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How Big Does a Bearded Dragon Get?

The average length once the beardie stops growing usually lies between 12 and 24 inches, mostly attributed to the tail, which is ordinarily as tall as the rest of the body or longer. At this point, they will weigh between 13 and 18 ounces. However, this is a very general answer, and the actual size will always differ from one bearded dragon to another.


Many factors determine how big a fully grown adult bearded dragon is. Variables like genetics, sex, environment, diet, and health are critical to their eventual size and weight.


We are here to understand how these dynamics influence how big a bearded dragon gets, your role in its development, and what to expect when your pet is fully grown.


face close up of adult bearded dragon

How Long Does a Bearded Dragon Take to Grow?


Healthy babies grow at the rate of 1 to 3 inches per month, and they should be fully grown by the time they get to 12 months, which is the age at which a beardie will be deemed fully developed. However, their growth rate is not standard as some will reach their maximum size as early as 8 to 10 months while others get there at 18 months or as late as their second year.


The highest growth rate is within the first 3 months, after which it slows down a bit. The rapid growth is the bearded dragons’ adaptation to survive in the wild. It minimizes the time when the fresh juvenile is small, vulnerable, and an easy meal for any predator and fast forwards to when it’s mature enough to fend off and deter its natural predators. This helps them get to maturity and reproduce, ensuring continuity.


Forecasting the adult size of your baby bearded dragon is critical because you need to estimate the appropriate terrarium size and develop a feeding program that will optimize the lizard’s nutritional needs throughout its life.


The growth rate is a reliable means to estimate how big your bearded dragon will get. However, it is not an exact science, and you should also be aware of the conditions and circumstances that will cause your beardie’s development to deviate from your expectations.


How Big Do Bearded Dragons Get By Species?


Specific beardie breeds have their own natural lengths, weights, and growth rates. It is the ultimate determinant of how big your pet can get and is a major contributor to the disparity in sizes of fully grown dragons. You should know the exact species of your pet if you are to accurately chart their growth and predict their adult size. Let’s familiarize ourselves with the different species.


Bear in mind that these sizes are averages as each beardie grows under its own unique circumstances. They are also based on natural growth in the wild, which leaves a huge window of disparity if they are raised as pets. The environment you create for them and how you treat them greatly impact their growth. Therefore, you should use this information as a guide rather than the scientific truth.


different beardies in a terrarium

Pogona Vitticeps- The Central Bearded Dragon


This is the most common bearded dragon and native of dry bush environments, forests, and deserts. They are constantly awake during the daytime and are fond of climbing things. Owners love them for their gentle nature. A fully grown adult’s natural length can go up to 24 inches from the nose to the tip of the tail. Their expected weight will range from 9 to 18 ounces.


Pogona Barbata- The Eastern/Coastal Bearded Dragon


Though less common, it is similar in size to the central dragon or slightly bigger and will attain the 24-inch threshold without a struggle (there have even been sightings of 29-inch Eastern dragons). Their adult weight also ranges from 9 to 18 ounces.


Eastern bearded dragons are darker in color and are indigenous dwellers of dry, wooded areas. They are highly territorial and tend to display aggression when their territory is invaded. They are very active during the day and enjoy exploring their environment and climbing objects.


Pogona Henrylawsoni - Rankins Dragon/Lawson’s Dragon


These are highly active beardies with a penchant for climbing stuff. They naturally occupy arid deserts or dry, rocky habitats and are also classified among the smaller bearded dragons as they only grow up to 10 inches or less. Their adult weight ranges between 1.7 and 7 ounces, and they can easily be mistaken for geckos. They are ideal for keeping a beardie, but your space is limited.


Pogona Minor - The Dwarf Bearded Dragon


This rare class of bearded dragons naturally reside in woodlands and rocky areas. They are a miniature version of the central bearded dragon, and their adult lengths range between 14 and 18 inches, weighing in at 9 to 15 ounces. They have similar markings as the central bearded dragon with an orange or rust-toned hue.


Pogona Minor Mitchelli - Mitchell’s Bearded Dragon


This is also a rare dragon species whose natural habitat is the desert and semi-tropical wooded areas. Their fully grown adults get to approximately 18 inches long. Based on their length and body structure, their expected weight should be somewhere between the Rankins dragon and the Central bearded dragon. They can be identified by their unique orange hue that is not as vibrant as the dwarf bearded dragon.


Pogona Nullarbor - The Nullarbor Bearded Dragon


This is another mid-sized bearded dragon with an average fully grown length of 14 inches and a weight of between 7 and 9 ounces. It thrives in flat brush environments and is rarely domesticated. It is identifiable by its spiky scales.


Pogona Minor Minima - The Western Bearded Dragon


These extremely rare beardies are among the smaller species of the lot, only growing up to 12 inches naturally and weighing approximately 7 ounces. They have skinny bodies and streamlined flat heads. Their native habitat is dry woodlands, and they are rarely domesticated due to their scarcity.


Pogona Microlepidota - The Drysdale River Bearded Dragon


This is the smallest bearded dragon species and will only grow to a length of 4 to 6 inches throughout its lifetime. Their adult weight is 0.2 to 1.5 ounces. They have attractive markings, which makes them stand out.


Significance of Gender to the Size of Your Beardie


There is a difference in how big your bearded dragon can get that is attributed to their gender, just like many other creatures. Experts can even discern the sex of your pet based purely on their size and behavior.


A male bearded dragon tends to get longer than a female bearded dragon under the same conditions across all species. To put this in perspective, females of the Pogona vitticeps species, which we have established grow up to 24 inches only get to 19 inches when fully grown.


However, female bearded dragons have a broader body, but their heads are smaller than males of the same species, and their tails tend to be slenderer. The size and behavioral traits are not enough to exhaustively determine the gender of your dragon as other environmental variables influence them. The situation is even more confusing because young dragons seem to be female until they attain sexual maturity.


The most reliable way to determine your beardie’s gender is to study their underside after they’ve achieved sexual maturity (from 8 to 12 months). Male bearded dragons have two hemipenile bulges (which you will see as bumps) just before the vent or slit between their back legs, while female bearded dragons will have a single bump after the vent on their tail.


There are exceptions because other variables are also in play. There are findings of female beardies growing as big as their males or even bigger, so this is not a hard and fast rule.


The Role of Genetics On the Size of Your Bearded Dragon


Genetics is beyond the control of a bearded dragon owner. Unless the breeder has their hereditary information and fills you in on their exact lineage, you won’t have a basis for comparison, and you can’t know what to expect. The bearded dragon’s biological makeup affects more than just the size; it also influences their color, temperament, and instincts.


Although there are no guarantees because of the other variables, previous generations are a good indicator of how big your bearded dragon will get. If they come from a long line of exceptionally big lizards, they are likely to be big themselves. The reverse is also true.


The disparity in sizes can be attributed to evolution and adaptation. Each lineage evolved over time to survive in its own unique environment, and there is no telling whether it is smaller or larger that gave them the evolutionary advantage. A small lizard can hide better from larger predators that they can’t fight, while a large lizard can hunt larger insects and intimidate smaller lizards.


different generations of bearded dragon lizards in zoo

External Factors Which Influence How Big a Bearded Dragon Gets


These are environmental and psychological circumstances the beardie will be subjected to after birth. They greatly affect their development and, by extension, how big the dragons grow. They come in many forms.


The Bearded Dragon’s Diet


The beardie requires proteins to develop and should be on a protein-rich diet, especially when young. This should be combined with green leaves for vitamin D3, which is crucial for growth. A deficiency in nutrients leads to a lack of growth. The feeding program has a huge impact on the eventual size of the fully-grown dragon.


Insufficient UVB and UBA Lighting


These are different forms of ultraviolet lighting that are critical for the growth of your pet bearded dragon as they regulate their behavior and enable their bodies to synthesize food and absorb nutrients. In nature, they are gotten from the sun, but if you are keeping a beardie, you should facilitate this throughout their life cycle.


Disease


Bearded dragons also develop health issues and get sick like other pets; this may hamper their development, considering they grow within a very short period. Sickness means decreased appetite, which leads to poor nutrition and hampered development.


To reduce the chances of sickness, keep your beardie’s enclosure clean, ensure it has the right amount of humidity, and meets its nutritional requirements.


Allowing Early Brumation


This is the beardie’s version of hibernation. Because they can’t absorb enough warmth to digest food, they slow down their metabolism drastically and survive without eating, drinking, or defecating. They will remain stationary the entire time to conserve energy.


If a young bearded dragon does this, their growth will be considerably stunted. You can prevent this kind of stunted growth by keeping the temperature in the bearded dragon tank consistent for the whole year.


Our Take


How big does a bearded dragon get? Knowing the expected size of your pet bearded dragon is important to make accurate estimates for the food budget and the size of the enclosure. However, the bearded dragon size depends more on how you raise your bearded dragon than on their genetic predisposition.


If the beardie is healthy, it will get to its optimum size, which may even fall short of your target but shouldn’t worry you necessarily. The most important thing is to provide good quality of life for your bearded dragon to thrive.

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