Rankins Dragon Care: Expert Guide with Species Profile


Rankins Dragon or Pogona henrylawsoni is a popular small-sized reptile that originates in Australian deserts. They are often compared to their larger and more popular cousin, the Bearded Dragon. However, Rankins Dragon has its unique characteristics and requirements that every responsible owner needs to know. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Rankins Dragon care, from its species profile to its breeding and conservation status. So, let’s begin!

Introduction to Rankins Dragon

If you are looking for a friendly and easy-to-care-for reptile, Rankins Dragon is a great option. These small-sized reptiles typically grow up to 12-16 inches in length and have a lifespan of 6-10 years in captivity. They are naturally curious and have a relaxed disposition, which makes them a popular choice for beginners and experienced reptile enthusiasts alike.

Rankins Dragon is native to the arid regions of Australia and is also known as Lawson’s Dragon or Black Soil Bearded Dragon. These reptiles are well adapted to the harsh desert environment and can often be found basking on rocks or burrowing in the sand to regulate their body temperature.

One of the unique features of Rankins Dragon is their ability to change color. When they are feeling threatened or stressed, they can darken their skin to blend in with their surroundings. This adaptation helps them to avoid predators in the wild.

In terms of diet, Rankins Dragon is omnivorous and will eat a variety of insects, fruits, and vegetables. They are not picky eaters and will readily accept a range of food items. However, it is important to ensure that their diet is well balanced and provides all the necessary nutrients for their growth and development.

Rankins Dragon is also a relatively low-maintenance pet. They do not require a lot of space and can be kept in a terrarium or vivarium. However, it is important to provide them with a suitable environment that mimics their natural habitat. This includes a basking area, hiding spots, and a substrate that allows for burrowing.

Overall, Rankins Dragon is a fascinating reptile that makes a great pet for anyone interested in these unique creatures. With their friendly demeanor, easy care requirements, and interesting behaviors, they are sure to provide their owners with years of enjoyment.

Species Profile

Origin and Habitat

Rankins Dragon, also known as the Lawson’s Dragon, is a species of lizard found in the arid regions of Australia, specifically in the Northern Territory and Queensland. They are usually found in rocky terrain with sparse vegetation, such as rocky outcrops, gorges, and dry creek beds. These lizards are well-adapted to the harsh desert environment and can be seen basking on rocks during the day to absorb heat and hiding in crevices to escape the scorching sun.

Physical Characteristics

Rankins Dragon has a unique body shape, with a broad and flattened head and a triangular-shaped body. They have strong limbs and long, sharp claws to help them climb rocks and trees. Their skin color is usually tan or light brown with dark brown or black patches, providing excellent camouflage against the rocky terrain. Their spiky scales on their throat, which they can puff up during aggression or mating, add to their distinctive appearance.

These lizards are also known for their impressive tail, which can make up to two-thirds of their total body length. The tail is used for balance and communication, and can also be shed as a defense mechanism if the lizard feels threatened.

Lifespan and Size

Rankins Dragon has a lifespan of 6-10 years in captivity, with proper care. In the wild, their lifespan may be shorter due to predation and harsh environmental conditions. They grow up to 12-16 inches in length, with males slightly larger than females. Hatchlings are usually around 3-4 inches long and grow quickly under the right conditions.

Behavior and Temperament

Rankins Dragons are naturally curious and friendly, making them a popular pet among reptile enthusiasts. They enjoy basking in the sun and exploring their surroundings, and can often be seen perching on rocks or logs. These lizards are also known to be docile, making them a great pet for families with children.

However, it’s important to note that they can be territorial and may show aggression towards other reptiles or even humans if they feel threatened. In the wild, Rankins Dragons are solitary creatures and will defend their territory against intruders. They communicate with each other through a series of head bobs and tail flicks, which can be fascinating to observe.

Overall, Rankins Dragons are fascinating creatures with unique physical characteristics and interesting behaviors. With proper care and attention, they can make great pets and provide hours of entertainment and enjoyment.

Proper Housing for Rankins Dragon

Rankins Dragons are fascinating creatures that require a comfortable and spacious enclosure to thrive. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to provide them with an environment that mimics their natural habitat to ensure their physical and mental well-being. Here are some additional details to help you create the perfect home for your Rankins Dragon.

Enclosure Types and Sizes

When it comes to selecting an enclosure for your Rankins Dragon, bigger is always better. These active creatures require plenty of space to move around and explore. In the wild, they can travel up to several miles a day in search of food and mates. Therefore, it’s essential to provide them with an enclosure that can accommodate their active nature.

For young Rankins Dragons, the enclosure should be at least 36 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 18 inches tall. As they grow into adults, they will need more space to move around. Adult dragons require a minimum of 48 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 24 inches tall. It’s important to note that these are the minimum requirements, and providing more space is always beneficial.

The enclosure should also be made of sturdy materials and have a secure lid to prevent escape. Rankins Dragons are known for their excellent climbing abilities, so it’s important to ensure that the lid is tightly secured to prevent any escape attempts.

Substrate Options

Rankins Dragons require a substrate that can mimic their natural environment, which is a dry and rocky terrain. There are several substrate options that you can use, including sand, calcium sand, or reptile carpet. These substrates are ideal because they allow the dragon to dig and burrow, which is a natural behavior for them. However, it’s important to avoid using particle-based substrates like wood chips, as they can cause impaction if ingested.

Furnishing and Decor

Rankins Dragons require plenty of hiding spots and basking areas in their enclosure. You can add rocks, logs, and other natural accessories for them to climb and hide. These accessories also provide them with mental stimulation and help prevent boredom. It’s important to ensure that the accessories you choose are sturdy and cannot be easily knocked over.

Additionally, it’s essential to provide full spectrum UVB lighting to help them synthesize vitamin D3, which is important for their bone health. You can place the UVB lighting on top of the enclosure or use a fixture that can be mounted inside the enclosure. It’s important to replace the bulbs every six months to ensure that they are providing adequate UVB lighting.

Temperature and Lighting Requirements

Rankins Dragons are cold-blooded creatures that require a specific temperature range to regulate their body temperature. It’s important to provide them with a basking spot with a temperature of 95-100°F and a cooler area with a temperature of 75-80°F. The enclosure should also have a temperature gradient to allow the dragon to regulate its body temperature. You can achieve this by placing the basking spot on one end of the enclosure and the cooler area on the other end.

Full spectrum UVB lighting should be provided for 12-14 hours a day. This lighting helps the dragon synthesize vitamin D3, which is essential for their bone health. It’s important to ensure that the lighting is not obstructed by any accessories or decorations in the enclosure.

By providing your Rankins Dragon with an appropriate enclosure, substrate, accessories, and lighting, you can ensure that they are happy and healthy. Remember to clean the enclosure regularly and provide fresh water and food as needed. With proper care and attention, your Rankins Dragon will thrive in their new home.

Nutrition and Feeding

As a pet owner, it is important to ensure that your Rankins Dragons receive a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Providing a healthy diet will help keep your pet healthy and happy.

Diet Overview

Rankins Dragons are omnivorous, which means they require a balanced diet of insects and vegetables. Insects are a great source of protein for your pet, and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals. A well-balanced diet for your Rankins Dragon should consist of 60% insects like crickets, super worms, and mealworms, and 40% vegetables like collard greens, kale, and dandelion greens.

It is important to offer a variety of insects and vegetables to ensure that your pet receives all the necessary nutrients. You can also offer fruits like strawberries and blueberries as a treat, but these should be given in moderation.

Feeding Schedule

The feeding schedule for your Rankins Dragon will depend on their age. Young Rankins Dragons should be fed once a day, while adults can be fed every other day. It is important to offer your pet as much food as they can eat in 15 minutes, and any uneaten food should be removed to prevent spoilage and contamination.

It is also important to monitor your pet’s weight and adjust their feeding schedule accordingly. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health problems, while underfeeding can lead to malnutrition.

Supplements and Vitamins

Rankins Dragons require supplements and vitamins to ensure they receive adequate nutrition. Calcium is essential for your pet’s bone health, and a lack of calcium can lead to metabolic bone disease. You should dust their insects with calcium supplements once a week to ensure they receive enough calcium.

Multi-vitamin supplements are also important for your pet’s overall health. These supplements should be dusted on their insects once a week to ensure they receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals.


Rankins Dragons require a shallow dish of clean water to drink from and soak in. It is important to change the water daily to prevent bacteria growth and contamination. You can also mist your pet with water to help maintain their hydration levels.

In addition to providing a water dish, you can also offer your pet a bath once a week. This will help keep their skin hydrated and healthy, and it can also help with shedding.

By following these guidelines for nutrition and feeding, you can help ensure that your Rankins Dragon remains healthy and happy for years to come.

Health and Wellness

As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to prioritize the health and wellness of your Rankins Dragon. These fascinating creatures are susceptible to a variety of common reptile health issues, including metabolic bone disease, dehydration, and impaction. It’s essential to be aware of the signs of illness and to take preventative measures to keep your pet healthy and happy.

Common Health Issues

Metabolic bone disease is a common health issue in Rankins Dragons that is caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D3 in their diet. This can lead to weak bones, muscle tremors, and difficulty moving. Dehydration is another common issue that can occur if your pet doesn’t have access to clean water at all times. Impaction, which is caused by the ingestion of substrate or other foreign objects, can also be a serious health concern.

If you notice any signs of illness in your Rankins Dragon, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or abnormal behavior, it’s crucial to consult a reptile veterinarian immediately. These signs could be indicative of a serious health issue that requires prompt treatment.

Preventative Care

Preventative care is essential to keep your Rankins Dragon healthy and to prevent common health issues. Providing a well-balanced diet that includes calcium and vitamin D3 supplements, clean water, and proper lighting and temperature are all important factors in maintaining your pet’s health. It’s also crucial to clean the enclosure regularly to prevent bacteria growth and contamination.

Additionally, it’s important to monitor your pet’s behavior and health regularly. If you notice any changes in their appetite, behavior, or appearance, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away. Early detection and treatment of health issues can make a significant difference in your pet’s overall health and well-being.

Signs of Illness

In addition to lethargy, loss of appetite, and abnormal behavior, there are other signs of illness that you should be aware of in Rankins Dragons. Discolored or saggy skin can be indicative of dehydration or other health issues. It’s also important to monitor your pet’s bowel movements for any signs of impaction.

If you notice any signs of illness in your Rankins Dragon, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. A reptile veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests and provide treatment to help your pet recover.

Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary checkups are an important part of maintaining your Rankins Dragon’s health and wellness. During these checkups, a reptile veterinarian can perform routine tests and treatments to prevent and treat common health issues. They can also provide guidance on proper nutrition, habitat, and other aspects of caring for your pet.

By prioritizing your Rankins Dragon’s health and wellness, you can provide them with a long and happy life as a beloved member of your family.

Handling and Socialization

Rankins Dragons are fascinating creatures that can make great pets. However, like any pet, they require regular handling and socialization to form a bond with their owners. In this section, we will discuss some tips for taming and bonding with your Rankins Dragon, safe handling techniques, and socializing them with other reptiles.

Taming and Bonding

Rankins Dragons can be tamed and bonded with their owners with regular handling and socialization. When you first bring your Rankins Dragon home, it is important to give them time to adjust to their new environment. Once they have settled in, you can start the taming process. Start by offering them food from your hand and gradually move to holding them. Always handle them gently and avoid sudden movements. It may take some time, but with patience and persistence, your Rankins Dragon will become more comfortable with you and enjoy spending time with you.

Safe Handling Techniques

When handling Rankins Dragons, it is important to use safe handling techniques to prevent injury. Always support their body with both hands to avoid putting too much pressure on their legs or spine. Avoid grabbing them by the tail, as it is fragile and can break easily. If your Rankins Dragon is particularly skittish or jumpy, it may be helpful to use a small towel or cloth to gently wrap them up while you handle them.

Socialization with Other Reptiles

Rankins Dragons can coexist with other reptiles, but proper introductions and monitoring are important to prevent aggression and territorial behavior. When introducing your Rankins Dragon to other reptiles, it is best to do so in a neutral environment, such as a separate enclosure or a room that neither animal has claimed as their own. Keep a close eye on their interactions and be prepared to separate them if necessary. With proper socialization, your Rankins Dragon can live happily with other reptiles and form lasting bonds with them.

In conclusion, handling and socializing your Rankins Dragon is an important part of being a responsible pet owner. By following these tips for taming and bonding, using safe handling techniques, and socializing them with other reptiles, you can ensure that your Rankins Dragon is happy, healthy, and well-adjusted in their new home.

Breeding and Reproduction

Breeding and reproduction are important aspects of any animal’s life cycle, and Rankins Dragons are no exception. These fascinating creatures reach sexual maturity at around 1-2 years old, and it is at this point that they begin to exhibit mating behavior.

Mating Behavior

Rankins Dragon males are known to display territorial behavior, often bobbing their heads to attract females. This behavior can be quite fascinating to observe, as the males will often puff up their chests and show off their brightly colored markings in an attempt to attract a mate.

Once a male and female have mated, it is only a matter of time before the female will lay her eggs. This typically happens around 4-6 weeks after mating, and it is an exciting time for any Rankins Dragon owner.

Egg Laying and Incubation

Female Rankins Dragons typically lay their eggs in burrows or nesting boxes. It is important to remove the eggs from the enclosure and incubate them in a separate container. This will help to ensure that the eggs remain at a consistent temperature and humidity level, which is essential for their proper development.

When incubating Rankins Dragon eggs, it is recommended to maintain a temperature of 85-90°F and a humidity level of 70-80%. This will help to ensure that the eggs hatch properly and that the baby dragons are healthy and strong.

Hatchling Care

Once the eggs hatch, it is important to provide proper care for the hatchlings. They should be kept in a separate enclosure with a temperature of 85-95°F and a humidity level of 70-80%. This will help to ensure that they remain healthy and that their growth and development are not hindered by environmental factors.

Hatchlings should be fed small insects, such as crickets or mealworms, and offered clean water daily. It is important to monitor their growth and development closely, as any issues that arise early on can have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the Rankins Dragon as it grows into adulthood.

By providing proper care and attention to breeding and reproduction, Rankins Dragon owners can help to ensure that these fascinating creatures thrive and live long, healthy lives.

Conservation Status and Responsible Ownership

Legal Considerations

Rankins Dragons are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). It’s important to purchase them from a reputable breeder and to follow all local and state regulations regarding reptile ownership.

Supporting Conservation Efforts

You can support conservation efforts by donating to reptile rescue organizations and purchasing reptiles from reputable breeders.

Ethical Breeding Practices

Ethical breeding practices include providing proper care and nutrition, monitoring health and behavior, and selling or adopting out reptiles to responsible owners who can provide adequate care.


Rankins Dragons are a great pet for reptile enthusiasts of all levels. They are easy to care for and have a friendly disposition. However, it’s important to provide proper housing, nutrition, and veterinary care. By following the guidelines in this article, you can ensure the health and wellness of your Rankins Dragon and enjoy many happy years together.

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