When it comes to caring for a bearded dragon there are plenty of things to love, and this is why so many reptile lovers have one of their own to look after.
They are a pretty docile reptile, and they are usually able to stay calm while they are around their keepers.
They are also a great size for a pet, not being too big to be impractical and need too much room, but still big enough to be able to handle and appreciate.
Furthermore, they are also pretty hardy and are able to withstand some mistakes which could be made by a reptile keeper, especially if they are a beginner.
Another thing which is loved about bearded dragons is how many different types or forms of them there are with plenty of variety available.
You will be able to find a bearded dragon in just about every color available, or with its own unique type of scales.
Some of these dragons have specific ways they need to be looked after, and this article will look at silkback bearded dragons.
While there are a lot of similarities in looking after a standard bearded dragon and a silkback bearded dragon, there are some specifics you should probably know before you jump right in and get one!
So, if you are interested in getting a silkback bearded dragon, and you want to know the best ways to look after it, this guide is for you!
What Is A Silkback Bearded Dragon?
The word silkback is used to describe a type of bearded dragon which does not have any scales or tubercles on either their dorsal or their ventral surfaces.
These silkback bearded dragons do not have much uniqueness when it comes to their coloring, however, because of the lack of scales, the color or pattern they do have is much more likely to stand out.
While there are some specific traits of a bearded dragon which are up to interpretation, for example, the coloring of a bearded dragon is often debated, for example, orange or red, being classified as a silkback bearded dragon is objective, your bearded dragon is either silkback or they are not.
The trait of being a silkback bearded dragon is traced back to a specific single animal which was hatched spontaneously having its uncommon appearance.
The original silkback bearded dragon hatched within Italy, and the silkback gene was then spread over the world and is now entrenched within the gene pool so it is accessible to all bearded dragon breeders.
How Are Silkback Bearded Dragons Made?
As mentioned in the definition of the silkback bearded dragon, the gene mutation which makes a bearded dragon a silkback bearded dragon can be traced back to just one mutation.
This makes it stick out compared to some other traits of bearded dragons which are instead controlled by multiple separate genes.
The silkback mutation could be added just by adding the one gene into a colony for breeding.
This stands out from other traits which will need multiple generations of bearded dragons to be bred to establish a specific trait like patterning or a color.
From what is currently understood about the silkback bearded dragon, the trait is an incomplete yet dominant mutation.
This leads to animals which have one copy of this mutated gene displaying that they have physical differences which stand out from those who do not have this specific gene.
As has been mentioned a silkback bearded dragon will not have any scales on their ventral surfaces or on their dorsal surfaces.
If an animal has a single copy of the silkback gene, it will show that overall it will have a lesser amount of scales, yet will still have some.
The scales which they do have will also be smaller in appearance as well.
You will sometimes find these bearded dragons being called leatherbacks as well.
If you are aiming to make a silkback bearded dragon you will want to have two copies of this mutated gene, and you can do this by breeding 2 of the leatherback bearded dragons, this means that about a quarter of the offspring from this pairing is going to be silkback.
Then if you breed two silkback bearded dragons you will have a 100% chance of the offspring being a silkback bearded dragon.
And, if you breed a silkback bearded dragon with a leatherback, these will have a 50% chance of being silkback bearded dragons.
Caring For A Silkback Bearded Dragon
While some of the specific traits which define a bearded dragon, being silkback does not create any specific issues with husbandry, however, there are some traits of the silkback bearded dragon which means that keepers will have to approach some aspects of keeping differently.
As mentioned, because silkback bearded dragons have fewer scales than a standard bearded dragon, some keepers are concerned that they will not be able to tolerate the same amount of UV light.
This is why some keepers of silkback bearded dragons will instead get a full spectrum form of lighting which will also include the necessary UVB rays, so you should aim for something with a more moderate amount of UVB.
To put it simply, aim for less UVB (but still present), so avoid the intense desert style bulbs which are recommended for a standard bearded dragon.
You will also want to ensure that your silkback bearded dragon has a proper shade area which will block the light source when they want to get away from it for whatever reason.
Again, since silkback bearded dragons do not have the same scales you will find with a standard bearded dragon, you will find that they are more likely to lose fluid from their skin.
This does not create a significant issue, you will just have to ensure that they have more drinking water than you would usually provide for a bearded dragon.
You can also give them more moisture via misting as well.
This can also be achieved by giving them fruits and veg which are more rich in water content.
Similar to the previous issues, silkback bearded dragons can also have issues when it comes to shedding.
They tend to shed quite poorly and there will be larger portions of their skin which will not fall away as easily as it should and some skin will end up getting stuck onto them.
On top of this, you will find that alongside these shedding difficulties, they will also shed a bit more often than a standard bearded dragon.
To aid them with these shedding issues, most keepers of silkback bearded dragons will give them a higher humidity level.
This can also be aided by providing more misting. A proper soaking routine will also ensure that shedding issues are made a lot easier to deal with.
Since silkback bearded dragons do not have the same scales which defend a standard bearded dragon, they are much more likely to get injured.
You will want to avoid this happening by ensuring there are no obvious hazards in their habitat, and caring while they could be breeding.
A male silkback bearded dragon will usually bite the neck of a female while they are mating, and while a standard female bearded dragon will be able to deal with this, if they are a silkback bearded dragon, they will suffer from some injuries which could even lead to a life threatening infection.
This is why you will find that when it comes to a breeding project, you will often find that female silkback bearded dragons will be excluded and male silkback bearded dragons will be paired with leatherbacks instead.
If they do get injured, ensure that they get attention from a vet to ensure that no infections start to develop.
Will Silkback Bearded Dragons Be Good For Beginners?
If you can not tell from the issues presented in the earlier section, these are not the best choice for beginners.
As we spoke about in the introduction, standard bearded dragons are well known for being a good pet for a beginner reptile owner.
You will want to start with a normal bearded dragon since the husbandry will be a lot easier.
After you have mastered this you can move onto a leatherback, and then after this you can be sure that you are prepared for a silkback.
Should You Produce Silkback Bearded Dragons?
Since silkback bearded dragons tend to present a litany of husbandry issues, there are reptile enthusiasts who think that silkback bearded dragons should not be getting produced and that breeders should not be putting them onto an open market.
They tend to be weaker and smaller, and occasionally more vigorous.
This means that they are unlikely to thrive and are much more likely to face health issues.
This is not how everyone thinks however, and many think that if you are talented enough you will be able to look after a silkback bearded dragon efficiently.
There are currently no bans, and these people think that bans like this would be unwise and a poor decision.
Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you need when it comes to caring for a silkback bearded dragon, and if you already have one, this should give you all the information needed when it comes to caring for a silkback bearded dragon (Check out Bearded Dragon Name Inspiration) over a standard bearded dragon.
However, if you are a beginner reptile keeper, we recommend not beginning with a silkback bearded dragon as the difficulties far outweigh the benefits.