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Blue Bearded Dragons

A Guide to Stunning Blue Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons have become a popular pet reptile due to their calm temperaments, manageable size, and variety of color morphs. Blue bearded dragons are especially prized for their striking rare blue coloring. In this blog post, we will cover key facts about bearded dragons in general and specifically delve into details about the blue color variety – what causes it, special care considerations, breeding blue dragons, and more. Read on for essential information for anyone considering buying or breeding this unusual reptile morph.

Basic Facts About Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons are a type of lizard native to Australia. Of the nine species found across the country, the inland or central bearded dragon is the most common pet species. Adults reach 18-24 inches long and live around 10 years in captivity.

These diurnal lizards are usually tan to reddish-brown. They got their name from the “beard” below their throats that can puff out and turn black for displaying. While naturally found in rocky deserts and scrublands, they adapt well to captivity with proper housing and care.

Blue Bearded Dragons

Causes of Blue Color Morphs

The vibrant blue color of these bearded dragons comes from selective captive breeding. Blue dragons have a genetic mutation that prevents normal yellow and red pigments from showing, which allows blue hues to come through. Other unusual morphs like purple, orange, and sand dragons also stem from similar pigment mutations.

Health and Care Considerations

Most blue bearded dragon varieties have a recessive gene causing the coloration. Breeding two dragons with recessive blue genes produces 25% normal-colored babies, 50% blue carriers that look normal but carry the gene and 25% blue babies. Since siblings may need to be bred to preserve the morph, inbreeding depression can become an issue. Signs include decreased fertility, smaller size, and higher infection rates. Outcrossing to unrelated dragons is recommended every few generations.

Stunning Blue Bearded Dragons

Because pigment affects skin cell function, some color mutations may be linked to health issues over normal dragons. One study found translucent “leatherback” dragons with less skin pigment were more prone to viral infections. Talk to the breeder about any potential special care needs. With good husbandry, most color morphs can still be quite healthy.

Blue Bearded Dragon Breeders

A few specialized breeders are offering blue and other rare color dragons in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Prices range widely from $200 to $600+ depending on the breeder and specific color strain – lavender, steel blue, and cobalt. Ask about health guarantees since offspring health can vary.

Bearded Dragon Color Genetics

Background on Reptile Color Genetics

The genetics behind bearded dragon colors are complex and still being studied. But in general, like many reptiles, bearded dragon skin and scale cell colors stem from two types of pigment cells – chromatophores producing yellow/red pigments, and iridophores reflecting blue/white light. Selective breeding can isolate genes influencing both cell types.

Genes Involved in Blue Morphs

Research has identified some critical genes involved in blue and other morphs. The primary ones are 1) Yellow/red chromatophore color suppression genes 2) Iridophore reflection boosting genes, and 3) Melanophore black pigment blocking genes.

Specific chromosomal regions tied to the blue color have been located. Further identifying the associated genes offers insight into the mutation origin and allows the development of genetic tests for breeding projects.

Buying and Caring for a Blue-Bearded Dragon

What to Look for When Buying

When purchasing a blue dragon, check for overall health – alertness, clear eyes, healthy skin and muscles. Make sure to buy captive-bred dragons, ask about parent dragon colors, and request documentation on the specific color strain. This helps avoid cross-bred muddier coloring. Support reputable breeders specializing in color morphs over large commercial operations.

Housing and Habitat

Proper housing is key for any pet dragon but especially important for rare delicate color varieties. Provide large wire-sided enclosures with proper heat and full-spectrum UVB lighting. Give plenty of opportunities to climb and enrich their environment. Maintain proper hygiene and diet to support their health. Customize habitat conditions to the needs of blue dragons if health issues are a concern.

Feeding and Nutrition

A balanced omnivore diet supports coloration and growth. Feed a healthy mix of greens, vegetables, fruits, appropriate-sized insects, and calcium supplements. Gut load feeder insects with nutrient-rich foods. Avoid overfeeding protein which can cause skeletal issues over time. Work with your vet to adjust food amounts and nutrients if managing health conditions.

Health and Temperament

Most blue dragons have similar pleasant calm personalities as their normally-pigmented peers – tolerating regular gentle handling. Look for activity levels appropriate to the age, clear eyes/nose, healthy appetite, and growth between checkups. Seek vet advice at the first signs of infection or issues with mobility or digestion. Address inbreeding-related health problems through outcrossing and boosted care. With attentive husbandry, blue dragons can be quite hardy captivating pets.

Breeding Blue Bearded Dragons

Genetics dictates specific pairings are needed to produce blue offspring – one visual blue dragon must be bred to another blue carrier dragon at minimum. There are nuances to enhancer genes and optimal breeder combinations as well.

Finding a Suitable Mate

Work closely with specialty breeders and mentors in the bearded dragon color community. Genetic knowledge and testing help identify ideal breeder dragons not just by color but by assessing hidden traits as well. Some breeders even focus efforts on boosting fertility and hardy traits to overcome typical inbreeding problems in color morphs.

Setting Up for Breeding

Condition your breeders with extra feedings and simulated brumation. Provide properly sized laying bins and nesting sites once they become active. Time introductions of pairs during optimal receptivity. House dragons separately outside of breeding encounters to prevent stress and aggression.

Caring for Eggs and Hatchlings

Move dragon eggs to a temperature-controlled incubator and hatchling setup appropriate for their special needs. Maintain vigilance over incubation conditions like humidity and turning. Assist emerging hatchlings if struggling with shedding or egg teeth. Start babies on finely chopped greens, insects, and calcium-enriched foods 4-5 times a day. Gradually transition to an adult diet by 2-3 months old as their appetite allows.

FAQs:

What causes the blue color in bearded dragons?

The blue color is caused by a genetic mutation that prevents yellow and red pigments from showing, allowing the underlying blue hues to appear. Selective captive breeding has developed the blue color morph.

Are blue bearded dragons healthy compared to normal ones?

Most blue dragons are healthy, but some color mutations are linked to minor health problems. Issues are more likely related to inbreeding depression rather than the blue color itself. Outcrossing unrelated dragons can improve health.

What should I look for when buying a blue bearded dragon?

Check for overall health, alertness, clear eyes, proper muscle tone, and weight. Request color strain documentation and parent dragon genetics from the breeder. Support reptile-focused breeders over large commercial producers.

Do blue-bearded dragons require special care compared to normal dragons?

Most require the same proper housing, lighting, heating, varied diet, and other standard care. Some blues may need customized conditions if unique health issues are present. Talk to the breeder about any special considerations.

How can I successfully breed blue bearded dragons?

Work closely with experienced blue dragon breeders in the community. Use genetic testing to identify ideal breeder pair matches that complement color and health traits. Follow specific conditioning and incubation procedures to ensure maximum hatchling success.

Conclusion

Vibrant blue bearded dragons can make a unique addition to responsible pet owners. From unusual genetics to potential health considerations, successfully caring for and breeding blue dragons takes research and preparation. Working with experienced breeders and mentors in the bearded dragon community provides helpful guidance. Provide any special habitat or feeding requirements blue color morphs need. With attentive care and husbandry, blue dragons can be quite captivating and hardy family pets.

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Blue Bearded Dragons

A Guide to Stunning Blue Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons have become a popular pet reptile due to their calm temperaments, manageable size, and variety of color morphs. Blue bearded dragons are especially prized for their striking rare blue coloring. In this blog post, we will cover key facts about bearded dragons in general and specifically delve into details about the blue color variety – what causes it, special care considerations, breeding blue dragons, and more. Read on for essential information for anyone considering buying or breeding this unusual reptile morph. Read More

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