It may be really thrilling to have a bearded dragon, especially if it’s your first one. Bearded dragons are distinctive, but every new pet is noteworthy. These lizards are extremely amazing to see, and having them as pets may be a lot of fun.
You’ll grow to love your bearded dragon like you would any pet and won’t want to part ways. How much time should you anticipate having with your bearded dragon? Do they have a short lifespan, like certain turtles or birds, or might you spend decades with them? You can be sure that a bearded dragon will live a lot longer than the anole lizard you attempted to bring home from the fair, but how long should you anticipate having your new pet?
Average Bearded Dragon Lifespan and Aging
Although bearded dragons originated in central Australia, it is now unlawful to transfer wild bearded dragons. In the US, bearded dragons are only grown in captivity.
Bearded dragons kept as pets generally live for 8 to 10 years with good care. Because of predation and a lack of reliable food, water, and medical attention, their wild counterparts only have a quarter of that lifespan.
Although some bearded dragons may attain sexual maturity as young as 6 months of age, most mature between the ages of 1 and 2 years. During the winter, a lot of bearded dragons will go into brumation, a type of hibernation.
Multiple egg-laying cycles are possible for females throughout the year, and they often occur as temperatures start to rise following brumation. Female bearded dragons will lay unfertilized eggs whether or not a male bearded dragon is present, and clutches can include up to 20 eggs. Incubation times for fertilized eggs range from 55 to 75 days.
How Long Do They Live In The Wild?
A bearded dragon has a life span of five to eight years in the wild. They have been known to survive up to 15 years in captivity, and some have even lived up to 18 years!
The existence of predators is the primary cause of this distinction. Bearded dragons are the ideal food for larger lizards like goannas as well as other larger creatures including birds, feral cats, foxes, and even dingos in their native environment.
In addition to predators, bearded dragons in their native habitat deal with other issues. In Australia’s dry regions where they are native, finding food may be difficult, particularly during droughts.
The life expectancy of bearded dragons is 3 to 6 years shorter in the wild than it is in captivity due to the lack of vegetation and the presence of predators.
The lives of bearded dragons in the wild are also increasingly threatened by habitat loss and degradation.
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live In Captivity
A bearded dragon kept as a pet can survive for eight to twelve years. Predation is not a concern for captive bearded dragons. Additionally, they shouldn’t have issues like a shortage of food or water. Their lifetime is increased by these elements when paired with a healthy diet.
Captive beardies have a greater chance of living longer than their wild counterparts. However, poorly cared-for pets will live as long as wild creatures do.
A bearded dragon needs the right amount of lighting, heat, humidity, space, food, and vitamins to survive and grow.
Your lizard will be healthy and happy if you put in a little additional time each day for husbandry. They will live longer as a result of it.
What Makes Some Bearded Dragons Live Longer Than Others?
Inbreeding is a major cause of genetic problems, abnormalities, and deformities in bearded dragons. One variation that was purposely developed to have smooth, not spiky, scales is the silkback bearded dragon. Significant skin problems might be brought on by this mutation, which would lower quality of life and life expectancy.
While genes may contribute to life expectancy, poor husbandry is the primary cause of the majority of life-threatening health issues in bearded dragons.
When bearded dragons are not properly cared for, metabolic bone disease and renal disorders are highly common. This is frequently due to poor UV light exposure and a lack of calcium supplements.
Additionally, due to husbandry issues, female bearded dragons commonly fail to lay eggs, leaving retained follicles that may even burst inside. Additionally, periodontal, or tooth and gum disease, affects a lot of bearded dragons.
Regular veterinary appointments allow for the monitoring of dental health and the provision of medical assistance before it results in sickness.
The incorrect quarantining of fresh reptiles leads to other frequent illnesses. Follow a strict quarantine protocol and get any new pets examined by a veterinarian before introducing them to other family members.
Unless they are housed with knowledgeable reptile breeders, bearded dragons are often lonely creatures. In a crowded environment, bears may hurt and traumatize one another, resulting in wounds and limb loss.
Dehydration and problems with skin shedding can also result from insufficient bathing. Without enough water, bearded dragons may have shedding that constrain their toes and tails, causing them to lose those body parts.
The excessive feeding and inactive lives of bearded dragons contribute to obesity, which is another typical issue. Make careful to discuss a healthy weight for your bearded dragon with your veterinarian because obesity causes a wide range of health issues.
Factors That Influence Their Lifespan
A bearded dragon’s lifespan is influenced by a variety of variables. These influences include their surroundings, living situation, level of care received, food, gender, heredity, and medical treatment.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that there is never a guarantee about a bearded dragon’s longevity (or any pet). Even if you follow all the necessary procedures, your cat may still contract an unlucky disease.
However, according to statistics, by taking the appropriate steps, you may considerably raise the likelihood that your bearded dragon will live a long time.
A 120-gallon tank with the right amounts of light, heat, humidity, and substrate is required for bearded dragons. It will shorten their longevity if even one of these essential components is lacking.
Start with the substrate.
Your pet lizard may consume some substrates. Impaction can result from this, which is a major health problem. Use only non-particle substrates to reduce the possibility of impaction (e.g. reptile carpet).
Lack of a darkened area is another error that many owners make. The heat lamp shouldn’t extend the whole length of the tank. This could lead to overheating. A Bearded Dragon needs a temperature gradient as well as a cool side with cover. Death can happen from overheating.
Additionally, a good UVB lamp should be placed. Opt for a big UVB bulb rather than a coil.
Last but not least, preserving a humidity level of between 30 and 40% will help to avoid respiratory infections. Another factor that might shorten their life expectancy is respiratory illnesses.
Making sure the cage is not too tiny is essential for ensuring your lizard grows as big as it can. Their stress levels will rise and their health will suffer in a tiny confinement.
A balanced diet will significantly impact how long your bearded dragon lives. Like people (or any other animal), the caliber of the food you give them will influence how healthy and disease-resistant they are.
As omnivores, bearded dragons consume both animal and plant-based meals. If you want to extend your beardie’s life as much as possible, it’s critical that you provide them a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Depending on their age, your beardie will need different food. Young lizards should be fed a diet that is 80% insects and 20% vegetables and greens because they need a diet that is high in protein.
A bearded dragon’s vivarium should attempt to mimic its natural habitat as closely as possible. The semiarid regions of Central and West Australia are the bearded dragons’ native habitat.
These semi-arboreal lizards spend the most of their time hunting and soaking up the sun in their native habitat.
A bearded dragon needs a tank that is at least 48 inches by 24 inches by 24 inches in size, between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 and 29 degrees Celsius), with a humidity gradient between 20 and 40% RH.
About 90 to 110 °F should be the basking temperature. To guarantee that your reptile’s UV illumination requirements are satisfied, a UVB lamp should be offered.
Additionally, the substrate of your bearded dragon’s tank must be suitable. While there are varying views on the optimum substrate for your animal, it is generally acknowledged that sand should be avoided because of the possibility of an impaction due to its small, loose grains.
Shredded newspapers and reptile carpets are safer alternatives, as are other possibilities like ceramic tiles.
Bearded dragons prefer to climb low branches and rocks, although they also spend the majority of their time on the ground. Your beardie needs places to hide in the tank so it may feel safe and secure.
Your beardie’s ideal basking position will likewise be a rock or branch put beneath the heat lamp. According to the manufacturer’s directions, make sure this tanning area is set apart a safe distance from the heat source and UVB light.
Maintaining a clean enclosure is important for your beardie’s health since it helps ward against bacterial or fungal development like salmonella, which causes several diseases.
Every day, wipe down surfaces, remove any feces or urine, and perform a thorough cleaning about twice a month. When using a loose substrate, be very careful to keep it clean since dirt can accumulate and become buried.
Monitoring a bearded dragon’s health is one of the greatest strategies to lengthen its life. It’s crucial to prevent illness and recognize its early symptoms. At least once a year, beardies should visit a veterinarian.
One of this species’ most prevalent ailments is metabolic bone disease. It is a non-infectious condition that alters how bones work. The mouth, spine, and front legs will all develop deformities as the condition worsens. They could spread their front legs out horizontally.
Lack of UVB sun and a deficiency in calcium supplements are examples of poor husbandry practices that contribute to this illness.
Vitamins and supplements
In addition, your beardie should consume vitamins and supplements like calcium, multivitamins, and vitamin D3 to bolster its defenses against illness like Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
Consider not breeding a female if you want her to live the longest life possible.
A female’s lifetime is shortened by reproduction. It causes the pelvis and limbs to lose bulk as well as the abdomen to expand. Her body suffers from these conditions, which shorten her life.
It also has a significant impact on how much energy is used during egg formation and reproduction.
The number of clutches a female can lay varies from 15 to 25 eggs. Her body suffered further damage as she produced more eggs.
Make careful to assist your Beardie in recovering if you decide to breed her. After she has placed her eggs, you will need to manually feed and hydrate her for a few days.
The bearded dragon has eight subspecies. Greater subspecies have more resistance than lesser ones. In the wild, larger individuals are more adept at warding off predators and adjusting to various environments. The larger the bearded dragon, the more tough and powerful it is.
The Pogona vitticeps subspecies is the most popular pet species. It may live between eight and twelve years.
Pogona henrylawsoni is another subspecies used for pets. They often live for eight to 10 years and are substantially smaller.
There is also a lesser subspecies called the Rankin’s dragon. Their life expectancy is between six and 10 years.
How Can You Tell How Old A Bearded Dragon Is?
Although there isn’t a precise technique to tell how old a bearded dragon is, measuring it is the preferred approach!
Bearded dragons are around 4 inches long from the top of their heads to the tip of their tails when they hatch. By the time they are six weeks old, they have a body length of around six inches.
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 old or older.
As beardies attain sexual maturity at 6 months of age, their sexual distinctions between one another become clear.
Males get larger heads, broader 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.
The basic premise here is that, barring unanticipated and bad circumstances, your dragon will survive as long as the care you give it permits.
Dragons may live long, remarkable lives if they are given proper care. Here’s a nice illustration: Sebastian, a bearded dragon, lived for 18 years and 237 days, making him the longest-living dragon ever observed. Nothing will, if that doesn’t offer you hope for your dragon to have a long, happy life!
Your dragon could live as long as Sebastian if you take good care of it. Therefore, if you want your dragon to live for close to 20 years, make sure you are aware of all of its demands and don’t cut corners with its care.