This is a complete guide on the bearded dragon lifespan.
Here are some of the key topics that we are going to be covering:
- How long bearded dragons live.
- Factors that influence lifespan.
- What bearded dragons usually die from.
So without much being said, let’s get started.
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?
The average bearded dragon lifespan is between 8 and 15 years in captivity but their life expectancy is greatly reduced to between 5 and 8 years when they are living in the wild.
This is mainly because bearded dragons in captivity are free from natural predators and mostly living under favorable environments where their well-being is prioritized by the owner.
Bearded dragons in captivity don’t need to hunt for food and neither are they subjected to harsh conditions they would otherwise face when living in the wild.
When living in the wild, the lifespan of bearded dragons is threatened by so many external factors like natural predators, unfavorable weather conditions and availability of nutritionally valuable foods.
The natural predators of bearded dragons include birds, dingoes and large lizards known as goannas.
Ultimately, the lifespan of a bearded dragon can be greatly improved with good care but there are also uncontrollable factors like genetics that will greatly influence how long your beardy gets to live.
Average Lifespan Of Different Bearded Dragon Species
There is a significant difference in lifespan across many bearded dragon species. Some species live longer than others possibly due to their adaptation to the environment and natural body requirements.
Here is a detailed breakdown of the average lifespan of different bearded dragon species:
|Central Bearded Dragon||10 years||Longer lifespans have been recorded but the average lifespan of the central bearded dragon is 10 years.|
|Eastern Bearded Dragon||12 years||The eastern bearded dragon, also known as Pogona barbata can live upwards of 15 years but their average lifespan is around 12 years.|
|Western Bearded Dragon||14 years||Western bearded dragons have an average lifespan of 14 years but the current world record is 18 years.|
Factors That Influence Bearded Dragon Lifespan
As mentioned earlier, there are so many factors that influence the average life expectancy of a bearded dragon.
Here are some of the factors that contribute greatly to how long your beardy gets to live:
There is no doubt that a good diet can greatly increase the lifespan of a bearded dragon. Feeding your beardy highly nutritious foods is a great starting point for keeping them fit and healthy.
Bearded dragons are natural omnivores that can get their nutritional requirements from both plant based and animal based foods.
Very little is currently known on the natural diet and nutritional requirements of a bearded dragon but there is a huge difference in their diet depending on age.
Baby and juvenile bearded dragons require a diet that is high in protein so they should be fed a diet containing an average of 80% insects and 20% greens and vegetables.
On the other hand, adult bearded dragons need less protein in their diet so they should be fed a diet containing an average of 20% insects and 80% greens and vegetables.
Remember to avoid wild insects because they may carry parasites or pesticides that can harm your bearded dragon. It is greatly encouraged to only feed commercially raised insects to your beardy since they are safe and free from parasites.
Vegetables and greens are also crucial to your bearded dragon’s diet and there are quite a variety to choose from. Bearded dragons can eat vegetables like collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, broccoli, parsley, celery, zucchini and asparagus.
Fruit can also be incorporated into your bearded dragon’s diet as treats. Lizards seem to enjoy fruit but they should eat less of it. The rule of thumb is that fruit should comprise 10% of your beardy’s diet.
There are also plenty of bearded dragon supplements that are great sources of calcium and other crucial nutrients that your beardy needs for growth and development.
Supplements can help to keep your bearded dragon healthy but they might even be more crucial to baby and female beadies.
Baby bearded dragons need calcium for bone and teeth formation whilst female bearded dragons require nutritional supplements during oviposition when they are laying eggs.
The bottom line is that bearded dragons require a lot of variety in their diet and providing them with highly nutritious foods can significantly increase their lifespan.
Although it isn’t always the case, male bearded dragons tend to live longer than female bearded dragons.
There are a lot reasons why this so but the main ones are:
First, males are generally larger than females so their size actually helps them to live longer. In the following sections I am going to be explaining more about how size influence lifespan but the general rule of thumb is that large bearded dragons tend to live longer than small ones.
Secondly, male bearded dragons require less protein than females so they can rely more heavily on vegetation. A recent study on the sex and ontogenetic dietary shift in the Australian eastern bearded dragon concluded that:
Beyond maturity females continue to require higher levels of protein for reproduction than males. At least in part, this is because males rely on sham aggression to defend territory during the reproductive season rather than resorting to aggressive behavior. This results in a lesser requirement for protein for adult males than is required for juveniles and adult females. Males have the advantage of not being as dependent on protein, and thus are able to rely more heavily on vegetation.
Thirdly, female bearded dragons tend to lose a lot of energy when they are breeding and that really affects their bodies. Female bearded dragons that are being used for breeding generally have a shorter lifespan than those that don’t breed.
It is quite obvious that genetics can greatly affect the lifespan of any animal. The life expectancy of a bearded dragon is also influenced by genetics so buying your lizard from a reputable breeder can actually help you in the long run.
Well-bred bearded dragons with better genetics tend to be more healthy and less susceptible to diseases so you can generally expect them to live longer.
Temperature conditions also influence the life expectancy of a bearded dragon. The lizard generally requires a basking spot and a cooler spot inside their enclosure.
The required varies depending on the time of the day but the gradient is generally encouraged to go from 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool side, right up to basking temperatures ranging from 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. However, temperatures can fall to an average of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the night.
Ceramic heaters like the Fluker’s Ceramic Reptile Heat Emitter are great for providing consistent temperatures to your bearded dragon.
UVA/UVB Lighting Conditions
In addition to specific basking temperatures, bearded dragons also require a UVA/UVB light source.
UVB rays help the skin to synthesize vitamin D3 which is required for bone growth and formation whilst UVA rays are believed to help pet bearded dragons to eat better and maintain good activity levels.
Natural sunlight is a great source of UVA and UVB rays but If natural sunlight is not available you can use an artificial full-spectrum light bulb.
One of the best artificial full-spectrum light bulb for bearded dragons is the Zoo Med T8 ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Fluorescent Lamp which is a high quality German bulb that provides both UVA ad UVB wavelengths.
The lifespan of a bearded dragon may not be greatly affected by humidity conditions but many experts believe that good humidity conditions can help the lizard to live longer.
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded lizards from arid woodlands and desert environments. They require humidity level that ranges from 35 to 40%. These conditions are very similar to their natural habitat so that can help their bodies to function normally.
Habitat or Enclosure
As mentioned earlier. bearded dragons are originally from arid and desert environments so the conditions of their enclosure should mimic that of their natural habitat.
The enclosure should have the right conditions of temperature, lighting and humidity for them to stay healthy and have a great chance of a longer lifespan.
The required tank size generally vary depending on the age and length of your bearded dragon so you should choose the perfect enclosure for your lizard if you want them to live longer.
Here is a brief summary of the best tank size for a bearded dragon depending on their age and length:
|Bearded Dragon’s Age||Bearded Dragon’s length||Tank Size|
|Baby||< 10 inches||20 gallon|
|Juvenile||10 to 16 inches||40 gallon|
|Adult||16 to 20 inches||50 to 75 gallon|
|Adult||> 20 inches||75 to 125 gallon|
Another factor related to the habitat or enclosure of your bearded dragon is the type of substrate or bedding. The two types of substrates are particle and non-particle substrates.
Non-particle substrates are generally preferred for bearded dragons since they don’t have much risks for the lizard. Some good examples of non-particle substrates include newspapers and reptile carpets.
Other essentials for a bearded dragon enclosure include hides and plants. Hides are perfect spots for your beardy to relax and sleep whilst plants help to provide an environmental stimulus for the lizard.
It is encouraged to use silk or plastic plants since they do not pose much risk to bearded dragons which are always keen to eat anything that looks like food.
If you decide to use live plants it is important to choose plants that are safe for bearded dragons to ingest. Some safe plants for a bearded dragon tank include jade plant, rosemary, oregano, parsley and cilantro.
As mentioned earlier, large bearded dragons tend live longer than smaller ones. Although this is not always the case, size has been observed to be a contributing factor to the lifespan of a bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons that grow bigger have a greater chance of living longer than their smaller counterparts.
You can actually help your beardy to live longer by providing highly nutritious meals and adequate space that encourages growth.
As mentioned earlier, female bearded dragons tend to lose a lot of energy during breeding and that really affects their bodies. Females without a history of breeding generally live longer than others that have been used for breeding.
Regular Vet Checkups
Bearded dragons do not need any vaccines but it is still important to regularly visit a reptile veterinarian for checkups. The common physical examination procedures include examining the feces of your beardy to check for parasites and pathogens that can cause life threatening diseases to your lizard.
How To Improve The Life Expectancy Of A Bearded Dragon
There is a lot that reptile owners can do to improve the life expectancy of their bearded dragons. Taking good care of your lizard and providing a stress free environment can actually help them to live longer.
Here are some of the things that you can do to help improve the lifespan of your bearded dragon:
Provide A Well-Balanced Diet
Providing a well-balanced diet and highly nutritious meals is a great starting point for keeping your bearded dragon fit and healthy. Bearded dragons basically require protein, vitamins and other essential minerals like calcium for maximum growth and development.
Provide A Clean Environment
Taking good care of your bearded dragon also means providing a clean environment for the lizard. It is very important for reptile owners to clean the tanks of their bearded dragons and regularly remove feces that can act as a breeding ground for deadly parasites and pathogens.
Regular Vet Checkups
As mentioned earlier, bearded dragons do not need any vaccines but it is very important for them to have regular vet checkups. Regular vet checkups help to diagnose any life threatening diseases early.
The common checkup procedure is for a reptile veterinarian to check the feces of your bearded dragon for any parasites or pathogens that can lead to life threatening diseases.
Provide Optimum Environmental Conditions
Bearded dragons are originally from arid woodlands and desert environments so it is important for their enclosure to mimic the conditions of their natural habitat.
The lizard requires a temperature gradient which features a basking spot and a cooling spot which should go from 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool side, right up to basking temperatures ranging from 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another important environmental condition for a bearded dragon enclosure is the presence a UVA/UVB light source. Bearded dragons need UVB rays to synthesize vitamin D3 whilst UVA rays help to stimulate appetite.
Natural sunlight is a great source of UVA and UVB rays but you can use an artificial full-spectrum light bulb if the bearded dragon enclosure does not have access to natural sunlight.
Provide A Stress-Free Environment
Stress is one of the major contributors of a short lifespan. If you want your bearded dragon to live longer it is very important to provide a stress-free environment that is conducive for growth and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
How To Determine The Age Of A Bearded Dragon
The easiest way to determine the age of a bearded dragon is to measure its length from the tip of the tail to the tip of the snout.
Hatchlings are usually 4 inches long and are expected to be 6 inches when they are 6 weeks old. You should generally expect the bearded dragon to grow by an inch every week so you can use that as a guideline to determine their actual age.
What Do Bearded Dragons Usually Die From?
There are so many reasons why a bearded dragon can live a shorter lifespan but there are some common ones that have been recorded across many species.
Here are some common causes for death across many bearded dragon species:
|Cause Of Death||Explanation|
|Hereditary or genetic diseases||Hereditary or genetic diseases are health problems that bearded dragons are born with and they are one of the reasons why a bearded dragon can have a shorter lifespan.|
|Nutritional Disorders||Calcium and vitamin D3 deficiencies can cause serious problems for bearded dragons. Calcium deficiency produces convulsive twitching, spasms, seizures and can result in death.|
|Traumatic Injuries||Although this is not the case for many bearded dragons, traumatic injuries can result in death especially when there is no immediate medical attention.|
|Infectious Diseases||Infectious or microbial diseases are those causes by an exposure to bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. These are life threatening diseases that can easily lead to death.|
|Respiratory Infections||Respiratory diseases are mostly caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi. They can easily lead to death by depriving the body of oxygen.|
|Parasitic Infections||Parasites are very infectious and can lead to life threatening diseases that can easily kill your bearded dragon.|
So, How Long Can Bearded Dragons Live For?
Bearded dragons have an average lifespan of 8 to 15 years when living in captivity and an average of 5 to 8 years when living in the wild.
The major factors that influence life expectancy mostly have to do with care and the environment in which the bearded dragon is living but there are other uncontrollable factors like genetics and gender.
Some bearded dragons are more susceptible to diseases due to their genetics whilst males are known to live longer than females.
However, you can actually help your bearded dragon to live longer by providing a well-balanced diet that is rich in all the required nutrients, providing the optimum environmental conditions inside their enclosure and regularly visiting a reptile veterinarian for checkups.
A long bearded dragon lifespan has a lot to do with care so it is important that you take good care of your bearded dragon if you want them to live longer.