Bearded Dragon Health

Bearded Dragon Size Guide: How Big Do Beardies Get?

The size of a bearded dragon depends upon various factors. Some of them include their gender, overall surroundings, and diet. If you are planning to add a beardie to your family, then you might want to know about the bearded dragon size. In this article, we will cover all the basics regarding the size and length of your pet reptile.

It is highly important to know about the full length your pet would reach when they are fully grown. This would help you set their enclosure accordingly so that they remain comfortable. You don’t want your pet lizard being cramped up in a small tank according to their size.

You can expect your male beardie to outgrow their female counterparts. The best way to measure them is from the tips of their snout to their tail ends. You can also measure them according to their full-body length.

Unlike common pets, such as cats and dogs, the beardie owners might find it difficult to make anticipation about the estimated length their adorable lizards would reach. Most likely you have seen full-grown dogs in the neighborhood, but you might not have seen any adult beardies.

Also, it is understandable that a teacup puppy breed would pretty much remain the same size. On the other hand, a Labrador pup might outgrow most of the dogs in the block. So, you can envision your dog reaching its full size one day but the same might not be said for your bearded dragon.

How big do bearded dragons get?

So this is the main topic of this article. How big your exotic lizard will get? It is a vital question to ask before going to the local reptile shop to purchase your first dragon. It would help you determine the space required to raise a baby dragon. You would also be able to gather related resources for proper husbandry and care.

These charismatic lizards might not be able to reach their full growth potential if you don’t set up a proper tank. Stunt growth is quite common among pets that are surviving in substandard indoor enclosures. You should be educated about their body size and dimensions before making them a part of your family.

Typically a beardie would average around 17 to 24 inches in length – which includes their tail. They would weigh up to a pound once they reach adulthood. How big your dragon grows depends entirely on numerous factors, such as species, gender, and overall health.

The captive-bred animals might not be able to reach the same size as that of their cousins in the wild. Your domesticated breed might grow 10% less than its wild counterparts. All you need to do is feed them right and provide them enough living space that they can thrive.

The inland species, or pogona vitticeps, is the most common beardie type that is kept in households. The dragons of this species usually reach a size of about 24 inches if they are given proper nutrition. The quality of their environment plays a significant role in their overall growth when they are mature. You should ensure to provide optimal UVB lighting and basking spots in their vivarium.

 

Bearded dragon breed sizes

The main factor that can predict the approximate length a particular bearded dragon would reach is their breed. No matter how much you feed your pet dragon it would mainly follow its genetic makeup.

There are several subspecies of bearded dragons that might come in different morphs and body dimensions. Most size charts only reflect the projected length a bearded dragon would reach in the wild. So, you should not expect accurate results in each case. The captive genetic pool puts a superficial boundary regarding the growth potential of most pet beardies.

If you purchase a baby beardie, then you should know about the lineage of its parents. Most trustworthy dealers inform their clients about the hereditary stats of their pets. This allows them to set up the tank accordingly so that they can raise a healthy and happy dragon.

 

Bearded Dragon species and their sizes:

  • The central bearded dragon size

Also known as Pogona vitticeps, this species can be found basking in the arid lands of southeastern Australia. Their scaly skins take different hues and morphs, ranging from dull brown to bright vivid colors. Many breeders are actively trying to breed specimens with red phase and golden shades. A healthy specimen of this species can be as big as 24 inches long. They weigh about 0.6 to 1 pounds when they are adults.

  • Pogona Henrylawsoni (Rankins dragon) size

These Australian agamid lizards are considered the smaller cousins of the well-known inland breed. They can be seen climbing up fallen trees and they love basking during the warm and sunny daytime. They can find it hard to survive in a cold and humid enclosure because they originally live in drylands. Their length ranges anywhere from 8 to 10 inches.

They prove to be perfect mini pets for apartment dwellers because of their small size. You can easily mistake them for a household gecko because of their tiny bodies.

  • Eastern bearded dragon (Pogona barbata) size

The dominant males of this species are usually dark and bright in color. From reddish-brown to yellow shades, they exhibit different skin colors depending upon their habitat. An adult male can reach a length of about 24 inches when measured from snout to the tail’s tip.

  • Pogona minor minima (Abrolhos bearded dragon) size

Also known as dwarf beardies, this species usually has a skin color like that of a chameleon. They have perfect abilities to camouflage with the background color of their surroundings. This pocket-sized lizard can be easily raised in an enclosure with a small living space. The adults can reach a size of about 15 inches, and weigh about 0.2 pounds.

  • Drysdale River bearded dragon size

It is the smallest subspecies that reaches a length of about 4 to 6 inches when fully mature. Their home is in the tropical savanna, and it is very difficult to encounter this rare species in the wild. Most regulatory authorities have banned the ownership of this species as pets because of its rare numbers.

  • Mitchells bearded dragon size

The scientific name for this species is Pogona minor mitchelli. They can measure about 18 inches – when measured from snout to the tip of the tail. They have a distinct rusty orange skin color, which has a certain hint of dullness in it. You should place plenty of branches in the tank to encourage their innate climbing instincts. Accurate weight measurements cannot be predicted because of the rarity of this species in the market.

  • Nullarbor bearded dragon size

They are known for their vivid patterns that run across their upper flanks. Their neck is covered with scaly skin that gives them a unique exotic appearance. They are fairly small in size, as they usually reach a full length of around 14 inches. They reside in eucalyptus regions where they have ample spots to bask below the heat of the summer sun.

 

How big will my bearded dragon be?

bearded dragon size

If you own a central bearded dragon species, then you can expect them to grow up to 22 inches long. What you feed your baby beardie would directly impact their overall growth in the future. You should add a protein-dense diet when they are growing up. This would assist them in the developing phase of their life.

How much food you feed your pet lizard can also affect their final body length. An adult beardie should have a stocky build and should not be skinny. If they start shrinking in size, then you should add supplements in their daily diet.

When your bearded dragon hits the age of 1 year, they would reach their ultimate growth spurt. They would start hitting the plateau of their height after they pass this life stage. You would notice a marginalized growth rate once they surpass the age of 1 year.

Bearded Dragon Growth Chart

The chart below would give you a fair estimate of how long your pet dragon should be.

Length (inches)

Age (months)

3 inches1 months
10 inches3 months
11-15 inches5 months
13-19 inches7 months
16-22 inches12 months

 

The above data gives insights about the body development of a bearded dragon month by month. You might not notice the exact rate of growth of your particular dragon pet. Don’t be worried if you don’t observe the same results as above, as they are only generalized growth rates.

 

How to estimate the age of a beardie through their sexual maturity?

Believe it or not: the sex of your dragon plays a key role in their overall body size. The dominant males acquire secondary sexual characteristics that help them ward off challengers in their territory. In order to attract potential mates, the males need to reach a certain body size. They also develop spiky manes and noticeable beards that can be retracted to scare away other challenging males.

When the male becomes 1 year old they are able to breed, and the females can reproduce at an age of about 15 months. The males would normally have larger heads and wider hind limbs – which give them a dominant appearance.

The male bearded dragons have more noticeable femoral pores – which helps them mark their territories with unique scents. Their spine-covered necks can be spotted from a distance, as it gives them their namesake appearance.

How long does it take for a bearded dragon to grow to full size?

During the first few months, baby bearded dragons are at great risk of being eaten by predators. Because of this risk to their survival, they have evolved to grow at an exceptionally fast pace. When the hatchlings come out their eggs, they only weigh around 2 to 5 grams and they are up to 4 inches long. You would notice them getting double the size in less than 2 months period.

Although some species of bearded dragon keep on growing later into adulthood, most stop growing when they get 1 year old. So, you can expect your beardie to reach a length of approximately 17 inches by their first birthday. The growth spurt after the first year slows down gradually. You would still notice them growing during the second year but there would only be marginal changes.

How long and fast do bearded dragons grow?

The pace at which your bearded dragon might grow depends on various factors, like their diet, gender, and species. If you provide them with favorable conditions, then they can reach a length of approximately 22 inches when fully grown. This length can vary from one dragon to another, as they might grow anywhere from 20 to 24 inches.

Your juvenile beardie would grow about 9 to 11 inches in a 6-month timeframe. After this, their growth rate would be reduced to about 2 inches per month. After their first birthday, their height would increase up to 2 inches in the entire year. This scale of growth is only relevant for the “Pogona Vitticeps” species. For other breeds, the speed at which they grow might be slightly different.

Once your beardie is 1 year old, they would not grow much in terms of length but they would become bulkier.

Why isn’t my beardie growing?

bearded dragon size

Your baby dragon has a chance of growing into a big boy or girl, as long as you feed them properly. They would not be as big as an iguana but they can have a formidable body size when they are fully mature.

If you notice that your pet lizard isn’t growing according to its age, then he or she could be malnourished. Their enclosure might not have optimal lighting and heating setup essential for their growth. You should also keep in mind that not all species have the potential of reaching 24 inches of length.

If your mini dragon is below average in length, then there could be something wrong with their tank. If you provide them with substandard indoor conditions or diet, then it can take a toll on them.

Below are some of the reasons that could contribute to the issue with your underdeveloped dragon.

  1. Parasitic infection

Captive species of bearded dragons are at great risk of suffering from parasitic infection. Their bodies can get invaded from theses uninvited intruders just through their diet. That last box of crickets that you got from the local supplier could be infested with intestinal worms.

Once the parasites make their way inside the host’s body, they start sucking up iron from the blood. They can leave your adorable pet in a debilitating state by draining their limited energies. If this invasion occurs during their younger life stage, then this can affect their growth. The worms can pull out the essential nutrients and minerals from the diet. This would cause your pet to be affected by stunted growth.

You might want to take a fresh stool sample of your pet to the local vet. Once they examine it in the lab, you would be able to know about the underlying issue.

PRO TIP: Some parasites would not only deprive your pet lizard of calcium but they can even cause them to die. Therefore, you should never delay taking them to an expert veterinarian in your neighborhood.

  1. You have kept multiple beardies in one tank

Despite the fact that we see pet stores cramping up dozens of beardies in a single enclosure, we shouldn’t do the same when we bring them to our households.

Bearded dragons prefer solitude when they are living in the wild. Males can get territorial and aggressive during the breeding season. This might make them bully other smaller males around their close radius.

Many pet owners have even reported that their weaker males tend to oppress their gender. This way they don’t get noticed by the dominant male in the enclosure. This survival tactic helps them avoid being attacked by the aggressive male but it can affect their growth potential.

Most reptile enthusiasts have reported that one of their males remaining noticeably smaller in size when they raise all of the bearded dragons under the same boundary. If you think that your beardie isn’t growing according to expectations, then you should separate them immediately.

  1. Not enough calcium

All loving and responsible beardie owners should ensure that their pets are getting enough calcium daily. You need to make sure that they are getting well-balanced calcium to phosphorous ratio in their diet. They are not able to get the required amounts of calcium from their food, and this can weaken their bones.

Their chances of suffering from metabolic bone disease increase when they face calcium deficiency. Once their bodies start deteriorating they might even find it difficult to stand firmly. It can lead to fatal situations if you don’t improve their food intake.

PRO TIP: the amount of calcium a bearded dragon requires depends mainly on their age. Babies usually require their food to be dusted with supplements about 4 to 5 times per week. On the other hand, your adult beardies only require dusted live bugs twice a week.

  1. They are brumating at a younger age

Brumation is a natural deep-sleeping process of most small reptiles that can be compared to that of mammalian hibernation. The animal basically goes into a snooze mode when the temperature goes below zero degrees. During this time, the dragon would not eat for up to a month.

Bearded dragons that are younger than 1.5 years old should not be allowed to enter into the brumating state. They don’t have the bodyweight that would keep them well-nourished during the inactive state. If your juvenile beardie is trying to brumate, then you shouldn’t allow them to do it.

You can discourage them to brumate by increasing the indoor temperature during the winter season. You should also regulate altered photoperiod duration in the tank. This means that the difference between the duration of day and night should not be significantly high. By regulating the lighting cycle, your young dragon would not enter into brumation.

  1. Not getting enough UVB exposure

Your beardie can end up with brittle and deformed bones if you don’t provide them adequate UVB exposure in their vivarium. In the wild, they bask in sunlight to properly digest their food. The sunrays help them break down nutrients in the body.

You should place UVB bulbs at different locations in the enclosure so that they can sit below it. Once they are done gobbling up live insects, they would require a few hours of basking session. Your beardie can get skinny if most of the temp zones are cold in their tank.

When do bearded dragons stop growing?

Bearded dragons keep on adding more length to their body until the first 18 months. After they hit this mark, they would usually stop growing. You can expect your beardie to reach a length of about 22 inches when they are 2 years old.

Some bearded dragons might even grow at a marginal rate after their 2nd birthday. So you might notice an increase of 1 to 2 inches after they have entered into adulthood. When they become sexually mature, they would start adding more girth to their body rather than growing in length. A well-fed dragon shouldn’t appear skinny, as they tend to have stocky built when fully grown.

So, as long as you provide them with the right UVB exposure and diet, their growth rate remains active until they are 2 years old.

Can diet affect the size of my bearded dragon?

Giving a nutritious diet is crucial to ensuring that your bearded dragon grows full length. They are omnivorous, which means that their diet should have a balance of meat and vegetables. Babies and juveniles require higher amounts of live bugs in their diet. The protein is essential for their growing body. You can feed your baby beardie up to 4 times in a day and there should be no quantity restriction.

From crickets to roaches, you can add a diverse variety of insects in their diet. This would ensure that they are getting iron and protein from different sources. You can also give them chopped veggies to add some fiber content in their food. Avoid feeding them vegetables like cabbage or lettuce, as they mostly contain water. You should feed them a nutrient-rich diet so that they grow at a natural rate.

In the wild, bearded dragons can get their dietary deficiencies replenished easily. When they are raised in household settings, they have higher chances of suffering from malnourishment. Make sure to add calcium and vitamin D3 supplements in their daily diet.

PRO TIP: You should only feed spinach once a month to your exotic lizard. This vegetable contains calcium-binding enzymes that make it difficult to digest. You should only add light veggies, such as kale, carrots, and tomatoes to their daily diet regimen.

 

Is my bearded dragon growing normally?

Adult bearded dragons reach a formidable size that is enough to scare away most small predators in their habitat. However, their babies tend to have a pocket-size that makes them an easy target for predatory birds. Due to this, you will notice your baby beardie growing rapidly before their 1st birthday. This is a survival mechanism that ensures the safety of the species.

Most hobbyists can get concerned when they notice that their pet lizard is not growing quickly. They might even place them on weighing scales to keep track of their overall weight. You can also estimate their average growth by observing regular shedding.

Young dragons would even shed their skin after every 2 weeks, and this rate would slow down as they grow older. Their old skin would quickly become small in comparison to their growing bodies. If you notice that your young beardie is not shedding regularly, then you should take it to the vet.

Do bearded dragons grow to the size of their tank?

Up to some extent, this can be considered a myth. Most animals would only grow as big as their genetic makeup allows them to. Their external surroundings would have a certain level of influence on their overall growth.

Certain species of fish only grow in accordance with the size of their environment. This ensures their survival, as they are able to get appropriate nutrition and shelter. When they reach adulthood they are able to fit into the hiding places available at their disposal.

Similarly, you should install a big enough terrarium for your bearded dragon. This way they would not feel cramped up when they reach maturity. Their mini caves and hiding corners should be appropriately sized so that they don’t end up feeling oversized in relation to their surroundings.

In most cases, the growth of your bearded dragon would not be affected by the size of their tank. They would suffer from stunted growth with inadequate UVB exposure, malnourishment, and diseases. Some beardies might even die if their enclosures are too small in size.

How big should my bearded dragon be?

The full growth potential of your cuddly lizard depends on various factors, such as species, husbandry, and overall health. Their gender can also influence the full length they might reach when they become adults.

You would be surprised to find out the versatility of sizes of different species of bearded dragons. The biggest species is “Pogona Barbata”, as an adult can reach a length of up to 28 inches. On the other hand, an adult of the “Pogona Microlepidota” species would only grow about 4 to 6 inches.

Each species has its own evolutionary advantage, which helps them to survive and ward off predators in the wild. Their sizes are usually highly predictable if your pet supplier informs you about their breed beforehand. Estimating the size of your beardie would help you purchase a tank that is large enough for them. A small terrarium can restrict the natural growth of your bearded dragon in some situations.

How big do male bearded dragons get?

Pogona vitticeps is considered one of the biggest species of bearded dragons. A male can grow to the size ranging from 18 to 22 inches if they get proper nutrition and care. This measurement is achieved when you measure them from their snout to the tip of their tails.

The male counterparts of this species are visually distinguishable from the females. To the untrained eye, there might not be a significant difference in the appearance of both the genders. Bearded dragons exhibit sexual dimorphism that causes the males to acquire distinct size and body shape.

Male beardies would usually have larger heads and slimmer bodies. In the wild, some males can even reach the size of about 24 inches long. Under optimal husbandry conditions, you can expect your dragon to reach their maximum growth potential.

How big do female bearded dragons get?

Female beardies tend to be smaller in size compared to their male counterparts. You can expect your healthy female dragon to reach a length of about 18 inches. Your little girl would usually have a more rounded body and would not appear as slim as the male dragon.

Despite these distinguishing factors, there are other aspects that can affect the size of your exotic lizard. From sunlight exposure to the quality of their food, various factors can affect their growth.

Final thoughts

It can’t be gainsaid that bearded dragons are highly rewarding pets to own in your household. With their mellow and calm disposition, beardies make great pets for novice reptile owners and experienced individuals alike.

It would be a highly fascinating experience to watch your baby beardie turn into a mature dragon. It is essential to provide them spacious living space and a nutritious diet. This would help them reach their natural body lengths without any restrictions.

From this article, you would also have learned that if you have a small beardie, then you might want to make some changes with their enclosure and dietary choices. They are highly reactive to their surroundings, and can easily be affected if you don’t provide high standard accessories and meal.

However, you should also not be worried if your pet dragon doesn’t seem to grow at an expected rate. That is just normal for some specimens to acquire smaller sizes than other dragons

You can share these valuable insights with someone who might be planning to purchase a baby bearded dragon. You can simply refer to these guidelines to raise a healthy dragon in your household. We still advise taking your pet to a reptile specialist if you think there is something wrong with their health.

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