Commonly, pogona Minor is the dwarf bearded dragon. And widely ranges from the Western Australian coast to the deep within the continents wild interior. Growing to 15.2 – 19.5 cm, they have adapted to different habitats. And despite the dragons infrequent appearance in the wild it is not rare, it’s quite common. But it’s just simply skilled at hiding.
Often times, people consider small bearded dragons that do not grow properly to be suffering from malnourishment or live in a tank within sufficient lighting setup. Also, not all types of bearded dragons become big. The pygmy bearded dragon only gets around 12 inches (30cm) in size.
The following information will be discussing the issues of some bearded dragons’ small size:
- why my bearded dragon is so small
- bearded dragon suffering from parasites
- keeping multiple bearded dragons in one tank
- bearded dragon not getting enough calcium
- exposed to wrong temperature
- getting exposed to wrong UVB light
- type of bearded dragons
- bearded dragons getting malnourished
- how to tell if your dragon is growing properly
- possibility of bearded dragons growing to the size of their cage
Why Is My Bearded Dragon so Small?
There are several things that could cause your dragon to remain small. Fortunately, most of the reasons are easily discussed and also easily solved. So if your dragon is smaller than it should be, in most cases that can change quickly.
Nevertheless, that does not mean that you should take this lightly. Actually a couple of reasons require immediate action and solution if possible. Thus, here are all reasons for the lack of growth.
Is Your Beardie Suffering From Parasites?
A lot of dragons in captivity suffer from parasites at least once in their lifetime. In fact, while parasites can occur if you do not clean the tank properly, your bearded dragon could also get infected with parasites by only eating its food.
Sometimes, the box of crickets that we get from pet stores or online can come with parasites without us knowing. Thus, even if you do everything right, this can happen.
Parasites are known for draining your dragon´s energy. So if your bearded dragon is still young, it can happen that those parasites drain so much energy that they reduce your bearded dragon´s growth.
Needless to say that you should take your dragon to a reptile vet immediately. Better still, if you can´t take your bearded dragon to a vet right away, but you suspect that your bearded dragon is suffering from parasites, send a stool sample of your bearded dragon to the reptile vet.
This way they can check your dragon on parasites quickly even if you can´t drive to the vet. Some parasites do not only slow down the growth of your bearded dragon. They can also kill your dragon slowly or quickly. Hence, it is very important to check your bearded dragon on parasites at least once a year or as soon as your bearded dragon acts weird.
Do You Keep Several Bearded Dragons In One Tank?
Even though a lot of pet shops sell bearded dragons in groups, you should not keep multiple bearded dragons in one tank at a time.
Generally, bearded dragons are solitary animals or in other words, they are loners. Thus, most of the times keeping multiple bearded dragons in one tank just doesn´t work. Male bearded dragons are naturally very territorial.
Also, if you keep two males in one tank, one of those males will get oppressed and even attacked. Even if you keep one male and one female or two females in one tank, situations like that can occur.
Further, male bearded dragons can even suppress their gender in order to appear like a female.
Surprisingly, this way, they can survive living with another stronger male bearded dragon in one tank.
People that keep more than one bearded dragon in one tank often say that one of their bearded dragons is substantially smaller than the other ones. This happens mostly because the smaller bearded dragon often gets oppressed.
Thus, if you have a very small bearded dragon, you should separate the two immediately before worse things happen.
Bearded Dragons Not Getting Enough Calcium?
Bearded dragons so much need calcium to grow properly. Calcium is very important for healthy bones and if a dragon does not get enough calcium, it won´t grow and its bones will get soft over time.
A dragon that suffers from soft bones over a long period of time will become deformed. And it won´t be able to hunt nor to even stand still as its limbs are so weak that a stable position will be practically impossible.
Eventually, your bearded dragon will die from that if you do not subject it to adequate treatment. This deadly disease is a metabolic bone disease.
Further, while most people already dust the feeder insects with a calcium supplement, that might not be enough. It is very vital that you offer calcium to your bearded dragon at all times.
Bearded dragons originate from the wild of Australia. As you can possibly imagine, it is pretty hot there and that´s why you have to get heat bulbs that can get really hot. Particularly, the temperature under the basking spot should be around 110 °.
However, not only that the temperature under the basking spot is very important. The temperature in the whole tank is equally very important. You should understand that if the temperature in your tank is too low, your bearded dragon might not be very active. As it can´t get its body on temperature.
As you probably know, bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals, which means that they do not have a stable body temperature. And they need an external heat source to moderate their body temperature.
Thus, if they are not able to heat up properly, a bearded dragon’s body won’t function properly. It can´t move as fast as it normally could, it will be so lazy or even lethargic
Wrong Uvb Lights?
Having no UVB lamps or insufficient UVB lamps and not offering enough calcium have equal results. Your bearded dragon´s bones will become soft, it won´t grow and it will become deformed and after all, it will die.
That is because dragons need to produce vitamin D to be able to process calcium. Typically, bearded dragons can only produce vitamin D if they get enough UVB rays from a UVB lamp.
Unfortunately, not all UVB bulbs are good enough. In fact, most of them have a high level of insufficient UVB output. Further, it is very important to change the UVB bulb every 6 to 8 months as the UVB output of those bulbs reduces over time.
What Type Of Bearded Dragon Do You Have in Your Possession?
Generally, not all bearded dragons do get really big. While there are dragons that really do not get as big as other dragons, there are also different types of bearded dragons.
For example, most dragons in captivity are Pogona Vitticeps and can become 20 to 22 inches in length. Pogona barbata, or the eastern bearded dragon, can get even 24 inches in length when in captivity.
If your bearded dragon is very small, it might be that you have a pygmy bearded dragon and not a standard bearded dragon.
Particularly, pygmy bearded dragons do not have spikes as normal bearded dragons have. That´s how you can identify them.
Is Your Dragon Malnourished?
You should feed your Juvenile bearded dragons live food each and every day, even multiple times a day. The protein they get from live food is very important for normal growth. Juvenile bearded dragons that are not fed properly won´t grow as quickly as those that get enough protein.
Surprisingly, baby bearded dragons can eat a full box of micro-crickets or small crickets per day. Some can even eat much more.
How Do You Tell If Your Bearded Dragon Is Growing Properly?
Many people are not happy that their baby bearded dragon or young dragon is not growing properly. That’s why a lot of bearded dragon owners weigh their bearded dragon every week or every month to make sure that their dragon is growing as it should.
However, there is another way to tell if your bearded dragon is healthy and growing properly and that is regular shedding.
If you have a young bearded dragon it will most likely shed every 4 weeks or even more often. The older they get the longer the necessity to shed. So if your young bearded dragon is shedding at least once a month without any problems, then you should know that your bearded dragon is growing properly.
Reptiles continually grow their whole life. However, young reptiles often grow faster than older reptiles and that´s why they shed more often. Thus, if your bearded dragon is not shedding, it is not growing.
Do Bearded Dragons Always Grow To The Size Of Their Cage?
Bearded dragons never grow to the size of their cage. Lack of growth in dragons is a result of
- insufficient lighting,
- bad feeding,
- diseases or parasites.
Bearded dragons can get around 24 inches in length and they really do not stay small just because they live in a small tank. Also, bearded dragons that you keep in a too small tank for too long will die eventually.
As you see, if you have a small bearded dragon, there are a number of things you might have to change quickly.
However, you should always keep in mind that some dragons simply do not get as big as other bearded dragons. That´s normal and if your bearded dragon is active, attentive and shedding properly, you don´t have to worry about it at all.