How long do bearded dragons live is one of the most interesting questions new owners try to find answers to. We think knowing the life expectancy of your beardie is very important because we believe it’s valuable knowledge that will help you provide better care over time.
Pet bearded dragons live between 10 to 15 years, or even longer if provided the right care. Wild species have a shorter lifespan because of the scarcity of food, predators, and droughts.
The oldest recorded bearded dragon was Sebastian who lived for 18 years and 237 days.
Generally, males usually live longer than females as they are bigger. Bigger beardies are more durable and can withstand harsher environmental conditions. Also when a female has eggs it weakens her body. This energy expenditure reduces her lifespan.
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Average Lifespan Of A Bearded Dragon In The Wild
In the wild bearded dragons typically live for about 5 to 8 years.
One of the main reasons why wild species have a shorter life is because of natural predators.
Some of the predators that prey on bearded dragons include hawks and buzzards. They are also hunted by wolves and big cats.
Finding enough food may also be difficult for beardies especially in droughts. Food scarcity and droughts make survival more challenging.
Bearded dragons need between 20 and 30 mL of water per kilo every day to be hydrated. Their dry desert climate makes this challenging at times.
Predation, food scarcity, and droughts all shorten their potential lifespan by three to six years.
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live In Captivity
Captive beardies have the ability to live far longer than their wild counterparts. Pets that are not adequately cared for, on the other hand, will live as long as their wild species.
A well-kept bearded dragon lives for 10 to 15 years on average. In captivity, they don’t face issues such as predators, lack of food and water. All these factors combined increase their lifespan.
For a bearded dragon to live an extended life, it needs proper lighting, heating, humidity, space, nourishment, and supplements.
Spending a few extra minutes each day on your beardie’s care can ensure that your lizard is healthy and happy. It will also lengthen their lives.
Below is a chart explaining the different age ranges for bearded dragons in captivity.
- 5 to 8 Years: This is the maximum age they can reach in the wild. This is also the maximum years they live in captivity if the owner is not paying much attention to its diet, lighting etc.
- 8 to 12 Years: A dragon can live up to 12 years if the owner is taking proper care of them.
- 12 to 15 Years: The maximum a dragon can reach in captivity under super care.
- 14+ Years: There are cases where bearded dragons have lived for more than 18 years but those are very rare.
Factors That Impact A Bearded Dragon Lifespan
How long does a bearded dragon live is affected by many things such as diet, enclosure, sex, size, species, and breeding.
Husbandry and care are very important to increase the lifespan of a beardie.
Unfortunately, there are several mistakes owners can make that directly impact the bearded dragon’s lifespan:
- Feeding adults too much protein and not enough plants.
- Incorerct heat, light and humidity levels.
- Housing them in a very small enclosure.
- Not providing a cool area in the enclosure.
- Not monitoring their poop.
- Breeding a female too young.
Luckily these mistakes can easily be avoided.
Lets discuss each mistake in detail and how to avoid them.
- Diet: A well balanced diet will promote health and increase lifespan and reduce risk of disease.
- Environment: Incorrect heating, lighting and substrate will drastically cut short their lifespan.
- Kept in captivity: Depending on the conditions but there are no predators or few health risks in a vivarium.
- No breeding: Breeding can drastically reduce the females lifespan
- Separation/ isolation: No territorial disputes, bullying or fights to risk injury or death, especially between young dragons and males in particular.
- Sex: Males will generally out live the females as the females will develop eggs (even infertile) which can lead to problems.
- Size of the species: Generally the larger species will live for longer than the smaller.
- Space: More space, means more room to grow and move around to exercise.
But if the above points are taken into consideration then they can easily live past 10 years of age in captivity and they have been known to frequently live up to 14-16 years age with a couple of poorly documented cases even reaching 19 and 21 years old but there weren’t any very credible sources to back up these two exceptions.
A Rankins/ Lawsons Dragon being smaller, for example, will live for slightly less but if kept in better conditions will certainly outlive a larger dragon kept in a neglectful environment.
It’s very much the same for any animal or human, poor care and environment mean an exponentially increased risk of premature death even if you have favorable genetics.
So you can see that keeping reptiles is no short term responsibility, treat them correctly and you can expect them to live longer than your dogs, cats, rabbits etc…