Bearded Dragon Lifespan – How Long Do They Live?

Bearded dragons are fantastic pets even for a beginner, and just like any pet owner, you expect your Beardie to live a long life. As sad as it is, everything dies eventually. We all know that. So, how long should you expect your Bearded dragon to stick around? 

In this article, we will take you through beaded dragons’ estimated lifespan, how to estimate their age and the factors affecting their lifespan.

What’s the estimated Lifespan of a Bearded Dragon?

Bearded Dragon Lifespan

In general, the average lifespan of a bearded dragon is between 5 to 15 years. In captivity (as pets), a well-kept bearded dragon pet with regular vet visits and proper dieting lives for about 8 to 15 years. However, in the wild, Bearded dragons will only live for an average of 5 to 8 years. 

Unlike their counterparts in captivity Beardies, whose food is delivered daily and nothing ever tries to eat them, things are different in the wild; they have to hunt and fight for survival due to predators and droughts, among other things, harsh conditions. 

Beardies kept in captivity have a higher life expectancy than the wild ones, but if not properly cared for, they will match the lifespan of wild species. 

Although the average lifespan of Bearded dragons is 5 -15 years, there have been a few cases of beardies living past 15 years, like Sebastian, the oldest recorded Bearded dragon, who died at 18 years and 237 days old. With some Bearded dragons in captivity living for up to 18 years, others just survive for eight years or less. 

So what’s causing such a huge difference in their lifespans? Several factors affect the lifespan of your pet. Here we will take you through the factors so that you can make sure your Bearded dragon has a long and healthy life.

Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Lifespans differ.

Many factors play into how long your bearded dragon lives. Their diet, habitat/enclosure, sex, genetics, and disease all have a part to play. Beardies are hardy lizards with few health problems. However, it is important to know what can be done to ensure a longer lifespan and what harmful mistakes to avoid—Are you interested in learning why bearded dragon lifespan differs? We will cover the various reasons and what you can do.

  1. Diet

A well-balanced diet plays a significant role in your Bearded Dragon’s overall health. Without a diet filled with all the essential nutrients they need, your pet’s life will be shorter, with deficiencies and health concerns. 

As omnivores, Bearded Dragons have a diverse diet ranging from insects, small vertebrates, greens, vegetables, and fruits. Your Beardie’s diet should replicate what they would eat in the wild, comprising of animals like crickets, cockroaches, worms and limited amounts of greens and fruits. 

The diet and nutrients you feed your Beardie should also be based on age. Baby and adolescent Bearded dragons need more protein in their diet, so you should feed them more insects than older Bearded dragons. The older ones are no longer growing; therefore, they require a more plant and vegetable-based diet.

  1. Habitat & Enclosure

The vivarium of your Bearded dragon should mimic environmental conditions in the wild as much as possible.

The size of the enclosure also matters. When fully grown, Bearded dragons can measure up to 2 feet long. Therefore, choose an enclosure that provides ample space for the pet to feel comfortable and move easily. 

It is recommended to set up a 10-gallon aquarium tank for your juvenile bearded dragon, preferably made of transparent glass. As the reptile grows, increase the tank size to 20-50 gallons depending on how big the bearded dragon is and if you’ll be housing tank-mates with your new pet. 

Apart from setting up the right tank size, you want to make sure you accessorise the vivarium so that your pet will feel comfortable and safe when in there. Some essential things to put in your bearded dragon’s tank include; basking rocks or dead logs, safe live plants and dishes for food/water. 

You will also need to provide light for your Bearded Dragon, either natural or artificial lighting sources. Most reptiles need UVB light, so fluorescent tubes with UV or UVB light. 

The substrate you choose for your pet’s tank will also make a difference in their healthy being. Non-particle substrates are the best option since particle substrate produces dust and debris that your Beardie can ingest, leading to impaction, a severe health issue. 

Learn more about Bearded Dragon Care, tank Setup and Diet

  1. Sex

Generally, male Bearded Dragons live longer than their counterparts. Here’s why males tend to live longer: 

  • Breeding – Females produce the eggs (even infertile), during which they spend a lot of energy. The process takes a toll on their body and can lead to medical problems.
  • Size – Males tend to be more prominent in size than females. Larger reptiles seem to be more resilient than those smaller in size.
  1. Size and species 

Like any animal, genetics greatly impact your bearded dragon’s lifespan. In general, larger subspecies of Bearded dragons have a longer lifespan than smaller ones. The bigger the Beardie, the more resilient and stronger they are.

You must ensure that your Bearded dragon grows as large as possible as a pet owner by providing all the necessities. So when buying a Beardie, it’s advisable to source from a responsible breeder or seller; they are more likely to have healthy genes.

  1. Breeding

If you want your female Bearded dragon to live the most extended life, consider not breeding her. Females with a history of being used for breeding generally don’t live as long as the ones who haven’t had any babies. 

The whole reproduction process will take a toll on your pet’s body. Additionally, the breeding process will leave your pet nutritionally strained due to the depletion of vital nutrients such as calcium.

The more a female Beardie has to go through the breeding process in her life, the more it affects how long she can potentially live. So If you breed your Bearded Dragon, make sure to help her recover. 

  1.  Disease

Just like all pets, Beardies require regular vet checkups. One of the best ways to increase your Bearded Dragon’s lifespan is to monitor its health to help; 

  • Prevent diseases.
  • Diagnosing problems early enough. 
  • Increases the chances of a faster and easier recovery.

You should take your Bearded dragon for a vet checkup at least once a year. It will ensure that your pet is healthy and help them live longer.

How to tell a Bearded dragon’s age

If you own a bearded dragon, it’s important to know its age and any pet owner that doesn’t have this information will certainly be curious to find out. 

There are many reasons why it’s worth investigating beyond just curiosity alone. For example, baby bearded dragons need more specialized diets and care routines than adults. However, it is not easy to provide this care if you aren’t sure how old your beardie is.

The trouble is that telling how old your bearded dragon is can be tricky and often leaves owners frustrated without a clear method to follow.

Bearded dragons in captivity have an average lifespan of between 8 and 15 years with proper care.  Without official papers, confirmation from the breeder or breeding the beardie yourself, here is how you can approximate your pet’s age;

  • Measure your bearded dragon from head to the tip of the tail. 

Though the Bearded dragon’s length is influenced by factors such as environment, species, diet, health and others, a fairly accurate estimate can be made using a growth chart. 

Here is the growth chart generally showing how big your pet will be at different stages of their life. 

0-1 (Baby)3-4/inches
2  (Baby)5-9/inches
3  (Baby)8-11/inches
4  (Baby)9-12/inches
5  (Baby)11-16/inches
6 (Juvenile)11-18/inches
8  (Juvenile)13-20/inches
12   (Adult)16-22/inches
24   (Adult)18-24 Inches
  • Sexual Maturity

Another way to estimate how old your Bearded dragon is to check when they are sexually mature. Generally, Beardies will become sexually mature at around 8 to 12 months. Though this second method is less accurate, it can still help support what method one is suggesting.

For example, if your beardie is measuring around 8 months old and they also become sexually mature, you won’t be far off with the estimate.

With all this, I hope this guide has given you some valuable knowledge to help you prolong your bearded dragon lifespan.

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