The Ultimate Guide For Types of Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons boast a wide variety of colors, sizes, and even species. The particular color and size depend on the breeding process outcomes. Usually, breeders have a clear idea of what type of bearded dragon they want to have. In this guide, we’ll go over all the types of bearded dragons, including an overview of different colors and species.

What are the different species of bearded dragons?

Biologists are able to distinguish between eight bearded dragon species. The most typical species are the Central Bearded Dragon and the Rankins Dragon. All the other six are rarer, but can still be found in the worldwide bearded dragon trade lists. Note that some sources list nine species. Still, there’s no scientific consensus that all of the nine species actually exist. We’ll take a closer look at all of the bearded dragon species in the following section. Do consider that we have listed seven dragons because Pogona minor could easily cover both Pogona minor minor and Pogona minor minima.

Central Bearded Dragon

Scientifically known as Pogona vitticeps

How can you identify this dragon?

The spiky scales located around the rear lower jaw make the Central Bearded Dragon look more thorny than in reality. All the spikes feel rubbery instead of piercingly sharp. Most likely, these dragons evolved to carry the spikes for shooing away any predators. The color can run the whole gamut. You can find central bearded dragons that are brown, orange, yellow, red, and even white.

When these dragons regulate the body temperature, you might notice subtle changes in the color shades. Of course, these changes won’t be anything spectacular. But you might see them turn from brown into shades resembling orange color, for example. Their total length could reach 24 inches, but most of the inches come from the powerful tail.

Where are they living?

The ‘central’ in the name hints at their habitation area. These creatures are native to Central Australia. The region consists mainly of woodlands that are arid or semiarid. Additionally, you might find them in some rocky deserts. The rocks provide a nice place for them to take in all the sun during the morning hours. Afterward, the same rocks allow them to seek shelter from the sweltering heat in the afternoon.

What else to know about this species?

You should know that Central Bearded Dragons, alongside other species, don’t do any vocalizations. Instead, there are other methods to use for communication that don’t involve direct vocal exchanges. Colors, gestures, and postures provide a variety of ways to communicate with other members of this species. These animals aren’t social species, yet they do sometimes gather in groups.

Most of the gatherings happen in places that have something comforting for any lizard. For example, there might be a lot of food to eat or just a great environment to bask in the sun. While they aren’t social creatures, these reptiles still show a clear hierarchy between the different individuals. If a low-ranking individual starts to challenge a high-ranking dragon, then there’s a great chance that the outcome will be decided in a fight.

Similarly to other species, Central Bearded Dragons in captivity get endangerment by the Agamid adenovirus. This is a really dangerous disease because it completely compromises the individual’s immune system. Thus, another sickness may easily lead to a dragon’s death. Although, it’s important to point out that most of the dragons are subclinically infected. This means they infect other dragons but don’t really show any active symptoms themselves.

Rankins Dragon

Scientifically known as Pogona henrylawsoni

How can you identify this dragon?

Since it’s also called a Dwarf Bearded Dragon, you can recognize this lizard from its diminutive size. Usually, their body is grey or tan color. When there are potential predators on the loose, they are able to turn their beard darker, creating a surprising pattern on the body’s surface. Additionally, they will open their mouth in an attempt to look bigger and bolder.

Where are they living?

Rankings Dragons are living in Australia’s inland regions. When they are living in the wild, these small lizards eat a wide variety of foods. You could even call them opportunistic eaters. Hence, living areas need to have enough food to sustain them in the long run. Rocks and trees won’t pose a problem to them. In fact, both types of terrain are very good for them.

What else to know about this species?

Many Rankins Dragons act quite socially when they are out and about. Like other Bearded Dragon species, they don’t use voice signals for communication. Instead, you are able to spot a whole gamut of different ways they interact with each other. These ways include waving the arms, curling the tail, and bobbing their heads. All of these communication signs have evolved over a long time period. These create an innate quality of their social skills.

Mostly, people consider the Inland Bearded Dragon to be the closest species in terms of appearance and behavior. When they start living a vivarium, these creatures need similar conditions that they would have in the wild. Taking a Rankins Dragon home means you have to replicate a dry, hot climate alongside a terrain that’s really rocky.

New owners get sometimes a surprise how friendly and social the Rankins Dragons become as more time passes. True, they don’t really compare to a dog or cat. But you could still see them enjoy being around the owner. Their personality is more loving than aggressive, which means that they make a great pet for people who want an emotional connection with their animal.

What food do they like?

Rankins Dragons are completely omnivorous. At first, they will eat little insects and not too many vegetables. As they grow older, you’ll discover that they start to eat more and more vegetation. Still, they do eat insects, yet the percentage of this food group in their diet takes a dramatic plunge. Rankins Dragons living at home love to eat cockroaches, crickets, and locusts. Their favorite greens include dandelions, coriander, bell peppers, and courgettes. That said, many dragons have their personal preferences that you’ll come to know better as time passes.

Coastal (Eastern) Bearded Dragon

Scientifically known as Pogona barbata

How can you identify this dragon?

The dragon’s throat has dark scales and spines forming the signature identifier for all bearded dragons. Most of the dragons in this species vary between black and grey. Still, you can find Coastal Bearded Dragons that are dark brown, brownish-yellow, or brownish-red. The younger ones need some time to acquire stronger and more vivid colors.

When you look inside the Coastal Bearded Dragon’s mouth, you’ll find it vivid yellow. Like other bearded dragons, this species may show subtle color changes when regulating temperature or just excited. The maturing process sees this dragon starting to show certain colors on its forehead. Many people mix this dragon up with the Central Bearded Dragon. Check whether the spines go all the way along the forearm. If they do, it’s certainly a coastal one. Also, the coastal dragon’s body might look a bit fragile compared to the central dragon.

Where are they living?

These bearded dragons live in Eastern Australia. The most typical place to find them is at the Cape York Peninsula. Still, people have found them even in the Western part of Australia, despite the name and the typical habitation patterns. Usually, they occupy forests and scrubs, yet they are living in farmlands as well. While some bearded dragons love rocks, these particular animals need trees to survive. The lizards use trees for surveillance and protection from the predators. Since they have the instinct to utilize trees in their daily lives, they might start using even fence posts because of the resemblance to trees. Sometimes, these lizards occupy large spots in urban areas. The situation tends to involve the bearded dragon basking in the sun.

What else to know about this species?

Coastal Bearded Dragons lay their eggs in sunny places. Typically, the females lay 10 to 20 eggs at a time for a total of two months. During a single breeding season, the egg laying may happen up to three times. Overall, these reptiles eat plant material and insects. Coastal Bearded Dragons are really good climbers: quick and great at holding their balance in extreme conditions.

On the IUCN Red List, these bearded dragons are classified to be of ‘least concern’. While it’s true that the species as a whole is not under the threat, a powerful onslaught of new farmlands is definitely affecting their habitation patterns and life quality. Their behavior tends to be a bit more aggressive compared to the Central Bearded Dragons. On average, they need more personal space and aren’t afraid to claim their territory.

Coastal Bearded Dragons show dominant male behavior. This means that the territorial instincts disallow them to accept any other males in the vicinity of their domicile. There is a strong correlation between the dragons’ physical size and perceived social dominance. When they want to show they are ready to be submissive, then they’ll move their arm in a waving fashion. The same gesture might also be used for other communicative purposes. Finally, you should know that this species has even more names. People call these reptiles Frilly Lizard and Jew Lizards as well. But the latter comes only from a misunderstanding. Namely, this bearded dragon resembles Frilled Lizard, which is a completely different species.

Western (Dwarf) Bearded Dragon

Scientifically known as Pogona minor

How can you identify this dragon?

An important part of identifying this dragon is to understand its exact taxonomy. Pogona minor includes two types: Western Bearded Dragon (Pogona minor minor) and its subspecies that are often called Dwarf Bearded Dragon (Pogona minor minima). When you look online, you’ll easily find a lot of confusion regarding this matter. In this section, we’ll mainly focus on the Western Bearded Dragon because it’s much more widespread both in the wild and in captivity.

The first thing you should know is that these bearded dragons are much smaller compared to Central Bearded Dragons. They can be almost two times smaller compared to the latter. On the other hand, they are significantly larger compared to the pygmy species. In many cases, people mistake Western Bearded Dragons for Rankins Dragons. They are a completely different species.

Where are they living?

As their common name suggests, these lizards live in the Western part of Australia. They like arid places that have a lot of rocks. Woodlands and scrublands are one of the most common environments wherein you could find the Western Bearded Dragons. Usually, they seek shelter beneath the vegetation and the natural debris that has gathered under the trees. Geographically, their native living areas include the Eyre Peninsula, southern WA, and southwest NT.

What else to know about this species?

Under a naked eye, many bearded dragons look the same. Western Bearded Dragons aren’t an exception in this case. But there are some extremely important differences that especially come into play when these creatures are held in captivity. For example, they are mainly insectivores, which means the diet must consist mostly of insect matter. They love crickets and other tinier invertebrates.

Western Bearded Dragons can be domesticated quite easily. Most of the time, their behavior is astoundingly more active compared to the other bearded dragon species. Also, you can feed them vegetables. A lion’s share of the greens eaten by other bearded dragon species won’t pose a problem to these lizards. It’s just that you have to keep in mind that they have to eat enough insects to stay healthy.

Compared to Central Bearded Dragons, these reptiles need much less food. As they are smaller, their stomachs simply hold physically less food. Giving the same food portions as to the bigger species will result in wasted food or serious health problems for the dragon. You should avoid giving them mealworms. These worms have body parts that might become dangerous to your Western Bearded Dragon.

Drysdale River Bearded Dragon

Scientifically known as Pogona microlepidota

How can you identify this dragon?

First of all, keep in mind that this bearded dragon has more than one name. It’s also known as Kimberley Bearded Dragon. This lizard is quite tiny. These small creatures grow to anywhere between 4 to 5.5 inches. Actually, its name microlepidota comes from Latin, meaning something that is small-scale. Alongside its flank, you can find three to five rows of elongated spikes.

Where are they living?

Northwestern Australia is home to these lizards. While some of the bearded dragons can be found in a large area, these reptiles live only in a very limited space. Their home surrounds the Drysdale River basin region. Basically, it’s a tropical savanna. It’s almost impossible to encounter these particular lizards (at least legally) at any enthusiast’s home. The Australian regulations are tough about the Drysdale River Bearded Dragon because it’s quite rare.

What else to know about this species?

This is one of the least studied bearded dragon species. When you start going through the scientific information and journals, there’s much less knowledge available compared to many other bearded dragons. That’s why some people have become obsessed with this reptile. They are allured by their restricted living location and diminutive size.

But what do we know about this bearded dragon? They are quite quick when they move around. Dense vegetation is something they really love because it allows them to reserve a nice spot for basking in the sun. Plus, zoologists believe that the lizards’ diet might consist of over 80% of insect matter. That’s quite a lot compared to other species.

Mitchells Bearded Dragon

Scientifically known as Pogona (minor) mitchelli

How can you identify this dragon?

This is a rare lizard that can grow up to 6 inches, measured from snout to vent. Mitchells Bearded Dragons are famous for the big spikes on their heads, which look a bit different compared to the other bearded dragons. Some scientists describe their spikes as conical in shape.

Where are they living?

The Mitchells Bearded Dragons live in the western and central parts of Australia. Their range tends to overlap with the dwarfs. There are suggestions that interbreeding is changing the looks of these bearded dragons, but clearly, these arguments need a lot of investigation. As of now, we only know about their living areas and some general characteristics.

What else to know about this species?

The Mitchells Bearded Dragons are named after Francis John Mitchell who lived between the years of 1920 and 1970. He was a herpetologist who managed to do a lot of research and acquire new information about reptiles. While it’s true that the species hasn’t been described enough in the scientific journals, one thing is for sure: they can be accepted as pets. It’s essential to provide enough branches for climbing activities while ensuring that the enclosure resembles the climate most natural for them.

Nullarbor Bearded Dragon

Scientifically known as Pogona nullarbor

How can you identify this dragon?

As a smaller bearded dragon, this lizard usually doesn’t measure more than six inches. They have a very vivid pattern running across their body. It starts from the neck and finishes where the tail ends. This reptile is also known as Nullarbor Plains Bearded Dragon.

Where are they living?

Similarly to the Drysdale River Bearded Dragon, this lizard lives in an extremely small area of habitation. You can find them living in the Nullarbor Plains, an interesting region located in Australia’s central South. Most often, these lizards live in the eucalyptus forests where they have plenty of opportunities to climb trees and enjoy the sunshine.

What else to know about this species?

This species is not very known in circles that buy and trade bearded dragons. The reason for that is the bearded dragon’s relative rarity. Once when they have been taken as a pet, though, they become a very nice part of any bearded dragon collection. Professionals love the fact that they have very beautiful skin patterns alongside their wide body complete with a short tail.

What types of bearded dragons exist?

As we have established, there are quite a few bearded dragon species. But we can make another distinction. This concerns the bearded dragon types and morphs. Mostly, all of these types have something to do with the colors or patterns on the bearded dragons’ skins. These distinctions are really important for bearded dragon aficionados, meaning that some people are ready to pay a huge premium for very rare color combinations. Some people call morphs types, and vice-versa. We’ll be using them interchangeably. So, let’s look a bit closer at the possible combos and varieties.

Classic bearded dragon

These bearded dragons look very close to the lizards living in the wild. They haven’t been morphed, which means that they have all the spikes on the sides and back. Also, they come complete with the beard and triangular head shape. The color variety can still be astounding. Still, you can usually expect them to look brown or tan because that’s the most common color in nature.

German giant bearded dragon

Yes, this one really is a giant! Their length can measure up to 30 inches while packing the pounds to match the increased size. It’s not really known whether these bearded dragons exist in their pure form anymore. Some people accuse the breeders of diluting the original genes and bloodline. Others are still believing that the German giants being sold are genuine examples of this surprising morph.

Hypo bearded dragons

By mating two dragons that carry Hypomelanism traits, you’ll get hypo bearded dragons. When looking at them visually, you could see a clear difference between the regular lizards and the ones belonging to the hypo group. The appearance of their skin is much lighter compared to the regular beardies. Furthermore, the same distinction could apply to their eyes and nails. The Hypomelanism trait is quite a powerful genetical marker, changing their appearance in a great way.

Sub-types of hypo bearded dragons

  • Blood hypo
  • English Belgium hypo
  • Hypomelanistic
  • Het translucent
  • Snow
  • Yellow
  • Red crawley hypo
  • Red hypomelanistic
  • Yellow hypo

Leatherback bearded dragons

Leatherback bearded dragons miss the back spikes. This makes their backs nice and smooth. While they don’t have any spikes on the back, the lizards do carry them on the heads and sides like any other bearded dragon. It’s a popular morph because missing the spikes means that all the colors look stronger. In some ways, they are similar to silk back bearded dragons because when you touch their back, it feels soft to touch.

Sub-types of leatherback

  • Het hypomelanistic
  • Hypo leatherback
  • Translucent leatherback dunner
  • Italian leatherback
  • Purple paradox leatherback
  • Red Italian leatherback

Paradox bearded dragons

Paradox morphs look very cool as their body is covered in vividly colored blotches. What makes them unique is that each pattern of the blotches is like a fingerprint. There’s no underlying logic and each of the blotch patterns is unique in all of the lizards. The paradox type was conceived by combining different already existing morphs.

Silkback bearded dragons

As you might guess from the name, these bearded dragons have silky backs. How come? The main trait is the 100% absence of any scales on their body. Of course, this trait doesn’t come without any problems. These lizards need extra care because their skin is so delicate and prone to all sorts of problems. The UV light is a common contaminant and its exposure to silkbacks could become greatly problematic. Also, the shedding phase is a bit more serious question compared to the regular bearded dragons.

Translucent bearded dragons

Translucent bearded dragons get their name from the scales and spikes that are almost transparent to the naked eye. At the same time, these bearded dragons are hypomelanistic as well, which makes them lighter than the typical lizards. But that’s not all. Their eyes are quite extraordinary because adult lizards don’t have any visible iris. Often, they might boast blue eyelids. All of these features make translucent morphs a very popular option.

Sub-types of translucent bearded dragons

  • Belgium translucent
  • Citrus tiger hypo translucent
  • Dark translucent
  • Het translucent
  • Hypo translucent genetic stripe
  • Leatherback genetic tripe
  • Polar translucent
  • Rally red trans
  • Red and orange hypo translucent

Zero bearded dragon

This one is a real rarity! When you look at this lizard’s skin, you can clearly see that there are no distinct colors or patterns. They look white, but not in an albino fashion. Of course, they aren’t snowy white, but still, they look entirely different from all the other morphs. The relative rarity has increased their prices a lot over the years as the popularity has soared. Don’t confuse zero bearded dragon type with the witblits morph. The latter is definitely not zero, yet it’s still stunningly pale compared to all the others.

The trouble with bearded dragon colors

We have gone over a wide range of colors in this article. It’s important to understand that there’s no rule when it comes to naming the particular colors. Sometimes there are breeders who call a bearded dragon red, whereas the other breeders would say they are yellowish instead. Also, there are different ways not to say the actual color. For example, someone might call a green bearded dragon ‘lime’.

This trend grows from the market situation. People want to have bearded dragons that have cool names. But all of this competition aiming to come up with new names is making the market unnecessarily difficult. Usually, breeders ask more money for bearded dragons that come in very vivid colors. Still, a notable exception is the zero morph, a bearded dragon that looks almost completely white.

Another big point to consider is that the color depends on the particular source of light. You should always see your bearded dragon candidate both indoors and outside. It might be really surprising to see how the difference isn’t just subtle. Some parts of the color patterns might completely appear or disappear depending on the light source. Furthermore, watch out for breeders that doctor the photos in Photoshop. Most of the time, breeders aim to make the colors look more vivid than they would ever be in real life.

What does ‘het’ mean?

In many cases, you can see the word ‘het’ used in the morph types. Novices get really confused when they see this because even using Google might not bring quick explanations. Basically, it’s a very simple concept. Het (short for heterozygous) always precedes a particular trait. It’s in the lizard’s genes and breeding may result in morphed babies. Still, that trait isn’t showing in the particular bearded dragon. For example, Het Translucent means that the lizard is carrying translucent genes, yet isn’t showing them itself.

Are fancy bearded dragons a separate type?

One thing we need to clarify is the fact that fancy bearded dragons don’t create a separate type or morph. Often, breeders use this term when they aren’t sure what their bearded dragon morph exactly is. Sometimes, breeders apply this term to lure in unsuspecting novices. It’s always useful to consult with experts or look online to see whether the particular bearded dragon isn’t just a classical variety.

So, what types of bearded dragons are out there?

First, we’ll have to make the distinction between the species. There are at least seven different species in the wild. Some sources quote eight or nine. There are quite a few reasons for that. Some of the bearded dragons aren’t properly investigated by scientists. There’s just not enough research money and motivation alongside the rarity of some species. Another reason regards the taxonomy. Scientists disagree on some of the categories. Some researchers believe that two species are actually the same one, for example.

The species evolved in different parts of Australia. Some of the species are covering a huge geographical area, whereas the others fulfil a tiny ecological niche. In any case, there are behavioral differences between the species. Even the percentage of the diet concerning insects or plants isn’t uniform when you analyze the unique food consumption traits in bearded dragon species.

Next off, you are able to distinguish morphs and types. Morphs come from breeding procedures. Some breeders use the terms ‘morphs’ and ‘types’ interchangeably. It’s always important to remember that color alone isn’t a morph or a separate type. If you want a bearded dragon morph, then it has to have actual physical differences in addition to the color. For example, some morphs have lost their spikes or scales in certain areas of their bodies.