How To Identify All the Types of Bearded Dragons

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Unless you’re an expert biologist or a real reptile enthusiast, you might have trouble differentiating all the types of bearded dragons out there. But, there are a few defining features for each of the different types of bearded dragons, you just need to know what you’re looking for!

In this article, we’ll give you a basic rundown of all the types of bearded dragons and how to identify them. We’ll also provide some helpful information about what they eat, where they live, and their defining features. So, whether you’re just starting out with bearded dragons or you’re looking for more information on a specific type, read on!

All Types of Bearded Dragons You’ll See As Pets

Bearded dragons are perhaps the most popular reptile to keep as a pet. They’re friendly, easy to care for, and range in size and color. If you’re looking for a pet bearded dragon, or just want to identify the ones you see in pet stores or zoos, remember that there are six main classifications of the bearded dragon.

The bearded dragon, or pogona, has eight verified species:

  • Pogona vitticeps (Central bearded dragon)
  • Pogona minor (Western bearded dragon)
  • Pogona nullarbor (Nullabor bearded dragon)
  • Pogona barbata (Eastern bearded dragon)
  • Pogona microlepidota (Kimberley bearded dragon)
  • Pogona henrylawsoni (Rankins bearded dragon)
  • Pogona mitchelli (Mitchell’s bearded dragon)
  • Pogona minor minor

Bearded dragons were first discovered in Australia, and they favor sunny, arid climates. Since they’re capture and relative domestication, they’re kept as pets all over the world, and you’ll see bearded dragons in most pet stores across the USA.

Pogona vitticeps

The Pogona Vitticeps, or central bearded dragon, is the most common type of bearded dragon and can be found throughout much of Australia.

They’re a medium-sized lizard and typically have a brown or black body with yellow stripes down their back. They’ve been seen to grow up to 24 inches in the wild, but normally range around 18 to 22 inches.

They are omnivorous animals and eat a variety of things, including insects, fruits, vegetables, and even small mammals on occasion.

Central bearded dragons live in dry areas like deserts and scrublands.

The pogona vitticeps was first classified by Ernst Ahl, a German zoologist, in 1926.

You can distinguish male from females by their larger head and wider tail, as well as the pronounced femoral pores.

Pogona minor

The Pogona Minor, or western bearded dragon, is very similar to the central bearded dragon in appearance but can be distinguished by its smaller size.

They grow to about 12 inches in length and typically have a tan or light brown body with dark stripes down their back. You can also identify them by their smaller heads and the unique pattern of the spines on their neck.

Western bearded dragons, because of their small size, tend to eat exclusively insects, whereas the other kinds of bearded dragons are omnivorous.

The pogona minor also has other close relatives like the pogona minor minima, pogona minor mitchelli, and the pogona minor minor

Pogona nullarbor

The Pogona nullarbor, or Nullabor bearded dragon, is a smaller subspecies of the central bearded dragon. This type of bearded dragon got its name from the Nullarbor Plain, a large expanse of flat desert in Western Australia.

They have a light brown or yellow body with darker stripes and can grow to about 12 inches in length. Nullabor bearded dragons also have a distinct pattern of 3-7 rows of spines on their pack. These will appear in a much more triangular formation than with other species.

Nullabor bearded dragons are also omnivorous and live in similar habitats to other types of bearded dragons. These kinds of pogonas aren’t legal to keep as pets. 

Pogona barbata

The Pogona Barbata, or eastern bearded dragon, is the second most common type of bearded dragon after the central bearded dragon.

They can be found in eastern Australia and parts of New Guinea and typically have a reddish-orange or brown body with black markings. One of the distinguishing features of the pogona barbata are the pores on their rear end, near the anus.

Eastern bearded dragons are omnivorous and eat a variety of things, including insects, fruits, vegetables, and even small mammals on occasion.

Eastern bearded dragons live in forests, woodlands, and scrublands, and were first documented in the early 1800s!

Pogona microlepidota

The Pogona Microlepidota, or Kimberley bearded dragon, is a small subspecies of the eastern bearded dragon that is only found in Western Australia.

They have a light brown body with black, brown, or orange stipes and can grow to about 9 inches in length. Plus, their heads are much more narrow than other bearded dragon types, which makes them easy to spot. They also have 3-5 rows of spines running down the length of their back.

Like other types of bearded dragons, Kimberley bearded dragons are omnivorous and live in similar habitats.

Pogona henrylawsoni

The Pogona Henrylawsoni, or Rankins bearded dragon, is a small subspecies of the central bearded dragon that is only found in Queensland, Australia.

They have a light brown or yellow body with dark stripes and can grow to about 12 inches in length. Unlike other pogona species, the henrylawsoni is only really distinguishable by their short snout and spines near their ears.

Rankins bearded dragons are also omnivorous and live in similar habitats to other types of bearded dragons.

This type of bearded dragon is named after John Rankin, who was the first person to collect a specimen. The name henrylawsoni is named after an Australian author, Henry Lawson.

Pogona minor minor

The pogona minor minor only grows to be about 15 inches in length, most of which is its tail. This tiny bearded dragon lives throughout most of the southwestern region of Australia, with occasional habitats in desert regions. 

You can identify this bearded dragon not only by their small size, but also by their camouflage coloring. Generally, the pogona minor minor has a darker scale tone than its relatives. 

Also look for the small line of spines running along the sides of their necks, as that’s a good indicator of the species. 

Pogona mitchelli

The pogona mitchelli is one of the smaller species of bearded dragons, hailing from the scrublands surrounding the Great Sandy Desert in Australia. 

Compared to the pogona minor minor, the pogona mitchelli is a bit larger. They also exhibit a more brown scale pattern than their relative, making it easier to blend in with the rocky ground of the scrublands. 

The pogona mitchelli can be distinguished from other bearded dragons by their missing longitudinal scales along their neck. 

The pogona mitchelli is not legal to keep as a pet, though you might be able to find some in reptile sanctuaries and zoos. 

Bearded Dragon Morphs

A bearded dragon morph is a term used to describe a bearded dragon that has been bred to have a specific mutation or coloration.

People breed bearded dragon morphs because they want to create new types that exhibit specific characteristics. Mostly, breeders are interested in creating unique colorings, but they can also breed for different kinds of spine patterns or overall sizes.

There are many different types of bearded dragon morphs, and each one is unique. Some of the more popular types of bearded dragon morphs include the:

  • Albino bearded dragon
  • Leatherback bearded dragon
  • Translucent bearded dragon

While these new kinds of bearded dragons often have exotic traits or coloring, they are also much more prone to illness or health issues than the main variations of bearded dragons.

For example, albino bearded dragons, among others, require special lighting so as not to become overheated. Other kinds of bearded dragon morphs need special diets or enclosures to keep them safe and healthy.

Choosing a Type of Bearded Dragon

When it comes to choosing a pet bearded dragon, there are a few things you need to take into account.

First and foremost, you need to make sure you can provide the level of care that the bearded dragon needs. This includes making sure you have the right enclosure, diet, and lighting.

In addition, you also need to think about what kind of traits you’re looking for in a bearded dragon. Do you want one that is a specific color? One with a certain pattern? Or maybe one that is smaller or larger than average?

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices based on what you’re looking for in a bearded dragon, do some additional research on each type to make sure they will be a good fit for you and your lifestyle.

When you’re looking at buying a pet bearded dragon, you have a few options. You can always head to your nearest pet store. However, some of these pet stores don’t always have the kinds of bearded dragons you’re looking for, especially if you’re hunting for a specific morph.

Also, these pet stores might not take the best care of their animals. Countless times we’ve heard accounts of people who buy a reptile from a pet store only to learn later on that their pet is ill or suffering from a risky health issue.

Your other option is to purchase your pet lizard from a reputable online source. A lot of people are hesitant to buy their next family member from an online source, but in general, online reptile purchases are safe, fast, and an easy way to find the right lizard.

Online reptile sellers are often reptile lovers themselves, so you know that your pet will arrive as soon as possible, and in a healthy condition.

To learn more about purchasing reptiles online, and how to know where to buy reptiles online, check out our simple guide!

Bearded Dragon Care

Bearded dragons are some of the most fun and interactive types of pets you can have. They’re also one of the easiest types to care for, which is why they make such a great addition to families with younger children or those who don’t want something that requires too much work.

However, it’s still important to know how to take care of your bearded dragon so that both you and your pet enjoy having them around! To help out with this, we’ve put together a few tips on taking care of your bearded dragon based on different types and traits.

Here are our top five tips for caring for your bearded dragon:

  • Depending on their size, bearded dragons need a terrarium that’s at least four times their length. So if your bearded dragon is 12 inches long, you need a tank that’s at least four feet long.
  • Bearded dragons should be given a diet that consists of live insects, vegetables, and occasional fruits.
  • Bearded dragons need a basking spot that is between 95 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bearded dragons need 12 hours of light per day, with at least half of those being UVB rays.
  • Bearded dragons typically live for about 15 years, but some have been known to live for up to 20 years!

To learn more about bearded dragon care tips, check out our page on the subject!

Join The Bearded Dragon Family

Being a bearded dragon owner is as much a commitment as it is a privilege. These majestic creatures are a joy to care for, but choosing the right pet pogona can be a challenge!

With this handy guide, you’ll be able to walk confidently into a reptile pet store and identify the bearded dragons without reading their description! Knowing a little bit more about each type of bearded dragon can help you decide which variety is best suited for your home. 

Do you want a large lizard? A colorful one? Maybe you just want a lazy bearded dragon who is content bathing in the sun. Now you know which kinds of bearded dragons love what!

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