Bearded Dragons: How Big Do They Get?

Are you looking into getting a bearded dragon but wondering how big they get?

Do you want to know how your beardy compares the average when it comes to size?

These reptiles grow to be surprisingly large or some folks.

When you get a beardy as a youngling, you may expect it to grow as much as it does.

But when it comes to bearded dragons, how big do they get?

The average pet bearded dragon (Pogona Vitticeps) is between 18″ – 22″ inches when fully grown. They have been known to grow up to 24″ inches, and there are morphs which grow larger.

Check out the rest of the article for more details by species and answers to related questions.


bearded dragon how big do they get

Bearded Dragon Sizes By Age And Species

In this section, we’ll look at the sizes of bearded dragons.

First, we’ll look at the Pogona Vitticeps by age, and then we’ll look at the different species of bearded dragons and how they’re size compares.

Sizes By Age

The most common bearded dragon pet species (Pogona Vitticeps) has a stable growth rate.

One of the main ways to tell your pet’s age is by its length.

Not all bearded dragons will grow at the same rate, so this chart doesn’t work correctly.

But it stays close to correct.

Use this chart to watch your bearded dragon’s growth.

Don’t worry if it’s a little different.

Age (months) Length (inches)
0-1 month 3″ – 4″ inches
2 months 5″ – 9″ inches
3 months 8″ – 11″ inches
4 months 9″ – 12″ inches
5 months 11″ – 16″ inches
6 months 11″ – 18″ inches
8 months 13″ – 20″ inches
12 months 16″ – 22″ inches
Fully grown 18″ – 22″ inches (up to 24″ inches rarely)

Note:

Please remember, this is only the growth chart for the typical pet species of bearded dragons, Pogona Vitticeps.

Some are much smaller, and some are larger.

Sizes By Species

Not all species of bearded dragon match the growth chart above.

But if you have a bearded dragon pet, there’s a considerable chance the chart will work for you.

Just in case you were curious, here are the different sizes of each species.

These are based on when they’re fully grown.

Species Size When Fully Grown (in inches)
Pogona Vitticeps* 18″ – 22″ inches (up to 24″ inches rarely)
Pogona Minor Mitchelli 18″ inches
Pogona Barbata 24″ inches
Pogona Nullarbor 14″ inches
Pogona Minima 14″ inches
Pogona Microlepidota 4″ – 6″ inches
Pogona Henrylawsoni 12″ inches

*Again, this is the primary adaptive species of bearded dragons.

The others are uncommon and rare to find as pets.


Male And Female Size Difference

You may assume male and female bearded dragons will end up at different sizes.

This is only partially true, as it’s more complicated than this.

Male bearded dragons may end up slightly larger than the average female, but the difference is minimal.

The most significant difference in sheer size will be the head of the reptiles.

Male bearded dragons have a noticeably larger head size than their female counterparts.

But this won’t be easy to tell unless you have a female there to compare against.

Other than this, there isn’t much difference in size.

The best way to tell if a beardie is male or female (if you’re curious) is to carefully lift their tails and look underneath where the tail meets the body.

If there are two lumps, then the beardy is female.

If there is a singular one, then the beardy is male.

Read more about how to tell if a bearded dragon is male or female.


Why Do Bearded Dragon Species Come In Different Sizes?

The different species of bearded dragons have evolved depending on their different environments and diets available.

For example, beardies with access to more food and space have evolved to become more significant.

This is also part of their defensive need as predators in the area are larger as well.

But when you need to be smaller to hide in the brush, over time, the species will evolve to be smaller.

This is a common element across all species around the world.

The differences in similar animals have evolved because of an environmental need.


How Long Does It Take For Bearded Dragons To Grow To Full Size?

If given appropriate diet, habitat, and lighting, bearded dragons reach maturity between 8-12 months.

This doesn’t mean this is when they’ll stop growing.

Many will also reach their largest size by this point, but for some, they are sexually mature and continue growing.

For most bearded dragons, expect their growth rate to stop at one year and six months.

Note:

Some bearded dragons will reach their sexual maturity at six months.

Even so, growing peaks out around the one year mark.

Learn more about how big of a tank your bearded dragon needs.


Do Bearded Dragons Grow To The Size Of Their Tank?

Yes and no.

Bearded dragons aren’t like goldfish.

Goldfish will grow larger and larger depending on the size of their tank.

Their size is determined mainly by the aquarium or body of water they’re in.

Bearded dragons won’t grow larger than their average 18″ – 22″ inches.

Even if you use a 200-gallon tank, the beardy is going to stop at this length.

However, if the tank is small (less than 50 gallons), the bearded dragon may stop growing at less than the 18″ – 22″ inch length.

While you may think this is a good idea for controlling the size of the reptile, it isn’t at all.

What you’re doing, in this case, is artificially stunt the growth of the lizard and causing its body to develop malformations.

Once these have set in, it’s impossible to fix the growth and development.

Your pet is going to have significant health problems for the rest of its life and have a shortened life span as it is.

This is why we recommend having at least 50 gallons of tank space.

Even better would be 75 – 100 gallons.


What Is The Biggest Bearded Dragon?

While there are amusing fictional stories about bearded dragons growing over 14′ feet long (check out this one called Dexter), there are no known cases of bearded dragons reaching over 3′ feet.

The vast majority of bearded dragons will peak out at the 24″ inch mark with a unique morph called German Giant (see below) and can grow up to 30″ inches.


Tank Requirements

One of the critical aspects of a healthy bearded dragon life is a proper tank setup.

A correct tank setup will also help the bearded dragon grow to reach its appropriate size.

In this section, we’ll briefly cover each of the seven items you need and what you should look for.

For details, check out how to set up a bearded dragon tank.

Tank

The first thing you need is a tank.

Glass or plastic terrariums will work just fine for your purpose.

Look for the following qualities in your bearded dragon tank:

  • Larger than 50 gallons (75-100 gallons is better)
  • Firm top to prevent escaping
  • Easily accessed doors or windows
  • Pre Installed lighting options

Heating

You’ll also need adequate heating for your pet.

The heat helps the bearded dragon stay alive, but it also plays a crucial role in digestion, which helps your beard grow properly.

Use any of the following options in heating your beardy’s tank:

  • Fluorescent heaters
  • Heat lamps
  • Under the tank heaters (heating pads)

Whatever you decide to use, keep in mind the following temp requirements:

  • Basking spot = 105° degrees Fahrenheit (41° C)
  • Overall = 95° – 100° degrees Fahrenheit (35° – 38° C)
  • Cool spot = 80° – 95° degrees Fahrenheit (27° – 35° C)
  • Nighttime = >65° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C)

Most setups include a heat lamp for the basking spot and one more overall heater.

UVB Lighting

Bearded dragons are desert creatures.

As such, they’re dependent on the sun’s radiation.

We need to simulate this with some serious UVB lighting.

Get these in the form of different bulbs.

If you do buy one, make sure you get one designed for lizards.

These will put off enough UVB to make a difference.

If you are going with another light option, just make sure the bulb gives off 8% – 10% UVB radiation.

Then, leave it on for 12-14 hours per day.

Water

Bearded dragons do need water.

Even though they live in the desert, help them live happy and healthy lives by offering water at all times.

Use a shallow water dish filled with clean water.

The bearded dragon should be able to climb in and out of the dish easily.

The water shouldn’t be higher than the bearded dragon’s shoulders.

Keep your lizards water dish changed out regularly with fresh water.

Furniture

Bearded dragons love having furniture to play and relax with.

There are different kinds to get, but we recommend having at least a hide box, a hammock, and one more thing to climb on.

A hide box will give the beardy somewhere cool to go and relax and feel safe.

A hammock is more than just a relaxing place.

Beardies are semi-arboreal (they like to climb), and the hammock gives them something to climb on.

One more item, such as a rock or log, would be excellent as well.

Thermometer

You need to have a good thermometer to track how the temperature is.

Heat is vital to the beardy’s life, and making sure it stays in the right place is a big part. 

Substrate

Substrate or bedding is a substance you keep on the floor of the tank.

It helps bearded dragons in several ways:

  • Insulates the tank
  • Protects their feet
  • Makes cleanup easier
  • Lowers risk of infection
  • Gives the lizard something to burrow into

There are many types of substrates to use from newspapers to coconut.

Sand is a common choice, but you have to be careful.

Use our guide on the best sand for bearded dragons to help you.


German Giants

German Giant bearded dragons are a morph or fancy bearded dragon with a gene called the giant gene.

Beardies with this morph can grow to be much larger than the average bearded dragon.

Their top length will be between 25″ – 30″ inches.

This is considerably larger than the average Pogona Vitticeps.

These types of morphs are getting more and rarer.

The gene is recessive, and despite the popularity of this type, breeders have a hard time keeping the trait alive.

Even with two parents carrying the giant gene, there isn’t a guarantee offspring will have the active version of the gene.

Learn more about how to tell if you have a German Giant bearded dragon.


Diet Basics

Another big part of bearded dragon growth is the diet of these reptiles.

Feeding them enough of the correct diet as they grow will help them develop properly and ensure they reach the right size.

Young bearded dragons need more protein and insects in their diet.

They’ll also be fed smaller amounts more frequently.

It’s the increased amount of protein which helps the bearded dragon proliferate.

So you need to give them as much as possible.

Adult bearded dragons should then switch to more greens than protein, and they are fed only once per day (or less).

Use this handy chart to help you determine what and how much to feed your pets as they grow.

Age Diet Ratio Amount Frequency
<2-3 months 70% Insects
30% Veg
30-80 insects total per day 3-5 feeding times per day
3-8 months 70% Insects
30% Veg
30-80 insects total per day 2 feeding times per day
8-12 months 70% Insects
30% Veg
30-80 insects total per day 1 feeding time per day
1 year + 30% Insects
70% Veg
50 insects total per week 1 day salad, 1 day insect, 1 day nothing and repeat

Conclusion

Now you know how big bearded dragons get.

18″ – 22″ inches is pretty big, but these pets are relatively easy to care for and a blast to own.

The Bearded Dragon Handbook

You’ll save time and money right away with this easy-to-follow digital handbook. This is the guide you’ve been looking for everywhere.

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