Since the Central Bearded Dragon is by far the variety most commonly sold and owned, the following statistics will refer to that species. If you own another, especially one of the rarer species, this may differ greatly. For instance, there are a couple of dwarf species, and one that is mostly tail.
A full-grown Central Bearded Dragon will usually reach a length of 16 to 24 inches. The measurement always includes the tail.
How Big Does a Bearded Dragon Get?
As far as weight, they usually clock in at a weight between 300 and 550 grams, with the average being 400 grams. In ounces, this translates to about 11 to 18 ounces. A beardie isn’t considered a full-grown adult until he reaches the age of 18 months, and may keep growing until then, but it isn’t uncommon for a dragon to stop growing at the age of a year.
How Big Do Male Bearded Dragons Get?
The average measurement given of a maximum length of 24 inches refers to males. Females tend to be a bit shorter, but not by much.
There is a relatively expensive morph of the Central Bearded Dragon called the German Giant. These were first bred for size in German, hence the name. They can grow to a length of 35 inches and weigh 850 to 1000 grams.
The problem with the giants is that without an expensive blood test, it’s often not possible to find out if your dragon is truly a giant until he is an adult. The likelihood increases if the parents have the right genes, but since the gene is recessive, it’s not a given that the offspring will be giants even if both parents are.
How Big Do Female Bearded Dragons Get?
Females are usually a little smaller, reaching an ultimate length of 22 inches. They also tend to be a bit slenderer, especially the tail. They also have a smaller head in relation to body size.
How Fast Do Bearded Dragons Grow?
– Up to one month of age, a dragon is usually three to four inches long.
– At two months, he’ll grow to five to nine inches. (Yes, they grow fast when young.)
– Three months, eight to eleven inches
– Four months, nine to twelve inches
– Five months, eleven to sixteen inches
– Six months, eleven to eighteen inches (Here the growth rate starts to slow a bit.)
– Eight months, thirteen to twenty inches
– One year, sixteen to 22 inches
– Two years, eighteen to twenty-four inches
Many dragons reach their full length by the age of one year, as has been mentioned previously. This is not a given, however. After the age of a year, the dragon will probably put on more weight in general than add to his length.
Reasons a Dragon May Not Grow
Allowing the dragon to brumate at an early age will interfere with his growth cycle. Brumation is the reptile equivalent of hibernation. During this period, the dragon slows down due to the problem of keeping warm during the winter and because of the winter shortage of food. Many even bury themselves to avoid freezing temperatures.
You might wonder why a pet beardie would do this since he has his heat lamp available for the same length of time every day and there is no shortage of food. The answer is that he is responding to a sort of inbred instinct. That being said, your dragon may not go through this period every year, or he may do it at odd times. This makes it tough to tell if your beardie is trying to brumate or is actually sick, since the behavior is similar.
Another reason for stunted growth is an improper diet. Babies need to eat insects, mostly crickets, rather than plant foods. They only need plant foods about three or four times a week, but offering them once a day will encourage them to develop a taste for them.
Babies need to be fed five times a day, since they can’t eat much at a sitting. Also, the crickets they are offered should be small. A good rule of thumb is not to feed a cricket longer than the space between the dragon’s eyes.
Another problem comes with inadequate lighting. They need a good UVB light to help them absorb calcium in their diets, which is important for both bone growth and bone health. Not having the proper light for 10 to 12 hours per day may result in a loss of appetite.
Not having the right temperature in the enclosure will also interfere with a dragon’s ability to digest his food properly. If the digestive process slows down, it could result in gut rot or impaction, which is food stuck in the system.
The Brumation Problem
The problem comes with young dragons. Since they are growing so quickly during the first year of their lives, they really shouldn’t brumate, as it will interfere with their growth. The good news is that beardies usually don’t display this behavior until they are about a year and a half old, a rarely before a young one is less than six months of age.
If your beardie is less than a year old and tries to brumate, it’s best to try to prevent it, even though it will cause stress to the pet. You can try waking them up daily until they get the message. Defecation is a good sign of waking from this stage. Others try waking them up after a week and offering food.
Beardies often go through a sort of preparatory stage before actual brumation. This is a good time to get him to the vet for a checkup, especially checking for any internal parasites. These critters will feed on the dragon’s fat stores while he’s sleeping and cause a significant weight loss.
Signs of the prepping stage include loss of appetite, lethargy, not wanting to be handled or bask under the heat lamp, sleeping on the cooler side of the enclosure, less defecation, sleeping almost constantly and for long periods, and burying themselves.
The size of bearded dragons is one of the reasons they have become popular choices as reptile pets. They aren’t too small to appreciate, and they don’t grow to an ungainly size like iguanas. Remember to get as accurate age as possible on the one you choose so you can feed him accordingly, and you’ll have a pet that grows long, strong and healthy.