Bearded dragons are popular reptile pets known for their unique appearance and easy-to-care-for nature. However, one of the challenges of owning a bearded dragon is determining its age, especially for those that are over 12 months old. In this article, we will explore the five ways to tell the age of a bearded dragon in more detail.
1. Consult the Breeder
The most reliable way to determine the age of a bearded dragon is by getting detailed birth records from the breeder. Most reputable breeders keep detailed records of their clutches and the resulting reptiles. However, not all breeders keep records, and if you bought your bearded dragon from a store or other third party, it may not be possible to obtain these documents.
2. Consult the Seller
If you purchased your bearded dragon from a third-party seller, you can ask them about any information they have available. However, this information is likely to be less detailed than what you could get from the breeder. Additionally, the seller may have gotten rid of any records following the sale of the bearded dragon.
3. Measure the Beardie
Measuring your bearded dragon can provide a reasonable approximation of its age, especially if it’s less than 12 months old. Bearded dragons usually reach full size at around 12 months old, but males and females may grow at different rates based on genetics, nutrition, environment, and health. Typically, a bearded dragon of either sex will grow at a rate of 1-3 inches every month for the first year of life. However, fully grown bearded dragons can measure anywhere from 16 inches to nearly 2 feet, so the length alone is not a completely reliable indicator of age.
4. Determine Sexual Maturity
Bearded dragons reach sexual maturity between the ages of 9 and 12 months in most cases. A bearded dragon’s sexual organs become prominent once they reach this age. To check, lift the bearded dragon’s tail- males will have two bulges above the vent, and females will have one. If you notice these bulges, you can estimate that the bearded dragon is at least nine months old.
5. Consult a Veterinarian
If you’ve adopted a bearded dragon or have taken one on, a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles may be able to help you estimate your bearded dragon’s age. However, veterinarians have limited information to go on and can only provide an approximation of their age based on their size and maturity.
Can You Tell by Condition?
The bearded dragon’s physical condition, such as skin condition and dental health, is not a reliable way to determine their age. Bearded dragons shed their skin regularly throughout their life, and dental health may vary based on diet and care. Instead, poor condition may indicate poor living conditions, poor diet, or poor care.
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?
Bearded dragons can live up to 15 years or potentially even more, making it difficult to determine their age accurately. However, with careful care and maintenance, bearded dragons can lead happy and healthy lives, bringing joy to their owners for years to come.
Bearded dragons make excellent pets, but determining their age can be challenging, especially if they are over 12 months old. The most reliable way to determine the age of a bearded dragon is by getting detailed birth records from the breeder. If this is not possible, measuring your dragon and estimating their age based on sexual maturity can provide a reasonable approximation. By following the tips above, you can ensure you provide the best care possible for your bearded dragon and enjoy their company for many years.