What's going on with my dragon here? I'm confused.

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Lurhstaap

Juvie Member
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A vittikins is a dragon that is part normal bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) and part Rankin's dragon (hence the name 'Vittikins'.) They are smaller than normal dragons, have a less developed beard, and they tend to be more social and less aggressive with other dragons than pure Pogona vitticeps due to the Rankins part of their ancestry. They are not very common at all because Rankins are not common, at least not compared to normal beardies, so I was assuming he's just stunted growth, but that explanation makes no sense to me now that I have rescued Goldie. SHE has stunted growth, no question, but she still looks like a normal beardie in all other ways. He doesn't. That's why I've begun to suspect he has some Rankins ancestry.

Sunny's beard is indeed rather less developed than normal. That's one of the first things I noticed about Pele when she arrived, actually. Even though she is two or three months younger than Sunny she is two or three inches longer, much more robust physically, and she has a much "fuller" beard and longer, larger spikes than Sunny. If my previous mistakes had caused Sunny to look how he does I would expect the severely neglected Goldie to show such traits but she doesn't. Her beard is even fuller than Pele's (probably because she is over a year old and Pele is a juvenile.) So I don't think that's why Sunny looks the way he does.

Sunny is about seven months old. I got him from a local feed store that usually doesn't carry beardies, or many live animals at all. One day the dragon display just appeared all of a sudden and there were never many dragons in it. Now there's only two left. I have always assumed that someone local had a clutch and sold or gave them to the store. So it's possible that someone local has been breeding Vittikins either deliberately or accidentally and that's how the store got them.
 

Toria88

Member
I guess the biggest indication that he would be a vittikin's would be his head shape. Does Sunny have a normal beard? You said his head is shaped a bit different, so I would probably be thinking the same thing you are! Especially since he doesn't look 100% like a leatherback. He's smooth, but not as smooth as a leatherback. Can you upload a picture of his face? :)
 

Lurhstaap

Juvie Member
Original Poster
His beard and head are definitely rather different in shape and size than Goldie and Pele's. He can inflate his neck area, but there's almost no actual fringe of scales, unlike Pele and Goldie, who have lovely thick scale fringes on their necks. The fringe is there on Sunny but it's smaller and flatter than the other two. And his head is shorter and more wedge-shaped than theirs. He looks kind of like a little frog if you look at the very front part of his face. Pele and Goldie have rather more elegant, elongated muzzles and crania than he does. Also I just noticed that the spikes on the back of the fat pads on his head point upward, whereas on the two females, they are horizontal.

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He is at least seven months old, maybe eight. Sorry the images are so poor quality. (But yes, the colors are accurate! He really is mostly yellow, orange, and purple, at least normally. He can go brown when he's unhappy or annoyed or cold.)
 

Toria88

Member
Judging by what you've said, and the pictures, I would honestly say that there is a good chance he is a vittikin's! He's smaller, he has a different shaped head, he definitely doesn't have as much of a beard, and his skin texture is in between a regular & a leatherback. By the way, I definitely don't think you did anything wrong that would stunt his scale development! I've been meaning to say that, so no need for you to feel guilty! :D I honestly think that him being a Vittikin's is a big possibility! You said he was the one from a pet store? I wonder how he got there! :?: :?: :?: How puzzling! You'd think that a Vittkin's would be hard to find like Rankin's are! All that being said, I'm glad Sunny has a wonderful and intelligent owner like you! :mrgreen:
 

Lurhstaap

Juvie Member
Original Poster
How fascinating! At first, I thought that was the least likely explanation for his odd traits, but the more research I do the more convinced I become that he is a vittikins. Ever since I first got him I had an intuition that he was a special boy, but mainly because of his lovely colors. I had thought he maybe was a pet-quality reject from a color breeder's lineage or something.

And the place I got him isn't a pet store so much as a feed store. They do not sell many live animals at all beyond feeders like crickets, mice, rats, and goldfish. However, they do accept products from local farmers and animal breeders occasionally, so now and then short-term products appear, but they are usually farm type animals like baby chicks, turkeys, or ducklings. Sometimes rabbits. During this past summer the bearded dragon display just suddenly appeared out of nowhere and I eventually was tempted into buying one because I hadn't had one since I was a child and every time I saw the display I found myself desperately missing my childhood beardie. So one day I caved and bought Sunny. They have not restocked the dragons more than once, if at all, since they first appeared, as far as I can tell. There are only one or two left now. The display will probably disappear when the last two are sold. It's not a typical product for the store.

It's a nice store... they remember Sunny when I bring him in and ask about him when I don't, and their setup, while not perfect, is far from the horror show you see at a lot of places. Given that I know they often accept stuff from local people to sell, my theory is that a local breeder had an "oops clutch" (or, less likely, did it deliberately) and sold it or gave it to the feed store. I know there are other herp hobbyists in the area, so it's very possible that someone local has a Rankins and did some crossbreeding.

In retrospect, knowing that this clutch of dragons is probably vittikins, that explains why their display was so calm and peaceful despite having multiple dragons in it. Not a one was nipped and I never saw any bullying behavior, not even much back sitting. They mostly just hung out on various parts of a huuuuuuge basking tree. Since Rankin's is more social than the pure vitticeps that might explain the peacefulness of the babies.

I'll tell you this, the feed store has NO idea they might be selling vittikins, or, indeed, anything more special than the typical normal beardie. They are labeled simply as bearded dragons and sold for $50-$60 (the sticker is sixty, but they give people discounts a lot, including me LOL). Now I'm thinking I ought to let them know next time I'm there!
 

Toria88

Member
Yes, I definitely think you have a Vittikins on your hands! I'm kind of amazed! Where you got it and after watching that video... Those things only convince me more! You're probably the only person with a dragon out of that clutch that realizes it. Well hurray for you. :blob8: :blob5: I'm glad you got a special boy out of the deal. :mrgreen:
 

Lurhstaap

Juvie Member
Original Poster
Let me tell you, it's a relief to know the reason for his small size! For the longest time I thought I'd stunted his growth by accidentally feeding too many oxalates and relying on outdoor trips for sun rather than having a UVB lamp. x.x That didn't go on for more than a couple of months and my setup is excellent now, but still, I was sure I'd messed up his growth bigtime and felt terrible about it. Being vittikins also explains his temperament. He has been extremely accepting of all the new beardies in his territory. Some occasional bullying, but no real aggression whatsoever. In fact he's been flirting with them more than anything else. They get their own back from him too. XD In the bath today I let them all be in together and Sunny decided to rush at Pele. Without even looking at him she casually raised one foreleg so that he ended up zipping right under her in the water. Then she put her arm down and pushed his head under! He wriggled away and decided to go sit on a toy instead of bothering the ladies. XD It was hilarious. But if he were a pure P. vitticeps, I can see some of the situations that have happened erupting into violence, where they haven't, because he, apparently, isn't!
 
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