In the 1990s, bearded dragons were first introduced to the United States as pets, and, since then, they have become America’s favorite pet lizard.
These gentle creatures contain a beard of spikes and reptilian scales that have the ability to puff up depending on their mood.
What makes these lizards great pets is their gentle nature, as well as their daylight schedules.
In the native habitats in Australia, you’ll often find them in shrublands, deserts, or arid areas.
With this in mind, whether you’re looking to get a pet bearded dragon or are simply curious about these wonderful creatures, then you’ve come to the right place.
Before getting any animal, you may want to consider how big they grow. We have the answer to this query, and many more, here!
How Big Do Bearded Dragons Grow?
Typically, bearded dragons can grow around 16-24 inches in length and can weigh between 0.62-1.1 pounds.
Their full-size is usually attained after reaching sexual maturity, this takes place approximately 8-18 months at birth.
Instead of having specific species of large bearded dragons, these creatures are bred for size. The largest species are known as German bearded dragons, which are extremely rare.
In the wild, the largest bearded dragon you’ll encounter is the central bearded dragon, which can reach a length of about 24 inches.
At times, bearded dragons can also suffer from stunted growth. Typically, after 12 months, the minimum length they can reach is 16 inches with a weight of approximately 0.62 pounds.
Therefore, after 12 months, if your bearded dragon remains below 16 inches, and weighs anything less than 0.62 pounds, then it could be suffering from stunted growth.
This can be the result of various different factors, including bad feeding, insufficient light, parasites, or diseases.
Generally, the growth rate for baby bearded dragons is relatively fast. After 3 months from birth, they are likely to grow between 3 to 11 inches long. Hence, on average, their length increases by approximately 4-6 inches each month.
Moreover, once they become juveniles (which usually takes place 3 months after birth), you’ll notice their growth rate decreasing – only increasing in length once a month and around 1.15 inches.
The overall size of a fully grown bearded dragon is somewhat hard to predict since it can be dependent on a range of factors including the diet, environment, and health of the creature.
How Big Can Adult Bearded Dragons Get?
Typically, adult bearded dragons can reach a maximum length of between 16-22 inches (at most this is 24 inches). Additionally, their weight will range from 10 to 18 ounces.
Once a bearded dragon reaches sexual maturity, they are typically considered to have reached adulthood. After birth, this takes place within 8 to 18 months.
How Big Can Juvenile Bearded Dragons Get?
At 2-7 months, a bearded dragon is considered to be a juvenile. Once they reach this stage, they will experience a reduced growth rate when compared to their first 2 months.
For juveniles, their growth rate is usually recorded at around 1-1.5 inches per month. At this stage of development, juveniles require high-quality and excellent nutrition.
Plus, it is important to keep an eye on their eating habits to ensure they are receiving adequate nutrition.
If kept with other bearded dragons after hatching, you should ensure that the larger ones don’t overwhelm the smaller dragons.
In some instances, the larger bearded dragons will eat their food, which leaves them lacking nutrition and becoming nutritionally deficient.
How Big Can a Baby Bearded Dragon Get?
Baby Bearded Dragons, otherwise known as hatchlings, have the ability to reach a length of 9-11 inches 2 months after birth.
As previously mentioned, during this stage, they will experience the most growth and development. This is usually achieved weekly with approximately 1-1.5 inches added.
Plus, they will also increase in weight by around 0.011-0.077 pounds per month.
During this development, attention to feeding schedules is important to sustain their growth.
Likewise, weighing them occasionally will help you ensure they are on track in terms of the expected growth rate.
At any time, if you notice them not reaching their expected growth rate, then this would be a good time to look into their food, which is usually the number one factor affecting growth.
Likewise, lighting should be checked. To achieve the ultraviolet light bearded dragons typically receive in the wild, high ultraviolet output light bulbs should be installed when indoors.
Additionally, when growing your bearded dragon requires more protein, this should be sustained in the form of insects rather than vegetables, to help aid their growth. Although, a balanced diet is still essential.
Since bearded dragons tend to suffer from metabolic bone disease, keeping an eye on their food and eating habits is important to ensure they are eating adequately.
What Can Affect The Size Of A Bearded Dragon?
There is a range of different factors that can affect your bearded dragon both positively and negatively. Below, we have outlined some of the most common factors that can influence the size of a bearded dragon.
Ensuring your bearded dragon (Check out What To Do If Your Beardie Isn’t Pooping?) has sufficient space to grow is important, therefore, adequate housing is essential.
If you provide your bearded dragon with limited space, it can cause adult dragons to become stunted in growth since they lack enough space to properly grow and exercise their bodies.
One of the main factors that can affect the overall size of your bearded dragon is its genetics. Depending on the genes inherited from your bearded dragon’s parents, will influence its overall size.
For instance, as we previously discussed, the largest bearded dragon is known as the German bearded dragon.
Instead of the dragons being a unique species, they are, in fact, the result of selective breeding when pairing two large bearded dragons to create an even larger one.
Whatever stage of development your bearded dragon is in, proper nutrition and diet are essential for your pet to remain happy and healthy.
Baby bearded dragons require a highly proteinous diet with a lot of insects to help maintain their development. As they advance in age and size, you can begin introducing other foods such as vegetables.
During this stage, it is essential to ensure your bearded dragon is receiving an adequate diet. If not, they can become susceptible to becoming stunted in growth, as well as potential health problems if not treated.
Additionally, older bearded dragons should be provided with a balanced diet to help reduce the risk of indigestion which is a common problem found in bearded dragons at this age.
In the wild, bearded dragons are provided with an abundance of strong, natural UV lights. Therefore, this should be replicated when keeping the creatures as pets.
Inadequate UV lighting from either the sun or high ultraviolet output light bulbs, when held in captivity, can negatively affect your bearded dragon’s growth.
For bearded dragons in the wild, exposure to UVB rays from the sun, or specialized UVB light bulbs for bearded dragons in the wild can help prevent the chances of stunt growth.
When determining the overall size of your bearded dragon, gender plays an important role.
Typically, males are much thicker and larger than their female counterparts. Comparatively, female bearded dragons tend to be much broader than males, who usually have slimmer tails and bodies.
Therefore, when choosing bearded dragons, it is good to keep in mind the gender of the creature and how this would affect the overall size.
Differences Between Male and Female Bearded Dragons
It is a common misconception that both male and female bearded dragons will grow to be the same size once they have reached adulthood.
However, while it can be partially true, the size is generally much more complicated than this.
In most cases, male bearded dragons tend to grow slightly larger than the average female bearded dragons, however, the differences between the two are minimal.
The most notable difference between the two bearded dragons is the sheer size of their heads.
When compared to their female counterparts, male bearded dragons typically have a notably larger head.
However, unless you have a female bearded dragon right next to a male one, this difference is hard to detect.
Apart from this, the differences between the two genders are extremely small.
If you’re curious about determining the gender of a bearded dragon, the best way to do so would be by gently picking them up and lifting their tails to look underneath where the tail would meet the body.
For female bearded dragons, you’ll find two lumps here.
For male bearded drawings, there will only be one lump here.
Size By Species
While not all bearded dragon sizes can be influenced by their species, it is a good idea to keep these numbers in mind before purchasing one of these creatures as a pet.
Below, you will find the typical growth rate of each species of the adult bearded dragon.
- Pogona Minor Mitchelli – 18 inches
- Pogona Henrylawsoni – 12 inches
- Pogona Vitticeps – 18-22 inches (sometimes on rare occasion, 24 inches)
- Pogona Nullarbor – 14 inches
- Pogona Barbata – 24 inches
- Pogona Microlepidota – 4-6 inches
- Pogona Minima – 14 inches
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Reach Full Size?
When provided with an adequate habitat, diet, and lighting, bearded dragons are able to reach full maturity between the ages of 8 to 12 months.
Although, this doesn’t determine the period in which they stop growing.
While many bearded dragons will reach their maximum length at this point, this isn’t the case for all dragons. In fact, some become sexually mature and continue growing.
However, for most bearded dragons, their birth rate will stop at approximately one year and six months.
Note: You should keep in mind that some bearded dragons can reach sexual maturity at 6 months, however, even so, once they hit the one year mark, their growth rate peaks.
Why Do Different Species Have Different Sizes?
Depending on their diets and environments, different species have evolved to adapt to these factors.
For instance, those bearded dragons that have access to more space and food have evolved over the years to become much more significant.
Plus, this is also used as a defense mechanism against predators, making them look much more intimidating and less likely to become attacked.
However, alternatively, when in need to fit into tight spaces and escape predators, they have also evolved to become smaller in order to hide in brush and small spaces.
This is a common factor in many species all over the world.
Environmental needs are one of the biggest factors that can influence the evolution of animals all around the world.
What Is The Largest Bearded Dragon?
While there are many stories and tales outlining bearded dragons as growing over 14 feet long, in reality, there are no cases of bearded dragons being able to reach over 3 feet in length.
At most, the typical bearded dragons will peak once hitting the 25 inch mark, although the most unique morph, known as the German Giant, has the ability to grow up to an impressive 30 inches.
Does The Size Of The Tank Determine The Size Of A Bearded Dragon?
The answer here is yes and no.
Bearded dragons aren’t the same as goldish, who will grow depending on the size of their fish bowl, where their size is determined by the body of water or aquarium they are in.
Bearded dragons, on the other hand, won’t grow larger than the typical 18 to 22 inches.
Even when placed in a 200-gallon tank, your bearded dragon won’t exceed further in length.
On the other hand, if you keep your bearded dragon in a smaller tank (another below 50 gallons), your bearded dragon may grow less, with a growth rate of anything between 18 to 22 inches in length.
While it may sound like a good idea to control the overall length of your bearded dragon, this is simply not the case, and you’re causing more harm than good.
Essentially, what you’re doing here is stunting the growth of your dragon, which could have serious effects on its body and potentially develop malformations.
Once these have been developed, they are impossible to fix. For the rest of your life, your bearded dragon will have to suffer from health problems which will ultimately result in a shortened life span (Also check out The Average Lifespan Of Bearded Dragons).
As such, it is recommended to have a tank space of at least 50 gallons. However, anything between 75-100 gallons would be ideal – keeping your dragon happy and healthy.
Bearded dragons and wonderful and gentle creatures, as such, they make amazing pets.
One thing to consider when purchasing a bearded dragon is its size, and the maximum length it can grow. While there are many factors that can impact this, the typical dragon will grow between 16 to 22 inches.
Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about how big bearded dragons can grow.