Bearded dragons are one of the most popular reptile pets due to their docile nature, cuteness, and fascinating characteristics. One of the most interesting facts about them is that they have a parietal eye, also known as a “third eye”. This tiny white dot on the top of their head is an important survival tool in the wild, allowing them to sense potential predators by detecting light and dark changes.
The third eye is located at the center point between the two regular eyes on the sides of the bearded dragon’s head. Unlike the other two eyes, the third eye does not have an eyelid but is covered by a protective scale. It contains a cornea, retina, and lens, but lacks an iris and sees only shadows rather than images.
The parietal eye plays several vital roles in the bearded dragon’s life. It is connected to the pineal gland, which produces the hormone melatonin that regulates their sleep and wake cycle. Without the third eye, bearded dragons would have a lower thermal tolerance, making it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature. Overall, the third eye enables bearded dragons to detect potential dangers and adapt to their environment.
However, picking up a bearded dragon from above can make them feel uneasy due to their sensitivity to shadow changes. It is best to approach from the front or side with your hand under their chest and gently scoop them up. For young bearded dragons just getting used to handling, it is recommended to start by placing your hand inside their enclosure and hand-feeding them bits of food before attempting to pick them up.
Bearded dragons are not the only animals with a third eye. Most other lizards, salamanders, and tuataras also have one, as well as some fish and sharks. However, mammals do not possess a third eye and this unique feature only occurs in cold-blooded animals.
In conclusion, the parietal eye is an amazing feature of bearded dragons that allows them to adapt and survive in their environment. It also adds to their charm and unique characteristics as a pet. So next time you’re spending time with your bearded dragon, take a closer look at their third eye and appreciate how it contributes to their well-being.