How to Tell the Age of a Bearded Dragon

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The gentle and inquisitive bearded dragon is a popular reptile pet, especially for new lizard enthusiasts. Like other lizards, bearded dragons are covered with scales. However, they get their name from unique spikes under the chin that puff out to demonstrate a change in mood.

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Bearded dragons are gentle and inquisitive.
Image Credit: By Eve Livesey/Moment/GettyImages

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There are eight bearded dragon species, but those of Pogona vitticeps are the most common pet thanks to their comfort in captivity and docile personality. Other bearded dragon names include Inland bearded dragon and Lawson's, Rankin's, and Kimberly lizard. All are aged by measurement before 3 years old, and they are difficult to age after reaching adulthood.

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Keeping bearded dragons

Few reptiles enjoy being handled, but bearded dragons tolerate it well, even playing or interacting with their human caretakers. A charming feature is their wide-mouth smile, which is really a strategy for cooling down rather than an expression of happiness. If a bearded dragon is opening and closing his mouth frequently, the tank temperature could be too high.

As long as bearded dragons have a basking light and large enclosure, they are relatively easy to care for, eating mostly vegetables and insects. It is possible to keep more than one female together if the bearded dragon tank is big enough. You should not keep two males together.

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Baby bearded dragon growth

Bearded dragon species live seven to 12 years and grow to 15 to 24 inches long. If you don't include the tail, they are only 10 to 12 inches long. Once a bearded dragon is 14 inches in length including the tail, she is fully grown. Bearded dragons will be full grown by 12 to 18 months old.

Bearded dragon species are sold at 3 to 6 months old and will grow quickly, doubling their size each month while eating two to three times a day. The bearded dragon diet should be a balance of 30 percent vegetables and 70 percent small crickets or other insects.

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Aging a bearded dragon

One of the best ways to estimate the age of a bearded dragon you purchased young is to use a tape measure. Hatchlings up to 2 months old are 3 to 6 inches long. At 2 to 3 months old, they are 8 to 11 inches in length. At 3 months to a year, they are 12 to 22 inches. Growth will usually slow down or stop at 1 year old, but they can continue to grow to between 15 and 24 inches long after they turn 1 year old.

Determining the age of an adult bearded dragon after the point of sexual maturity is difficult. The best way is to know when he was hatched. After 3 years old, bearded dragons are considered sexually mature, and gender is evident. Males have larger heads, darker beards, and thicker tails. Once you can determine gender, they are at least 3 years old. After that, it is hard to determine age specifically, only stage of life.

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Bearded dragon tank

Bearded dragons need a large enclosure because they like to roam. They also need heat in the form of a basking site with a lamp set to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the light at one end of the bearded dragon tank so that the other is cooler but still warm at 80 degrees.

Lizards like the bearded dragon will suffer from calcium deficiency if there is no ultraviolet light. UVB light is needed for synthesizing vitamin D3, which is necessary for calcium absorption. Bearded dragons also need misted but not humid enclosures and a clean water dish. This is true for bearded dragons of any age.

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