How big do bearded dragons get?
When I wanted to get my first bearded dragon, a thought quickly crossed my mind – “What if the dragon becomes too large and outgrows my home?”
If the same has crossed your mind, you’re not alone.
I researched how large a beardie can grow to become. This is what I found.
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How Big Does a Bearded Dragon Get?
According to National Geographic, adult bearded dragons can grow to be between 18 and 22 inches (1). On the other hand, the average weight can be anything between 400 and 600 grams.
But then that might apply only to the wild species. Captive dragons have grown to up to 23 inches (2). The numbers will understandably vary because captive beardies have different growth rates depending on their level of care.
But what size do young dragons start out as and how does this change as they mature into adults.
Let’s look at the different sizes by life stage.
Bearded Dragon Growth Stages By Life Cycle!
Bearded dragons have several life stages starting from the initial phase of an egg or embryo. Once the egg hatches, the little dragon becomes a juvenile or a hatchling.
Juveniles are known for their voracious appetites. They rapidly grow to become subadults. They still have enormous appetites at that stage since they are still actively growing.
Next is the young adult stage, where the dragons are now sexually mature. The last stage is the fully ripe stage, where the dragons reach their maximum and final size.
Adult dragons eat less than young dragons.
Let’s take a closure look at each stage.
Baby Bearded Dragon Size
A baby dragon can be 4 to 5 inches long from head to tail. They are freshly hatched and haven’t started adding on the inches.
They are referred to as baby dragons from birth to about two months of age. After that stage, the baby dragon will now become a juvenile.
Juvenile Bearded Dragon Size
Juveniles are usually bearded dragons between 2 to 7 months of age. At the juvenile stage, the beardies can be up to 18 inches long and weigh 200 grams.
They’ll add up to around 50 grams in weight and grow several inches per month if given enough food.
Adult Bearded Dragon Size
After a dragon attains seven months of age, it is no longer at the juvenile stage. It will be considered an adult dragon. The maximum length an adult dragon can grow to be is 24 inches from the head to the tail.
But at this time, depending on different circumstances, the length could be anything between 18 and 24 inches. That’s because each dragon species have different adulthood sizes.
They’ll weigh between 400 and 600 grams, although that can increase if they feed well.
Mature Adult Size
Mature adult bearded dragons will often be at the end of any growth parameters. They are the largest of all life stages, including reproductively.
At this stage expect your beardie to reach anywhere between 21 and 24 inches long. Don’t assume stunted growth if you see that your dragon hasn’t hit these numbers.
There is one notable exception to the above numbers, though. The German giant morph can grow to a monstrous 26 inches in size (2).
However, reaching that size is pretty rare and something you won’t see frequently with common dragons.
Growth and size in dragons also depend on gender, just like in humans.
How Big Do Beardies Get By Gender?
Male dragons are larger than female dragons in size. Male and female humans have varied growth rates, with some maturing faster than others.
It is the same with bearded dragons, where the male dragons will grow faster, aided by their monstrous appetites.
How Big Do Male Bearded Dragons Get?
Dr. Rick Axelson of the VCA Animals Hospitals says male dragons are typically larger than their female counterparts (3). So you can expect them to be on the higher extreme of any measurements.
Just look at the size of this big guy in this video. He’s a big beardie!
They are typically 21 to 24 inches from the head to the tail. The dragon in the above video is an ideal example.
How Big Do Female Bearded Dragons Get?
Female bearded dragons don’t grow as large as their male counterparts. So you can expect them to grow to between 18 and 21 inches long from head to tail.
Have a look at this video to get an idea of the size of adult female bearded dragons.
How Big Do Beardies Get By Breed
The most common bearded dragon species kept as a pet is the Pogona vitticeps species. This is because they are fairly low maintenance compared to other species, say Pomona barbata (4).
So how do the different species compare in size? Let’s have a look at how each of the common species compares.
This is the most common pet lizard you’ll find most bearded dragon owners with (3). It is often referred to as the inland bearded dragon and is a native of Australia.
Adult Pogona vitticeps dragons reach a maximum length of 24 inches.
The Pogona Barbata species has the closest resemblance to the Pogona vitticeps species. So much so, that scientists once incorrectly recognized its members as belonging to the latter (4).
It is relatively large and will also grow to 24 inches. Its natural habitat is dry woodlands.
Pogona microlepidota is a beardie species that display stunted growth. The species is one of the rarest, and you won’t find it as a pet in most homes.
It can only grow to a meager 4 or 6 inches as an adult. That’s the size of baby bearded dragons in the Pogona vitticeps species!
Can you make out the name Lawson from this dragon’s species name? That’s because its common name is the Lawson dragon.
It can only grow to 12 inches which is a surprise considering the most common pet lizard species is double that length. However, it is hard to find this type of dragon as they are quite rare.
Pogona nullabor has a maximum adulthood length of 14 inches. As a pet, it is also quite rare.
Pogona Minor Mitchelli
The Mitchelli Bearded dragons can grow into an 18-inch long adult dragon. But like a few other dragons on this list, it is also pretty rare. Its natural environment is the desert or wooded areas.
Bearded Dragon Growth Chart
If you have a dragon and want to correlate its size and the growth stage, the chart below should help. Use a tape measure to know how long your dragon is.
For accuracy, measure from the head to the edge of the dragon’s tail. It is essential to note the age and size of your pet reptile to diagnose cases of stunted growth.
Consult an expert if your baby bearded dragon has attained several months of age but is still tiny.
|Size||Weight in Grams||Age|
|3 to 4 inches||4 to 6||One month and below|
|5 to 9 inches||8 to 40||1 to 2 months|
|8 to 11 inches||22 to 110||2 to 3 months|
|9 to 12 inches||41 to 115||3 to 4 months|
|11 to 16 inches||102 to 115||4 to 5 months|
|11 to 18 inches||183 to 188||5 to 6 months|
|13 to 18 inches||230 to 288||6 to 7 months|
|14 to 20 inches||252 to 327||7 to 8 months|
|16 to 22 inches||280 to 360||8 to 9 months|
|16 to 24 inches||350 to 465||9 to 10 months|
|16 to 24 inches||380 to 465||10 to 11 months|
|16 to 24 inches||380 to 500||11 to 12 months|
|16 to 24 inches||380 to 500||12 to 18 months|
|16 to 24 inches||380 to 500||18 to 24 months|
Bearded Dragon Growth Stages: Other Things To Know!
There is so much to know about bearded dragons’ life and growth stages. I know how confusing it can all get! So to help make things clearer I’ve detailed some important things to know.
How Long Does it Take For a Bearded Dragon to Grow to Full Size?
You can easily tell from the growth chart above that a beardie will take about 12 months to achieve the entire length of 16 – 24 inches.
However, some beardies will often take longer to reach size milestones. Therefore, it shouldn’t worry you when your pet fails to reach a specific size at a certain age.
With an average lifespan of between ten and fifteen years, your dragon has plenty of time to hit the size range you want.
Also, depending on how you raise them, some dragons will never achieve the size you want for them because they are small by nature. We see it with humans all the time.
People from the same family are rarely the same size. Some grow faster, and others take their time. It is the same for dragons too. Check how fast these dragons in this video grew.
When is a Bearded Dragon Fully Grown?
A full-grown bearded dragon is around 12 months of age (1 year).
Like babies, most dragon owners can’t wait to see their baby beardie grow to maturity. I know how excited and curious I was to see my beardie attain the full size.
You could be providing it with a wide variety of food but still, find it hard to know if it has reached its full growth stage. So when can you confidently say you have a mature adult dragon?
It is safe to say that a beardie is fully grown when it reaches the maximum size of 24 inches. But then, different beardies have different maximum growth sizes.
Some get to 18 inches and don’t grow any further. So if you measure your beardie and see it is between 16 and 24 inches, you can assume it is fully grown.
Going by the size of common beardie species, you will always know when your pet has reached maximum growth.
Unless you have one of those rare species of beardie, the growth chart will help tell you if your beardie is fully grown.
A proper diet will help any beardie grow rapidly to achieve its maximum size in about one year.
When Do Bearded Dragons Stop Growing?
At the age of 1 year is when you can expect your pet to stop growing.
This is yet another query that came to my mind when I had just bought my dragon. I understood the growth rates and fed my reptile a healthy diet.
I could see it grow with the broader body, untypical of baby beardies. But when would all this growth stop?
Well, your reptile stops growing after about 12 months of life. But before then, you can consider it the baby it is.
Because your beardie has stopped growing doesn’t mean you have to stop using all the baby stuff on it. You can even get some leashes for baby bearded dragons and enjoy walking around with them.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use the leash on adult dragons.
What Factors Affect Bearded Dragon Growth?
According to the NC State Veterinary Hospital, bearded dragons have a pretty fast growth rate (5). Are there any factors that could slow or speed up this growth rate? Oh yes, there are.
Let’s have a look at those factors.
Factor 1. Diet and Nutrition
You are what you eat, and that’s true for bearded dragons as it is for humans. Beardies need a nutritious diet to sustain their growth rate.
A balanced diet for a beardie requires leafy greens and live insects, not forgetting fresh water (6).
A proper diet helps keep their energy levels high and thus boosts the growth rate. But it can also have you wondering, is my bearded dragon fat? The food you give to your beardie will also directly affect the maximum lifespan.
Fortunately, it isn’t that hard to feed a dragon, provided you understand its dietary needs. Many pet stores have different pelleted foods for bearded dragons (2).
But then, it’s always wise to supplement this with a wide variety of safe plants and live insects.
As long as the dragons have quality food and are on time, you need not worry about their growth rate.
Factor 2. Health Issues
Dr. Rick Axelson of the VCA Animals Hospital says dragons are susceptible to various diseases, most commonly Salmonellosis (7).
Abscesses, dystocia, and avascular necrosis are other diseases that might afflict your reptile. Such conditions will often affect the growth rate by causing a loss of appetite.
It is worth noting that they aren’t the only diseases that could affect your beardie. That’s why it’s always wise to have a vet on call.
Regular visits to a vet will help prevent the diseases and ensure you have a healthy dragon.
Factor 3. Temperature and Lighting
The RSPCA advises beardie owners to have both cool and hot areas in the beardie enclosure in their care sheet. This is where a heat lamp comes in handy.
The cooler side should be between 22 to 26 degrees celsius and the hotter end 38 to 42. Improper heating in the cages will not only result in slow growth rates but could also make embryonic dragons change their sexes (8).
Wonders of nature, you’d say! What are some interesting facts about bearded dragons you’ve heard of? Share them in the comments, and we will add them here.
Beardies need the proper balance between light and temperature to grow well because they are cold-blooded. They depend on external heat to warm up their body and fire internal mechanisms.
Consider installing UVB lighting in their cages to ensure they have the best lighting and heat source.
Any compromise with this will also increase the stress level of the dragons, thus affecting their growth rate.
Factor 4. Stress
Stress will massively affect the growth rate of beardies. Heat stress, for one, will cause male bearded dragons to change to females (9). Female bearded dragons usually have a slower growth rather than their male counterparts.
Stress isn’t only a consequence of heat but can also result from an ill-equipped enclosure and other factors. A darkening beard is a clear sign that your dragon is stressed. This video explains more about how to know your dragon is stressed.
How big do bearded dragons get in captivity?
Captive bearded dragons can grow to a size of 24 inches in length. Of course, this number varies depending on the gender of the dragon.
Female dragons are usually smaller and can grow up to 22 inches in length.
What is the largest known bearded dragon, and how large is it?
The German giant morph is the largest bearded dragon and can grow to a size of 26 inches in length. Most other beard dragon species rarely grow past 24 inches in length.
Does the size of a bearded dragon include the tail?
Yes. We consider the size of the bearded dragon from the head to the tail. The tail bumps the dragon’s size since it is usually pretty long.
How much do bearded dragons weigh?
Beardies weigh between 4 to 500 grams depending on their age and species.
How big do bearded dragons get? Bearded dragons can reach a maximum length of 24 inches. Males are typically larger than females, and you can expect to see them closer to that number than females.
Baby bearded dragons can be as small as 3-4 inches on hatching. But with, proper care will grow to reach the 16-22 inches mark within 8-12 months.
Now that you know all about the sizes of dragons, I hope it will help you monitor your dragon better. If you have any interesting facts about bearded dragon sizes, share them with us in the comments.
I love to hear about other pet parents’ experiences!
- 1. Schabacker S. Bearded Dragons [Internet]. National Geographic. 2019. Available from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/facts/bearded-dragon
- 2. petMD. Inland Bearded Dragon | Pogona vitticeps | petMD [Internet]. Petmd.com. 2017. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/reptile/species/inland-bearded-dragon
- 3. Bearded Dragons – Owning [Internet]. vca_corporate. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-owning
- 4. BEARDED DRAGON – POGONA – FROM AN AUSTRALIAN PERSPECTIVE. [Internet]. www.smuggled.com. [cited 2022 Jun 11]. Available from: http://www.smuggled.com/pogona1.htm
- 5. Caring for Your Pet Bearded Dragon [Internet]. Available from: https://cvm.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Caring-for-your-Bearded-Dragon.pdf
- 6. RSPCA. Bearded dragon care including diet, set up and more | RSPCA [Internet]. Rspca.org.uk. 2017. Available from: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/other/beardeddragon
- 7. Bearded Dragons – Problems [Internet]. vca_corporate. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-problems
- 8. How bearded dragons switch their sex [Internet]. Science News. 2017 [cited 2022 Jun 11]. Available from: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-bearded-dragons-switch-their-sex
- 9. Courthousenews.com. 2022 [cited 2022 Jun 11]. Available from: https://www.courthousenews.com/mystery-solved-researchers-reveal-how-male-bearded-dragons-grow-ovaries-in-hot-weather/
Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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