Bearded dragons have become quite a preferred pet in recent years. In addition, although there are nine different kinds of bearded dragons found in the arid regions of Australia, only a few of these are usually available in today’s pet trade. Among those that are seen in pet stores and online pet shops, the Inland Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) is by far the most popular.
Inland Bearded Dragons are usually the top choice for many exotic pet enthusiasts due to their seeming love for human company. Unlike other lizards that prefer solitude, beardies like being around humans and rarely get agitated even when experiencing stress. Their gentle nature, small size, and color variations are some of the other qualities that make them a favorite. When you combine these features with the adorable personality that every beardie naturally possesses, you will find these lizards to be the best choice to have as a pet.
However, approximately how many years can you expect a bearded dragon to keep you company? The answer to this commonly asked question varies widely depending on various factors. First, here are some of the most important things that can likely increase a bearded dragon’s life expectancy and improve its overall quality of life.
• Well-balanced Diet: Bearded dragons require mixed vegetables and fruits, as well as gut-loaded insects, on a 30 to 70 ratio (30 percent mixed fruits and veggies, 70 percent insects). Failure to provide the right amount of food can result in undernourishment and make them prone at developing diseases.
• Proper Feeding: Adult dragons should be fed 3 to 5 times a week whereas juveniles should be fed every day. In general, adult beardies mostly eat vegetation; juvenile ones eat more live food (esp. mealworms).
• Clean Water: Bearded dragons should be offered a constant supply of fresh, clean, filtered, and chlorine-free water in a low-depth bowl that cannot be tipped over.
• Suitable Housing: Housing should be appropriate for the size of the animal. It should promote normal behaviors as well as physical activity. Of course, more space means more room to grow and move around.
• Safe Substrate: Calcium-based sand, repti-carpet, and unbleached paper towels are good substrates for beardies. Silica-based sand is not encouraged as this can be ingested and cause impaction.
• Adequate Lighting: Bearded dragons require 10 to 12 hours of UVB rays with full spectrum fluorescent light. For the basking area, incandescent light is needed.
• Right Temperature: Bearded dragons require a temperature gradient of 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the warm end and 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the cool end.
Bearded Dragons are generally robust lizards. On the average, you can expect a bearded dragon such as the Pogona vitticeps to live between 5 and 8 years just doing the basics. The same can be said for bearded dragon life expectancy in the wild, although this varies greatly. However, if the factors mentioned above are taken into consideration, then they can easily survive 10 years in captivity. Some can even live up to 14 to16 years. A few have been reported to live longer (19 to 21 years old), although there weren’t any very reliable sources to support these reports.
It is very important to understand that while bearded dragons make excellent pet companions even for novice exotic pet owners, just like any other pet, they do have specific environmental conditions and food requirements that must be met in order to thrive. To improve bearded dragon life expectancy, it is very crucial to provide them the special kind of care and attention that they need. Giving them the right food, enclosure, lighting, and temperature will generally keep your bearded dragon happy and healthy.