Among reptiles, bearded dragons are one of the longest lived species that one can obtain as a pet. The oldest bearded dragon that I had the pleasure of hearing about was fourteen at the time of his passing – not the norm, certainly, but quite impressive nonetheless! – and naturally outlived most other dragons.
In the wild, dragons will live between five and ten years, give or take. Their lifespan depends entirely on luck, in this case – or how quickly one can flee from a predator and how well they can avoid other dangers that living among humans may bring. A lack of food or water can also be a factor in the wild dragon’s lifespan.
That’s nice, but I’m talking about pet dragons here.
I am getting to it.
In captivity, dragons tend to live between six and twelve years. Due to the high demand for pet bearded dragons, lifespans do fluctuate – some pet store individuals will not live as long as they could thanks to inbreeding and other breeding issues. As demand increases, so do shoddy breeding practices. I strongly suggest purchasing your bearded dragon from a breeder instead of a pet shop, or a store front that can provide you with information on the breeder that supplies them.
What impacts a dragon’s lifespan?
A variety of factors will determine how long your dragon lives.
A large factor is, of course, you. If you provide the best care you possibly can, your dragon could live beyond the average lifespan – the keeper of the fourteen-year-old beardie that I mentioned earlier was an extremely caring person who was a doting dragon-keeper.
The biggest factor, however, is genetics. If your dragon’s grandparents died at a certain age or were susceptible to certain health issues, there’s a good chance that your dragon will deal with similar issues. Much like with people, ancestry helps determine what happens during your dragon’s life.
If your dragon has good genes and care, you will get many wonderful years out of your little friend.
Questions to ask a breeder
- May I see the parents?
- If a breeder will allow you to see the parents, great! You can get an idea of what your dragon will be like from how healthy the parents appear to be. If the breeder will not allow you to see the parents, it may be best to find a different breeder.
- (If the baby dragons are old enough) may I see the current babies?
- Seeing the babies before you pick one will give you an idea of what to expect, too. If they’re happy and healthy, that’s a good sign.
- How long did previous generations live?
- An average based upon the lifespans of the previous generations in this bloodline will give you a potential number for your bearded dragon.
- What sort of health issues tend to crop up among these dragons, if any?
- The commonality of certain issues will give you an idea of what problems you could be facing with your dragon that could impact its quality of life.
- Can I see your other adults?
- Seeing a breeder’s other dragons will tell you a lot about how the breeder keeps their dragons. Dragons from a healthy household will produce healthy babies.
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