The popularity of bearded dragons as pets has increased over the years. Beardies, as they are often referred to by their owners, are unique reptiles with a fun personality. They are usually gentle and love being stroked by humans. With proper care, a dragon pet could live to between 8 and 12 years.
You can tell approximately how old your bearded dragon is by either measuring the dragon from head to toe using a tape measure or by monitoring the development on its body for sexual maturity. To find out the dragon’s exact or a more accurate age, you should contact the breeder or the seller.
Let us look at the possible ways of how you can determine the age of your beardie. Continue reading to learn more.
Taking your pet’s entire body measurement is an excellent method to approximate the age of your dragon pet. However, this technique is most suitable for pets that are less than a year old. You should look out for this requirement because dragons have varying rates of development and body sizes after they turn a year old.
The process is pretty simple: use a tape measure to measure the beardie from head to tail.
To get accurate results, carry out the measurement when your pet is asleep or very still. It is hard to get the right height when the dragon is active and moving around.
The next step is to compare the measurement results against the sizes on a standard chart showing average sizes of bearded dragons during their first year of life. You will be able to get an approximate age for your dragon.
See the chart below for an estimated age at each length milestone your pet dragon achieves.
0 to 1 month
3″ to 4″ inches
5″ to 9″ inches
8″ to 11″ inches
9″ to 12″ inches
11″ to 16″ inches
11″ to 18″ inches
13″ to 20″ inches
16″ to 22″ inches
The chart is not a representation of exact measurements of bearded dragons, and should you use the chat, you will notice the difference in the sizes. This difference is because the size and length of bearded dragons may vary from one to the other due to the following:
- Its species
- The environment they live in
- Its nutrition and health choice
- Gender of the dragon
There are about eight species of bearded dragons, and size measurements of these species vary. Some will grow to a maximum size of 24 inches while some will grow to just 4 to 6 inches long. However, have it in mind that it is infrequent for dragons to make it to their maximum size.
Below is a list of the eight species and their maximum size measurement. Check the average height of your dragon’s species against it.
MAX. LENGTH IN INCHES
Pogona Minor Mitchelli
Pogona Minor Minor
14 to 18
Pogona Minor Minima
4 to 6
The Pogona vitticeps is the most common species that are kept as pets.
The environment that you expose your beardie will influence the maximum size to which it can grow. This means that should you put a young growing dragon in a cage or tank that is too small, its growth will be stunted, and your pet may not grow to its potential length and size.
A healthy bearded dragon is one that is fed on a proper diet and has no health complications.
Just like humans, a healthy bearded dragon will most likely grow faster and reach a bigger size as compared to an unhealthy and malnourished one. Ensure your beardie gets proper nutrition for good health to reach its full size.
Male beardies are usually larger compared to their female counterparts. A female bearded dragon will slow down in its growth at around six months of age. At this age, the female dragon measures up to about an inch shorter than the males. If your pet dragon is a female, note that it will be slightly shorter in length.
Just like the first method, the time of sexual maturity of your bearded dragon can also give you an estimation of its age. Check your pet’s underside daily to determine when it reaches maturity. At some point, the gender traits become visible when you notice a bulge on the underbelly, signifying it has attained the sexual maturity age.
If there is just one bulge, then your pet is a female. Two bulges indicate it is a male. The appearance of the sexual features will happen when your beardie is around 8 and 12 months old.
If the beardie is older, try to remember the time when its gender features became noticeable. The dragon must have been between 8 months to a year old then. Add the number of months or years that have since passed to determine its approximate age.
Another option is to seek the help of a professional veterinarian. After examination, a veterinary will be able to approximate the age of your beardie. Ensure that you engage the services of a professional vet that also specializes in handling dragon species.
The person who can give you the most accurate information on your pet’s age is none other than the breeder. They were most likely present at the time of its birth and recorded the date. When you contact them, they will give you the exact date of birth in addition to other relevant information, including the bearded dragon’s medical history, the species it belongs to, and tips on how to care for it.
Sometimes, the breeder and the seller are two different people because the latter might be a middleman. He might be in a position to tell the age of the dragon because they possibly record all the dragons’ ages and other information when they transact and the dragons exchange hands. If they do not have the documents, ask if they can remember its size when they first bought it.
From this information, you can calculate an estimated age for the pet at that time then add the number of months or years that have since passed. With this calculation, you will be able to get the dragon’s approximate present age.
Measuring the full length of your bearded dragon from head to toe, identifying the time it attains sexual maturity, and even consulting an experienced vet, will only give you rough estimates of its age.
This limitation exists because several factors such as species, gender, and nutrition play a significant role in a dragon’s rate of growth. The beardie may grow slower or faster than others, then pick up or slow down accordingly later on.
To get an exact age, ask the breeder or the seller who keeps a record of transactions and ownership transfer.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you can better understand how to determine the age of your bearded dragon.
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