Bearded Dragon and Iguana – What’s the difference?

If you are considering getting a Bearded Dragon or Iguana, you need to read this to get all the information you need. They are quite different and I will explain the pros and cons of each.

What’s the difference between a Bearded Dragon and an Iguana? A bearded Dragon is an omnivore and has the variety of insects, fruits and veg. An Iguana is an herbivore and has a very strict Diet. The Iguana is also quite large as an adult, whereas a Bearded Dragon is much smaller and manageable at up to 24 inches in length.

In reality there are many different species of Iguana’s and many “morphs” of the Bearded Dragon to consider. Let me explain these to you now, and some other key facts about these amazing lizards.

What are the most popular Bearded Dragon Morphs? 

A Morph is a way of describing a slightly different variation of the Bearded Dragon. This is a term “morphs”, is not unique to Bearded Dragons, it is used for other lizards also. An example of a Morph is, The Bearded Dragon may have slightly different scales, etc. Many people may believe that there is only one type of bearded dragon but in reality there is quite big variation.

Different Types of Bearded Dragon Morphs:

Classic

This is the standard variation of bearded dragon which most people are familiar with. They can actually have a few different colour variations for example red yellow or even tanned type of colour.

Hypomelanistic

This type of Dragon has a lack of colour. In fact this is where its name actually comes from in the first place, it literally means “below normal colour”.

Think of this “Beardie” as an albino style lizard. It is similar to the classic, but just has a lack of colour.

Leatherback

The Leatherback morph is different to the other two described above, because they do not have spikes on their back. Instead it has spikes on its head but not on its back. Therefore, it gives it a smooth leather looking texture, hence the reason why it’s called the leatherback.

Translucent

This variation has distinct dark eyes, making it appear to not have an Iris. Which is its stand out feature. The babies also have a distinctive clear looking belly underneath. This almost has a blue translucent look, hence the name.

Silkback

The silkback, is quite a standout variation. It does not have any spikes and gives it this silky looking complexion. It is quite a rare morph to find, so not many people know about this one.

Others

Apart from these, there is the German Giant, Dunner, Zero, Witblits, Wero and Paradox morph variations.

What are the most popular Iguana species?

Believe it or not, there are many different Iguana Lizard Species. To be precise thirty-five. So, quite a few options. Here are some of the most popular species of Iguana:

Green Iguana

This is one of the most popular species. Believe it or not they come in a range of different colours, not just green. For example, pink or even blue.

They are fairly big growing up to 5 feet in length. They are also herbivores, so they mainly eat herbs, fruit and vegetables (Click here to see if iguanas can eat Cucumber). If you plan to care for one of these lizards you need to make sure that they have a regular supply of the right food to keep them happy. They have quite a picky diet in comparison to the Bearded Dragon. They also have distinctive spikes on their back to keep away any predators.

 

Red Iguana

The red iguana is really just a variation of the green Iguana. Therefore, it does not have any special care requirements different to the green iguana. The only real difference is the fact that it is literally red. Although it is known to have a range of colours close to red, such as a rusty type colour ranging up to a borderline orange colour.

Desert

This Desert species of the Iguana originates from the desert areas of America. It is known for its immense speed. It can stand on its hind legs and run at an alarming speed.

They are also known to change colour throughout the day depending on the weather conditions. For example, in the heat of the day the skin will appear white to reflect the sun and to keep them cooler.

However, in the early hours of the day when the sun is the coolest they are known to be greyish colour so they adapt based on the environment.

Grand Cayman

This lizard is naturally Grey, but it can change colour to a blue vibrant colour once it is mixed with other lizards. This is why it is commonly known as the blue Iguana.

This lizard is quite rare, it is also regarded as an endangered species. These lizards Live for a very long period of time. They have been recorded to live up to 69 years. They are also regarded as one of the lizards with the longest lifespan.

You may find other Blue lizards, but it is unlikely they will be a genuine Grand Cayman blue Iguana due to their rarity.

Do Bearded Dragons Live Longer than Iguana’s?

On average you can expect Bearded dragons to live anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Iguana’s on the other hand, it largely depends on which specie you are thinking of, but most of them have a similar lifespan of 10 to 15 years, however as we discussed earlier with the Grand Cayman it can have a really long lifespan up to 69 years.

Which is Better for a Beginner, the Iguana or Bearded Dragon?

What it comes to the beginners, It is better to have the most easiest option. In this case, hands-down, the bearded dragon will be the best choice.

The reason I say this, is primarily its size. The size of an adult iguana can be quite large, for example over 5 feet long. Therefore it’ll be a lot harder to care for, just by the sheer space it will require.

The bearded dragon on the other hand has a much more manageable size of up to 24 inches. This means that they will not need a large enclosure to keep them happy, meaning it will not cost you as much to keep them.

When it comes to their diet, the bearded dragon wins hands down again. It is an omnivore meaning that there is more options for you to feed it and keep it happy. Whereas the Iguana has a very specialised herbivore diet, meaning it will only eat the correct vegetables and herbs that matches its strict requirements.

In fact you have to be very careful what you feed the Iguana, because if you feed them any proteins such as animal meat, dog food etc this will actually cause them damage. Meaning you could actually cause issues to their kidney or liver doing this.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that the Iguana is a herbivore, it may make it sound like a big softie, if you get on the wrong side of it it will not hesitate to bite, and it has a very nasty bite. In fact they can be quite aggressive in general. With all that being said, I personally feel that the Bearded Dragon is the best choice for a beginner.

Related Questions:

Is a Bearded Dragon More Expensive than an Iguana? You can pick up a Bearded Dragon from  $30 up to $150. Iguana’s on other hand, depending on the specie, can range from as low as $20 up to $500+.

What are the humidity requirements for an Iguana and Bearded Dragon? Iguana’s like the humidity quite high, to put this into perspective I mean up to the levels of 75%.

Bearded Dragons on the other hand, need the humidity levels a lot lower. In particular up to 40%. So you can see that have quite a different requirement for humidity.

Wayne
 

Hi, this is me with my daughter and my Lizard friend. I hope you enjoy my research. Please feel free to check out my "About Me" page to find out more about me.

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