Bearded Dragon Lifespan | How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?

bearded dragon lifespan

Bearded dragons are desert-dwelling lizards that are commonly found in the Australian deserts. They were introduced as pets in the early 1990s and are believed by many to be some of the best pets because of their long lifespan and quirky personalities. But how long do bearded dragons live? 

A healthy bearded dragon can live between 10 to 15 years in captivity; however, in the wild, they generally live a maximum of 8 years. Their sizes typically determine their lifespan, as larger dragons tend to outlive smaller ones. Male dragons also have a longer lifespan compared to female dragons. 

Even though they require little maintenance compared to other pets, to care for a bearded dragon correctly, you must be aware of several things. In this article, you will find out more about the lifespan of a bearded dragon, the health risks that every bearded dragon should know, the optimal lighting, and the best diet that will keep your dragon healthy. 

How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?

Pet bearded dragons can live up to 15 years, depending on the care they’re given. Providing them with a nutritious diet and keeping their tanks safe from harm can prolong their lives. In the wild, their lifespan is often cut short due to the competition for resources, natural predators, and harsh climate. 

Some other important information about the lifespan of bearded dragons includes:

  • The size of the bearded dragons does matter as large dragons outlive smaller ones due to their competitive advantage over the resources such as food and safe habitats. 
  • Male bearded dragons outlive female dragons because of their sheer strength and larger size. These characteristics allow them to fight competition and evade predators. 
  • The longest a bearded dragon has lived on the record is 19 years

 What Are the Potential Health Problems of Bearded Dragons?

Just like any other pet, bearded dragons are faced with potential health problems. These health issues can impact their lifespan, growth, and even their moods. Many of these conditions stem from improper care and a lack of understanding of the health requirements of the dragons. 

The following health issues are some that can arise that affect a bearded dragon’s lifespan:

  • Metabolic bone disease
  • Adenovirus
  • Respiratory infections
  • Infectious stomatitis
  • Parasite

Metabolic Bone Disease

The main culprit of metabolic bone disease is a diet that is too low on Vitamin D3 and calcium, which are responsible for hardening the bones. It can also be caused by a diet that is too high in phosphorus. Additionally, failure to expose the dragon to UVB light can also cause this problem since the dragons rely on such light to make Vitamin D. 

If you notice one or several of the following symptoms of metabolic bone disease in your bearded dragon, get in touch with a veterinarian immediately:

  • Swelling of the hind limbs 
  • Softening of the facial bones and jaws
  • Swelling of the lower jaw
  • Leg tremors while walking


Adenovirus a serious viral condition that is highly contagious and easily spreads from dragon to dragon. A bearded dragon can get adenovirus by: 

  • Interacting with a sick dragon
  • Eating leftovers from a sick dragon 
  • Being handled by someone who encountered a sick dragon

This condition leads to gastrointestinal and hepatitis infections. Not many dragons can fight this infection. Once infected with adenovirus, a bearded dragon loses its appetite and becomes incredibly weak. In severe cases, infected dragons end up paralyzed and ultimately die.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for adenovirus, and treatment is only provided to alleviate the symptoms exhibited by the dragon. An infected dragon should be kept away from other dragons and handled with extreme caution. 

Respiratory Infections

Bearded dragons can develop respiratory infections depending on the humidity of their tanks. If left unchecked, respiratory infections can cause permanent damage to your bearded dragon and can lead to death. 

The most dangerous respiratory infections for bearded dragons are:

  • Pneumonia: Pneumonia is caused by an excessive cold that affects the lungs along with the respiratory tract in a bearded dragon.
  • Upper respiratory infection: An upper respiratory infection affects the throat, nostrils, mouth, and lungs of a dragon, and in severe cases, it can lead to death.

 The symptoms of respiratory infections in bearded dragons are:

  • Snorting, wheezing, sniffing; can be alleviated by raising the temperature in the tank
  • Runny discharge from snout and mouth; can be treated with antibiotics
  • Noises from their throats; can be helped by raising the temperature of the tank and using antibiotics

Infectious Stomatitis

Infectious stomatitis is a common condition in dragons that affects their gums and jawbones. It’s mainly caused by a bacterial infection and can be contracted from an infected dragon. The infection causes the gums to swell, and the dragon will produce excessive mucus. When it infects the jawbones, the dragon will usually experience swelling of the jaw. 

Symptoms of infectious stomatitis in bearded dragons include:

  • Swelling of the gums
  • Excessive mucus production
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Unable to chew and eat

This condition can be treated with a dose of antibiotics and foods rich in Vitamin A and D3. You should also separate a dragon with infectious stomatitis from other bearded dragons to prevent the infection from spreading.


Bearded dragons are also vulnerable to parasites, such as pinworms. These worms usually don’t show any signs, but weight loss and diarrhea are sometimes experienced. Usually found in the gastrointestinal tracts, pinworms neither harm nor benefit the dragon. 

Other common parasites that can affect bearded dragons are:

  • Ticks: Ticks attach themselves to the dragon and are usually visible. They prefer attaching underneath the dragon, so flipping your dragon would expose them.
  • Mites: Like ticks, mites like to feed on your dragon’s blood and might cause discomfort to the pet. 

How to Keep your Dragon Free of Parasites;

Parasites are attracted to poor hygiene. It’s paramount to maintain proper tank hygiene by washing it regularly. Make it a habit to remove any leftovers after a feeding period as this might attract the parasites. Your bearded dragon can also contract parasites if it meets another dragon that has them.

Source: VCA Hospitals

A Proper Diet Can Affect A Bearded Dragon’s Lifespan

Just like other pets, bearded dragons are also affected by what they eat. Providing them with a healthy diet not only ensures they grow fast, but it also plays a part in extending their lifespan and promoting good health. 

A healthy bearded dragon’s diet includes but is not limited to the following foods:

Insects and Worms Fruits Vegetables Greens
Black soldier fly larvae Apricots Okra Coriander
Crickets Figs Acorn Squash  Clover
Locusts Papaya Bok Choi Kale
King worms Pears Butternut Squash Turnip greens
Horned Worms Melon Peas Parsley
Earthworms Dates Broccoli Rocket
Butterworms Kiwi Green beans Mustard greens
Waxworms Mango Cabbage Collards
Superworms Strawberries Sweet potato Dandelion greens
Cockroaches  Peaches Parsnip Endives


Before feeding your bearded dragon, it is best to chop their food into bite-size pieces. This makes the entire feeding process easier for the dragons, especially when they’re young. 

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins and supplements are essential for growth, boosting immunity, and improving a bearded dragon’s lifespan. Vitamins such as D3 are important in strengthening their bones and physical structure. 

Bearded dragons require the following vitamins and supplements:

  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin A
  • Calcium
  • Iron (for baby dragons)

A deficit of nutrients can hinder their growth, which might make a bearded dragon appear smaller in size. Bearded dragons that lack Vitamin D3 are usually weaker and experience problems moving around. 

The Correct Lighting for a Bearded Dragon

As desert-dwellers, bearded dragons in the wild get their light and heat from the sun. When kept in captivity, dragons must be provided with a replica of this sunlight and heat. Lack of proper heat and light impacts the mood and the lifespan of bearded dragons.  

Bearded dragons need two forms of lighting in their living containers:

  • Light bulbs – The best bulbs to use to this effect are fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs give off UVB and UVA rays, which are essential to the bearded dragons. 
  • Heat bulbs – Heat bulbs must be placed in the tank to provide warmth to the bearded dragons. The temperature requirements in a tank are dependent on the age of the bearded dragon. For instance, baby bearded dragons would require around 90 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to adults that require 80 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Pro Tip: To save money and time, you should opt for the mercury vapor bulbs that give off UVA and UVB rays, as well as the heat. 

In Conclusion

So how long do bearded dragons live? As you can see the answer does depend on my factors. But the average lifespan is about 10-15 years with proper care. Bearded dragons are fun pets to have and can live long lives. However, you must be prepared to care for them correctly. Do your research before purchasing a dragon. Proper diet, lighting, and care play a major role in the kind of life a bearded dragon will have while kept as a pet.


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