So if you are a reptile fancier and looking to adopt a bearded dragon, you would definitely want to gather as much information about your new friend as possible. So this post is focused on one of the most critical aspects that you may be looking for “how fast do bearded dragons grow?” In my opinion, knowing answer to this question beforehand will enable you to manage many essential things (like tank size, environment, food, overall health, etc.) in a better way.

In this article, we will learn how fast or how big bearded dragons grow, the factors affecting their growth, bearded dragon’s growth rate during different stages of life, and much more related to the growth and development of bearded dragons.

How fast do bearded dragons grow? / Bearded Dragon’s Growth Rate During Different Stages Of Life

How fast a bearded dragon generally grows depends on various factors (like breed, gender, environment, husbandry practices, etc.) that we will discuss below. However, you can anticipate your bearded friend to fall between 16 – 22 inches on their first birthday and 20 – 24 inches when they are two years old. Let’s have a brief look at the growth rate of bearded dragons during different stages of life. 

Baby Bearded Dragon’s Growth

Generally, bearded dragons are called hatchlings or babies from birth to six months of age. Typically a baby bearded dragon is three inches long and weighs four grams at birth. Since hatchling is a period of rapid growth, your baby bearded dragon (if managed well and remains healthy) will gain additional 1 – 3 inches every week and reach up to 11 inches in the first three months of its life. During the same period, they will also weigh up to 40 grams. However, note that this is the maximum growth they can achieve when managed extremely well and fed a well-balanced diet.

Juvenile Bearded Dragon’s Growth

Bearded dragons from 6 to 12 months of age are classified as juveniles. Although the growth rate of juvenile bearded dragons is a bit slower than the hatchlings, still their growth is quite fast during this period. Generally, a healthy juvenile bearded dragon grows 1 – 3 inches in length every month and gains up to 50 grams, provided that you have given them sufficient space, lighting, and other basic necessities.

Adult Bearded Dragon’s Growth

Once your bearded friend is 12 months old, you can call him an adult. Although adults bearded dragons increase in length and gain weight, their growth rate is much slower than in the first two phases. Generally, adult bearded dragons are 16 – 24 inches long, and their weight ranges from 380 – 510 grams. Certain breeds (in rare cases) can grow longer than 24 inches (up to 32 inches) and weigh up to 1000 grams. It is considered unhealthy if a 12 months old bearded dragon is less than 16 inches in length and weighs less than 300 grams.

A table showing the length and weight of bearded dragons during different phases of life is given below.

Age
(Months)
CategorySize
(Inches)
Weight
(Grams)
1Baby3 – 44 – 6
2Baby5 – 98 – 40
3Baby8 – 1122 – 110
4Baby9 – 1241 – 115
5Baby11 – 16102 – 115
6Juvenile11 – 18183 – 188
7Juvenile13 -18230 – 280
8Juvenile14 – 20252 – 327
9 – 10Adult16 – 22280 – 360
11 – 12Adult16 – 24350 – 465
12+Adult16 – 24380 – 510

Factors Influencing The Bearded Dragon’s Growth & Size

When you first see a newly born bearded dragon, it’s very difficult to predict precisely how large it will grow after the next few months. Because many factors are involved in determining the final size, a bearded dragon can achieve. Due to the same elements, the length and weight of every bearded dragon are different, just like humans. Let’s take a quick look at each of these elements.

Genetics

Like in humans and any other living organism, genetics is the primary factor that determines the growth rate, eventual size, and weight of a bearded dragon. How long a bearded dragon will be and how much it will weigh depends on what genetic combination it inherited from its parents. Some unwanted mutations can also occur when bred in captivity for certain specific traits (related to color, scales, and spikes). Therefore make sure to buy a bearded dragon from a reputed and trusted breeder to avoid any future hassles.

Breed

After genetics, the second important factor is breed. There are many different species of bearded dragons that originated from different areas and vary greatly in their length and weight. Again this variation in their size and weight is due to their specific genetic makeup. We have collected information regarding the size and weight of eight common species of bearded dragons and have arranged them in the table given below.

Bearded Dragon SubspeciesSize
(inches)
Weight
(grams)
Pogona barbata (Coastal Bearded Dragon20 – 24400 – 510
Pogona minor mitchelli (Mitchells Bearded Dragon)14 – 18380 – 450
Pogona minor (Western Bearded Dragon)14 – 18250 – 450
Pogona Nullarbor (Nullarbor Bearded Dragon)12 -1 4200 – 250
Pogona minor mina (Dwarf Bearded Dragon)9 – 12100 – 200
Pogona henrylawsoni (Rankins, or Lawson Bearded Dragon)9 – 1250 – 200
Pogona microlepidota (Drysdale River Bearded Dragon)4 – 66 – 40
Pogona vitticeps (Central Bearded Dragon)18 – 24380 – 510

Gender

Generally, male bearded dragons are longer and heavier than female bearded dragons. Similarly, the heads of male beardies are larger and broader than female bearded dragons. In addition to head size, you can easily differentiate between a male and female bearded dragon by their hemipenal bulges (two in males, one in females), femoral pore (larger in males, smaller in females), and the shape of tail (thin and tappers toward the base in females and thicker in males).

Diet

Diet is the most crucial factor that directly affects your bearded dragon’s growth rate, size, and weight. A high-quality and well-balanced diet will help your bearded friend attain the optimum growth rate, size, and weight. Although bearded dragons are omnivores and are supposed to eat animal and plant-based diets, all vegetables or fruits are not suitable for them. So you should know what you can feed to your bearded dragon and what you can’t feed.

In addition, there is a huge difference in the feeding needs of young and adult bearded dragons. Baby and juvenile beardies require more protein, so 70 % – 75 % of their diet must consist of insects, and the share of vegetables should not be more than 20 % – 25 %. The protein requirements of bearded dragons decrease gradually as they grow. An adult bearded dragon can survive well on a diet with a 25:75 insect to vegetable ratio. Adult beardies can also eat fruits, but their share in the diet should not be more than 10 %.

Housing

Providing your bearded friend enough space to move around is necessary for its optimal growth. If the size of the tanks is too small for your bearded dragon, it can negatively impact its growth and development. The bearded dragon has the instinct to grow in proportion to the space available. So if the tank size is too small, the bearded dragon can stunt their growth accordingly so that they can stay comfortable in the space available. On the other hand, keeping a small bearded dragon in a very large tank is not recommended because, for a baby bearded dragon (who is not skilled enough in hunting insects), it will be difficult to catch live insects. In addition, maintaining the required temperature in a large tank will be an unnecessary cost for you.

It’s also crucial to note that since growth is a continuous process, as your bearded friend grows, you may need to change the tank three to four times until he gains its final size. For your convenience, we have given a table below showing the recommended tank size according to the size of bearded dragons.

Age
(Months)
CategorySize
(Inches)
Tank Size
(Gallons)
1Baby3 – 420 – 40
2Baby5 – 920 – 40
3Baby8 – 1120 – 40
4Baby9 – 1240 -75
5Baby11 – 1640 -75
6Juvenile11 – 1850 – 75
7Juvenile13 -1850 -75
8Juvenile14 – 2050 – 75
9 – 10Adult16 – 2275 – 120
11 – 12Adult16 – 2475 – 120
12+Adult16 – 2475 – 120

Environment

To keep your bearded dragon happy and help them attain their natural size, you must ensure to give them a habitat as close to their natural environment as possible. You must provide multiple hides, rocks, branches, hummocks, etc., to climb. Since bearded dragons can’t regulate their body temperature and need a heat source (to get the necessary heat required for digestion and other vital functions in the body), it’s essential to install a heater or basking lamp in the tank. In addition to a heat source, bearded dragons also need UVA and UVB light 10 – 12 hours daily for proper calcium absorption and bone growth.

Like feeding and tank size, bearded dragons’ heat requirements differ during different stages of life. The table below shows the basking and cool area temperatures needed for baby, juvenile, and adult bearded dragons.

Age GroupBasking TemperatureCool Area Temperature
Baby Bearded Dragons
(Up to 5 months)
95°F (35°C) to 110°F (43°C)80°F (26°C) to 90°F (32°C)
Juvenile Bearded Dragons
(6 to 18 months)
95°F (35°C) to 100°F (40°C)75°F (24°C) to 85°F (29°C)
Adult Bearded Dragons
(Above 18 months)
90°F (32°C) to
93°F (33°C)
75°F (24°C) to 85°F (29°C)

How much A bearded dragon can Live?

Under wild conditions, bearded dragons are known to live for five to eight years. However, if they are managed well in captivity, optimum heat and light are provided and fed a high-quality and well-balanced diet, bearded dragons can live for eight to twelve years.

Wrapping Up

I hope the above lines were informative enough to provide you with all the answers regarding the growth of bearded dragons. Although the growth rate and final size of bearded dragons depend on many factors (that we have discussed above), however, you can expect your bearded dragon to be 12 – 16 inches long at one year of age and up to 24 inches long by the time he is 24 months old. We have explained all the factors in detail, and tables are given to help you discern everything easily. So we hope this article will help you manage your bearded friend in a better way and make him attain his natural size within the recommended time.