Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. All opinions remain my own. You can learn more about our editorial policies here.
Bearded dragon diet
If you’re a first-time bearded dragon owner, there’ll no doubt be some confusion over the bearded dragon diet and what bearded dragons eat. It’s a long list, and it can take some time to figure out what you need — not to mention that nutritional needs will vary depending on the age of your dragon.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide on what do bearded dragons eat! It’ll tell you everything you need to know to setup the best bearded dragon diet for your pet. This guide should be helpful for first bearded dragon owners and experienced owners alike.
About the Bearded Dragon
Before you learn about how to feed a bearded dragon, it’s important to understand how this species came about. The bearded dragon is native to Australia, but over the years it has been imported to other parts of the world, including the United States.
As its name suggests, this lizard has a distinctive beard that’s usually bright orange and black. This type of lizard is known to range in length from 8 to 15 inches long. As you might have guessed, they have a larger tail than other species of geckos and lizards.
In the wild, the bearded dragon feeds on insects such as crickets, worms and dubia roaches and small animals found in its habitat. When it’s at home, you can feed your pet bearded dragon a variety of fruits and vegetables.
The Diet of Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are omnivores which means they’re a lot like human beings. They eat fruit, vegetables and insects. In the wild, their diet would be composed primarily of insects, but because you have to worry about the safety of your pet, you’ll have to stick to crickets or Dubia roaches. It’s also a good idea to supplement this with veggies and fruit.
When they’re babies, they’ll eat the different foods than their juvenile bearded dragon diet or even an adult diet. However, you’ll need to start slowly incorporating veggies and fruit into their diet as they grow. This is because vegetables and fruit aren’t as nutritious as insects are for baby and juvenile bearded dragons which need so much protein. If you are still wondering, what to feed my bearded dragon, don’t worry. Continue reading to see types of proteins, vegetables and fruits are best for feeding bearded dragons.
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
In the sections below we detail what do bearded dragons eat into the following sections, protein, vegetables, fruits, supplements and water.
Bearded Dragon Protein
Crickets are a great choice for your bearded dragons’ diet. These insects have all of the nutrients that it needs to fuel its growth. Be aware that different regions of the country may require you to buy crickets from a local breeder so they can be tested for disease.
Your bearded dragon will also benefit from eating pelleted food, as well as vegetables and fruit. Some examples of good protein sources from other insects for adult, juvenile and baby bearded dragon diets are below.
Crickets: Crickets are the most preferred beardie food because of their high protein and calcium content. They may be purchased at most pet stores and are the go to food the baby dragon eats. If you decide to take this way, bear in mind that they can easily escape and their noise might be bothersome, so make sure they are stored securely and out of earshot.
Dubia Roaches: A bearded dragon’s favorite food is bugs. You can feed your dragon Dubia roaches, which are the most nutritious. As a result of their low fat content and high protein content, Dubia roaches have at least five times the nutritious value of other live insects. It’s also a lot easier on you because the Dubia roach can’t climb or fly to escape (and even if it does, it won’t infest your home), it’s very quiet, and and Dubia roaches don’t bite or stink.
Worms: Your bearded dragon has a plethora of tasty and nutritious options to choose from in the vast world of worms. When you’re looking to give your dragon a particular treat, some foods are better than others. My beardies favorite worms are silk worms, phoenix worms, butter worms and of course the fat rich desert worm, wax worms.
Note about mealworms: The mealworm can be used as a treat in the adult bearded dragon diet but should not be fed as part of a juvenile or baby bearded dragon diet. This is due to the tough exoskeleton on the mealworm can cause gut impaction on younger bearded dragons.
Insects to Avoid
The great thing about breeding crickets is that they’re safe and nutritious. But there are some insects that you do not want to introduce to your bearded dragon’s diet.
They include, but are not limited to:
Spiders are a big no-no for bearded dragons, who are much too small to deal with the venomous bites of these creepy crawlers.
Moths and butterflies can also be harmful if eaten because their bodies can contain toxins that can poison your pet.
Insects that are not live are also a no-no. That includes canned silkworms and other canned insects.
Venomous insects should also be kept away from your bearded dragon. This includes dangerous insects like scorpions, centipedes and ticks.
Best Vegetables for Bearded Dragons
You can guarantee your bearded dragon has a well-balanced and nutritious diet by feeding them vegetables and leafy greens. Bearded Dragons can eat as much produce as they like, every day of the week. That way, you don’t have to be concerned about your reptile getting fat off of the garden treats.
Even if your baby bearded dragon doesn’t seem to like vegetables or leafy greens, give them a try. He’ll be loving greens in no time! I usually start my beardies off on dandelion greens or mustard greens to get them use to leafy greens as part of their juvenile bearded dragon diet.
Vegetables should make up 80-90% of the plants you feed your dragon. You should feed your bearded dragon primarily dark green, leafy vegetables, although any color of vegetable is fine. If you’re having trouble making a decision, use this handy guide.
These vegetables can be fed to your pet on a regular basis:
Peas and snap peas
Bearded Dragon Vegetables to Avoid
The vegetables below should not be used when determining what vegetables to feed your bearded dragon, whether if they are an adult or younger dragons.
Avocados and beets
The acid in citrus fruits can be extremely harmful to your beardie’s stomach and digestive system if it is fed too frequently, hence some Dragon Keepers choose not to give citrus fruits at all.
Vegetables rich in fiber but lacking in nutrients like lettuce (they can cause diarrhea)
Best Fruits for Bearded Dragons
Even though fruit is high in nutrients and tasty, your bearded dragon just requires a tiny bit each day to keep your bearded dragon healthy. If you feed bearded dragons fruit, you should aim for 10% to 20% of the plants you feed it. Before presenting your dragon with a piece of fruit, make careful to cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Many fruits, other than citrus, are safe for your dragon’s stomach, save for those that contain high levels of acid. Here are a few of the most well-known:
An apple a day keeps the doctor away (peeled; weekly)
Fruits such as bananas (with or without peel; once or twice a month)
The fruit of the blackberry is referred to as (every other week)
The fruit of the blueberry is referred to as (weekly)
Fruits (every other week)
The guava (weekly)
New Zealand’s indigenous people (peeled; monthly)
a fruit called a mango (a few times a week)
The fruit of the pears (peeled; very rarely)
It’s time to eat some raspberries! (every few weeks)
The berries (weekly)
While a bearded dragon’s diet is nutritious, it is still important to stick to common household products. That being said, you will want to be aware of any products that could be toxic to your pet. The following are some of the things you’ll want to avoid:
Many medications can harm your pet if consumed in large quantities.
Poisons like antifreeze, rat poison and pesticides from weeds can kill your pet if it eats enough of them.
Stinging insects are dangerous to bearded dragons, as they can cause a severe allergic reaction that can lead to death.
Looking to spruce up your beardie habitat, see our Best Bearded Dragon Hides and Caves
Herbicides and pesticides from plants like plants, fruits and vegetables could kill your pet. If this is the case, try to remove these plants from the area you live in.
Houseplants are poisonous if eaten by your bearded dragon.
Bearded Dragon Supplements
Calcium – deficient bearded dragons are prone to falling ill. For this reason, it’s important to provide your pet with calcium-rich foods. This can include things like:
Vitamin D3 – When choosing your calcium supplement try to find one with D3. A beardie get D3 in the wild from the sunlight, but you’ll want to make sure it has it in captivity. This can help prevent and treat metabolic bone disease in your pet.
How Much to Feed Your Dragon
Once you’ve decided on the types of food you want to feed your bearded dragon, it’s time to decide how much to feed it. Here are some general guidelines:
Juvenile and Baby Bearded Dragon Diet
Take ten to fifteen minutes to feed your baby beardie three times each day. Keep the cage clean after this period of time.
Insects are a more plentiful food source for baby dragons, who are still in the process of maturing. Babies have been known to consume upwards of 60 bugs in a single day.
Leaving vegetables in the cage for your baby to eat as they please is safe.
In order to avoid ingesting loose substrate, never feed your baby in a tank with such a substrate in the bottom.
As your baby starts to age, decrease feeding amounts and add more greens to move over to a Juvenile Bearded Dragon Diet.
Adult Bearded Dragon Diet
Insects are only needed once a day by adults. As bearded dragons age, they eat fewer insects than baby and juvenile dragons. When feeding veggies, make sure to leave them in the cage so they don’t spoil.
At least 50 percent of the food consumed by an adult dragon must be insects.
Depending on how hungry they are, feed your adult once daily or every other day.
Bearded Dragon Water
When it comes to hydration, bearded dragons rely primarily on fruits and vegetables, but it’s also necessary to provide them with water. A water bowl should always be there in your dragon’s cage, but you should keep an eye on it to see if your dragon actually drinks from it or not. In other cases, dragons prefer to take a soak in their water bowl (after all, they come from a hot climate).
Change their water frequently because beardies urinate or deposit particles in their bowls. When feeding your pet, remove any insects that have drowned in the bowl as well. Once or twice a day, spray a mist of water into your dragon’s cage to encourage it to drink from the bowl. As a bonus, it will make your pet think of rain or morning dew in the Australian outback.
Although there is a lot to learn about the Bearded Dragon diet, following this guide will help you start your beardie on a great varied diet. You can even print this bearded dragon diet chart out for quick reference. Good luck and congratulations on starting a good bearded dragon diet for your beardie.
What is a bearded dragons main diet?
What is a bearded dragons main diet?
Insects, vegetables, and fruits are all part of bearded dragons’ diet. Additionally, beardies necessitate an abundance of safe veggies and fruits, as well as the right nutrients.
What Foods are safe for bearded dragons?
What foods are safe for bearded dragons?
Along with insects, the most common acceptable vegetables that should represent a high percentage of the diet include collard dandelion greens, mustard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, broccoli, turnip greens, alfalfa hay or chow, bok choy, kale, and spinach.
What are bearded dragons not allowed to e
What are bearded dragons not allowed to eat?
Avoid Venomous insects, moths and any insect found in your backyard. Vegetables to avoid include Avocados and beets along with high amounts of citrus fruits which can be harmful to the bearded dragon’s stomach.