster than a juvenile because the adult has longer strides and well-developed muscles. However, as adults grow older, their running speed may reduce as their bodies age and become weaker.
Genetics can influence running ability, and this also applies to bearded dragons. Because genetics can play a big role in muscle fiber type, flexibility, metabolism, and overall endurance potential.
Food can impact the overall physical performance of a bearded dragon. A nutrient-rich diet consisting of the right foods, supplements, and water can increase muscle mass and bone density.
A poor diet may reduce muscle mass and contribute to their lack of stamina.
This is not an issue in the wild, as bearded dragons get sufficient UVB from the sun. However, as domesticated pets, lighting can affect their overall health and speed. UVB is essential for digesting foods.
Properly set UVB lamps can help improve a bearded dragon’s overall activity, including speed and food digestion.
When the enclosure is too cold, their body temperature drops. This means digestion will take longer, and they may not have enough energy to run around.
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded and rely on the sun and UVB lamps to warm them up. They are most active when temperatures are high.
Bearded dragons are fascinating creatures. They can run using their two hind legs at top speed, which is pretty strange. They can run up to nine miles per hour.
Running might not be natural for them because they are sedentary creatures. But, they can run for the following reasons; to escape predators, chase prey, if they’re scared, or if the weather changes. Their running speed is affected by their environment, age, genetics, and diet.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand more about bearded dragons and their running ability.