Once you’ve found a bearded dragon and bought it, it’s only natural that you want it to live for as long as possible. If you’re looking to extend the longevity of your spiky pet, here are the four key factors that can affect the lifespan of your bearded dragon.
Extending the Lifespan of a Pet Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons are one of the most popular pet lizard species. They’re easy (and affordable) to care for but missing out on some key components of their needs can dramatically decrease their lifespan. Fortunately, maintaining a happy and long-living beardie is relatively easy as long as you avoid a few major no-nos.
The second most impactful factor on a bearded dragon’s lifespan is whether it’s a male or female. Males of the species tend to be larger than the females, giving them a helpful size advantage that can translate directly to durability. Females that breed face the biggest disadvantage as the production of eggs takes a significant energy expenditure that will undoubtedly reduce her lifespan. This is especially true of the bearded dragon who bears young before she has reached full maturity (which can take between 8-18 months).
Even with humans, our living conditions play a direct role in our health, and by extension, our lifespan. The same can be said for any animal including the bearded dragon. Living in a too-small enclosure isn’t just bad for their physical well-being but can also cause stress and anxiety which can corrode their health further. To ensure they have ample room, opt for a 40-75 gallon tank and allow them to live in solitude. Equally important (and highly obvious) is the importance of meeting all their care requirements in terms of heat, shade, water, and substrate. Failing to properly provide any of these elements can have a direct impact on your beardie’s life span.
“You are what you eat” is another saying that rings true for both bearded dragons and humans. Beardies are omnivores that eat plants, meat, and insects. Providing them with the optimal mix of foods will help them stay active and ward off illness and disease. Their diet will need to be adjusted based on their age. Young and newly hatched beardies will need high-protein diets that are heavy on insects. Adults, on the other hand, thrive on plant and veggie-based diets. Note that there are several vitamin supplements that are recommended to provide with fresh products or insects don’t provide. Calcium, Vitamin D3, or multivitamins are the most popular, however, you should consult with your vet first as too-high levels of certain compounds can be dangerous.
Pet bearded dragons typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years, but in the wild, this is much shorter (only 5-8 years). The difference in longevity is a common occurrence amongst pet reptiles and animals in general. Those bred in captivity will always live significantly longer than their wild-caught counterparts due to stress, diet, predators, or parasites. As such, whether the bearded dragon was captive-bred or wild-caught will be the most influential factor in how long it will live. To ensure you get a healthy and long-living captive-bred lizard, look for a bearded dragon for sale through specialty reptile pet shops.