How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?

Bearded dragons are fun, easy-to-train, and gentle pets for reptile lovers. These adorable exotic pets have distinct personalities. As a pet owner, you must have wondered, what is the lifespan of bearded dragons? How long does a bearded dragon live? Are they a short-term commitment or a long-term commitment?

If kept in care, bearded dragons live over a decade which is a very long period. Imagine a pet, a companion for 10 years of your life. The oldest bearded dragon in captivity lived 18 years.

This article will discuss the following:

So, to know it all, you have to read it all.

Bearded dragons are inhabitants of deserts in central Australia. Now their export is illegal and all the bearded dragons in the USA or other countries are bred in captivity.

The average lifespan of a bearded dragon is:

  • In captivity, they live longer, i.e. 8-12 years.
  • In the wild, they live only 5-8 years due to predators and lack of care.

In the wild, bearded dragons live shorter as there is are risk of predators and no food. But when you keep them as pets with care, they live longer.

If you care for them, give them a balanced diet, give them good calcium, provide them with a good tank, and keep track of temperature, humidity, and lighting in the tank, they will live longer.

You can read the following to know about diet, calcium, tank, temperature, humidity, lighting, etc.

The bearded dragon’s life cycle is very interesting. Here are some fun facts about bearded dragon’s life:

  • Usually, they reach maturity between the ages of 1-2 years. But some bearded dragons become sexually mature even at the age of 6 months.
  • All bearded dragons in the wild and some bearded dragons in captivity enter a state of hibernation (technically brumation, not hibernation) during winter or cold season.
  • Female bearded dragons don’t need male dragons to lay eggs.
  • Females lay unfertilized eggs multiple times throughout the year.
  • A clutch of eggs contains up to 20 eggs.
  • Fertilized eggs hatch in 55-75 days.

If you don’t know the age of your bearded dragon, the following table will help you to estimate it:

So, we know the lifespan of bearded dragons, but what are the factors that affect bearded dragon’s lifespan in captivity? Let’s see..

There are two types of factors on which bearded dragon life expectancy depends. The factors which you can control and the factors which you can’t control.

What are the factors that you can’t control?

  • Bearded Dragon Size. Larger bearded dragons tend to live longer than the smaller ones.
  • Bearded Dragon Gender. Male bearded dragons tend to live longer than female bearded dragons.

However, there are many factors that you can control to increase the lifespan of your bearded dragon. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Bearded dragons are omnivorous, and they need a well-balanced diet for their good health. Different amounts of insects, veggies, and fruits are for baby, juvenile, and adult bearded dragons. It plays a vital role in the overall health of your bearded dragon.

The following guidelines will help you to feed bearded dragons:

  • A baby or juvenile bearded dragons need more insects as they are growing. Their diet should be 80% insects and 20% plants.
  • An adult bearded dragon’s diet should be 20% insects and 80% plants.
  • Always load a bearded dragon’s diet with calcium powder as calcium is equally for baby, juvenile, and adult bearded dragons.
  • While choosing a staple feeder, always consider its benefits. Dubia roaches are a good option.
  • Gut-loaded feeders are also a good option. They provide maximum nutrients to your bearded dragons. Gut loading is a process in which insects are loaded/ fed a nutrient-rich diet to increase their nutrient value, then these insects are fed to bearded dragons.
  • Always avoid poisonous or harmful foods such as mushrooms, avocados, or rhubarb.

Remember that, for the overall well-being of your bearded dragon, calcium is necessary. Calcium and Vitamin D3 go side by side as Vitamin D3 helps absorb calcium in bearded dragon bloodstreams. In the absence of calcium, your bearded dragon will face many health issues, even Metabolic Bone Disease.

Your bearded dragon’s health depends upon a balanced diet as well as a good environment according to their natural needs. To keep your bearded dragon healthy, never compromise on these two factors. To remain on the safe side, you need to take your dragon to the vet after regular intervals.

Never ignore any irregular behavior of your bearded dragon. Their behavior is a way of communication and irregular or strange behavior indicates that something might be wrong. Read the following articles to know what your bearded dragons trying to say to you.

In winter, you should help your bearded dragons to easily go brumation. Brumation is a tough time for them and they need your attention.

Also make yourself familiar with common signs of bearded dragon illness like lethargic behavior, etc. So that you can easily avoid or tackle their illness and provide necessary help in time. Following are the health issues that are common in bearded dragons but are also easily curable, and you should know them all:

  • Metabolic bone disease: A serious disease caused by calcium deficiency.
  • Stress: This can be caused by many factors including poor diet, improper tank setup, or heating and lighting setup.
  • Brumation: Dragons go brumation in winter, a state of deep sleep in which they don’t eat anything.
  • Shedding: The process of losing old bearded dragon skin.
  • Mouth rot: This can be caused by many reasons like poor diet, etc.
  • Gut impaction: This can be caused by stress, poor diet, poor heating arrangements, etc.
  • Body temperature issues – overheating or too cold: Usually caused by poor heating and lighting arrangements in the tank.
  • Parasites: This is caused by poor diet and unclean environment.
  • Respiratory illness: This can be caused by many reasons including poor tank setup and poor diet.
  • Dehydration: Deficiency of water due to diarrhea or poor diet.
  • Eye infection: This can be caused by shedding, colored lights in the tank, a direct hit on the eye, etc.

This is one of the most important factors for a bearded dragon’s well-being. A decent bearded dragon’s tank setup can do miracles, which incorporates everything according to their natural habitat. If you are stuck at any point, while setting up their tank, you just need to ask one simple question to yourself, that is, do bearded dragon has this in their natural environment?

The goal is to replicate their natural environment in their tank, as much as you can.

A comprehensive tank setup guide and heating and light guide are already shared in other articles. Here, I’ll share some highlights only:

  • Proper substrate or flooring is vital. Some substrates can cause impaction, injury, or death, so this is not something to take lightly.
  • Provide safe items for your dragon to crawl on or burrow under.
  • Your dragon needs heat and UVB rays; a self-ballasted mercury vapor UVB lamp emits both. For best quality, change the bulb every 6 months. 
  • Consistently check the basking spot’s temperature to ensure it’s not too cold or hot.
  • Check the temperature of the tank frequently.
  • Keep the terrarium dark at night to help your dragon have a restful sleep.
  • Make sure your tank is the right size. A 40-gallon tank is standard, but if your dragon is 16+ inches long, you’ll need at least a 50-gallon tank.
  • No cohabitation! This can cause illness, stress, starvation, death, and other issues.

Like humans and all pets, bearded dragons also get affected by an unclean environment. Cleanliness is a basic part of care. The following guidelines will help you to keep your bearded dragon clean:

  • Give warm baths to bearded dragons – 1-3 times a week.
  • Regularly clean your bearded dragon’s tank, including bearded dragon’s poop.
  • Clean uneaten food or veggies from bearded dragon’s enclosure as they can rot and cause health issues.
  • Always remove uneaten live insect feeders as they can bite your bearded dragon and can cause stress.

Stress is a dangerous thing, it can affect the lifespan of all living including bearded dragons. How long do bearded dragon lives is highly dependent on the bearded dragon’s stress level. If your bearded dragon is eating healthy in a good environment and he’s not facing any health threats, there are chances that he’ll not face the stress.

Stress can be caused by several reasons including poor diet, poor living environment, poor tank setup, improper temperature or lighting setup, illness, etc. To avoid stress, you need to keep your bearded dragon comfortable in all aspects. To treat stress, you should know about bearded dragon stress and its symptoms, e.g. stress marks, glass surfing, lethargy, etc.

Along with stress, you should also be careful about common diseases, illnesses, and abnormal behaviors shown by bearded dragons. A healthy bearded dragon will have a lifespan as compared to a bearded dragon who is suffering from stress, illness, and diseases or showing abnormal behaviors. 

Your bearded dragon’s abnormal behaviors show that there is something wrong that you need to fix immediately. Behaviors can show poor diet, poor tank setup, and illness. It’s our job as Dragon Keepers to figure out what that might be. 

Some common bearded dragon behaviors that could signify illness or stress are as follows:  

  • Not eating / appetite changes
  • Lethargy 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Struggle to move/limping
  • Eye bulging 
  • Biting 

If you notice your bearded dragon showing any of the above signs, you need to take him to the vet and provide the necessary medical attention.

Many factors make some bearded dragons live longer than others. We will discuss the key factors only.

The first factor is the inbreeding. Inbreeding causes genetic issues among bearded dragons. It can cause malformations and deformations. Like Slikback bearded dragons have smooth back, not spiny back, and they are a result of inbreeding. This mutation can cause many issues, especially skin diseases which decrease the lifespan of bearded dragons.

This is the most important factor as poor diet and tank setup can cause several problems and health issues which can even cause the death of your beloved bearded dragon. You need to provide a well-balanced diet, calcium powder, good tank setup along with proper heating and lighting setup to your bearded dragon so that he may remain happy and healthy.

An unhygienic environment, inadequate bathing of a bearded dragon, a dirty tank, etc are also a big factor that decreases the lifespan of your bearded dragon. Like all pets, bearded dragons need your care and this care also includes that you keep the bearded dragon and environment clean and healthy.

Obesity is caused when you feed your bearded dragon too much. It’s one of the most common issues faced by bearded dragons. If you observe your bearded dragon is putting on unnecessary weight, you need to call the vet.

To avoid obesity, you need to exercise your dragon by playing with him. There are many toys and many activities which you can perform with your bearded dragons.

To improve your bearded dragon’s lifespan, you need to keep him happy and healthy. General recommendations are the following:

  • To avoid illness, regular veterinary exams of your bearded dragon at least Once or twice a year.
  • Regular yearly fecal parasite testing and bloodwork.
  • Ensure proper tank setup including heating and lighting.
  • Avoid heat mats or floor mats which can cause burns.
  • Follow a proper feeding schedule along with a nutrient-rich diet. Avoid overfeeding your dragon.
  • Always use organic greens and live insects.
  • Feed your dragon calcium supplement and multivitamins.
  • Always keep a single bearded dragon in a tank. Don’t house more dragons in a single tank.
  • Keep the bearded dragon in a large tank where it can run and provide toys and a basking spot for him.
  • Change UV bulbs every 6 months.

Bearded dragons are good companions who spend a long time with you. With a good diet and environment, their lifespan can be increased. You need to give them time, play with them, and provide them with a healthy environment to live in.

If you have any questions, feel free to Contact Us.

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