How long do bearded dragons live is one of the most interesting questions new owners try to find answers to. We think knowing the life expectancy of your beardie is very important because we believe it’s valuable knowledge that will help you provide better care over time.
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?
The average lifespan of a bearded dragon, in general, ranges from 5 to 15 years, or even longer if provided the right care. Wild species have a shorter lifespan because of the scarcity of food, predators, and droughts.
The life expectancy of bearded dragons depends on many factors like genetics, living conditions, care, and diet.
According to the Guinness world record, the oldest bearded dragon on record was Sebastian who lived for 18 years and 237 days.
Generally, males usually live longer than females as they are bigger. Bigger beardies are more durable and can withstand harsher environmental conditions. Also when a female has eggs it weakens her body. This energy expenditure reduces her lifespan.
Average Lifespan Of A Bearded Dragon In The Wild
In the wild bearded dragons typically live for about 5 to 8 years.
One of the main reasons why wild species have a shorter life is because of natural predators. Some of the predators that prey on bearded dragons include hawks and buzzards. They are also hunted by wolves and big cats.
Finding enough food may also be difficult for beardies, especially in droughts. Food scarcity and droughts make survival more challenging.
Bearded dragons need between 20 and 30 mL of water per kilo every day to be hydrated. Their dry desert climate makes this challenging at times.
Predation, food scarcity, and droughts all shorten their potential lifespan by three to six years.
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live In Captivity
Captive beardies have the ability to live far longer than their wild counterparts. Pets that are not adequately cared for, on the other hand, will live as long as their wild species.
A well-kept bearded dragon lives for 10 to 15 years on average. In captivity, they don’t face issues such as predators, and lack of food and water. All these factors combined increase their lifespan.
Spending a few extra minutes each day on your beardie’s care can ensure that your lizard is healthy and happy. It will also lengthen their lives.
Below is a chart explaining the different age ranges for bearded dragons in captivity.
- 5 to 8 Years: This is the maximum age they can reach in the wild. This is also the maximum years they live in captivity if the owner is not paying much attention to its diet, lighting etc.
- 8 to 12 Years: A dragon can live up to 12 years if the owner is taking proper care of them.
- 12 to 15 Years: The maximum a dragon can reach in captivity under super care.
- 14+ Years: There are cases where bearded dragons have lived for more than 18 years but those are very rare.
What Factors Influence A Bearded Dragon’s Lifespan?
The lifespan of a bearded dragon in captivity depends on different factors. Diet, enclosure, sex, size, species, and breeding are the major influences on how long they’ll live.
Most of these factors are in your control except for the genetic disposition. There are a lot of things you can do to ensure your beardie lives a long and healthy life. We have divided these factors into three groups: habitat, diet, and diseases.
Naturally, bearded dragons are found in the semiarid areas of Australia. As a bearded dragon owner, you need to duplicate their natural environment as much as possible.
In the wild, bearded dragons are semi-arboreal and spend most of their time hunting and basking under the sun. Dragons should be kept in a larger cage ideally 120 gallon with a temperature between 70 and 85°F, and a humidity between 20 and 40% RH. You will also need to provide a basking light with temperatures ranging from 90-110˚F. Beardies also need UVB light to digest their food.
Read More >> Bearded Dragon Lighting and Heating Requirements
It is also important to provide a safe substrate for your bearded dragon. There is a difference of opinion on what substrate is best for beardies however, one thing is clear that sand substrate should never be used with beardies. Some of the safest options include reptile carpet and newspaper.
Read More >> Best Bearded Dragon Lighting Substrate
Bearded dragons spend most of their time on the ground however, they also like to climb low branches and rocks. Placing a rock or a branch under the basking lamp will also provide the best spot for them to bask. It is also important to provide a few branches and hiding places in the tank where they can hide and feel protected.
Pro Tip: Make sure the basking spot is placed at a safe distance from UVB and heat lamps. For this read manufacturer’s manual.
Cleaning your bearded dragon cage on regular basis also plays a key role in their health. Make sure your bearded dragon’s enclosure is free from harmful fungus and bacteria. We recommend spot cleaning and taking out any feces or urates every day, wiping down surfaces once a week, and doing a thorough cleaning about once a month.
Food and diet play a key role in the well-being of your bearded dragon. Their diet is essentially omnivorous, meaning that they share a carnivorous and vegetarian diet. They do have a need and preference for meat and vegetable matter in different percentages as they go through different stages in their life.
During the juvenile and sub-adult stage bearded dragons have a predominantly carnivorous diet, with insects forming up to 80% of their diet, and the remainder is formed by plant matter.
In nature, they will catch crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, termites, and many other insects, sometimes adult bearded dragons will even catch small mice and other small lizards as part of their diet.
Adult bearded dragons still have a prevalent need for insects as part of their diet, but vegetable matter now become very important. The percentage ratio of meat to vegetables drops significantly with age and insects only form about 60% of the diet.
As bearded dragon owners, we need to replicate their natural diet at home with a few changes. In captivity, bearded dragons don’t get as much exercise as they do in the wild so feeding them too much protein can actually hurt their health.
In captivity, Baby and juvenile bearded dragons should be fed 80% insects and 20% plants just like in the wild. Adult dragons should be fed 80% plants and only 20% of their diet should consist of insects.
Baby and juveniles are wired to put on weight and stay hydrated in order to survive, so an insect-based diet is perfect, having good moisture content and being highly nutritious in protein value and fats. They also need fiber from vegetable matter to aid digestion, most insects have a tough exoskeleton and if the bearded dragon does not get sufficient fiber, they may get constipated from all the chitinous material in the digestive tract.
Pet bearded dragons can be fed insects such as cockroaches, crickets, and worms. However, mealworms and superworms should only be fed occasionally as treats since they are high in fat and low in protein.
Vegetables such as leafy greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, carrots, red bell pepper, peeled cucumbers, pumpkin, and zucchini can be fed to your beardie. They also love tomatoes, but they shouldn’t eat them too often because of their very high acidity levels.
Bearded dragons can also eat a variety of fruits such as apples, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe melon, and bananas. Never feed your beardie fruits with high acidity levels such as lemon, orange, and principles.
You can also feed your beardie flowers such as dandelions to further diversify their diet.
Your bearded dragon must have access to fresh water at all times.
Read More >> Bearded Dragon Diet
Vitamins and supplements
To help strengthen your beardie’s immune system, you need to feed them supplements such as calcium, multivitamins, and vitamin D3 on regular basis.
Read More >> Best Vitamins For Bearded Dragons
Diseases can drastically reduce your bearded dragon’s life expectancy. Some of the most common diseases in bearded dragons are metabolic bone disease, stomatitis, respiratory tract infections, gut impactions, and obesity.
As a bearded dragon owner you should always monitor their health and take them to a vet if you catch any signs of illness.
The best way to prevent diseases in bearded dragons is to provide the proper care. This includes a good diet, and proper habitat set up with the right temperatures and humidity levels.
Read More >> Bearded Dragon Diseases
Consider not breeding a female if you want her to live longer. A female bearded dragon’s lifespan is shortened by breeding. It causes the pelvis and limbs to lose mass as well as the abdomen to expand. Her body suffers from these conditions, which shorten her life.
Make sure to assist your Beardie in recovering if you decide to breed her. After she has laid her eggs, you will need to manually feed and hydrate her for a few days.
The bearded dragon has nine subspecies. Larger species tend to be stronger than smaller ones. In the wild, larger dragons are more adept at warding off predators and adjusting to different environmental conditions. The larger the bearded dragon, the more tough and powerful it is.
The Pogona vitticeps subspecies are the most popular pet species. It can live between eight and twelve years.
Pogona henrylawsoni is a different pet subspecies. They often live for eight to 10 years and are substantially smaller.
Another smaller subspecies is Rankin’s dragon. Their average life span is six to ten years.
Bearded Dragon Life Cycle
There are six life stages for bearded dragons. All six stages are based on their size and age.
- Embryonic: Within the egg, there is a developmental stage known as the embryonic stage. The mother’s nutrition and stress levels can have an effect on the quality of life of her offspring throughout this phase.
- Hatchlings: Hatchlings are three inches long when they are born. They grow at a pace of 1-3 inches each month during this period of life, which lasts for 55 to 75 days. Until they reach eight inches in length, bearded dragons are regarded as hatchlings.
- Juvenile: When a bearded dragon reaches a length of about 7-8 inches, it enters the juvenile stage. They will develop at a pace of 1 inch every month and are also referred to as subadults.
- Young Adult: Young adults range in age from one to three years. They should begin consuming more veggies and greens at this stage (rather than insects). Bearded dragons begin to display more social behaviors when they reach sexual maturity. During this stage, growth will begin to drop.
- Mature Adult: A mature adult is between the ages of four and seven. At this point, there is no growth and a slow decline in reproduction rates.
- Old Age: Old age is the last stage. Old age begins at around 7-8 years. Lethargy increases and feeding decreases at this stage of life. Depending on the care they receive, your bearded dragon’s old age may begin later in life. while they were younger.
|Embryonic||55 to 80 days to hatch.|
|Hatchling||From birth until eight inches in length.|
|Juvenile||Begins when they reach eight inches in length.|
|Young adult||1-3 years old.|
|Mature Adult||4-7 years old.|
|Old Age||8 years and older.|
How Can You Tell How Old A Bearded Dragon Is?
Although there is no exact method for determining the age of a bearded dragon, the most widely acknowledged method is to measure it!
Bearded dragons are around 4 inches long from the top of their heads to the tip of their tails when they hatch. Their body length is roughly 6 inches by the time they are 6 weeks old. Bearded dragons grow approximately an inch per week beginning in the sixth week. A dragon that is 11 to 18 inches long is most likely 6 months or older.
As beardies attain sexual maturity at 6 months of age, their sexual differences between one another become clear. Males grow larger heads, wider tails, and darker-colored beards in addition to their expanded femoral pores. Females still have a single protuberance above the vent as opposed to two, hence they are smaller. They also have slimmer tails and leaner heads.
How To Increase Your Bearded Dragon’s Lifespan
1. Use Safe Products
Make sure to buy your pet’s supplies from trusted sources. Buy insects from responsible breeders that are free from parasites and diseases. Also, wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly before feeding to eliminate any risk of pesticide ingestion.
Never use sand or any other loose substrate such as small gravels with bearded dragons. Loose substrate often leads to impaction.
Also, make sure to get a good quality thermometer and hygrometer to accurately monitor your enclosure’s temperatures and humidity.
2. Give them Supplements
To further boost their immune system, make sure to give them multivitamins, along with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements. You can either gut-load or dust on the insects before feeding them to your pet.
Supplements are especially important for females during pregnancy because they need more calcium than usual for eggs.
3. Clean their Tank Regularly
The bearded dragon tank should be cleaned on regular basis to reduce the risk of diseases such as infections. Make sure to remove any eaten food once your dragon is done with it, clean feces, spot clean for droppings and clean the entire enclosure once every month.
Hydration is a crucial part of bearded dragon care that is generally overlooked. Along with giving your beardie access to clean, fresh water at all times, you can also keep them hydrated by giving them a nice, warm bath for around 20 minutes. Additionally, it aids in loosening their skin during shedding to reduce the possibility of constriction, which can result in tail rot.
5. Keep Your Beardie Stress Free
Keeping a bearded dragon stress-free is one of the best methods to extend its lifespan. Along with providing it with the aforementioned care, you need also make sure there are no stressors in the area. Bearded dragons frequently experience chronic stress as a result of other animals and loud noises in the environment. Glass terrariums can also make a reflection that your dragon might think is another dragon, making it upset. Put a piece of fabric or background on one side of your glass cage to avoid this.
Read More >> How to Destress a Bearded Dargon
Bearded Dragon Lifespan FAQs
Do male or female bearded dragons live longer?
Bearded dragons often live for around 10 years. Males are believed to be stronger and live longer than females, however, this fact is largely explained by the physical effort that reproducing requires of a female.
Females’ physical health is harmed by breeding since it results in an expansion of the abdomen and a significant loss of muscle mass in the limbs and pelvis. Throughout their lifetime, female bearded dragons can produce clutches of up to 15–25 eggs. Due to the stress that pregnancy puts on their bodies, each pregnancy will result in a decline in their health.
Additionally, male bearded dragons are larger than females and live around 2 years longer then than females.
Due to the limitless food supply and lack of predators, bearded dragons survive longer in captivity. The lifespan of a bearded dragon is influenced by a variety of variables, however adequate care is typically the key to ensuring that they live longer.