A variety of factors go into making sure that your bearded dragon will live to a ripe old age. You will want to provide a well-balanced diet, the proper temperatures for your dragon to thrive, plenty of room to grow and lots of stuff to climb on. They will need a vet that understands their needs and you will need to provide proper nutritional supplements.
Lifespans change with breeding
Before the bearded dragon breeding boom that came with a surge in beardie popularity, dragons tended to live between ten and fifteen years, depending on bloodlines and care. Now, the average is eight to twelve years. I have heard of some dragons living to fourteen or fifteen even now, so anything is, of course, possible.
Why have lifespans changed?
Inbreeding messes with bloodlines and leads to health problems, while inexperienced owners will make mistakes that will lead to dragons dying younger and the average lifespan going down.
How long do they live in the wild?
In the wild, bearded dragons can live from five to ten years – with ten being extremely lucky. Predators, food shortages and vehicles, among other things, lead to dragons in the wild not living nearly as long as those in captivity. Captive dragons lead rather comfortable lives – and they don’t have a lot to worry about as a result!
What can shorten my beardie’s life?
- Infection due to injury: if your dragon is injured by another dragon, get it to a vet very quickly and follow the vet’s directions to the letter.
- digestive impaction: dragons sometimes try to eat things that are too big for them to properly digest, or they will eat the substrate in their vivariums. Don’t provide food that’s bigger than the space between your dragon’s eyes and sift substrate to get rid of pebbles and other bad bits.
- parasites: not just an irritation, they can also impact your dragon’s quality of life – get them treated as quickly as possible.
- improper nutrition: your dragon needs a diet with 80% protein (insects, meat) and 20% plant matter. Don’t provide wild-caught bugs or fireflies and dust the bugs you serve with calcium powder one day, multivitamins another. Switch up every other day.
- improper temperatures: One side of the enclosure needs to be between 100 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit while the other needs to be between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- dehydration: mist your beardie and his enclosure daily. Leave a saucer of water out, too!
A cared-for bearded dragon that gets the right food, drink and overall care – including contact with its handler! – will live for a long time. There is more than enough information to help you make sure that your beardie gets the best, and I’m confident that you will be enjoying its company for a long, long, long time. They are wonderful creatures! Don’t forget to check out the other articles on this site for further information on caring for your dragon.
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