How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?

How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?

With the correct care (heating, lighting, diet, exercise, correct tank size, etc.) you can expect beardies to live up to 15 years.

This longevity is one of the main reasons more people are considering bearded dragons as pets and over the last decade or so have become incredibly popular.


Typical Lifespan Inside Their Natural Habitat

In their natural habitat beardies will live to approximately 3 to 8 years.

Any animal that lives in the wild will see a decreased life span since nature is a highly competitive environment with plenty of predators including dingoes, large lizards, and snakes, foxes, and birds of prey being their natural predators.


What About The Lifespan Of The Other Species?

The lifespan is fairly similar across all of the other types of dragons but here’s a rough guide:

  • 5-8 years in the wild.
  • 8-12 years is the typical captivity lifespan of a dragon that is well looked after.
  • 12-15 years is the ultimate lifespan and this is where the dragon has been kept in excellent condition by their owner.


How Do You Tell The Age Of A Bearded Dragon?

Bearded dragon size can give you a rough estimation on the age of your dragon but keep in mind that just like humans beardies will grow at different speeds and this also has to do with how well they have been taken care of.

Here’s is a size guide to give you a rough approximation of age:


Baby 0-3 Months

  • 3 in (7.6 cm) to 4 in (10 cm) = 0-1 months5 in (13 cm) to 9 in (23 cm) = 2 months8 in (20 cm) to 11 in (28 cm) = 3 months

Juvenile 4-12 Months

  • 9 in (23 cm) to 12 in (30 cm) = 4 months11 in (28 cm) to 16 in (41 cm) = 5-6 months13 in (33 cm) to 20 in (51 cm) = 7-8 months16 in (41 cm) to 22 in (56 cm) = 9-12 months

Adults 18+ Months

  • Adults can range between 12-24 inches.


If you’re buying an adult bearded dragon from a pet store or breeder then they should have the exact age (breeders will know the exact age and may have their specific growth chart on hand).


How Fast Do Bearded Dragons Grow?

Expect them to get to their maximum length at about the 1 year mark and during the second year is when they tend to fill out (get a more stocky look).

The speed at which beardie grows comes down to good caretaking and ample nutrition, especially in the early growth cycles.

In the wild bearded dragons need to grow quickly to reduce predator threat so it’s a good idea to feed them a lot of food mostly insects.

This ample supply of nutrients will give the dragon the building blocks it needs to grow quickly.


Wild Bearded Dragons Grow Larger 

In the wild, the food spectrum is greater and they are in complete control of when and what they eat, can better thermoregulate and because of this, they tend to grow larger than their captive counterparts.


How Big Do Bearded Dragons Get?

There are many factors that can impact growth but the 4 main factors are:

  1. Species
  2. Gender
  3. Food
  4. Environment (tank size, heating, UV lighting)

Let’s take a quick look at the different types of bearded dragons.


Species: How Big Does Each Species Grow?

Bearded Dragon Species


Pogona Vitticeps (Central – Most Common) 60cm / 24 inches
Pogona Barbata (Eastern) 60cm / 24 inches
Pogona Minor Mitchelli (Mitchells) 45cm / 18 inches
Pogona Minor Minor (Dwarf) 35-45cm / 14 to 18 inches
Pogona Nullabor (Banded) 45cm / 14 inches
Pogona Henrylawsoni (Lawsons / Rankins) 30cm/ 12 inches
Pogona Minor Minima (Western) 30cm/ 12 inches
Pogona Microlepidota (Small Scaled) 10-15cm/ 4-6 inches

Gender: Males Tend To Grow Larger Than Females

Generally speaking the male will grow larger than the female and with a noticeably larger head but this is not always the case.


Food: Eating For Size

I know I don’t need to mention the importance of food but here we go, yes, nutrition plays a major role and size will be largely determined by what they eat during the hatchling, juvenile and sub-adult growth cycles.

Like humans, bearded dragons are omnivores so out in their natural habitat they will pretty much go for anything which is probably why they’re such a successful animal.

They will eat:

  1. Plants
  2. Vegetables
  3. Fruit
  4. Live prey (insects, mice, smaller lizards etc.)

While you can’t exactly match what they eat in the wild you can get close by offering specific plants, veggies, insects, some fruit, combined with supplementation which will help them get to a good healthy size.

One of the fun parts of being a beardie owner is feeding time especially when you drop a cricket inside the tank and watching them hunt down their food.

Baby bearded dragons will need to consume more insects than plant matter for example their diet will pretty much be a 80:20 split between insects and greens whereas when they reach adulthood that ratio is reversed where it is 80% greens and 20% insects.

Most beardie owners will “gut load” their insects, this means that they will feed their insects greens, fruits, grains and other food types so that when your dragon eats them that nutrition profile is carried over to your dragon.

To round off a good diet they need to have supplementation as well including a reputable multivitamin and calcium powder.

If for some reason your beardie is not eating this article may help > why is my bearded dragon not eating.


Environment: What Is The Ideal Temperature For A Bearded Dragon?

Beardies are of course cold blooded which means they need to adjust their temperature ‘manually’ by hanging out in different areas of the tank.

Inside their tank there should be heat gradient which means a hot basking spot (this is a place that is close to the heat lamp), a cool place (a little cave for example) and then you have the general tank temperature.

Below is a guide on the ideal temperatures for babies, juves and adults.


Baby Dragon

  1. Warm area 80° – 84° Degrees F (26° – 29° degrees C)
  2. Basking spot that reaches 95° – 110° degrees F (35° – 43° degrees C)
  3. ​Cool, dark hideout 80°F – 90°F (26° – 32° degrees C)


Juvenile Dragon

  1. Warm area 80° – 84° Degrees F (26° – 29° degrees C)
  2. Basking spot that reaches 95° – 100° degrees F (35° – 37° degrees C)
  3. Cool, dark hideout 80°F – 90°F (26° – 32° degrees C)


Adult Dragon

  1. Warm area 80° – 84° Degrees F (26° – 29° degrees C)
  2. Basking spot that reaches 90° – 95° degrees F (32° – 35° degrees C)
  3. Cool, dark hideout 80°F – 90°F


UV Lighting Requirements

UV lighting is huge for bearded dragons and with not enough exposure can cause many health issues one of the largest being metabolic bone disease (MBR) which can leave with deformed which you can never fix.

In the wild bearded dragons spend a lot of time out in the sun and have evolved to require around 12-14 hours UV light every day.

By giving this to your dragon you’re able to get them to their maximum size potential.


What Is The Right Tank Size For A Bearded Dragon?

Baby Dragons – Baby dragons need a 20-gallon tank. This gives them space and makes it easier for them to catch their food.

Bearded Dragon Size

Tank Size

Baby Hatchling 20 gallon ideally
10-16 Inches 40 gallons or larger
16-20 inches 50 gallons (75 gallons is ideal)
20+ inches Minimum 75 gallons but 125 gallons is ideal


Remember that bearded dragons grow at different rates and it’s important to keep these tips in mind when you get your own little beardie guy or gal.

If you’re buying a hatchie (baby dragon) then be patient and enjoy watching them go through their growth cycles and have fun with them!