Life Stages and Life Cycle of a Bearded Dragon
There are six stages in the life of a bearded dragon - from egg to hatchling, then subadult to sexual maturity, followed by mature adult to old age.
Each part of the lifecycle of a bearded dragon brings about different behaviour, development and appearance. Understanding each part will help you become a responsible and knowledgeable beardie owner! Here's an introduction to each life stage of a bearded dragon.
1. Pre-birth (often referred to as pre-hatchling, egg or embryonic)
In it's very early stages, a bearded dragon will spend around 55 to 75 days inside an egg, at which point they will hatch - and be welcomed to the big wide world!
2. Hatchling (or juvenile)
From birth to about 8 inches in length, a bearded dragon is known as a hatchling or juvenile. This period of rapid growth involved frequent feeding thanks to a monstrous appetite! This stage will last around 3-4 months, during which the dragon may need to consume up to 50 crickets every day!
The next stage in the life of a bearded dragon is the subadult stage. Appetite is still big and growth continues to be rapid too. The dragon's behaviour starts to become more adult-like - such as head bobbing, waving or beard puffing (in the male). The subadult stage is normally from 8 inches in length to adult.
4. Sexual maturity (young adult)
The bearded dragon will now enter the fourth stage of their life which is sexual maturity - which means that he or she is capable of breeding. Mating behaviours may be exhibited by male dragons - and might include aggressive or territorial habits. Females might display some arm-waving, which is a submissive sign.
Growth rates and hunger levels will start to decline somewhat thanks to hormonal influence and the achievement of almost reaching adult size! Dragons are normally up to 3 years old when they reach this stage.
5. Mature adult
Aged 4 to 7 years, a bearded dragon will now reach their mature adult stage at which point they will be fully grown. Lasting 2 to 3 years, this period see little or no growth and a gradual decrease in reproductive activities.
6. Old age
THe final stage of the life of a beardie is old age, which creeps up on us all! The dragon's appetite will be a lot lower now and it's important they stay hydrated. The dragon might become lethargic - which is a normal part of the process of their body slowly shutting down. So long as you've cared for your dragon throughout their life, there's every chance that it's been a happy and healthy one.