Jargon Buster Glossary for Bearded Dragons

We uncover the mysteries surrounding bearded dragon jargon and explain the different words and terms that bearded dragon and other reptile keepers may use

Bearded Dragon Jargon Help 1

It's Confusing - But It Doesn't Have To Be

What Words Mean What??

Are you thinking about getting a bearded dragon and doing research? Or you may already have bearded dragons and looking for some advice? What ever the reason you have probably come across words and terms that you may not have heard of. We have compiled a list with an explanation to many of the words and terms that bearded dragon and other reptiles keeper will use.

If you find there is term you’ve heard or read and its not listed here please drop us a comment and we will happy to add it to the list.


Bearded Dragon Basking 2
Bearded Dragon Basking Under A Heat Lamp

Basking or bask is to lie and soak up the warmth of either the sun or a heat source such as a basking heat bulb.

See Lighting and Heating to see what bulbs are the best for bearded dragons.


Brumation or brumating refers to semi sleep state that many reptiles enter into – this includes bearded dragons. Its similar to hibernation in mammals.

In the wild brumation is a survival mechanism this  process allows reptiles  to slow down their metabolism to preserve energy in the colder months where food is also scarce. In captivity bearded dragons will undergo various degrees of brumation. Much will depend on temperatures not just their internal temperatures in their enclosure, the external environment will also have some affect on them.

Click for more information about brumation and what to do.


The cloaca has several functions in bearded dragons. It is also present in other reptiles birds and amphibians. This orifice connects to the bladder and rectum allowing the elimination of urates and faecal matter.

The cloaca in these animals is also connected to the reproduction channels. In males the cloaca is responsible for the transfer of sperm to female cloaca to facilitate egg fertilization after mating.  Mating by use of the cloaca is called Cloacal Copulation sometimes referred to as “the cloacal kiss”

The cloaca ends at the vent.


Bearded Dragon With Salad And Mealworms 3
Bearded Dragon With Dusted Salad

Dusting is the term used for the light sprinkling of supplement powder such as calcium and vitamin D over food. This can be either their green and or live food.


Medical term used to described a difficult birth or failure to progress. For reptiles this would be referred to as egg binding


Ecdysis is the medical name used to describe the process of shedding in reptiles and the removal of the old exoskeleton of insects. See Shedding.

Egg Bound 

Egg bound or egg binding refers to an incomplete or failure to lay eggs also called Dystocia.  Egg binding can be life threatening and will often need medical intervention.

Feeder (Insects)

All live bugs that are fed to your lizard. Examples are dubia roaches, crickets, locusts, morio worms and super worms etc.

For more information on feeder insects and how to get the best from them see Feeder Insects in live foods for bearded dragons.

Femoral Pores

Femoral pores are located on the underside of the thighs on the hind legs. Both male and female have them although they are larger and much more noticeable in males. Femoral pores are in fact follicular glands that secretes a waxy substance releasing pheromones, in which bearded dragons use to attract a mate and identify themselves.

Fluorescent Lighting

These bulbs provide a bright white light, the lights required for bearded dragons are not the same you would use as your kitchen light. For bearded dragons you will need a UV fluorescent light with a minimum of 10% UV.

These are available as a tube (linear bulb) or in a coil. The coil format should be avoided due to the limited coverage, it has also been suggested that the UV levels degrade quicker,

There are two types of UV florescent bulb / linear light available, the T5 and the T8. The number represent the diameter of the tube. The T5 gives a greater UV output than the T8. The T5 is a good option for mounting the bulb outside the tank. The T5 is also available as a T5HO theses bulbs produce even more UV.

For more information on lighting see Lighting and Heating.

German Giant

Similar in appearance to regular bearded dragons apart from their size. German Giants have been bred to be much bigger and more robust. Due to their increased size when fully grown this morph of bearded dragon will require a much larger enclosure.


Is a term used to describe a female carrying eggs or young, term used to describe pregnancy.

Gut loading

Gutloading Silkworm With Mulberry Leaves 4
Gutloading Silkworm with Mulberry Leaves

To gut load is to feed feeder insects with nutritional veg prior to feeding the insect to the lizard. This is particularity good for the fussy lizard who wont eat their greens. They gain all the nutrients consumed by the insect

See Tips on how to gut load.


Essentially, housekeeping, caring and breeding for your animal.


This is where the bearded dragon has a bowel obstruction most commonly by ingesting something that it cannot digest and/ or pass in its faeces.  This can also occur due to internal abnormalities such as structures or growths pressing on, or growing within the digestive tract. For more information on sign prevention and treatment see My bearded dragon looks sick – Impaction.


A variant of Bearded Dragon they have smaller smoother scales on their back


See Metabolic Bone Disease.

Mercury Vapour Bulb

Mercury vapour bulbs (MVBs) for reptiles are an all in one lamp that combines light with heat and provides UVA and UVB. It is recommended to have an additional UV fluorescent tube to increase the coverage area of UV especially for medium to larger vivariums. For more information on lighting see Lighting and Heating.

Metabolic Bone Disease.

A serious and life threatening condition where the bearded dragon becomes deficient in calcium. If the deficiency continues growth will become stunted, bone will become soft , break easily. Later stages they look deformed and have significant tremors. See My bearded dragon looks sick – MBD for more information on prevention, signs and treatment.


Bearded Dragon Morphs 5
Bearded Dragon Morphs

Variant of the same animal.  Bearded dragon morphs have been bred exhibit different features these range from having different colours, scale size and translucency to shape and size of the dragon and its features.


Abbreviation used for a mercury vapour bulb. See mercury vapour bulb for explanation.

Non Particle Substrate

A terms used to describe a substrate that is solid in its form eg. tiles, paper, carpet

See substrates for bearded dragons for a more details.

Particle Substrate

Any substrate that is loose in its from eg. sand, bark, wood chips.

See substrates for bearded dragons for a more details.


Bearded Dragon Shedding Featured Image
Ruby in full Shed

Shedding is whereby old skin or scales peel or flake away to allow for the growth of new ones. In referring to bearded dragon shedding the scales become dull and grey or while looking before shedding. Bearded dragons tend to shed in patches. The younger the bearded dragon is the more frequent they will shed, this is due to their rate of growth.  

For information on what to do while they are shedding see Bearded dragon shedding – what are the signs.

Silkback  (Silkie)

Silkie Bearded Dragon
Silkie Bearded Dragon

A variant of Bearded Dragon that have been bred to have smooth silkie skin and no scales. Silkie bearded dragons require specialized skin care regime


The material that is used to cover the floor on a reptiles enclosure. it can be either loose or solid. For more information see Substrates for Bearded Dragons.


See Fluorescent Lighting


See Fluorescent Lighting


Thermoregulation is the process that allows the body to maintain its core temperature. Bearded Dragons are unable to generate their own heat without an external heat source due to them being cold blooded.


Urates are a crystallized form of uric acid, it is a waste product eliminated by the kidneys. The urate is the white hard portion you see when a bearded dragon defecate.

UV – Ultra Voilet

Ultra Violet rays are emitted from the sun there are two types that reaches the earths surface: UVA and UVB. Both will cause us “sun damage” however UV exposure for bearded dragons is essential and a vital component for growth, development and bone strength.


UVA rays have a longer wavelength and penetrate deep into the dermis of the skin. .


UVB rays has a shorter wavelength and is responsible for the sunburn to the superficial layers of our skin. Without adequate UVB bearded dragons will develop Metabolic Bone Disease.

For information on UV lighting see Lighting and Heating.


Bearded Dragon Vent 6
Bearded Dragon Vent

The vent is the opening that leads to the cloaca.

Also see Cloaca.