Like all bearded dragons, the dwarf bearded dragon is primarily insectivorous, taking insects and other invertebrates (4) (6), but it also eats flowers, seeds and occasionally small mammals (4). Its invertebrate prey includes grasshoppers, termites, spiders, ants, beetles, moths, centipedes and caterpillars. The dwarf bearded dragon may sometimes eat other small lizards (6).
The female dwarf bearded dragon lays its eggs between December and April, with a clutch size of between 2 and 19 eggs (6). The eggs are laid in a nesting chamber dug out of the ground, and two or more clutches per season can be produced if conditions are favourable (4).
When threatened, the dwarf bearded dragon displays interesting behaviour. Occasionally changing colour slightly, a defensive individual flattens its body and opens its brightly coloured mouth. This has the effect of making the reptile look larger, and therefore more threatening (4). All bearded dragons give this ‘bluff’ response, enabled by their highly expandable throat pouch. When the pouch distends, the spines on the throat become erect making the individual appear larger and more ferocious (7) (8). It is this trait that gives the bearded dragons their name, as the expanded spiny pouch looks like a beard (7).
The dwarf bearded dragon has an optimal body temperature of 35 to 39 degrees Celsius, and has several ways to ensure it is regulated. If its body temperature is too low, the bearded dragon basks, lying at a right angle to the sun’s rays and maximising the body area exposed by expanding its ribs. Dwarf bearded dragons bask on sandy beaches, on shrubs in tall, open heath (6), or on top of termite mounds (4). If there is no sun, bearded dragons burrow beneath the soil where it is warmer than on exposed ground, or lie on or under a rock that has been previously warmed by the sun (6). When basking in a group, the most dominant male is entitled to the prime basking spot (9).
When a dwarf bearded dragon’s temperature is too high, it seeks shade, if possible, or lies parallel to the sun’s rays. It may also pant, or pale the skin to help reduce its temperature, in addition to burrowing into cooler soil (6).
Periodic shedding of the skin is characteristic of the bearded dragons, and takes place over several days. Individuals may rub themselves against rough logs or rocks to help scrape off the flaking skin. When food is readily available, such as in spring, summer and early autumn, bearded dragons generally shed their skin more frequently. Overall, shedding frequency is also dependent on the species, age, growth rate and the temperature of the environment. The glossy skin first revealed after shedding soon becomes duller in appearance (6).