Bearded dragons are fascinating creatures. They make affectionate pets that are relatively easy to care for, especially as a beginner. Beardies come in various colors and patterns, some rarer than others. One of the rarest morphs, or types, is the albino bearded dragon.
The albino beardie is a stunning lizard. They have almost translucent skin, alien-looking eyes, and a lack of patterning. However, they look like any other bearded dragon in every other way. So, what makes them so special?
Breeding albino bearded dragons is not a simple task. It requires a good understanding of genetics and how genetic crosses work in bearded dragons, and even then, it’s a guess as to how a full clutch of eggs will turn out.
Read on to find out where albino bearded dragons came from, the differences between albino and white bearded dragons, and some bonus care tips tailored to albino beardie care.
Where Did Albino Bearded Dragons Come From?
Albinism is almost never found in adult wild bearded dragons because they would stand out like a sore thumb in their natural environments, making them obvious to their predators and prey alike. Baby albino bearded dragons are gobbled up or starve to death before they can pass their genes onto future generations.
The captive albino bearded dragon came into being due to the efforts of dedicated breeders in the early 2000s. These breeders came across natural random mutations in some of their clutches that produced albino individuals.
This ghostly-looking lizard became popular as the next “trendy” thing, so breeders began intentionally reproducing bearded dragons to get more albino bearded babies in every clutch, as it was something new and interesting on the market.
The fact that albino bearded dragons are difficult to breed and were ultimately rare boosted their desirability in the reptile and pet worlds too.
White vs. Albino Bearded Dragons
Many kinds of bearded dragons result from specialty breeding. There are stunning colors (ruby, lemon, black, and white), interesting patterns (patternless to multi-colored patterns), and amazing textures and sizes (giants to silkbacks).
People love having bearded dragons that are special and unique-looking. However, white and albino bearded dragons can often get confused with one another.
Albinism occurs when a genetic mutation results in the complete or partial lack of melanin in the skin, eyes, nails, scales, and hair.
True albino bearded dragons are not white but almost translucent in color; however, their color can vary to a pale yellow if they have incomplete (partial) albinism.
They also have pink or red eyes. This is because the color of the blood in the vessels can be seen where other bearded dragons would have pigment to help filter sunlight.
Snow, leucistic, or white bearded dragons are sometimes (and incorrectly) called albino beardies. They come from breeding very pale bearded dragons together, hoping for a white mutation. The white coloration is not an absence of color, though.
A key in deciphering whether your beardie is an albino is whether there is pigmentation in their eyes, nails, or any patterning at all. If they have dark/blue eyes, some patterning of another color, or are slightly gray in color then they are not albinos—they have a genetic mutation for reduced pigmentation, which has led to their white color
Buying An Albino Bearded Dragon
White and albino bearded dragons are some of the most popular lizards and hard to come by. These morphs can be tricky and take a long time to breed, which increases their prices quite a bit. This means albino and snow bearded dragons will cost you more than other bearded dragon morphs.
There are many unethical breeders out there who don’t take the bearded dragon’s health into consideration. Make sure, when you go looking for your albino bearded dragon, that you verify the breeder is a recognized and reputable one.
6 Bonus Care Tips
While most of the care provided to albino bearded dragons is the same as any other morph or type of beardie, there are some differences you should consider.
1. Enclosure Placement
Albino bearded dragons lack melanin in their skin. Melanin is what provides protection from UV rays for all animals, including humans.
The less melanin in the skin (or the lighter your skin is), the more susceptible you are to sunburn, harmful UVA radiation, and developing skin cancers. The same goes for albino bearded dragons.
This means putting your beardie’s enclosure next to a window that receives full sunlight can lead to them developing skin issues such as burning and, ultimately, skin cancer from constant exposure.
2. UVB Lighting
You may be wondering about UVB lights. Most reptiles need UVB lights in their enclosure to help them absorb and metabolize different vitamins and minerals. Bearded dragons need good, reliable UVB lights.
Albino dragons need UVB lights, too. However, the lights don’t need to be as strong as they would for a ‘regular’ bearded dragon with lots of melanin. Using a weaker UVB light is ideal. Alternatively, you can shorten the time the UVB light is on in the enclosure from eight to 10 hours to five to seven hours.
3. Diet And Nutrition
Albinism often goes hand-in-hand with dietary issues. Check in with your exotic pet vet regularly to see if your albino bearded dragon needs some vitamin supplements added to their meals.
Bath time and good hydration are important for albino bearded dragons as their skin can dry out easily, and they can become dehydrated. Look out for dry, cracked skin, problems shedding, and lethargy.
All you need to do is increase the frequency of their soaks to once a week. Simply place them in a shallow bath of room-temperature water. Ensure the water is no higher than their elbows to avoid drowning. Let them sit or play in the water for 20 to 40 minutes, then dry them off properly.
4. Enclosure Design
When designing your albino bearded dragon’s enclosure, plan on many more hides and shady areas than you would for a ‘normal’ beardie. Your albino beardie has no pigmentation in its eyes to filter out light. This causes strain and stress and can lead to blindness.
If they have many options for shade (on the warmer and cooler sides of their enclosure), they should feel calmer during bright days or when their lights are on. Additionally, this reduces the strain on their eyes, and you won’t have to care for a blind beardie.
Consider what we’ve said about their skin and eyes being sensitive to the sun and bright light when you want to handle, play with, and socialize your bearded dragon. It’s a good idea to take them outside to get some fresh air, but keep these outdoor sessions short.
6. Regular Vet Visits
Taking your albino bearded dragon to the vet periodically will ensure they’re being monitored by a professional who’s trained to look out for vitamin deficiencies, growth problems, and signs of cancer early enough to treat and extend your beardie’s life.
FAQs About Albino Bearded Dragons
Will my albino bearded dragon live as long as my wild-type bearded dragon?
Albino bearded dragons can live a long, normal life, just like a wild-type or any other morph of bearded dragon. Provided they have healthy immune systems, extra care, and regular vet visits, they should live for an average of 10 to 15 years.
Can I mate my albino bearded dragon to get albino babies?
Mating bearded dragons can be tricky, especially if you don’t know their genetic background. Mating specific genetic traits together can either get you the desired result, have an unexpected surprise result, or result in severe genetic abnormalities that will negatively impact the quality of life.
To better understand what you would get from mating your albino bearded dragon, research its history by contacting the breeder first. This will tell you if there is a chance you could breed more albinos or have a clutch of severe genetic abnormalities.
A Final Word On Albino Bearded Dragons
Albino bearded dragons ensnare anyone who lays eyes on these pale lizards. They lack all pigment in their skin, nails, and eyes, which can give them an otherworldly appearance.
Regardless of how they look, albino beardies are the same silly, pudgy little lizards that all reptile lovers adore. They’re full of life, energy, and antics like any other bearded dragon morph.
Let’s recap some of the most important points about the albino bearded dragon:
- Albino bearded dragons are difficult to breed, which results in a higher price.
- Albino and white/snow/leucistic bearded dragons are not the same thing.
- Albino bearded dragons need specialized care to protect their skin and eyes from the sun and harsh light.
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