Bearded dragons are cool, everyone can agree on that, it’s a fact. But, what most people don’t know is that there are a lot of different subspecies and categories of bearded dragons. One such category of highly sought-after bearded dragons is the fancy bearded dragons are extra cool.
What is a Fancy Bearded Dragon?
A fancy bearded dragon is an unofficial category of bearded dragons. Fancy bearded dragons are labeled as such because they have a unique and rare color, size, or pattern. But before the fancy bearded dragon can be discussed, bearded dragons as a whole must be.
A bearded dragon or as it is known scientifically the Pogona is a genus of reptiles that contains six species of lizards. The genus Pogona is in the subfamily Amphibolurinae of the lizard family Agamidae.
Bearded dragons are identified by their wide and triangular heads, their flattened bodies, and their clusters of spiny scales that cover their entire body.
Some Pogonias have the evolutionary ability to change their color slightly during mating and dominance challenges between males. Some are also known to change color slightly, among other stimuli, in response to temperature changes in their surrounding, for example, they can black to absorb heat.
Additionally, male Pogonias can grow up to 24 in or 60 cm long, and females can grow up to 20 in or 51 cm. The name bearded dragon comes from the bottom of the throat (aka the beard) of the lizard, which will turn black and puff out as a result of the lizard feeling stressed, threatened, or for several other reasons.
Expert Tip: Also, during breeding seasons, male bearded dragons will inflate their “beards” and do ahead bob gestures to try to attract mates or show dominance over other bearded dragons.
Pogonias aka bearded dragons are a semi-arboreal species, which means that they spend a significant amount of their time on branches or in bushes. They also spend a lot of time near human settlements.
As a species, Pogonias tend to bask in the sunlight in the morning and afternoons on rocks and exposed branches. The pogonias diet consists primarily of insects, vegetation, and the occasional small rodent.
They can be found in the wild throughout a great deal of Australia and live in a wide range of environments, such as the desert, shrublands, and the eucalyptus woodlands.
When they are threatened, the pogonia will puff up their bodies and their beards to ward off any predators and make they can make their largely dull spikes more dangerous. Bearded dragons will also display a hand-waving-like gesture to demonstrate submission.
This is usually done when acknowledging a fellow bearded dragon’s territory. They will also do a similar head-bobbing move to demonstrate dominance between fellow dragons.
These last parts aren’t necessarily important information, but they are some fun quirks of the bearded dragon, the handwaving and head bobbing are pretty cute.
Now that we know what it is that makes a bearded dragon a bearded dragon, what is it that makes a fancy bearded dragon, a fancy bearded dragon?
A bearded dragon will be classified as fancy if it has a color, pattern, or scales that are outside of the expected normal range for wild bearded dragons. They are created by a natural genetic defect that gives them these differences. Any individual bearded dragon that has a rare color, pattern, or size could be labeled as fancy.
Fancy is a category for every species that can be considered rare or unique. Regular bearded dragons are most commonly found to be tan. beige, or a light brown, usually with marking with a muddy yellow color.
They have these colors and patterns as an adapted camouflage used for surviving in the Australian desert.
Expert Tip: Fancy bearded dragons often have a vivid red or orange color, with distinctive zigzag patterns, and sometimes even with fewer spikes. These traits make them stand out from predators, which makes it hard for them to survive out in the wild.
This is why they are hardly ever seen outside the direct care of a human. In the wild, they tend to not last long. In captivity, however, fancy bearded dragons thrive.
Because of the high price, they sell for fancy bearded dragons are frequently subject to selective breeding to create more breaded dragons with the genetic mutation that makes them fancy.
What are the Differences?
As stated above, there are surface-level differences with fancy bearded dragons in how they look. Both fancy and regular bearded dragons come from the same subspecies. They just happen to have different unique colors, markings, and sizes. Fancy bearded dragons have fewer or even no scales on them.
They can also have unusual markings and patterns such as spots, stripes, and even zigzags. They can also have colors like bright yellow, orange, black, purple, and red. Also, any bearded dragons that are albino and melanistic would be classified as fancy.
Meanwhile, regular bearded dragons are rough and spiny and have a light stripe down the spine with irregular markings on the sides. Their color is also sandy, tan. and light brown and can have beige or white markings.
What is meant when it said that the two types differ in their patterns and markings is this: regular bearded dragons will commonly have a very light stripe along their back and will have darker blotches on their sides. Meanwhile, with fancy bearded dragons, popular patterns often include tiger stripes, zigzags, and a camouflage pattern.
But there are also some other differences too. One such difference is the price, Fancy bearded dragons are a very highly desirable type of bearded dragon. Their appeal comes from their interesting and unique colors and patterns that can only be found with the fancy bearded dragons.
Fancy bearded dragons are often sold for between $150 and $300. Some very rare-looking fancy bearded dragons can be known to be sold for over $900. Meanwhile, normal, nonfancy, bearded dragons tend to sell for about $30 to $50. The higher price is because of how unique it looks.
With a more unique-looking bearded dragon fetching a much higher price than the eight different species of bearded dragons that exist, four are commonly kept as pets. The central bearded dragon or the pogona vitticeps is the most popular species of a bearded dragon to have as a pet.
Additionally, every fancy bearded dragon is from the Pogona vitticeps subspecies, as they have been selectively bred to have those rare colors and patterns. When it comes to size, fancy bearded dragons tend to be pretty similar to normal bearded dragons.
Expert Tip: Bearded dragons typically grow to reach about 15 to 20 inches long. With the one execution of the German Giant a type of bearded dragon that can grow as big as 30 inches long!
When it comes to the spikes of bearded dragons, some fancy bearded dragons are rather different from regular bearded dragons.
For example, there are the leatherback and silk back types of bearded dragons. Leatherbacks are specifically bred to have only a few spines on their bodies. They are also bred to have very small scales and a smooth texture.
Meanwhile, Silk backs are bred to have absolutely no spines or scales on them and to have a smooth and wrinkly texture to their skin. When it comes to the diet of these different types of bearded dragons, there is no difference.
Fancy bearded dragons are the same as regular bearded dragons. Both types are omnivores and will eat a mixture of insects, fruits, and vegetables. As they get older, bearded dragons of both types will typically change their diet from being mostly insects to being mostly vegetables.
Additionally, when it comes to behavior there is no difference between the two types. The behavior of fancy bearded dragons is no different from that of regular bearded dragons. As a species, they are naturally friendly and easy to domesticate. Both types are known to do the same submissive and aggressive gestures, such as the hand wave and head bob.
Lastly, when it comes to having to care for both types of bearded dragons there is no real difference. Fancy bearded dragons may look different from regular bearded dragons but nearly all domesticated bearded dragons require the same type of care. Most have similar lighting, temperature, and humidity needs.
However, the silk back and leatherback mentioned before tend to be more sensitive to light and will require some special care.
How To Identify A Fancy Bearded Dragon?
Now that the difference between regular bearded dragons and the fancy ones is clear, it is time to answer the question of how to identify them. Because of the price tag that comes with a bearded dragon being labeled as “fancy”.
Some pet stores and less than reputable third-party sellers will advertise regular bearded dragons as being fancy in an attempt to overcharge for it. Expect the buyer to not actually know what fancy means.
Also, on the other side of things, pet stores and third-party sellers might not know what “fancy” means and maybe selling a fancy bearded dragon at the price of a regular bearded dragon.
So, it is beneficial to know how to tell the difference if you are planning to get one? So, how exactly can you tell if a bearded dragon is regular or fancy?
The easiest way to spot a fancy bearded dragon is to simply look at its color and pattern. These are the clearest defining characteristic to spot with your eye at first glance. As mentioned above, fancy bearded dragons typically have brightly colored stripes down their backs.
Also, blacks, whites, and browns can be commonly found in fancy bearded dragons. These colors can be seen in the bearded dragon’s stripes, zigzags, spots, and even sometimes in figure-eight patterns. It all depends on the type of bearded dragon and its genetic background.
On top of that, any fancy bearded dragon that is a bright color like green, yellow, or red is also easy to identify because of those colors.
Expert Tip: Regular bearded dragons do not normally have any vivid or bright patterns or colors and they tend to be more natural sandy colors. Regular bearded dragons have evolved to be colored to perfectly blend into their natural habitat.
They are usually tan or brown and have mottled dark and light blotches on their sides and on their tails they tend to have horizontal stripes. Most regular bearded dragons will have a dark stripe that goes through their eye and all the way to their ears.
Additionally, Silk back and leatherback bearded dragons are probably the easiest fancy bearded dragons to spot. They are bred to that they are born with very few to no scales and spines on their body. This gives them a silk-like skin texture and a wrinkly appearance. This makes them easy to spot among regular bearded dragons.
Meanwhile, regular bearded dragons typically have a row of soft spines that run down the side of their body, with the biggest spine being found by the front arms. The spines will highlight their flat bodies while they are basking in the sunlight.
Now you should be able to identify and fancy bearded dragons you find in a pet store, being sold by a third-party seller, or out in the wild. If the bearded dragon has strangely vibrant colors that make it stand out from the rest, then it is very likely that it is fancy.
Are Fancy Bearded Dragon Friendly? Let Us Have An Elaborated Look!
Without a doubt, the bearded dragon is one of the most friendliest and domesticated pet reptiles. And while zoological science continues to break milestone after milestone, breeding and mutation certainly come with it. And the bearded dragon is no exemption that paves the way to fancy bearded dragons.
But with the genes alteration and DNA sequence, will the outcome be a better version or just a case of worse replication. And with artificial change, behavior is the ultimate sacrifice for most. So are fancy bearded dragons friendly just like the normal bearded dragons?
And thankfully, the answer is a big yes! They still and will remain as fancy bearded dragon-friendly pets to care for and keep. Being fancy is not a problem as fancy is the new trend to beat.
Expert Tip: Surprisingly, a study shows that a fancy bearded dragon is much friendlier and more docile compared to the normal or usual bearded dragon.
Mutation in most cases causes a change in new offspring behavior in an adverse way but it’s the other way around for fancy bearded dragons. They are still simply manageable to care for and pleasing to interact with. Our fancy bearded dragon is friendly and will remain friendly depending on how we treat them.
Undeniably, the friendly nature is the crowning glory of a fancy bearded dragon and its striking and over elaborated color is just a cherry on top that truly standouts from the league of the bearded dragons.
What Size Tank Does a Fancy Bearded Dragon Need?
A fancy bearded dragon is a bearded dragon that is specially bred to have fancy colors and scales. Fancy bearded dragons can be found with an array of colors, stripes, and marks. Though these fancy-looking reptiles are quite rare and expensive, they function and grow exactly like the regular bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons are native to Australia. It is always a great idea to replicate the natural habitat of any pet coming to live inside your home. Duplicating the indigenous environment will make your pet happy and will ensure long-term survival.
The fancy bearded dragon generally grows to the adult size of sixteen to twenty-four inches. Always assume that your fancy bearded dragon will have maximum growth. To provide a tank that will be feasible for an adult-sized bearded dragon from the very beginning.
Expert Tip: A 120-gallon tank is a perfect size for your fancy bearded dragon to roam and to get the proper exercise.
Besides, these fancy-looking reptiles love to forage for insects, worms, and the like. Therefore, they must have enough space to hunt for food.
Fancy bearded dragons are a type of bearded dragon that, thanks to a natural genetic defect, tend to have brighter colors, crazier patterns, and fewer scales and spines on them.
While visually these fancy dragons are very different from regular bearded dragons when it comes to how to care for them and what to feed them, not many changes between the two types.
If you have any further questions, feel free to ask them below. While functionally, the fancy bearded dragons are not different, they might just be worth it for you for their unique look.