Have you ever seen a bearded dragon albino? And I don’t mean the white morphs or others with pale coloring.
Albino beardies are different from white morphs. White morphs are white, that’s their color, and they can survive perfectly under UVB light and direct sunlight.
On the other hand, albino bearded dragons lack melanin, hence no pigmentation. The lack of melanin also makes it hard for the beardie to absorb UVB light and direct sunlight. Most people confuse the lack of pigment in bearded dragons with the white color.
This article focuses on albino bearded dragons in detail to help you differentiate between the two and understand what albino beardies look like.
What Does an Albino-Bearded Dragon Look Like?
To establish a solid base, let me start by explaining albinism. This is a genetic condition characterized by little or no melanin production.
Melanin refers to a group of pigments that give the skin, hair, and eyes color. These pigments are vital as they help with the absorption of ultraviolet radiation while protecting the skin against sun damage.
Animal bodies create melanin pigments using building blocks, but the whole process requires specific proteins. Melanin production is reduced even if a gene coding for these proteins is mutated, even if it’s just for one protein type.
That’s what we call albinism. An animal with albinism will sometimes have other melanin pigments but lack the dark pigment.
As a result, an albino bearded dragon appears whitish with red or pink eyes. That’s why most people confuse the white morph with a beardie with albinism. However, a white morph will have standard eye color, unlike an albino bearded dragon.
Besides, albino bearded dragons appear pale with striking features.
Are Albino Bearded Dragons Common?
No… despite most breeders claiming to sell albino bearded dragons, they are quite rare.
Most breeders will sell common morphs like white ones or others with pale coloring and patterns like albino bearded dragons. If you’re not careful, you’ll be misled into buying these beardies, thinking you’re getting an albino beardie.
These special creatures are rare because most of them don’t survive until adulthood. You see, bearded dragons need UVB light for optimal health. And, as I said, the dark pigment helps with the absorption of radiation while protecting the skin from harmful rays.
Because albino bearded dragons lack the dark pigment in their skin, it will be hard for them to absorb UVB light. At the same time, exposing them to this light will be a suicide mission because they can’t defend themselves against harmful rays.
Albino bearded dragons should avoid the sun at all costs. At the same time, all bearded dragons need the sun for UVB absorption. This conflict and other health issues relating to their conditions cause their short lives.
Actually, most of them don’t survive past a few weeks. So when you hear a breeder claim they are selling albino bearded dragons, think twice before wasting your money.
If you want an albino bearded dragon so bad, your only option would be to find other morphs that look like the albino bearded dragon. A white one or a morph with pale patterns would work for you.
Things You Should Know About Albino Bearded Dragons
Apart from the usual needs, albino bearded dragons need special care. And honestly, sometimes it’s hard to cater to all their special needs. Besides, even if you do your best to offer exceptional care, their bodies may not cooperate. Maybe that’s why they live short lives.
For those curious about albino bearded dragons, here are things to note about them:
There’s no big difference between an albino beardie and a typical bearded dragon’s dietary needs. At a young age, these reptiles will eat more insects than plant-based foods. In adulthood (which is almost impossible), they should eat more plant-based food than insects.
The only thing to adjust is feeding more vitamin-rich foods. Vitamins help improve the immune system. Since albino bearded dragons are prone to other health issues apart from the expected ones, boosting their immune systems would help.
Potential health problems
While they are not immune to typical bearded dragon issues, albino bearded dragons are prone to other diseases. For example, they are likely to suffer skin conditions resulting from harmful radiation.
Again, they may be more vulnerable to typical bearded dragon problems than normal beardies. A good example is metabolic bone disease. Bearded dragons use UVB light to make vitamin D in their skin. Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption, which is essential in preventing MBD.
Albino bearded dragons lack the ability to absorb UVB light. As a result, they can’t make vitamin D, so there is no calcium absorption. This makes them vulnerable to MBD, which can be fatal.
Now, this is a tricky one. One of the most important aspects when setting up a bearded dragon habitat is lighting. They need proper lighting for UVB absorption, and the same UVB light is harmful to albino bearded dragons.
So how do you find a balance between providing enough lighting while keeping your special reptile friend safe? Honestly, I don’t think this one has a way out. So, unfortunately, we go back to the fact that albino beardies are hard to care for, and that’s why they don’t make it.
The average cost of catering for one
The cost of feeding an albinobearded dragon is not that different from the cost of feeding a typical bearded dragon.
The only difference in feeding would be including more vitamin and calcium-rich foods. The vitamin would help improve your pet’s immunity, while the calcium would help with bone development.
But apart from feeding costs, you would incur extra catering costs. You would need regular visits to the vet and special care for your special pet. Besides, an albino bearded dragon is more likely to suffer health problems, particularly those relating to UVB light, because its ability to absorb this special light is compromised.
As a result, you may incur more costs while trying to prevent or treat such diseases.
Bearded Dragon Albino Frequently Asked Questions
Since albino bearded dragons are special creatures, it’s only natural to be curious about them. Here are some answers to common questions relating to albino bearded dragons:
What’s the difference between white and albino bearded dragons?
White-bearded dragons result from mating dragons with pale coloring. There are different white specimens, like snow, ice, and blizzards.
White dragons result from generations of selective breeding; the white coloration happens when various genes work together, not just one genetic mutation.
On the other hand, albino bearded dragons are beardies with a genetic mutation known as albinism. These reptiles lack pigmentation in their skin and eyes, so they look whitish with red or pink eyes.
As previously mentioned, the body creates pigment from building blocks, but the whole process uses specific proteins. In the case of alteration in the gene coding of any of these proteins, melanin, the dark pigment, production is reduced.
This is what happens in albinism. So, while white bearded dragons have white coloration, albino beardies have less to zero pigmentation, hence the unique appearance.
How long do albino bearded dragons live?
Albino bearded dragons only live for a few weeks. Normal beardies can live up to ten years, so living for just a few weeks qualifies as “a short life,” even for a beardie.
The main reason albino bearded dragons live short lives is their inability to absorb UVB light. Bearded dragons are naturally adapted to the desert, where they can absorb all the rays they need.
To help them adapt, bearded dragons in captivity use artificial lighting. They also need exposure to direct sunlight every once in a while for optimal health.
UVB rays help with the creation of vitamin D3 in the skin, which aids with phosphorus and calcium utilization in the body. Calcium helps with bone development and muscle contraction. It is also important for reproductive health, particularly egg development in female bearded dragons.
In addition, sun rays help break down food into nutrients used in the body. A bearded dragon with access to sunlight enjoys healthy metabolism, warmth, proper blood circulation, and growth. Most importantly, the calcium and phosphorus in the body cannot be synthesized without sun rays.
And if they are not, your pet will likely suffer from MBD and other health issues. So you see, sun rays and UVB light are critical to bearded dragons. Albino bearded dragons can’t absorb sun rays since they lack melanin, which helps absorb these rays and protects them from harmful rays.
As a result, they can’t enjoy all the above benefits of sun ray absorption, so they live in compromised health. And since they can’t function without this, they end up dying after a few weeks.
Can albino bearded dragons make good pets?
Unfortunately, they can’t. Not because they are aggressive, but because they won’t survive long enough to make a great pet.
Like I said, most of them don’t survive to adulthood due to health complications relating to their condition. A good pet should live long enough to keep you company.
Assuming albino beardies would live long enough, they would require special care to survive. In the end, keeping such a pet is too much work and may cost you extra money.
Now you know what an albino bearded dragon looks like. With its striking pink or red eyes and pale, whitish skin, it’s hard to confuse an albino beardie with a white morph.
Don’t be tricked into buying a white-bearded dragon, thinking you’re getting an albino dragon. Albino beardies are rare because most don’t make it to adulthood. If you desire to see one, you can only see them when they are born.
You can always get a morph with the same striking features as an albino bearded dragon. And luckily, these morphs make great pets and live long enough to keep you company.