The dwarf bearded dragon is the smallest species of bearded dragon. This subspecies is also known as the pygmy dragon or dumpy dragon. Adult dwarf bearded dragons reach an average length of 10 to 30 cm (8-12 inches) from nose to tail tip. Compared to other subspecies of bearded dragons, they have shorter, stockier bodies and smaller heads.
Dwarf bearded dragons are native to the arid regions of west and south Australia. In captivity, they require a habitat replicating their natural environment to ensure their health and well-being.
Regarding care, dwarf bearded dragons require similar care to other dragons, including a proper diet, a suitable habitat, and regular veterinary check-ups. They are generally docile and make good pets, but like all reptiles, they require a commitment from their owners to ensure their health and well-being.
The Max Size of Each Common Bearded Dragon Species
Central Bearded Dragon
Pogona vitticeps, commonly known as the central bearded dragon, can grow up to 24 inches long when mature. It is found in desert areas, forests, and drier bush environments. These lizards are highly social and generally gentle. However, they are known to be aggressive during the breeding season.
Owners of this species report that they are typically docile and love to climb. They are active during the day and typically eat small mammals, insects, and eggs. Pogona vitticeps is one of the most popular and common species of bearded dragons. They are often kept in captivity as pets due to their unique personalities and gentle nature.
Eastern Bearded Dragon
Pogona barbata, commonly called the eastern bearded dragon or coastal bearded dragon, can grow up to 24 inches long for males and 20 inches for females. It is a popular reptile species often kept as potted or part of a beardie collection.
The eastern bearded dragon is found throughout eastern Australia and, like other beardies, is considered viviparous, giving birth to live young rather than laying eggs. This bearded dragon has a triangular-shaped head and a spiny “beard” under their chin, which it can puff up when threatened or displaying dominance.
The Nullarbor bearded dragon or Pogona Nullarbor can grow to about 10 inches long. This species can be distinguished from other pogona species by its small size and light coloration. These bearded dragons are found in western Australia. They are a relatively rare and little-known species of lizard that inhabit the arid and semi-arid regions of their native range.
In captivity, it is essential to give proper care and attention to the health and well-being of Nullarbor dragons. This includes providing suitable habitats, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups. However, due to their rarity and specific needs, they may be better suited for experienced reptile keepers.
Possible Causes for Slow Growth of Bearded Dragons
Improper UVB Lighting
Proper UV lighting is essential for the growth and health of bearded dragons. UV light helps them produce vitamin D3, essential for proper bone growth and development. Without adequate UV lighting, bearded dragons may suffer from metabolic bone disease, a condition where the bones become weak and brittle, leading to stunted growth and deformities.
If bearded dragons are kept without proper UV lighting for an extended period, they may also develop other health issues such as lethargy, loss of appetite, and weakened immune systems. These factors can contribute to slow growth or stunted growth in bearded dragons.
Additionally, inadequate UV lighting can affect a bearded dragon’s mood and behavior. Without enough exposure to UV light, bearded dragons may become stressed and exhibit abnormal behavior, such as aggression or hiding away from their environment.
Reptile keepers should ensure their bearded dragons have the appropriate UV lighting, a well-balanced diet, and suitable living conditions to promote healthy growth and development.
An Insufficient Diet
A balanced and varied diet is crucial for bearded dragons’ proper growth and development. For example, suppose a bearded dragon is not receiving enough protein, calcium, or other essential nutrients. In that case, it may exhibit slow growth, lethargy, and other health problems, such as metabolic bone disease, further hindering growth. Malnutrition can also lead to a weakened immune system, making a bearded dragon more susceptible to illness.
Bearded dragons require a balanced diet consisting of animal- and plant-based foods. Their diet should include a variety of insects, such as crickets, mealworms, roaches, and fresh vegetables and fruits. Feeding only one or two types of insects or a diet lacking essential vitamins and minerals can lead to slow growth and other health issues.
On the other hand, overfeeding can also be a problem. For example, bearded dragons that are overfed or offered an unbalanced diet can become obese, which can also slow down their growth and lead to other health problems.
Reptile keepers must provide a well-balanced diet that meets the nutritional needs of their bearded dragon. Feeding various insects, vegetables, and fruits, and offering calcium and vitamin supplements as needed, can help promote healthy growth and development in bearded dragons.
Brumation is a period of inactivity in some reptiles during the winter months. In bearded dragons, brumation is a natural process that can help regulate their metabolism and prepare them for breeding. However, if bearded dragons are exposed to brumation too early in their development, it can slow their growth and affect their overall health.
During brumation, bearded dragons slow their metabolic rate and reduce their activity level. This can cause them to eat less or even stop eating altogether. A bearded dragon entering brumation too early may not consume enough nutrients to support healthy growth and development. This can lead to stunted growth and other health problems.
Additionally, if a bearded dragon is not prepared adequately for brumation, it can cause health issues. However, bearded dragons not in good health or built up enough fat reserves may not survive brumation.
While brumation is a natural process in bearded dragons, it should be approached with caution. Providing proper care and nutrition and monitoring their weight and overall health can help prevent any adverse effects of early brumation on the growth and development of bearded dragons.
In some cases, diseases can cause stunted growth or other developmental abnormalities. For example, one of the most common diseases in bearded dragons is a metabolic bone disease caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D3 in the diet. This disease can lead to weakened bones, stunted growth, and deformities.
Another common disease in bearded dragons is parasites, such as coccidia or pinworms. Parasites can cause weight loss, lethargy, and a weakened immune system, leading to slow or stunted growth.
Respiratory infections are also common in bearded dragons and can be caused by various bacteria or viruses. These infections can cause breathing difficulties, loss of appetite, and lethargy, negatively impacting the bearded dragon’s growth and development.