How Long Does a Bearded Dragon Live?


A bearded dragon is one of the most popular reptiles you will find in captivity today. They are easy to care for, and they come in many different colors and sizes. Having a new pet is extremely exciting so before you buy or adopt a bearded dragon, make sure you pick your beardie wisely. 

The bearded dragon diet, consisting of insects, fruits, and vegetables, plays a vital role in their lifespan. The average lifespan for a bearded dragon is 8-15 years. The world’s oldest bearded dragon died at 18 years.

This article will help you learn more about the lifespan of bearded dragons, how long they live, and what affects their lifestyle.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Bearded Dragon?

The average lifespan of a bearded dragon in the wild or natural setting ranges from 3 to 8 years. In the wild, they have to fend for themselves by hunting and looking for their meals, fighting for their survival, and avoiding the various dangers. 

Dealing with the dangers in the wild makes them have relatively short life expectancies. You will find that most will die at the age of 5 to 6 years, and those that manage to live to 8 years are the exception.  

However, for bearded dragons kept in captivity, circumstances are quite different. They don’t have to hunt for themselves anymore and are safe from natural predators. The average lifespan of a domesticated bearded dragon ranges from 8 to 15 years.

Why Do Some Bearded Dragons Have a Longer Lifespan Than Others?

There are several factors why some bearded dragons live longer than others. There are variations in genetics, size, sex, healthcare, diet & nutrition, environment & condition, enclosure size, and breeding history.

Some bearded dragons die at eight years, while others might almost double that and live until 15 years. If you are domesticating a bearded dragon or planning to, it is upon you to either improve or degrade the animal’s health. 

Genetics of Male And Female Bearded Dragons

Like any other species, genetics play a significant role in determining the lifespan of a bearded dragon. Some stores sell bearded dragons without providing the reptile’s origin and health history.

Reputable breeders usually take a lot of effort to fortify genes through selective breeding. Chances are the bearded dragons will benefit from these genes and have a longer lifespan.

Is The A Difference In Size Between Male And Female Bearded Dragons 

Another significant factor that determines the lifespan of a bearded dragon is its size. The size of a bearded dragon dictates its life expectancy. The larger the dragon, the longer it usually lives. Bearded dragons of larger size tend to outlive smaller ones as they can adapt to environmental changes more quickly.

Does Sex Make a difference on How Long a Bearded Dragon Lives 

Male bearded dragons usually grow faster and appear more prominent than females. The larger the bearded dragon, the longer the lifespan, meaning male species tend to outlive females.

Producing and breeding young ones also takes a toll on the female bearded dragons making females have a shorter predicted lifespan than males.

“Every bearded dragon has it’s own personality, They become your children and cost just as much”

Tony O’Neill

How To Ensure Your Bearded Dragon Lives a Long life

Healthcare

If you want to adopt or buy a healthier bearded dragon, ensure that you provide it with proper care. It would help if you cleaned your bearded dragon’s enclosure frequently. Also, make sure that you give the bearded dragon veterinary attention. 

However, they do not need vaccination, but they can benefit from physical checkups and examinations. You can have your vet check for parasites in their feces to ensure they have no health issues.

Diet & Nutrition

A good diet and nutrition play a vital role in maintaining the health of your bearded dragons. Fortunately, bearded dragons are not always picky eaters like other pets; therefore, it won’t be challenging to find adequate meals for your beardie.

Their diet ranges from insects, leafy greens, small invertebrates, fruits, and occasional high-fat treats like mealworms and super worms.

A bearded dragon’s life is quite different in the wild as their diet consists of 75% insects. Wild bearded dragons mainly hunt for insects like crickets, worms, and cockroaches.

They also feed on small mammals such as mice. Owners who domesticate them tend to reduce their protein intake by adding plant material to their diet to maintain proper health.

Moreover, the added vegetables help mitigate or avoid obesity issues by meeting their nutritional needs. 

The nutritional needs of your bearded dragon will change during its growth phase. For instance, when the bearded dragon is young, they feed mainly on insects which account for 75% of their diet and only 25% of leafy greens.

When they age, they flip their diet to primarily plant material which accounts for 75% of their meals and 25% of insects. 

Environment & Condition

It would help if you put in some effort and planning to match the semiarid environmental conditions in Central and West Australia, where beardies originated. 

It is essential to keep your bearded dragon in a well-ventilated enclosure where cooler temperatures remain between 75°F – 85°F. Depending on their age, their hot spot temperatures should range from 96°F – 110°F. Ensure that you place the reptile in a room with plenty of light and humidity levels below 40%. 

There are many options for bearded dragon substrates, including bark, coconut husk, newspaper, sand, etc. Small particle substrates like dust will likely cause health concerns like impaction, infections, and more.

If you fall short of meeting the environmental conditions, you may reduce the lifespan of your bearded dragon.

Best Enclosures For Bearded Dragons to Increase Their Lives

Dragons-Basking-in-my-viv

A larger enclosure is essential and ideal for any pet. Bearded dragons require a lot of space to live comfortably. An enclosure should allow them to roam freely without being confined while maintaining their health.

You should also make sure that the vivarium is spacious enough to climb up walls and hide places.

In the wild, bearded dragons are semi-arboreal, spending most of their time basking in the sun and hunting for insects.

You will need an ideal tank of at least 100 gallons (100-125) for an adult bearded dragon. For a baby beardie, 20 gallons might be enough. 

Breeding History

It is essential to know the more the female bearded dragons breed, the more their lifespan expectancy reduces. Breeding and producing a few times takes a toll on their bodies. As mentioned before, female bearded dragons have a short lifespan compared to their male counterparts.

However, female bearded dragons that do not breed tend to have a longer lifespan than the breeders that reproduce offspring.

How can you Tell Your Bearded Dragon’s Age?

There are several ways to tell your bearded dragon’s age if you are unsure. However, you should know that these methods are for approximation and predicting the age of your beardie. They might not give the owner the exact age of their beardie but a clue of their life stage.

The most common way is by using its body length. Baby bearded dragons that are less than a month old are four inches short or long.

They will grow up to 10 inches long between the ages of one to four months. Newborn hatchlings that are 30 days old and below tend to be less than four inches in length.

When your beardie reaches the age of a year or more, predicting age by measuring their bodies becomes a less accurate method.

You will find that most adult beardies range from 16 to 24 inches long. Some juvenile beardies might measure 16 inches long like the adult ones making it difficult to predict their ages using length.

At this point, you can get a good idea by using their body weights. Adult beardies always weigh more than 500 grams, while juveniles weigh 300 grams or less.

Another way you can use to determine the age of your bearded dragon is by selecting its sex. Beardie reaches sexual maturity between 8 to 12 months old.

Another method is to observe the changes in the diet of your bearded dragon. Baby and juvenile bearded dragons usually consume insects as the central part of their diet. As they get older, they start eating plant materials such as vegetables and fruit.

What Are the Six Life Stages of a Bearded Dragon? 

The life cycle of a bearded dragon goes through six stages, namely the embryonic stage, hatching, juvenile stage, young adult, mature adult, and old or senior age.

Bearded Dragon Embryonic Stage

Embryonic is the first stage of development when the embryo of the bearded dragon begins to develop. It takes place inside the egg, and the mother’s nutrition and stress level will affect the offspring’s life when it hatches out.

Bearded Dragon Hatching Stage

When the eggs hatch, they produce hatchlings that are three inches in size. The hatchling stage of a beardie lasts between 55 to 75 days. Offsprings grow at a rate of 1 to 3 inches per 30 days.

Bearded Dragon Juvenile Stage

Once the beardie’s offspring is 7 to 8 inches long, it becomes a juvenile. During this stage, the beardie may still be growing about 1 inch each month. They will remain juveniles until they reach at least one year of age.

Bearded Dragon Young Adult Stage

Beardies reach the young adult stage at the age of a year or more. At this time, the bearded dragon will be nearing sexual maturity and not growing at the pace during the hatchling and juvenile stages. The beardies will begin to show equal interest in both plant and insect material diet during this stage.

Bearded Dragon Mature Adult Stage

Beardies reach the mature adult stage between 4 to 7 years of age. At this stage, the beardie will show opposite interest in the diet of a juvenile. About 75% of the beardie diet is plant materials, with only 25% being insects.

Bearded Dragon Old Age or Senior Stage

After reaching the old age stage, usually seven years and above, beardies will not grow further. They will feed and move less.

If you took care of your beardie while it was in its early stages, it might live longer, up to 15 years or even more. The effects of old age might even take longer to set in. 

More FAQ’s About Bearded Dragons And Their Age

Conclusion On How Long Bearded Dragons Live

If you want to have a healthy beardie, then make sure you provide them with proper care. Make sure you clean the enclosure regularly and change the substrates.

Husbandry is the easiest but most overlooked thing that can affect the well-being of your dragons.

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