Pygmy Bearded Dragon vs Central Bearded Dragon – Which is Best Pet?
Author: Chris Read Date Posted: 23 November 2020
Choosing The Best Bearded Dragon Pet…………………………. Pygmy Bearded Dragon’s and Central Bearded Dragon’s are two of the most popular Bearded Dragon species kept as lizard pets in Australia. Which is the best pet?
Image 1: High Orange Hypomelanistic Translucent Normal Scale Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona Vitticeps)
Image 2: Pygmy Bearded Dragons Wild Type (Pogona HenryLawsoni)
The Central Beardie have many advantages over Pygmy Beardie due to them having a greater colour range, better bonding capability with their owner, them being more docile, their lower purchase price & larger pet size. Pygmies also have some advantages with their lower food consumption, them being more active, smaller required tank space, lower set up cost and smaller pet size. Both are low maintenance pets and perfect for owners who live in units and townhouses.
Image 3: Marcus playing IPad with Hypomelanstic Leatherback Central Bearded Dragon (Pogoma Vitticeps) on his lap
Native Distribution of Pygmy and Central Bearded Dragons
Pygmy Bearded Dragon’s (Pogona henrylawsoni) are also known as Black Soil Bearded Dragon, Rankin’s Dragon, Lawson's Dragon, Dumpy Dragon, Pygmies, Pygmy Dragon, Down’s Beardie, Lawson's Bearded Dragon, Prairie dragon, Plains Bearded Dragon and Dwarf Bearded Dragon. In the wild, Pygmy Dragon’s are found on the Black Soil areas of Western Central Queensland around Mt Isa and Longreach.
Image 4: Pygmy Bearded Dragons Wild Type (Pogona HenryLawsoni)
Central Bearded Dragon’s (Pogona vitticeps) are also known as Inland Bearded Dragon, Centralian and Western Bearded Dragon. In the wild, Central Beardies are found through Western New South Wales, Western Queensland, Southern Northern Territory and most of South Australia.
Image 4: Wild Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona Vitticeps)
Size of Centralian and Pygmy Bearded Dragons
Pygmy Bearded Dragon’s are between 20 and 30 cm in length in total including the tail (Beardies tail is about half of the total lizard’s length).
Central Bearded Dragon’s are between 30cm and 60cm in length including the tail, double the size of Pygmies.
Colour of Bearded Dragons
In the wild, both Bearded Dragon species’ are primarily grey in colour with some minor colour variations based on location, mood and temperature, especially when excited.
In captivity, selective breeding in Australia of Central Bearded Dragon’s has created many spectacular colour variations including hypomelanistic, translucent, dunners, zero, leatherback and silkies which include oranges, apricots, yellows and even some with tiger like stripes. Breeders continue to breed new stunning variations. In the USA, Bearded Dragons (smuggled from Australia many decades ago) have even more extreme Bearded Dragon variations including bright reds, blues, witblits and other combinations.
Image 5: Hypomelanistic Centralian Bearded Dragons On Australian Breeder's (KMS) Hand - From right to left: 1. Translucent Dunner, 2. Transluscent Normal Scale, 3. Normal Scale, 4. Dunner Bearded Dragons (Pogona Vitticeps)
Image 6: Hypomelanistic Centralian Bearded Dragons - From right to left: 1. Male Yellow / Orange Translucent Leatherback Dunner, 2. Female Normal Scale, 3. Male Red Transluscent Leatherback Bearded Dragons (Pogona Vitticeps)
Captive Pygmy Bearded Dragons have much less colour variations than Centralians, being much more standard resembling their wild cousins. Since 2018, some breeders have managed to achieve Pygmy Bearded Dragon Leatherback varieties.
Image 7: Baby Pygmy Bearded Dragons Just Out of The Egg Wild Type (Pogona HenryLawsoni)
Dragon Lizard’s Temperament
Captive born and raised Pygmy and Central Bearded dragons are both gentle & passive lizard pets. Centralian Dragon’s are very docile and enjoy being handled, forming a better bond with their owner. Many owners of Pygmy Dragons say that they tend to be more skittish and often don't like to be handled. Some Pygmies can also be a little harder to feed at times. Both Dragon’s are more active when they are young and become more lethargic as they age.
Image 8: Centralian Bearded Dragons Top: Hypomelanstic Normal Scale, Bottom: Female Wild Type (Pogona Vitticeps)
Image 9: Baby Hypomelanistic Centralian Bearded Dragon Normal Scale (Pogona Vitticeps)
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
Both types of Bearded Dragons eat similar food, pygmies eat less than Centralians. Check out the Bearded Dragon Caresheet and Avoiding Bearded Dragon Gut Problems Blog for information about Bearded Dragon’s care including diet.
Bearded Dragons love live insects. Check out the best feeder insects for Bearded Dragons at Guide of Best Insects for Reptiles.
PetWave is the best place to buy food for Bearded Dragons in Australia. PetWave supply quality feeder insects for Bearded Dragons.
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?
Bearded Dragons can live for 10 to 15 years in captivity.
How much are Bearded Dragons in Australia?
Bearded Dragons cost between $70 and $1,500 depending on the species, age & colour. Trusted local breeders are generally the best place to purchase Bearded Dragons. Quality breeders can generally be found on Online such as Facebook, sites such as KMS Bearded Dragons are highly recommended.
Image 10: Baby Pygmy Bearded Dragons (Pogona Henrylawsoni)
Image 11: Yellow Hypomelanistic Transluscent Dunner Centralian Bearded Dragon(Pogona Vitticeps)
A quality terrarium with lights, lighting, thermostats, thermometers, reptile bedding and terrarium accessories such reptile hide caves & decorative logs, water & food bowls, etc will cost from $500 to $1,000 online at PetWave or about double from a pet shop.
Are Bearded Dragons easy pets?
Bearded dragon are easy pets. Ensure that you feed them fresh food (including calcium rich salad and live feeders), replace their water daily and ensure that they get Vitamin D3 from UVB light and they will be thrive as your valued pet for many years.
Heating and Lighting for Bearded Dragons
A comprehensive care-sheet describing reptile heating and lighting requirements is found at 7 Heating and Lighting Tips for your Pet Reptile.
PetWave is an Australian online pet supply company that is expert in shipping delicate, live and frozen reptile and aquarium products to you and your pet’s door across Australia. Order before 7:30am for next day delivery.
PetWave are very proud to offer the highest quality and largest selection of live reptile food including live insects, frozen feeders especially for snakes, lizards, frogs and birds of prey, live aquarium fish, aquarium plants and many other beautiful decorations for your aquarium and terrarium.
Thanks to Kylie from KMS Bearded Dragons for reviewing this article & for great photos of her pets.