Bearded dragons originate from Australia, living in desert and savannah areas. They are named bearded dragons because of the spikey beard that they have and have become a popular pet since the 1990s. Your average bearded dragon can grow from a 3-inch baby to an 18-22 inch full-grown adult (that is almost 2 feet long!). There are six species of bearded dragons (in the genus Pogona), all varying in size, but let’s take a look at the three largest species and learn about the “creation” of a fourth, and largest, bearded dragon. Let’s also read some stories from pet owners about their largest bearded dragons.
Here are the three bearded dragons that exist naturally:
4. Mitchell’s bearded dragon: Up to 18 inches long
Mitchell’s North bearded dragon is a “beardie” from NW Australia and is sometimes called a Western bearded dragon. These are not very common as pets but can be found in the wild in deserts and semi-tropical woodlands. They are a variety of colors including red, yellow and brown and can grow to be 18-inches long.
3. The Eastern bearded dragon: Up to 24 inches long
Eastern bearded dragons are also known as common bearded dragons and are the most populous of the bearded dragons. They live in a wide range of eastern Australia and can be found in habitats of forests, scrubs and even some farmlands. These bearded dragons like to live where they have access to trees to nest at night and to escape predators as needed. Eastern bearded dragons can grow to be 24-inches-long (think about a coffee table that is 2 feet long!) but they are less commonly kept as pets as some of the smaller bearded dragon breeds. Bearded dragons have a lifespan of 5-8 years in the wild and 8-12 years as pets.
2. The Central bearded dragon: Up to 24 inches long
Central bearded dragons are the most common bearded dragons as pets. They can be found in pet stores across the United States. They are originally from the central parts of Australia spending equal time in trees as well as on the ground. They can even be found on the side of the road. These dragons can grow to be 24 inches long, but most are closer to 20 inches. What do bearded dragons eat to get so big? They are omnivores, but most of their diet consists of vegetation. They eat plants, berries, insects and even small rodents.
1. The Largest Bearded Dragons: The German Giant Bearded Dragon
German bearded dragons aren’t a species of bearded dragon, but rather a type of bearded dragon that was bred to be larger and can reach 26-28 inches, making them the largest bearded dragons in the world.
When you are researching the largest bearded dragons you will learn about the German giant bearded dragon. These are actually created by breeders who take the largest bearded dragons and breed them together to increase the likelihood of larger beardies. German giant bearded dragons can be as long as 26-28 inches long. It is pretty rare that you would be able to find a German giant today, unless you are looking for a pet that is looking to be rehomed.
Stories about big, really big, bearded dragons
There are no official records on the largest bearded dragon. Guinness World Records has a record for the “oldest bearded dragon in captivity”, a beardie named Sabastian that was 18 years and 237 days old, but the “largest bearded dragon” category does not exist . . . yet. There are a few pet-owner-submitted videos showcasing their really big pets. One video shows Large Marge, a female bearded dragon that lives in a pet store that is a large dragon. She was measured at 21 inches long but is clearly pretty heavy as well! Another video showcases Meathead, a bearded dragon as long as its owner’s arm, reportedly being 26 inches long. So until we hear from Guinness, we will have to rely on some fun stories of well-cared-for bearded dragons.
Bonus: What’s the Smallest Bearded Dragon in the World?
The smallest bearded dragon in the world is Rankin’s dragon (Pogona Henrylawsoni), also called the dwarf bearded dragon. Hailing from the northwestern areas of Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia, they share similar characteristics to their larger cousins, but length-wise, they only reach from 10 to 12 inches. They also have rounder bodies and can come in vibrant red, brown, and red hues. They are popular in the pet world due to their tiny cuteness and lively personalities.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Shinedawn/Shutterstock.com
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