If you’re looking for a relatively friendly and not too large pet reptile. Then bearded dragon could fill the bill. Thus, several species of native Australian lizard exist in all continents. However, the type most common in the pet trade is Pogona vitticeps. That is the inland bearded dragon. Therefore, when it fully grows, bearded dragons are smaller than common pet reptiles. Such as monitor lizards or iguanas.
So how quickly do bearded dragons grow? Exactly how fast your bearded dragon grows will depend on many different factors. Such as
- the specific breed
- the gender of the bearded dragon and
- it’s environment. Therefore, with all things considered. You can expect a healthy bearded dragon to reach up to 16 – 22 inches in the first 12 months. Likewise, anything up to 24 inches by adulthood.
The following will be addressing bearded dragons’ growth:
- how fast bearded dragons grow in the first 12 months
- how long it takes for bearded dragons to grow to full size
- the different kinds of bearded dragon species and how big they grow
- developmental phases of a bearded dragon
- reasons why a bearded dragon might not be growing properly
- poor or incorrect diet
- allowing brumation from a young age
- baby bearded dragon and the right UVB light exposure
How Fast Will My Bearded Dragon Grow In The First 12 Months?
Knowing how fast your bearded dragon will grow in the first 12 months can be beneficial for many reasons.
Generally, it can be a good way to keep track of how healthy your bearded dragon is. Thus, as a healthy, well-fed bearded dragon should usually fall into the size parameters in the chart below.
However, if the size of your bearded dragon is slightly out don’t worry. Generally, bearded dragons are like everything else in the animal kingdom. They have their own unique genetics. And will grow at their own pace.
However, if you are worried about the growth of your bearded dragon you should consult your vet to get a professional opinion.
Furthermore, measuring your bearded dragon every month. Or thereabout can also be a great way to tell how old he or she is. Especially, if you didn’t get your bearded dragon from birth.
Therefore, using the size chart below will give you a guide and help you determine the health and age of your beloved beard dragon.
You should measure your Bearded Dragon from the tip of the tail to the tip of the head.
Bearded Dragon | Age & Average Growth Chart
How Long Does it Take for a Bearded Dragon to Grow to Possible Full Size?
Bearded Dragons grow to almost their full length by their first birthday.
Therefore, the growth in the first year is rapid. And they can grow anything up to an inch per week.
While in the second year, your bearded dragon can grow up to an additional 2 inches in the whole year.
Most often, this growth is very slow and hard to even notice. Thus, the only thing you may notice is that. Bearded dragons will put on weight in the second year. And start to fill out a little.
Finally, by your bearded dragon’s second birthday, it will usually be fully grown.
Different Kinds of Bearded Dragon Species & How Big They Grow
There are lots of different Bearded Dragon species. Thus, the majority will grow to different lengths.
Likewise, the size difference of a full-grown adult of one species can be as much as 4x bigger than another species. Thus, knowing which species you have will give you a far better idea of the full-grown adult length.
Further, the most common species of the bearded dragon by far is ‘Pogona Vitticeps’. So if you own a bearded dragon you most likely own this species.
Below is a chart that will help you better understand the different species and how big they can grow.
20 – 24 Inches: Pogona Vitticeps (Central Bearded Dragon)
20 – 24 Inches: Pogona Barbata (Coastal Bearded Dragon)
14 – 18 Inches: Pogona Minor Mitchell (Mitchells Bearded Dragon)
14 – 18 Inches: Pogona Minor (Western Bearded Dragon)
11 – 14 Inches: Pogona Nullabor (Nullarbor Bearded Dragon)
9 – 12 Inches: Pogona Minor Minima (Dwarf Bearded Dragon)
9 – 12 Inches: Pogona Henrylawsoni (Rankins, or Lawson Bearded Dragon)
Up to 4 -6 Inches: Pogona Microlepidota (Drysdale River Bearded Dragon)
Developmental Phases of Bearded Dragons
At the age of 0-6 months, a bearded dragon is classed as a hatchling. Hence, this is where the fastest period of growth takes place.
Generally, diet is important at any point. However, in these early stages when they are growing at such a furious pace. It is vital that you supply your hatchling with the correct
- nutrients and lighting and
- other factors that it needs to grow at the optimal rate.
Also, from 6 months to 12 months your bearded dragon will now be classed as a juvenile.
Therefore, in this 6-12 month period, growth is still very much happening at a rapid rate. Although it may need to slow down slightly from the first 6 months.
Likewise, diet and lighting are important to keep your bearded dragon healthy. And growing at a good rate.
By the time your bearded dragon reaches 12 months old. it is classed as an adult.
Although, there will still be small amounts of growth. And a little weight gain for the next 12 months.
Even though, there is still a small amount of growth left. Nevertheless, you can move on to an adult diet.
Reasons Why a Bearded Dragon Might not be Growing Properly
If your Bearded Dragon isn’t growing properly (at the estimated regular rates in the above chart). Then, it’s usually down to 1 or more of 3 main reasons.
- poor or incorrect diet
- allowed to brumate from a young age
Moving on, let’s take a closer look at each of these potential causes. Also, how they can affect your bearded dragon’s growth, weight and health.
Poor or Incorrect Diet
The diet in the first 6 months of a bearded dragon’s life is crucial. Therefore, if your bearded dragon isn’t growing as much as it should. Then, there’s a chance that there’s something wrong with its diet.
Likewise, baby bearded dragons have a very high metabolism. Because of this, you need to feed them small meals at a more frequent rate than an adult. Thus, a good rule of thumb is feeding them crickets up to 5 times a day for 5 – 10 minute intervals.
Also, you need to be careful with the size of the food you offer your baby bearded dragon as food. That is, food bigger than its head can be very dangerous to a baby.
Further, baby bearded dragons need a vast amount of protein in their diet to grow at a healthy rate.
Meanwhile, It’s also important to include Veggies in the diet of a baby bearded dragon. In particular, Added veg at least 3-4 times a week is ok. However, once a day will ensure they are getting a good all-round balanced diet daily. Hence, building a taste for veg from a young age.
In addition, babies need a vast amount of protein in the first few months. Purposely, to help them grow healthy and strong.
Further, if you give your bearded dragon around 20-40% protein from vegetation. And 40-60% from insect proteins as a rule of thumb. This will be a very good balance and a great start to their lives.
Allowing Brumation From a Young Age
You may be wondering what exactly brumation is? Well simply put, it’s basically the reptile version of hibernation.
Generally, it’s a natural part of a bearded dragons life. And something that most bearded dragons will do at some point. Although, brumating at a very young age can actually be harmful to some young Dragons. That is if it performs it too often and at a very young age.
Further, when a bearded dragon goes into brumation, by default they won’t take in any nutrients for that period. Therefore, as they are sleeping so they have to rely on what nutrients they already have in store to keep them going.
Although, this is fine for adult dragons. But for baby bearded dragons, their metabolism is so fast that they use nutrients very quickly. Thus, they simply must keep eating at regular intervals to keep their body in a healthy state. Also, to keep up with the rate of growth that takes place in the first 12 months.
Consequently, if you allow a baby bearded dragon to brumate in its first few months. Then, it can miss out on vital meal times. And ultimately lose weight, size and over health.
Baby Bearded Dragons & The Right UVB Exposure
Having a good quality UVB light. As well as, ensuring your bearded dragon becomes exposed. Especially, to the UVB light for the correct amount of time each day is highly important for growth and health.
Health Benefit Of UVB Light
One of the main reasons that UVB light is so important to all bearded dragons. And especially baby bearded dragons are that they will not be able to absorb the calcium from their diet properly. Without the correct amount of UVB lighting.
Generally, calcium is highly important to bearded dragons. Also, to their growth and overall health.
Therefore, if they don’t absorb calcium from their diet. Then, they can develop brittle bones. This is a major factor harming the growth of a baby bearded dragon.
Another known factor is that your bearded dragon may start to become very lethargic due to the lack of UVB light.