The bearded dragons are 12 to 24 inches long, and these medium-sized lizards are called Pogona Vitticeps by their scientific name. Found in Australia’s deserts, these bearded dragons have roots in the Northern Territory and Southern Australia’s Eastern part. Before 1990, you could not have spotted a bearded dragon as a pet in the USA.
Only after this period has there been growing popularity, and you can see their numbers increasing in the pet shops. If you are looking forward to owning one, you may wonder how long- bearded dragons live. It would be best to prepare for a commitment for 10 to 15 years, as these lizards have a considerable lifespan. The lifespan of bearded dragons can go even farther in a few cases if you take proper care of them.
When you are too keen about bearded dragons’ lifespan, there are other things you must know about taking care of these dragons. You can ensure the longevity of these pets only when you know thoroughly about them. A wide range of factors can affect their longevity. For instance, its diet, health, the environment you set up, and the care provided are few things you cannot neglect. It makes it vital to know in and out about the beardies. Here is what you must know if your heart is for getting this rare pet for yourself or your kids or loved ones.
Why are bearded dragons loved as pets?
Before you know how long do bearded dragons live, you need to know what makes them a popular pet. The reason is that they are never aggressive. You could never hear a story about this captive pet reptile attacking humans or being aggressive to them. Even when threatened, they freeze and puff their necks.
You can see their necks changing colors and nothing more than that. Also, another reason is that you never have to push yourself to own this pet. No walking or playing with this reptile as you do with your dogs or cats. All you need to do is to follow a basic routine. It can help them reach their teens with no hassles.
As these lizards are habitants of woodlands, deserts, and savannahs, their bodies and heads have evolved to cope with these regions’ living conditions. The head is triangular with the scales of spikes. These spiky scales resemble a row, and when puffed up, they create the appearance of a beard. Hence the name, the bearded dragons. Four legs support the body of these bearded dragons. These dragons are stout and flat muscled; their legs help these creatures to stick to the surface. So, you cannot often see them falling off when any animal or human threatens them.
What should you know when owning a bearded dragon?
As mentioned, from heat to the tail, the bearded dragons can vary in the size range of 12 to 24 inches. Several reasons affect the size of these bearded dragons. Their species, sex, diet, health, breed, and environment contribute a lot to their size. Regardless of these, you can see their tails taking up half their size.
When you leave a bearded dragon, which has not finished growing yet, you can see that it will never grow to its full size in a small tank. It is because the environment of the small tank inhibits the growth of the lizard. If you want your pet to grow to its full size, choose a giant cage for it. Also, what you feed matters the most.
You can always see that these lizards grow faster and bigger when fed a healthy diet. When malnourished, again, they never grow up to the fullest size. If you own a female bearded dragon, you can see that it is smaller in size compared with its male counterpart. It happens with all the animals, and if you want to own a longer lizard, go for the males.
Factors affecting lifespan of the dragons:
Size of the beardie
How will you know if the size of the beardie you have got is right? Or is there a way to find how old your pet is now? There are specific ways, and more straightforward too. One of them is using a scale to measure the bearded dragon. Measure from its triangular head to the tip of its tail, and you can find most of the time can predict its age from its length.
The bearded dragon, when in less than six months, measures up to 3 to 4 inches. Reaching the milestone of the 6th month, it grows to 11 to 18 inches. When it grows one year old, it measures around 16 to 22 inches. If you want to know the sex of the beardie you have bought, you need to wait for one year. It is when the bearded dragon is sexually mature. When you can identify the sex, you can see that the age is around 8 to 12 months.
- Age and longevity
Now, you have paid attention to know the age of the bearded dragon; you must note factors that can affect their longevity. When concerned about how long do bearded dragons live, understand it lies in your hand. A bearded dragon in captivity will live up to 12 to 14 years. It is the lifespan of bearded dragons that are grown as pets. A few may come up with theories where they live up to 19 years. However, there is no authentic source or official news about the same.
If you are not keen on your pet’s diet, the lifespan of the bearded dragon you own can be only around 5 to 8 years. If you can keep a close watch on the diet of the bearded dragon, and feed it a healthy diet, then you can be happy about owning it for at least eight years to the maximum of 12 years.
Determining the sex of the reptile you own is also essential if you want a healthy pet. As mentioned earlier, the male bearded dragons are often more giant. But you can even end up with a bearded dragon that is larger but is a female. So, you cannot count on the size of the creature to determine its sex.
A few think that changing the color of the head to black is possible only by the males. On the contrary, it is a myth, and you cannot identify the sex of the beardie with this trick. The accurate method is to consult your vet. But if you want to know this beforehand, then there are near-accurate tricks. The heads of the males are wider than females. Again, you will never succeed in sex determination if you own one and a new pet owner. Another trick you can trust is considering the thickness of the tail. A slender end of the bottom tells you it is a female bearded dragon. A thick tail means a male.
You can also check them under the tail. Lift the tail gently and do not lift more than 90 degrees. Males have two bumps with dimples in the middle. But, you cannot find this until they grow above eight months old.
- Setting up the enclosure:
Now that you have learned the fundamental things about bearded dragons, it is essential to know about your pet’s setup. Remember, your anxiety to know how long the bearded dragons live does not get apt results until you give them the right environment. Keep in mind that a healthy reptile of this kind will grow up to 45 cm, and you need a cage or tank to suit this.
You need to ensure the bearded dragon gets proper heat, humidity, lighting, nutrition, supplement, and space to live a long life. You might be amazed to know that bearded dragons tend to have a shorter lifespan when in the wild. It is because of the scarcity of food, and predators are absent when bred in captivity. There is no lack of water or nutrition when a careful pet owner takes care of his/her bearded dragon.
If not taken care of properly, they would end up just like their wild counterparts. When you own an enclosure, you need to ensure that you spend a decent amount of time taking care of it only to add to the bearded dragon’s lifespan.
Let’s take a look into their setting up of the vivarium first. For an adult dragon, you need a vivarium of 120 cm long X 60 cm high X 60 cm wide measurement is the minimum size requirement. You need one made from a solid material. Only then will it be easy to clean it regularly. Also, it would help if you kept in mind that it should be secure enough so that your dragon does not decide to take a stroll and leave the house. Ensure it is well-ventilated, which is inevitable.
You can choose a range of furnishings. A few people might prefer sand. In such cases, be aware of calcium sand, which can be dangerous for your dragon or any reptile for that matter when consumed. It would help if you went for the reptile-safe sand. A vivarium that ranges from 22 to 26 degrees Celsius cooler and 38 to 42 degrees Celsius hotter is a must for your dragons. So, choose the hotter bright end and cooler dark end based on this.
A fluorescent UV tube at the hot end is mandatory. When you fail to use this, the beardie will end up with metabolic bone disease. Use a hygrometer at the cooler end to measure the cooler end. The reason is the dragon needs a low humid atmosphere. It also needs a touch of the natural habitat. It is why it would be best if you placed rocks and branches. These would let the reptile climb on and also will allow it to hide. It will feel at home.
- How the environment plays a vital role in improving its longevity:
While you start growing the dragons, you will see that they keep shedding skin in large chunks. Young dragons do shed a large amount of chunks. If you see this problem, you need to contact your vet and get recommendations about the environment you have set up for your beardie. When it turns cold, the beardies often become less active and sleep a lot.
You need not worry about this. However, you must check if they have stopped eating altogether. A proper diet is how you can improve the lifespan of a bearded dragon. You need to get to your vet with the dragon if you see it losing weight.
- Diet regime is significant:
When you grow a bearded dragon as a pet and want to know how long the bearded dragons live, the answer relies on how you take care of them. Inevitable mistakes can lead to the shorter lifespan of bearded dragons. A few pet owners are too worried about the diet regime of their dragons.
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It is essential to understand these reptiles take small insects as food. But these are not the only source of their nutrition. They take in some plants too. If you feed them too much protein and forget the plants, you will never see the rich protein helping them. It would be best to maintain the humidity, heat, and light if you also were very careful. A small vivarium or any small enclosure can only prove to be fatal for these reptiles. The chamber must also contain a shady area. If you own a female, check with the vet if she is ready for breeding. And what most pet owners ignore is to check the poop. Let us take a look in detail at these areas of concern, which profoundly impact the lifespan of the bearded dragon.
Your bearded dragon needs a healthy, nutritious, and well-balanced diet. The high-quality nutrients keep them fit to fight all sorts of illnesses. You cannot feed the same diet to all the lizards, as their need varies with age. Feed more insects to the young ones and the hatchlings. It is because their protein requirement is higher compared with adults.
Once they have grown well and turned into an adult, you need to feed them with more vegetables and plant-based diets. No protein is required as they have stopped growing. Ensure that you keep a tab on their foods and the intervals between their feeding sessions. When you add too much calcium to their food, the poop is yellow. Too much calcium can also affect their bowel movements and lead to damage to organs. The hatchlings’ calcium requirement is high, and you need to feed them with calcium supplements at least five times a week. While adults need them once a week, the young ones need them every alternative day.
Now it sums up what to feed the bearded dragons. Crickets, dubia roaches, earthworms, slugs, silkworms, grasshoppers, and spiders, many insects are choices of invertebrates you can provide to them. A variety of plant-based foods you can use are kale, collard greens, parsnips, cucumbers, mushrooms, asparagus, watercress, corn, green beans, and celery.
They like fruits a lot. Try giving apples, bananas, mangoes, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, pineapple, and grapes to your pet. But remember that you can only give them fruits as 10% of their diet. Adults need 80% of vegetables and a plant-based diet and 20% of insects. When you stick to the proper dietary ratio based on their age, the beardie will live a long life.
- Key things in an enclosure:
The enclosure for the beardie can be huge and still is not the right one. You might have ensured proper heat, lighting, and humidity. Even the substrate can decide the lifespan of your bearded dragon. The non-particle substrate is what you need to use. Else, the risk of impaction can be fatal for your pet. For instance, like the sand you use, the lizard’s carpet can turn dangerous if you are not careful. Ensure balanced Heating levels, and it should not heat the entire tank.
An area of shade is a must. When the enclosure is overheated, it can lead to the death of your bearded dragon. When using a UVB lighting source, use a bulb and not a coil. Be sure about the quality of the UVB bulb you use. One of the reasons for the reduced lifespan of bearded dragons is respiratory issues.
When the humidity is more than 30 to 40%, it can lead to respiratory infections in these reptiles. Again, choose a large enclosure though you have ended up with a hatchling. It keeps growing, and a smaller chamber will only lead to increased stress levels, and you will wonder how long do the bearded dragons live in other cases while yours have bid a bye sooner.
There are different specifications of these conditions based on the age of the dragon. The basking spot should be 100 to 110 F for juveniles and grown lizards. The cool part should be 75 to 80 F. For babies, it is 80 to 90 degrees F and 70 to 75 F, respectively.
While choosing an enclosure, remember that these creatures came from the desert regions of Australia, and certain factors reminding them of that place will make them happy. When using rocks or branches, keep them 10 inches below the basking light. You can cheer them up with a hammock and plants. Be sure to use plants that are safe for the lizard. Also, you can be happy seeing them lying on the hammock. Examples of safe plants include oregano, parsley, cilantro, and rosemary. In short, you can try the herbs grown at home for your dragon’s enclosure.
For most pet owners, a dragon is a choice because of the minimal supervision required. It does not mean you overlook monitoring their food and behavior. A few might not never understand the disease symptoms in the dragons. Taking your pet to the vet once a year, if possible once in 6 months, will help you identify the onset of the diseases even at the earlier stages.
The function of bones is affected when the lizard gets metabolic bone disease. Don’t panic if you have more than one bearded dragon or other reptiles. The condition is not infectious, and you can identify it when the jaws and legs end up with deformation. It can also affect the spine, and the horizontal splaying of the front legs is another symptom. You might have given low calcium supplies, or lack of UVB lighting too can lead to this disease.
Males have a higher lifespan. If you think about how long do the bearded dragons of the female sex life, then it is always shorter than males is the answer. It is because males are always larger, at least in the majority of the cases. They tend to live longer. Then, there comes reproduction. If you own a female bearded dragon and want her to live a whole life, then you should never consider breeding her. It can bring down her lifespan.
The mass of the pelvis and limbs goes down due to the enlargement of the abdomen. Females, when reproducing, lose lots of energy in laying eggs and during the reproduction itself. It can have a significant impact on the lowered lifespan of the bearded dragon. When the females reproduce, they lay eggs in clutches, 15 to 25 eggs per clutch; the more the eggs, the lesser is the lifespan.
How Size is connected to longevity of the bearded dragons:
Generally, larger bearded dragons live longer. So, you can improve bearded dragons’ lifespan by providing a nutritious, healthy, and well-balanced diet. Keep its enclosure huge, and let them grow.
Species of your pet has a role to play:
The species of your bearded dragon is also an influencing factor in its lifespan. The larger lizards are more resilient compared with the smaller ones. The Pogona vitticeps are the widespread subspecies that have a longer lifespan. It can live up to 12 years. A smaller subspecies is the Pogona henrylawsoni., and their lifespan can go about a decade.
The genetics of the dragons also play a huge role. So, it would be best if you went for the right breeders. Do not go for the disrepute sellers. Responsible sellers ensure only healthy genes are bred and keep the dragons in the best health. Also, just because of the females’ short lifespan, do not keep away from buying female dragons. You can keep them healthy and make them live for years. All you need to do is to keep them off from reproducing. If you are buying a female beardie that has bred, understand that its health is under the toll of hatching eggs, and take care of it more carefully.
One way to ensure that the bearded dragons’ lifespan does not shorten is by taking them to the vet regularly. For the lazy pet owners, the good news is that these dragons never require vaccinations. They need physical examinations once a year. A healthy beardie needs a feces examination once a year to stay healthy forever.
The key to improving the lifespan of bearded dragons is that you need to be careful about the diet and environment you offer to your pet. Avoid the common errors, and learn about the foods to be given as per the age. Check for any illness sign and take it to the vet immediately when you see a change in color, weight, shapes of legs or jaws, and when feces color changes. Any visible lumps, abnormal behavior, and swelling need the assistance of the medical professional. Taking the beardie to the reptile vet is hence vital. Your care has a significant role in ensuring the bearded dragon is living a full life.