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How Big Do Bearded Dragons Get? [Size Guide For Owners]

An important aspect of owning a bearded dragon is being aware of their growth rate and expected final size. Besides, we need to consider their enclosure and make arrangements ahead of time. Understanding the significance of their size on their care and your ownership, I decided to spend some time researching into this fascinating lizard. I will be sharing all that I managed to find regarding their growth here for you today.

So, when do bearded dragons stop growing? Bearded dragons typically grow to between 20-24″ in length, weighing between 350-550 grams at full adult size. Males are generally slightly larger than the females, with their final size reached between 11-15 months of age.

Bearded dragons truly make great pets; it comes as no surprise to learn that they are growing in popularity.

They’re typically very amusing to observe and relatively easy to maintain.

That being said, there are things you will need to do to meet their specific needs and ensure that they are able to thrive in your care.

Diet, temperature, humidity, and lighting are perhaps the main ones. Along with the enclosure that you decide to house them in.

Of course, the size of enclosure they will need depends a lot on how big they will grow. So, let us know explore the growth potential and final size of this exotic reptile.

This way, you’ll be able to set your expectations, plan ahead, and confirm that you will be able to provide just as they need.

Average Bearded Dragon Size

The average bearded dragon will typically reach between 20-24″ (51-60cm) in length, and weigh between 400-550 grams at full adult size.

They are considered a medium-sized reptile, but as you can see, they do not grow anywhere near to the size you may expect considering their names!

Nevertheless, they will be quite a bit bigger than your average gecko.

Males are generally larger than the females, although this is just an average. It has been known for females to be bigger.

One thing to consider is that the final size of your bearded dragon will be over double the size of the baby you are likely to take home.

For this reason, it’s crucial to plan ahead and ensure you have the appropriate living arrangements to properly accommodate them both during and after this transition.

When it comes to selecting your first tank, its actually an important decision for you both! Ensuring it is sufficiently large will help your beardie reach their optimal size and for you, it means you should not need to keep upgrading the tank.

As we will see in the next section, they reach their maximum size pretty fast.

Unfortunately, there is little you can to do completely offset and prevent the need to upgrade the tank altogether. You will need to purchase at least a second tank as they get larger.

We will know look at their typical growth rate patterns, and exactly why this is the recommended approach, below:

Bearded Dragon Growth Rate

Bearded dragons will experience much of their growth in the first 12 months of their life; you will notice drastic changes in terms of the length and weight throughout this time.

Below, you will at a typical growth rate – an average based on data collected from numerous owners.

Here is a bearded dragon average growth in the first year based on the data from growth charts of over 50 bearded dragons. The measurements were taken from the tips of their noses to the tips of their tails.

Age (In Months)Length (Inches)Length (cm)Weight (In Grams)
13-4″7.5-10 cm9g
25-9″13-23 cm19g
38-11″20-28 cm30g
49-12″ 23-30 cm41g
511-16″28-41 cm72g
612-18″30-45 cm108g
713-20″33-55 cm146g
814-21″35-53 cm188g
915-22″38-55 cm230g
1016-23″40-58 cm288g
1118-24″45-60 cm342g
1220-24″50-60 cm478g

Note, the measurements are taken from the tail to the tips of the noses. They are also averages and your bearded dragon may differ somewhat.

Do Bearded Dragons Grow To The Size Of Their Tank?

Bearded dragons do not technically grow to the size of their tank, although being in a tank that is too small for them can hinder and stunt their growth and full size potential.

In other words, a bearded dragon would not continue to grow indefinitely if they were placed in a considerably large enclosure. They would simply reach a point where growth would stop.

So instead, they will naturally and instinctively reach a size that is right for their environment and that is comfortable for them.

This is precisely why getting the right size tank is so important for the different life stages of this lizard.

When it comes to selecting your first tank, its actually an important decision for you both! Ensuring it is sufficiently large will help your beardie reach their optimal size and for you, it means you should not need to keep upgrading the tank.

Besides as we saw above, they reach their maximum size pretty fast!

Unfortunately, there is little you can to do completely offset and prevent the need to upgrade the tank altogether.

You will need to purchase at least a second tank as they get larger, although most owners typically end up purchasing three for the different life stages: baby, juvenile and adult.

But you now may be wondering why you cannot just get an adult-size and large tank for your baby beardie to begin with?

Well; it doesn’t really work out for them.

Too large of a tank actually causes issues with feeding. They almost feel overwhelmed and cannot find and catch the live insects and other foods you will be looking to provide.

It means hand feeding, which is counter-intuitive and does not develop their native hunting skills, which they will need later in life.

So, here is a good rule of thumb for tank sizes across the different bearded dragon ages and sizes:

  • Baby (3-11″ in length) – 20/40 Gallons
  • Juvenile (12-20″ in length) – 40/75 Gallons
  • Adult (20″ + in length) – 75-125 Gallons.

It all really boils down to this.

Bearded dragons need to have a large enough tank to roam around in order to be healthy.

While it is true that bearded dragons are not exactly the most energetic creatures, especially as they age, this doesn’t mean they are not active at all.

The physical and psychological impact of these inadequate conditions can manifest themselves in several different ways. Besides it is inherently stressful to them.

For starters they may not feel the need to eat or they may not be able to move around enough to properly develop their muscles.

Both of which will give them a smaller appearance.

Can You Stunt A Bearded Dragons Growth?

A bearded dragons growth can be stunted and this can occur due to inappropriate diet, insufficient enclosure size, or inadequate heating and lighting.

We will be taking a closer look at each of these factors in the following section.

However, even though depriving them of food and space can theoretically keep them smaller – you should not do it.

Stunting bearded dragons on purpose is considered animal cruelty because this smaller size is not a harmless effect.

In fact, they will likely develop several health problems. Besides, not meeting the needs of your beardie will result in systematic stress. The stunting of growth is just one example of this.

If potentially owning a two-foot lizard is not what you want or that you can accommodate, consider getting another pet.

There are plenty of lizards and other reptiles that will stay smaller or require a smaller tank. A gecko for instance.

It’s far more responsible and best for everyone involved to get a different pet than to mistreat this one.

Factors That Influence A Bearded Dragons Final Size

There are several factors that will influence a bearded dragons final size. Some are in your control, and others may manifest even if you do everything right and by the book.

Let us now consider each one:

Genetics

Genetics is one thing that is beyond any owners control.

Just like with humans, biological makeup can determine every last trait; from colors, personality, temperament and of course, size.

In fact, it is also very common to see vast differences even between relations and siblings!

If you have a beardie’s hereditary information available, or are in contact with the breeder, you might be able to compare your dragon to their previous generations.

Again, while there is no guarantee that they’ll be carbon copies of their parents or grandparents, it can give you some information on what to expect.

Perhaps you purchased a dragon in a long line of exceptionally big (or small) individuals.

Health

Even if you do everything in your power to care for your bearded dragon, sometimes and unfortunately it is just not enough.

A bearded dragon may struggle with health problems that arise from birth defects or pathogens that you have little to no control of.

If a bearded dragon is in poor health, they may experience stunted growth, as they are unable to put their energy into growing during critical periods.

If you have an exceptionally small or frail bearded dragon, it’s recommended that you take them to a vet to check them out.

Just be sure to call ahead, as not every vet is qualified to look at reptiles.

History

Also, be aware that a bearded dragons entire life history will have an impact their final measurements.

For example, a healthy adult bearded dragon may not have always been treated so well.

All living things have a history, and it’s pretty likely you haven’t owned your dragon from the moment they were hatched.

It can be difficult to track down how they were when they grew up and if they had any problems.

While you can contact a breeder about these inquiries – most pet stores receive their bearded dragons from suppliers and have no way to obtain this information about their pets.

It also may be something to keep in mind if you rescue a bearded dragon or buy one online.

Even if you take care of a bearded dragon with all of your might – you can’t change or erase the damage the past had on their maturation.

Nutrition

One of the most important aspects of bearded dragon care is to ensure that they get the right and adequate nutrition.

Bearded dragons have a surprisingly diverse pallet and need to have several different things in their diet.

Some of these factors are especially important while they’re growing up.

Perhaps most importantly, is the calcium to phosphorous ratio.

An improper diet that is too high in phosphorus or without sufficient calcium (through foods or supplementation) is very dangerous to them, and all reptiles for that matter.

Calcium to phosphorous needs to be at a ratio of 2:1 in favor of calcium for them to thrive.

In fact, if the balance is off for too long they can develop a condition known as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

In regards to specific foods, they need to therefore have a balanced diet of fruits, veggies, and insects.

Many people opt to give their dragons a fun mix of mealworms, crickets, and dehydrated produce. Greens, vegetables, and fruits are about a quarter of their diet.

Make sure that your dragon has access to the foods they need to grow up big and strong.

There are also important things you should consider when giving them insects. It’s easy for us to forget that a bearded dragon does not have the kind of tools needed to eat everything in the beginning.

A tiny dragon may have some difficulties jamming crickets into their mouths if they are just too big.

Talk to a vet or your local pet store to know which insects you should be feeding your reptile.

If you only give them access to things they are unable to eat, they will not get the nutrients they need. It would be no different than giving them nothing at all.

Keep in mind that some bearded dragons are especially picky as well. There are some who will eat literally anything you put in their tank.

There are others who only like specific things and would rather starve than eat something they don’t want.

This happens a lot when trying to feed an animal dry food or dehydrated insects when they are used to eating the live, “good” stuff.

Lighting

UV-B lighting is required for bearded dragons and other reptiles for them to be able to make Vitamin D3.

This is essential to ensure they can correctly and appropriately process the calcium they consume.

The UV-B must be full spectrum to replicate natural sunlight, and should be appropriately placed in the enclosure depending on the bulbs used and the size of the enclosure. Although, they are generally installed on the ceiling.

Exercise

Just as lots of beardies like to eat, lots of them prefer to lounge around and many lose interest in exercise over time.

While sometimes this attitude is a reflection of not having enough space (or enough interactions to stimulate activity), other times, they are just lazy and struggle with motivation to move.

While this will not impact their length, it can result in an increase in weight. They can actually become obese.

While this may seem kind of cute, excessively overweight reptiles are vulnerable to several health complications.

If you have any questions on this, or their diet, you should talk to your vet to establish a routine and to help them stay at a healthy weight.

Helping Your Bearded Dragon Reach Their Full Size Potential

Ensuring your bearded dragon reaches their full adult size is a combination of care and consideration.

Keeping the above factors in mind, the best thing you can do for your bearded dragon is to give them the best habitat possible.

Make sure that you have an adequate sized tank for their respective age and size (being ideally 75 gallons or more when they are a year old).

This will give them the freedom to roam around for optimized activity levels and providing sufficient breathing room.

Make sure that you also follow the recommendations of your vet and other reptile experts when ascertaining the best and optimal diet for your beardie.

This will include providing sufficient calcium and D3 (through diet and lighting).

Other than this, do all you can to make a comfortable and relaxing living environment for your beardie.

You’ll want to provide plenty of hides, appropriate substrate and you’ll need to think about when and how you handle them too.

Plus, if you notice your dragon suffering from any problems, take them to the vet as soon as you can.

Even if it is costly, treatment is sometimes necessary to ensure they live a healthy and happy life.

Finally

Bearded dragons are medium-sized lizards that are relatively easy to take care of.

While they do range in terms of their total size; you should get a pretty good idea of the size that they will ultimately reach by the end of the first year of their life.

If I can leave you with one final piece of advice regarding their size than growth then let it be this.

Do not neglect the importance of the tank and the food you feed them.

These are perhaps the two main factors in your control and that you can optimize to ensure your beardie grows strong and healthy.

Continue with your research, and ensure you meet the unique needs of this fascinating and rewarding reptile!