The Many Different Types of Bearded Dragons
There are lots of different types of bearded dragons. The exact amount of variations differs depending on where each breeder identifies the changes.
The majority of these different types are specifically bred away from the standard type of bearded dragon to make them look deliberately different from the norm.
If you picture a bearded dragon now, you’ll think of the standard sandy colored type with rough skin and small spines surrounding their chin and sides.
However, breeders have used a selective breeding process to create more variations of this species, whilst maintaining its health and character. The changes themselves, for the most part, are purely superficial.
The different types are known as ‘morphs’. This is where a breeder has created a bearded dragon that qualifies as one of the identified types using genetic mutations.
What are Morphs?
If a bearded dragon is different from the norm but doesn’t have strong enough characteristics to be named as one of the morphs, it’s called a fancy bearded dragon.
The different morphs generally focus on the type of the bearded dragon’s skin, spines, and claw types.
Colour is one of the biggest factors. For example, they may be particularly pale, or bright red.
They’re also judged on skin texture. Some morphs have perfectly smooth skin, rather than the rough, bumpy skin that normal dragons have.
What are the Different Types of Bearded Dragons?
The most common bearded dragon that people choose as a pet is the standard (Pogona vitticeps). These bearded dragons are a sandy color with rough skin and small spines around their chins and sides.
Their colour intensifies in mating season, with the female’s chin becoming orange, while the males turn black.
Leatherback and Silkback
The texture of the skin is changed on Leatherback and Silkback morphs.
This is due to a genetic mutation that stops the scales from growing properly.
Colour is one of the most noticeable changes in the different morphs.
The Hypomelanistic Morph
The Hypomelanistic morph displays more muted color variations than the standard.
It’s generally really pale in comparison and has paler claws and less pattern. These are fairly common as pets.
If you want to find out what morph your bearded dragon is then check out the video below.
Translucent and Zero
Less common, pale variants are the Translucent and Zero dragons.
Translucent bearded dragons have very thin skin that almost appears see-through. And zero bearded dragons, the rarest of the morphs, are completely white with no pattern at all.
These make common pets too, due to their bold features.
The German Giant
The other common morph is the German Giant. This dragon is specifically bred to be 50% larger than the norm, but it can be difficult to know if you have one of these until it’s fully grown.
German giants look the same as the standard dragon at first glance, but as they become mature, a much larger habitat may be needed.
Are Albino Bearded Dragons Real?
It’s also a genetic impossibility to breed albino bearded dragons. Though zero bearded dragons are completely white, they aren’t albinos as they don’t have the characteristic red eyes.
If a breeder claims to have an albino for sale, this may be one to avoid too.
How To Identify the Type
It can be incredibly difficult for new owners to work out what type of bearded dragon they have.
The best way is to ask the breeder who will be able to tell you. However, if you have lost contact with the breeded or who have rescued your beardie then check out the video below to find out what type of bearded dragon you have.
Why There Are Different Types
Breeders use selective breeding to create the different types of bearded dragons using the strongest genes in a breeding pair to generate stronger forms of a specific characteristic.
For example, if you’re wanting a pale bearded dragon, then a breeder will take a pale male and a pale female and breed them. The end result should be an even paler baby.
This can cause deformities and health issues that might not be immediately obvious, ultimately costing you more in vets bills. Make sure you use a reputable breeder.
When purchasing any type of bearded dragon you need to make sure that you purchase from a responsible breeder.
What to Consider When Purchasing Rare Types?
Consider The Cost
When you’re buying your first morphed bearded dragon, you need to consider the cost. It’s a myth that morphed bearded dragons aren’t healthy.
However, the upfront cost will undoubtedly be higher. This is because a lot more time and effort goes into creating specific mutations in the gene pool to create these dragons.
Make sure you do your research into what type of bearded dragon you’re looking for and its exact features before going ahead.
Avoid Irresponsible Breeders
Certain irresponsible breeders may try to sell a dragon to you at a higher price, claiming features that aren’t immediately obvious.
For example, the size of dragons can’t be determined until adulthood. If you’re purchasing a German giant, it’s best to see the parents beforehand.
A younger dragon will tend to look the same as a standard until it matures.
Avoid Pygmy Bearded Dragons
Some breeders claim to have ‘pygmy bearded dragons.’ Pygmies aren’t a true morph and the bearded dragons may just appear slightly smaller than normal, but once full-grown, won’t be much smaller than a normal one.
A pygmy may just have had a few health problems, stunting its growth slightly.
Care Advice for Specific Morphs
Morphs do need the same type of habitat as a standard bearded dragon in general. They require a UV lamp to bask, a shady area, and fresh food each day.
You’ll tend to find that, even with the brighter bearded dragon colors, they’ll start to become dull during shedding periods.
If you have a tough-skinned morph, such as a German giant, make sure that your bearded dragon has a rough surface, usually on the floor or a branch, to scrape off any remaining skin that doesn’t fall off naturally.
During the shedding period, their skin can be quite sensitive, so it’s best not to handle them as much for a few days until they’re back to normal.
If you choose a Silkback or Translucent bearded dragon, their skin is naturally thinner than other morphs.
Bear this in mind when placing your heat lamps. Regularly check the temperatures across different zones in the tank.
You can easily achieve this with an infra-red thermometer.
If you have a dragon with thinner skin, maintaining their hydration is especially critical. A bearded dragon will remain hydrated primarily through the food that it eats.
However, you may need to assist the hydration process through regular bathing, using a reptile safe water conditioner to treat the water.
Reptisafe is a conditioner that will remove any harmful chemicals from the water whilst also replenishing the electrolytes which can often be low in a dehydrated beardie.
As their skin is more sensitive, any scratches or scrapes can become infected if you don’t pay close attention. Bathing them every few weeks in clean water will help to remove any particles that may damage their skin.
House Your Beardies Separately
Bearded Dragons are solitary creatures, regardless of the morph you need to keep your beardies in their own tanks.
If bearded dragons are forced to live together they can often fight, this could cause much more harm to a Silkback or Translucent bearded dragon as their skin is generally much thinner.
Which Types Make the Best Pet?
Essentially, all morphs and fancy bearded dragons do carry the same personality characteristics. The differences that you see in them tend to be just superficial, so all of them make great pets.
As long as you treat them well, they should display friendly, inquisitive behavior and are a great pet for a child.
This is because they’re quite hardy in comparison to other reptiles and are out and about during the day.
All types of bearded dragons share the same diet. This means that one type shouldn’t be more expensive to feed than another. It’s also easy for you if you have a couple of different types.
Hopefully, you have learned a little more about the different types of bearded dragons. Perhaps you have now identified the exact type of beardie that you own.
Remember that generally, all bearded dragons require the same level of care, but with some types, you just need to pay particular attention to their hydration levels.
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