Every creature’s lifespan is different though and your puppy growing into a fully grown dog will be a different experience than watching other pets grow. Bearded dragons for instance hatch from eggs and the time from incubation to adulthood is filled with lots of fascinating changes. A bearded dragon grows so much during its lifespan and their habits, needs, and personalities change so much as well.
So what is the lifespan of a bearded dragon, and what should you expect as you raise your little buddy from egg to adult?
Quick Answer : The average lifespan typically is around 14 to 15 years but can be more depending on how healthy your bearded dragon is. Check out the full breakdown below so you can start the journey off correctly.
Bearded Dragon Eggs
If you’re lucky enough to have a female dragon that you’ve bred and you have the undeniable pleasure of taking care of her eggs once they’ve come into the world, you get a truly unique experience with your pet. Of course, some owners get to raise their dogs or cats from before they are born by helping the mother during her pregnancy, but our little dragons need a little bit more care initially than puppies or kittens do. The mother does nothing for her hatchlings after they’ve been laid, so that’s where you come in.
Incubating eggs is a huge undertaking and you need to be sure you can safely transport them once they’ve been laid so the mother doesn’t eat or destroy them. Once you’ve successfully transferred them into a different container, you need to ensure that container is properly equipped to help them grow until hatching. You also don’t want to handle the eggs very much as it can damage or even kill them if they are handled too much.
You’ll want to set up a proper incubation container and that will typically be some sort of plastic or glass container that has a sturdy lid. Check out this popular option on Amazon. You don’t need any air holes as the eggs don’t need oxygen until they are hatched. You’ll need a good substrate for hatching and ensure the eggs are arranged in rows and partially buried in the substrate so they don’t roll.
The eggs will grow in size while being incubated so you’ll need to make sure they are spread enough apart to allow for that growth. You can purchase a proper incubator to put your container of eggs in and ensure that it is set to 84 degrees fahrenheit. Keep checking on your eggs during the incubation period, which will likely be around 2 months.
Condensation in the boxes is normal but should be regularly wiped away to ensure it doesn’t drip too much onto the eggs so that they don’t start to mold. Any eggs that have developed mold should be removed as soon as you notice them. Mold can spread quickly so you don’t want to risk anything.
Once the beardies have begun to hatch, do not disturb them. They can typically hatch fully on their own and trying to help may hurt them. Let it happen naturally and soon enough you’ll have little hatchlings.
Once your little beardies have arrived you’ll want to start separating them into their own containers so they don’t start getting aggressive with their brothers and sisters after they are born. Don’t put more than five hatchlings in the same container and ensure they are kept moist enough and fed enough so they don’t start getting aggressive with each other. Hatchling dragons need more water than older dragons so ensure they get a good misting a few times a day.
You still don’t want to handle them much in those first few weeks, but they will need to each be separated for feedings. They will eat anywhere from three to six times a day and need proper feeder insects and plenty of greens. Small roaches, crickets, and worms are best for when they are young as bigger insects can be easily choked on and anything with a tough exoskeleton like mealworms can be hard to chew.
They also need calcium and multivitamin supplements and any greens you give them need to be properly torn up for eating. Hatchlings and babies need 80% of their diet to be insect proteins and 20% to be plant-based.
If you’re looking for a good powdered calcium supplement we recommend is RepCal Calcium with D3 .Made from 100% natural ingredients and makes it easy to dust on your beardie’s food.
Once they have grown for a couple of weeks you’ll need to separate them completely. If you’ve raised them from hatchlings you’ll likely have given some of them away and either kept one or two. Those beardies should not be housed together.
They will need their own separate terrarium and those shouldn’t exceed a certain size. Most babies will need a tank that is about 50 to 75 gallons so they don’t feel overwhelmed by the space. You’ll also need to get them hides, proper lighting, temperature gauges, and lamps to keep them warm. A good spacey tank option you’ll want to explore is this 50 gallon terrarium by Reptizoo.
Baby dragon tanks will typically be kept about 10 degrees warmer than adolescent or adults. They are still growing so they need warmth to stay healthy. Feedings will be about three times a day and still be about 80% insects and 20% plants.
Baby beardies will also shed more often than adults as they are continuing to grow and will outgrow their skin quickly and easily. You’ll want to ensure they are getting enough humidity during this time without giving them too much. They need to stay moist but too much humidity can lead to respiratory infections.
Adolescents to Adults
When your bearded dragons start to really grow, you’ll want to expand the size of their terrarium. Grown-up beardies will need something more like 100 to 120-gallon tanks, and even larger depending on how big your beardie is. They will also start changing their diet. Depending on how large you bearded roomie is you might be able to stick with this terrarium as a short term solution, but the Extra Long Carolina Custom tank might be the ultimate tank option.
During this period your pet will start to shift from 3 meals a day to 1 or 2 and then you’ll alternate feeding days. When they reach adulthood you’ll want to feed them two days on and one day off as they don’t need as much food as they get older. They’ll also switch to 80% plants and only 20% insects.
Once their diet changes they may also need extra supplementation, more calcium but the frequency of their multivitamin might change depending on what greens, veggies, and fruits are present in their diet. They will also need plenty of exercise to stay healthy and fit. This can mean taking them for walks, a swim in the bathtub, or making mazes or tunnels for them in a secure space.
A perfectly healthy bearded dragon in a domesticated environment will live anywhere from ten to eighteen years or anything in between. They live happier, healthier lives often with nothing to fight against and someone ensuring they get the best care possible. Proper diet, exercise, a good environment, and proper vet care, can ensure your buddy lasts a good long time.
The average lifespan typically is around 14 to 15 years but can be more depending on how healthy your bearded dragon is. Your vet may recommend changes to their diet or supplements the older they get so they can stay healthy in the latter half of their life. They start to reach “old age” between 8 and 12 years old and will start to slow down and need more rest and less frequent feedings.
How To Improve Longevity
Like most creatures, bearded dragons survive longer the better care and more engagement they have. The better relationship they have with you and the more you keep them active and engaged, the longer they are likely to live. This keeps their minds and their bodies sharp so they don’t start to lose their edge while they still have plenty of life in them.
Proper diet and exercise routines are important, but so is supplementing for things like calcium so they don’t develop illnesses like Metabolic Bone Disease or Tail Rot. Keeping their environments clean and sanitary will also help ensure they live a good, long life as cleanliness helps with healthiness. Any issues you might notice with your little guy should be addressed quickly by bringing them to your vet for monitoring and assessment.
They are such special creatures and they make such a difference in our lives that it is important to keep them around as long as we can. When your beardie does finally pass on, it is common to have a cremation or burial that suits the life that they have led up until this point. Your bearded dragon deserves the same dignity, love, and respect as any pet and a proper sending off is the right way to thank them for giving their lifespan to you for companionship.
The bearded dragon lifespan might be brief compared to ours, but they give us everything they have and we should give them all the love we can while we have them.