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If you have been on the hunt for a bearded dragon, then you have probably encountered the term “fancy bearded dragon”. What is a fancy bearded dragon? How do they differ from other morphs? What do they eat? Well, on this topic, we will give you the definitive guide to fancy bearded dragons. From their history to their diets, we will help you out!
Fancy bearded dragons are extremely popular in Australia and the United States because they look amazing, beautiful, and easy to raise. Like many other reptiles, professional breeders have discovered some effective ways to manipulate the appearances of these lizards to create a new one. This altered version is called the fancy bearded dragon.
We are in love with this reptile because it has unique colors and scales. While ordinary beardies tend to be tan or yellow, fancy bearded dragons are usually red and slightly smoother than standard ones.
However, these cute little pets are still native to Australia’s warm, arid deserts and woodlands. Like the other dragons, they are omnivores whose diets consist of vegetables, fruits, crickets, and worms.
What Is a Fancy Bearded Dragon?
A fancy bearded dragon is a unique variation of the standard beardie. Many beardie enthusiasts love this breed because of its visually pleasing physical characteristics. These differences came from the mutations from different genes. They also have unique traits that were caused by selective breeding, making them more interesting to learn.
In case you didn’t know, we have different bearded dragon morphs. A “morph” describes a dragon’s overall appearance, including its size, body type, and scales. However, this term also applies to other reptiles, including iguanas and pythons.
Fancy and standard dragons are of the same species, the Central Bearded Dragon, called Pogona vitticeps. They usually have the same size and look.
How Do They Differ From Other Morphs?
- Different Skin Melanin
First, fancy bearded dragons have different skin melanin content, pattern, and degree of scalation than other morphs. They also have unique and different care requirements, including special creams and UV lighting for extra moisturization.
Regarding their skin, fancy bearded dragons have paler or muted colors; some are even white. Plus, their nails can be white or transparent. A morph called “hypomelanistic bearded dragon” is a good example with very little to no melanin content, making their skin very light and almost pale.
We also have another morph called “silkback bearded dragons”. These little creatures have absolutely no sales, making their skin smoother and color more vivid. They, however, need special care, especially when it comes to breeding.
- Different Size (German Giant)
Another difference from other morphs is the size. Most fancy dragons are almost similar to standard beardies, but some are bigger, including the German Giant bearded dragon. In case you didn’t know, this reptile can grow up to 25-30 inches. However, it is still very hard to identify this mutation unless it has finished growing.
- Different Pattern
Fancy bearded dragons such as dunner, genetic stripe, and paradox bearded dragons have unique patterns. Dunner beardies boast their unique disorganized scalations with spots and scars because of their discontinued markings.
- Different and Unique Color
Paradox bearded dragons have a solid color, usually grey or off-white, that develops into other different colors with random patterns, making them fancier, rarer, and more expensive.
Remember that red is usually rare, while orange, citrus, and yellow are more common. We also have blue, violet, and purple beardies, which are considered extremely rare. We can only encounter these colors among translucent bearded dragon morphs.
Patterns such as spots, tigers, and paradoxes are also characteristics of fancy bearded dragons.
Are Fancy Bearded Dragons Make Good Pets?
Yes! Standard and fancy bearded dragons are both calm animals, making them suitable for any household. These reptiles enjoy chin rubs, too! With proper care and nutrition, these pets can encounter very few health problems throughout their lifespan. If you appreciate unique breeding with a prehistoric appearance, you will surely love fancy bearded dragons.
How Much Do Fancy Bearded Dragons Cost?
Fancy bearded dragons are more expensive than normal dragons. Since they have one-of-a-kind colors and patterns, most breeders sell them for $150 to $300. This price is way more costly than other standard dragons that only cost around $30 to $50.
Where Can We Buy Fancy Bearded Dragons?
Well, the best place to buy fancy bearded dragons or other unique morphs is from experienced and reputable breeders to ensure that they still have a good genetic stock. If you have no idea in finding a reputable breeder, you can ask your local veterinarian since he or she might know some. You can also join online forums or groups only. These platforms can help you find the nearest reliable breeder in your area.
Pro Tip: Do your thorough research before purchasing a bearded dragon, regardless of whether it’s a standard or a fancy one. Many breeders are dishonest and claim their pets as “fancy” or “rare” to earn a steeper price tag.
What Do Fancy Bearded Dragons Eat?
Fancy bearded dragons are omnivores, just like the standard beardies. They eat a diet of live mealworms, insects, vegetables, and fruits. The safest greens for these cute little reptiles are watercress, dandelion, cover, rocket, and plantain leaves. Remember to avoid feeding your bearded dragons with spinach since it prevents calcium absorption. Cabbage and kale are good in moderation but not too much because these veggies can affect hormone production.
Pro Tip: Remove all uneaten items every day and replace them with fresh ones.
When it comes to insects, we highly suggest mealworms and crickets. However, it is no bigger than your pet’s mouth. If you prefer feeder insects, make sure they are gut-loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Pro tip: For stronger immunity, give your fancy bearded dragon this liquid vitamin.
Young beardies need more insects to eat than adults, so use the ratio of 75:25 for your baby beardies – 75% insects and 25% plants twice a day. This trick can help little dragons grow stronger and healthier. As they grow older (larger than 30 centimeters), you can change the ratio to 40:60 – 40% insects and 60% plants. Feed your adult fancy bearded dragons a maximum of once a day. We recommend feeding them in the morning so your pet can digest his or her food throughout the day.
Lastly, you should dust their meal lightly with vitamin and mineral supplement powders (calcium supplement) before feeding to maintain a strong immune system.
What Are the Signs of a Fancy Bearded Dragon Shedding?
Fancy bearded dragons shed their skin in larger pieces. However, we have no rules as to how often they should shed their scales annually.
If you think that your beardie is starting to shed, you should look for dull and old skin that becomes dry. Don’t pull it off since the skin will come off easily on its own in the next few days. If you did, it could tear the new skin underneath, so please don’t pick or pull it.
What to Do When a Fancy Bearded Dragon Is Shedding?
The best thing to do for a shedding fancy bearded dragon is to leave them alone to allow your pet’s skin to come off naturally. Remember that these reptiles have evolved over a million years, so they surely don’t need assistance from us; there is no need to use oils and other nonsense.
However, if you want to loosen tight, dry skin, you consider the following:
- UV light
Ultraviolet or UV light is necessary for a shedding bearded dragon, fancy or not, since it helps them produce more vitamin D. No artificial light is as good as the sun in providing UV light. Most owners buy a UV lamp since the one that comes from the sun does not penetrate window glass, meaning our pets don’t receive enough when they are in captivity.
- Heat and light gradient
In addition to UV light, heat and light gradient can help them shed, too. However, remove all rocks from your pet’s tank if you use any heat source since these can cause burns to your beardie.
Pro tip: You can use a thermometer to monitor the tank’s temperature.
A bath can also help to an extent but only if the skin has already cracked and is flaking off. In case you didn’t know, a bearded dragon’s skin is 100% waterproof. Therefore, we need it to be broken first to allow the water to penetrate the shedding areas. If the skin is still unbroken after a few days, you can adjust the humidity. Again, water or hydration helps to an extent, so a little extra humidity in the morning and evening will help, too.
Once again, you must never pull or peel the skin off. We have encountered many bearded dragons with damaged skin due to keepers who tried to peel the dry skin and “aid” the shedding process. Remember that pulling the skin hurts them and can lead to infections, so please don’t do it.
Fancy bearded dragons are almost similar to standard dragons. The only differences are the physical traits, such as the color, pattern, and scalation. However, the fancy ones may need special care requirements for moisturization due to their lower melanin content.
Moreover, fancy bearded dragons are excellent pets. Like standard dragons, they like being held, especially when they have experienced it since they were young. However, be extra careful in handling silkback bearded dragons since they have thinner skin, making them prone to injuries if held incorrectly.