Silk Back Bearded Dragons....Why?

Why on Earth do people breed these poor animals? I consider it cruelty to animals…The life of pain they end up living in especially if sold to an unexperienced keeper is terrible. I see them for sale and like some I feel bad for the beardie and would love to purchase it and try giving it a good life but I stop myself as this just encourages the breeding.

What do you all think of silkies?
Do any of you have one?

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To be fair, my bet is that most reptiles (and birds), and many plain old dogs and cats, are sold to inexperienced pet owners. None of them deserve to be the training tools for owners even w good intentions. But, many of those owners rise to the occasion and can offer them a happy home.

As to why they are bred, I have no idea. I find them quite unappealing. I would sooner be cuddling w scorpions (I know, some of you do!) Plus how many times can you name something Bigglesworth?

I wish the best for all animals, including these rather odd ducks.

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I personally don’t like them. They are ugly to me, and I wouldn’t want to deal with all the extra care they require. Also, I like to breed my animals and I’ve heard that Silkies can’t be bred.

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I wish as a community people would be more concerned with doing the right thing than they are with profit. Especially when the community is already scrutinized. Just do the right thing and stop giving people ammo against the thing you claim you love. Stop breading animals with known issues. I don’t care how cool they look, how much money you can make off them, or anything like that. I typically am not for regulation but if people keep seeing the; for lack of a more appropriate term, “bad” side of our hobby; silkie dragons, spider balls, enigma geckos, and the seemingly never-ending stream of snake bite videos on youtube to name a few regulations are going to come and they are going to reach beyond just the issues that need to be addressed. I saw it happen in the electronic cigarette community and I feel like I am going to watch it happen all over again in the herp community.

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I saw a silkie dragon at a local expo once. I pet it, it felt so soft.

But it was not in the best condition at all, it looked rough and covered in scabs. Like the breeder hadn’t bothered to give it any proper care, poor thing.

I don’t believe that morphs/mutations with truly detrimental issues like this should be bred. If you have to give it a lot of extra care just for the animal to live comfortably, it shouldn’t be bred. Period.

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I am not familiar with the morph- what are the characteristics of it & why does it have an association with reduced hardiness? Is it like the ‘soft scale’ of crested geckos at all?

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It’s a scaleless beardie, but they have issues with shedding and their skin drying out I believe.

They require extra care due to this issue and if not given proper treatment the animal can suffer as a result.

I’m not 100% well researched on the mutation but I have looked into it before, so I may be missing some things or have some things wrong. So take what I say with a grain of salt :rofl:

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I’m not a fan of scaleless anything. Full disclosure I have never owned or produced any scaleless animals. But in my opinion these animals seem to have a lot of problems and just seem less healthy. What baffles me is everyone jumps on wobble morphs but no one really seems to mind scaleless…

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I think that’s because a lot of people are just misinformed, many people just see the snake wobbling and say that’s an issue. Where as they see the scaleless snake or lizard and don’t see the possible issues that can develop

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Hello Everyone,

I wanted to firstly explain how this morph is created. A silkie or scaless bearded dragon is produced from a breeding of 2 co-dominant leatherbacks. It is the “super form” or double dominant trait expressed when the baby gets both dominant genes from both parents. So if you breed two dominant leatherbacks together you would get 25% normal scale, 50% leatherbacks & 25% silkies or scaless. Those percentages do not reflect the exact number you should expect from each clutch but rather the possibility each egg/baby has of hatching out with that trait.

Now that the information about the morph has been explained I am going to switch over to my personal info/opinion…

I have been breeding Pogona for over 16 years and have produced a handful of silkies. I do not personally like producing them. That is not because of any health issues or poor quality of life that they experience. It is because they do require more skin care than the average pet owner can keep up with. I am not saying that as a fact just stating my opinion from years of experience working with the general public and personal customers.

Now on to the other unknown questions asked by folks in this thread…

They can be bred(usually only males are used). Females would have head damage from males biting during normal breeding and because of the lack of hard scales located on the back of the females head it would cause a female silkie more damage then normally expected for a female dragons during breeding. Also note normal scaled females can and do experience scale damage during breeding. That is normal and can happen to females every breeding season.

I have personally never bred a silkie, but know many that have with no heath issues from the breeding. This gene does nothing to the dragon as a whole other then change their skin texture. Its still just a breaded dragon at the end of the day. Also keep in mind they are called scaless but they still do in fact have scales. Definitely not as much as a normal scaled or leatherback dragon but they still do have groups of them located on their heads, middle of their backs and around their tails.

So to sum up everything…
They do not live shorter life’s or have poor health because they are missing more scales then a normal dragon.
Males can be used for breeding.
They have the same exact requirements as a normal scaled or leatherback dragon other then needing more skin care(more baths and save lotion to apply during shedding).

Id like to conclude that from what I have witnessed over the last 16 years I have worked in the reptile industry I have seen people across the board (reptiles & amphibians) mistreat their pets. It may not be on purpose or intentional, but the fact of the matter is it still happens every day. I have and will continue to help anyone who reaches out to me looking for advise or help with a current issue they are experiencing with their dragon. I cant stop everyone from mistreating their dragons, but what I can do is pass along advise and factual information to help people better care for their beardies!

Hope everybody has a good day.
-Amy

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I don’t care for scaless reptiles myself but I respect others right to have them. I would wish that anyone who chooses to breed and or sell a scaless dragon or anything else would be careful to pick and choose who they are sold to .

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I’m actually going to say that I like the look of scaleless reptiles. Like the spider morph it doesn’t cause pain nor is it cruel to the animal (not the best analogy but as a person does it cause pain whether or not you have hair). I do not think they should be sold to unexperienced keepers or not being given special care. However if the breeder takes proper care of their animals and only sells to people who will give them proper care then I think it should be kept and bred. But if someone can prove me wrong and show me that the morph can and does cause pain and/or suffering under proper (for the morph) care then I’m more than glad to hear it.

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Awesome replies…Inexperienced keepers are definitely the biggest issue. If the seller is responsible he MUST ensure the buyer is qualified to give that silkie a healthy life. Issue is lots of sellers don’t do that and it leads to animals suffering. The day everyone out there is on the same page when it comes to their care they might be ok but that takes bumping up the education about these guys. Me personally I rather not see them produced/sold but to each their own.

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Scalesless anything should not be done. It is something that truly affects quality of life and health of the animals. It does seem silkies are affected more then snakes.

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I’m genuinely curious why you think that. The animals still have a quality of life and don’t suffer from any problems if being kept correctly. I’m also curious why you think they’re more affected than snakes. I don’t think either suffer but I’m glad to be proven wrong.

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I personally feel that if an animal requires a ton of special care just to be healthy, then the trait is actually a serious defect, and shouldn’t be bred.

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What do you mean by “a ton” I wouldn’t consider special substrate, higher humidity, and a soak/bath when shedding a ton of special care". If someone had an entire collection of them it would be but having less than a dozen at the most wouldn’t be too hard.

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In addition to what you have mentioned above, in my experience, Silkies need to be soaked twice a week regardless of if they are shedding, they need Omega supplements, can’t be co-habbed even as hatchlings, and need to have lotion applied every time they are soaked.

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And the lotion has to be all natural, food grade and without any kind of mineral oil.

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Thank you, the exact kind of useful information I wanted. I still think that as long as the breeder and buyer are aware of all the complex care and treatments then they should still be bred. However not that many can provide such care and therefore I don’t think it should be kept or bred by most people since they wouldn’t be willing/able to provide that care.

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