For many reasons, it’s important to know the age of your bearded dragon and any owner that doesn’t have this information will certainly be curious to find out.
The trouble is that telling how old your bearded dragon is can be tricky and often leaves owners frustrated without a clear method to follow.
In this post, we will share the 4 methods that you can use to determine the age of your bearded dragon.
So, how can you tell the age of a bearded dragon? Here are the 4 ways to tell the age of a bearded dragon:
- Sexual maturity
- Contact the breeder
- Contact your Vet
Read On to Learn…
Why Is It Important to Know The Age My Bearded Dragon Is?
If you own a bearded dragon and don’t know their age then there are many reasons why it’s worth investigating beyond just curiosity alone.
Identifying the age of your beardie can reveal lots of interesting facts and even underlying care issues that can be determined by size.
For example, if a bearded dragon is is small for their age it could be a sign that something is wrong with their diet or lighting setup.
On the other hand, you may simply have a different breed of beardie that doesn’t grow as big as the central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) which is the most common breed of bearded dragon sold and owned throughout the world.
Knowing the age of a baby or juvenile dragon could give you peace of mind that they are simply growing at an average pace and everything with their care is good and on point.
All in all, knowing the age of your bearded dragon worthwhile as it will help you to better care for your beardie moving forward.
How to Tell The Age Of a Bearded Dragon: (More Info)
Unfortunately, many bearded dragon owners acquire their beardies without knowing their age (through no fault of their own)
There can be many reasons for this, maybe they are rescue pets or simply passed on from another family at short notice.
Either way, you will want to find out how old your beardie is for the reasons we have laid out above.
The good news is that there are 4 methods you can use to determine the age of your bearded dragon.
The caveat to this is that most of the methods will only give you a rough estimate and not an exact birth date.
Let’s now take a closer look at the 4 methods of how to tell how old your bearded dragon is…
Measuring your bearded dragon and then comparing it with a bearded dragon size by age chart is the most popular way to determine how old a bearded dragon is.
This method can be extremely helpful to use as it’s both quick and simple to do.
The only real problem with this method is that it only really works for beardies that are between birth and one year old.
This is because bearded dragons within this age range are growing rapidly each month and you can usually pinpoint their age by size and how much they grow each month.
After one year, beardies don’t grow at the same pace and from two years old they stop growing altogether, so the method then becomes redundant.
If you are sure you have either a baby or juvenile bearded dragon then using the measurement method is one we recommend.
You should measure your bearded dragon from the tip of its head to the tip of its tail.
Picking a time when your dragon is less active is recommended as it can be difficult to get a good and accurate measurement if they are active and moving around a lot.
We would suggest measuring your beardie every week and checking their size against the average growth chart for bearded dragons every month.
This will give you more data and allow you to see if they are growing in line with what the growth chart suggests.
There are reasons that can affect how fact a young beardie will grow you will need to consider so it’s not all straight forward (more on this later in the post)
Here’s a chart that shares the average growth of bearded dragons…
Bearded Dragon | Age & Average Growth Chart
|24/months (Adult)||18-24 Inches|
2. Sexual Maturity
You can also look for signs of sexual maturity to determine how old your bearded dragon is.
Again, this method only really works well for beardies that are under 8 months old and isn’t really god for determining age after this point.
The reason for this is that bearded dragons on average mature sexually between 8-12 months old.
This means that once you notice this happening you can broadly estimate your dragon is within this age bracket.
If your bearded dragon is already sexually mature then you can safely say they are between 8-12 months old or even much older but you can’t gauge more information from this method than that, unfortunately.
You can check for sexual maturity by taking a look under your beardies tail and checking for bulges just above the vent.
If you notice 2 bulges then it’s likely you have a male, while if you only notice 1 bulge then you probably have a female.
If you can’t see any bulges at all then your beardie is likely to not have reached sexual maturity yet.
Another less accurate way to check for sexual maturity is to look for dots on the inside of the hind legs.
Large dots in this area would suggest you have a sexually mature male, while little to no dots would suggest a female.
This means that if you have a female you still may not get the answer to if your beardie is sexually mature or not but if you have a male it can provide answers.
Recommended Reading: How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live? (The Complete Guide)
3. Contact The Breeder
One of the most often overlooked methods for determining the age of a bearded dragon is to contact the breeder.
This method is probably the most accurate although it’s not always available depending on how you actually acquired your dragon.
If you did purchase your bearded dragon from a reputable breeder then they should be able to provide you with a record of when your dragon was born along with all other information you need such as conformation of breed and heritage.
This is the best-case scenario and will allow you to pinpoint the exact age of your beardie.
If you recently purchased your bearded dragon from a pet store then it would be a good idea to go back there and ask questions as they will usually be able to tell you much of the information you need.
If you purchased your beardie from a pet store a while ago, then you can still go back there and ask questions about how old are the beardies when they first arrive at the store and how long on average do they take to sell.
Doing a little detective work won’t give you an exact date but it can help to give you a rough estimate and when combined with other methods can help to narrow the estimate down even further.
If you rescued your dragon then sadly this method won’t really help you but a combination of the previous 2 methods and the last one 1 we are about the share may help.
Recommended Reading: How Fast Do Bearded Dragons Grow? (Answered With Table & Charts)
4. Contact Your Vet
If none of the previous 3 methods helped you to identify how old your bearded dragon is then contacting your Vet for an assessment could help.
While there are is no way to give exact dates without information from the breeder but getting the opinion of your Vet under close examination might help to shed some light on the matter even if it’s just to confirm the rough age you already estimate.
When doing this, it’s important to go to a Vet that’s used to working with reptiles do so that they can give you a detailed opinion.
Using a combination of the 4 methods we have provided should allow you to at least have a good idea of how old your bearded dragon is and maybe even to know exactly how old they are.
Are These Methods Of Telling a Bearded Dragons Age Reliable?
Ok, so now you know the 4 methods that you can use to check how old your bearded dragon is, but are they reliable?
Unfortunately, there are many different reasons that can make it difficult to accurately determine the age of a bearded dragon without the official papers from the breeder.
All methods should be used to give an approximate age rather than trying to pinpoint the exact age to the day.
Let’s now take a look and see if the 4 methods are reliable and see what you need to be aware of when checking how old your bearded dragon is…
Is The Checking Size Method Reliable?
As previously mentioned, measuring a bearded dragon as a way to determine their age is probably the most popular method.
This doesn’t mean that it’s always entirely accurate, even if you have a baby or juvenile beardie.
There are lots of factors that can affect the growth rate of a young bearded dragon and therefore the results of the average age chart would not be totally accurate.
Here’s are the common reasons that can affect the growth of a bearded dragon…
Diet – If a bearded dragon isn’t fed the appropriate diet, especially when they are either a baby or juvenile then it can significantly limit their ability to grow. Calcium is one of the key components in the diet of a bearded dragon and should be included and supplemented too.
Size of the tank – The size of the tank is another contributing factor to how big bearded dragon will grow. For example, beardies that are limited to 20 gallon tanks in adulthood are usually smaller than counterparts that have been offered tanks or around 75-120 gallons plus. Many experts will recommend a tank that is a minimum of 4x the length of your beardie.
Here’s a guide that shares our recommended tank sizes depending on how big your bearded dragon is…
Lighting setup – The lighting setup is a huge reason for stunted growth in bearded dragons. Insufficient UVB or lack of an adequate basking area won’t allow your dragon with the fundamentals when need to digest food and be healthy in general.
If you are unsure about how to set up your bearded dragon’s lighting then check out this full guide here…
Male or female – Owning a male or female can have a bearing on the size of your beardie too as males will usually be larger than females and is something that needs to be taken into consideration.
Genetics – Genetics is something that is often overlooked, however, the bloodline of a bearded dragon can cause them to be either bigger or smaller at a given age then what the average age chart would suggest and as a consequence would mean that you age them incorrectly.
Breed – The breed of bearded dragon is also a huge factor in how big a bearded dragon grows. Most beardie owners take for granted that they have a central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) but there are many more breeds and they all grow to different sizes.
Here’s a chart that shares the different breeds of bearded dragons and how big they grow…
Bearded Dragons Species & Size
|Pogona Vitticeps (Central Bearded Dragon)||20 – 24 Inches|
|Pogona Barbata (Coastal Bearded Dragon)||20 – 24 Inches|
|Pogona Minor Mitchelli (Mitchells Bearded Dragon)||14 – 18 Inches|
|Pogona Minor (Western Bearded Dragon)||14 – 18 Inches|
|Pogona Nullabor (Nullarbor Bearded Dragon)||11 – 14 Inches|
|Pogona Minor Minima (Dwarf Bearded Dragon)||9 – 12 Inches|
|Pogona Henrylawsoni (Rankins, or Lawson Bearded Dragon)||9 – 12 Inches|
|Pogona Microlepidota (Drysdale River Bearded Dragon)||4 – 6 Inches|
Is The Sexual Maturity Method Reliable?
As we mentioned earlier in the post, using sexual maturity to age your bearded dragon only really works effectively once they are around the 8-12 months of age mark.
This is because this is when beardies reach sexual maturity. We would never recommend you use this as the only method of age verification, however, it can be a good way to back up or dismiss any predictions you have.
If you have just reduced an adult bearded dragon bearded that’s clearly well over 2 years old then checking for sexual maturity isn’t really going to tell you anything you didn’t already know as you would already have suspected they were over 8-12 months old.
However, if you have just used an size and age chart and suspect your beardie is around 9 months old then checking for sexual maturity to confirm this could be a good tool to use.
Is Contacting The Breeder Reliable?
Contacting the breeder is probably the most reliable method of finding out how old your bearded dragon is.
If you can get hold of actual papers that provide evidence of exactly when your beardie was born then you should go for it rather than estimating with size and sexual maturity tests.
Obviously, the problem with this method is that not all bearded dragons are purchased from a breeder that provides these papers or you may have rescued your beardie and don’t have access to any papers.
The button line is that the only person that will be able to tell you the exact age of your dragon is the person who bred it so you should try and get this info if you can.
Is Contact Your Vet For An Examination Reliable?
Going to your local Vet for an examination can certainly give some insights that you may have missed.
It’s important to understand that they won’t be able to give exact dates though and only rough ages will be possible through the examination without the papers from the breeder.
The good thing about letting your Vet try and determine an age for your dragon is that you don’t have to worry about messing up any of the above methods and you can rely on the advice of a medical expert.
You can even just ask your Vet how old they think your bearded dragon is the next time you take them in for a check-up or examination and they might give their opinion for free while you are in any way.
It’s important to know how old your bearded dragon is, even if you only have a rough idea.
There are 4 main methods you can use to do this and while there are not all accurate, they do all have a place and can certainly help to give you an approximate age of your beardie especially when used in conjunction with each other.
By far the most accurate method for ageing a bearded dragon is getting the papers from the breeder although this isn’t always possible so you may have to use a combination of the other 3 methods.
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