If you are thinking of buying a bearded dragon, or if you already have a baby bearded dragon, you may have wondered how fast they can grow and what size they can eventually reach. Having an idea of their potential adult size will inform your decisions on what size enclosure they need, how much food to buy and what other conditions you will need to provide for these reptiles. I decided to spend some time researching these fascinating lizards and will be sharing my findings here with you today.
So, when do bearded dragons stop growing? Bearded Dragons generally stop growing at around the age of 12 months old, however some do not reach adulthood until 18 months of age. They typically reach between 12 and 24 inches (30-60cm) in length and between 0.85-1.1 pounds (380-510 grams) in weight at final size.
But this is a broad oversimplification. There are many factors that influence a beardie’s final size, including genetics, gender, diet, environment and general health.
It’s important to be aware of these influences so that you, as an owner, can provide the optimal conditions for growth.
Let us now take a closer look at their size and all of the sub-related questions that you may be having.
This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect if you do end up owning one and will be able to provide the best care possible – ensuring their reach their full size potential.
- 1 What Age Is A Bearded Dragon Fully Grown?
- 2 How Big Does A Bearded Dragon Get?
- 3 Does Tank Size Affect Bearded Dragon Growth?
- 4 Can A Bearded Dragons Growth Be Stunted?
- 5 How Do You Know If Your Bearded Dragon Is Growing
- 6 How To Ensure Your Bearded Dragon Reaches Their Full Size Potential
- 7 Finally
What Age Is A Bearded Dragon Fully Grown?
Most bearded dragons are considered to be fully grown at 12 months of age, after this growth plateaus significantly.
Bearded dragons are not considered to be an adult until they are 18 months old as this is when they reach full sexual maturity.
However, it is important to know the rough size that a bearded dragon will be at different stages of its growth – that way you can make sure they are on track to reach their full-size potential.
- At less than 1 month of age, bearded dragons should measure 3-4 inches long and usually weigh less than 0.05lbs.
- Bearded dragons will grow rapidly at first, reaching 8-11 inches long and weighing 0.1-0.25lbs at 3 months of age.
- At 6 months old, you would expect an average beardie to reach 11-18 inches long and weigh between 0.3-0.4lbs
From this point growth rate slows gradually until they are 12 months of age.
How Big Does A Bearded Dragon Get?
Adult bearded dragons can weigh up to 1.1 pounds and reach up to 24 inches in length at full adult size. This is when measured from the head to the tip of the tail.
However, this is usually the upper limit and many bearded dragons will not reach this final size.
The average size is more like 20-24″ in length, at a weight of between 350-550 grams.
This is because many factors play a role in how big a beardie will reach at full maturity, including gender and breed differences.
A full-grown male bearded dragon will usually be bigger than their full-grown female counterpart, attributing most of their length to their tail.
Males typically reach 20-24 inches in length, whereas females will often measure between 16-20 inches long.
Males will often be heavier at full maturity too, often weighing closer to the 1.1 pound mark versus females who commonly weigh less than 1 pound.
This is all assuming that your bearded dragon isn’t overweight of course; an overweight female might weigh more than the average male so it important to ensure that your beardie has a healthy body composition.
Bearded Dragon Breed
The breed of your bearded dragon will also have an impact on how big they will be as an adult.
There are currently 8 recognized species of bearded dragon, and there can be large size differences between them.
For example, the Pogona Vitticeps subspecies grow to be large, with individuals often measuring between 16-24 inches in length and weighing between 0.83-1.12 pounds.
The Pogona Vitticeps is by far the most common species to have as a pet, so in most cases you will be comparing to these numbers.
In stark contrast, the Pogona Microlepidota will only reach a fraction of this size, often measuring between 4-6 inches in length and weighing between 0.01-0.09 pounds when fully grown.
There are some uncommon morphs of bearded dragon such as the German giant that can reach up to 32 inches long and 2.2 pounds in weight.
These morphs are selectively bred and so don’t occur naturally in the wild but if your beardie is much larger than the average you may have one of these.
There are many other factors that will affect how big your bearded dragon will grow, many of which are under your control such as diet and tank size.
It’s therefore important to be aware of how to provide the optimal conditions for growth.
Does Tank Size Affect Bearded Dragon Growth?
The size of tank that your bearded dragon is kept in will have a large impact on how big it can finally grow as an adult.
Many animals will only grow to a size that their surroundings will allow, and bearded dragons are no exception.
If a bearded dragon is kept in an enclosure that is too small whilst they are growing, then this can prevent them from reaching their full-size potential at adulthood.
It is not only the overall size of the tank that you should consider, but also the size of the hides within the tank.
Hides, as the name suggests, are places that your bearded dragon can hide like they would naturally to avoid predators.
Consider oversizing these areas as your beardie grows so that they always feel able to fit within them.
It is important to keep replacing your tank for a larger one as your beardie grows.
Baby bearded dragons will need a smaller tank to allow them to catch live feeders and develop hunting skills.
Often starting with a 20-40 gallon tank will work well, changing to a 40-75 gallon tank when your bearded dragon is 4 months of age and finally to a 75-120 gallon tank when they are fully grown at 12 months old.
Can A Bearded Dragons Growth Be Stunted?
The growth of a bearded dragon can be stunted, if unfavorable conditions are met. There are generally four different causes of this including: lighting insufficiencies, malnourishment, parasitism and tank size.
So, if you are concerned that your bearded dragon is not growing as fast as it should be, then you should definitely take a look into the following possibilities:
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals. This means that they rely on external heat sources to stay warm, which is essential for growth.
One of the most common reasons for stunted growth in reptiles is a lack of UVB radiation.
UVB radiation is essential in allowing your bearded dragon to absorb the nutrients from its food.
Owners should always provide a dedicated UVB light which needs to be kept on for 12 hours during daytime and switched off at night.
Malnourishment, as with any other animal, will also result in poor growth. A lack of nutrients results in insufficient energy for growth.
See the section later in this article for how much food you should be feeding your bearded dragon and how often.
Another reason for stunted growth might be parasitism.
If your bearded dragon has an excessive number of intestinal worms for example, then this will severely reduce the amount of nutrients that they are able to absorb.
If you are concerned about this, then contact your vet who will be able to prescribe medication to help.
As mentioned previously, tank size can also stunt growth. Always follow the guidelines mentioned above.
If you have multiple bearded dragons in the same tank, then even a 75-gallon tank may not be enough; however, we would advise against keeping multiple individuals together as they are territorial animals.
How Do You Know If Your Bearded Dragon Is Growing
It’s important to keep track of your bearded dragons’ growth so that you know if you are providing the optimal conditions for them at all stages of development.
Regularly weighing and measuring the length of your bearded dragon is one way to do this, cross-referencing with the measurements mentioned above.
However, another way to tell if your beardie is growing is to monitor their shedding frequency.
When young, a healthy bearded dragon should shed its skin every 4 weeks, or even more often.
If they are shedding at least once every 4 weeks, then they are growing. As they get older, they shed less often – usually once every few months when they are adults.
And then there of course, are pictures.
Be sure to regularly take photos of your bearded dragon in the early months of life. This will allow you to compare and to see how your beardie is developing in height, size and weight.
How To Ensure Your Bearded Dragon Reaches Their Full Size Potential
As we have touched on, a bearded dragon requires the correct diet and optimal environmental conditions for them to thrive.
Let us now explore each one in a little further detail:
Bearded dragons need a balanced diet of insects and plants, but this balance will change according to the age of your beardie.
Young growing bearded dragons need 75% insects and 25% plant material vegetables/fruit) whereas adults have less protein requirements, so should receive 75% plants and 25% insects.
Feeding is required daily, in accordance with appetite.
Appropriate Enclosure and Setup
As previously mentioned, ensure you are increasing the size of your bearded dragon’s enclosure as they grow and provide a UVB light source for basking.
The enclosure should include a basking spot that should reach a temperature of 95-100°F as well as a cool spot that should be 75-80°F.
You should turn off the UV lamp at night while they are sleeping. This allows your bearded dragon to regulate its body temperature properly, which is essential for growth.
Vitamin D And Calcium
Enough vitamin D and calcium are also important for your bearded dragon to ensure proper growth.
While they should get much of their micronutrient requirements through their diet, giving a vitamin D and calcium supplement leaves out the guesswork.
Juveniles should get this supplement in 4 meals per week, while adults should receive supplementation one meal per week.
Bearded dragons are actually relatively large reptiles to own and look after. At full size, you’ll struggle to hold them, and they are quite weighty too.
That being said, so long as you get everything setup right and optimally, they are considered to be relatively low maintencence to own and look after.
But you need to get the basics right.
From diet, enclosure and all the way through to lighting and heat.
These are essential for ensuring the healthy growth and maintencence of this laid-back and friendly lizard.
As such, owning a bearded dragon can be daunting at first – there is a lot to learn as they are very different to most other pets.
Thankfully, with the right information and with a little bit of research you’ll set yourself in good stead; ensuring your bearded dragon is both healthy and happy.
And if you do end up owning one and are ever concerned that they are not the size your expect, or growing along to plan or expectation, then never forget to contact your local veterinarian for advice.
Sometimes a simple and subtle change can make all the difference.