What Do Bearded Dragons Eat? | Bearded Dragon Diet 2019

What Do Bearded Dragons Eat? | Bearded Dragon Diet 2019

Bearded dragon diet? Compared to traditional pets like dogs, cats, or golden fish, those with a strong personality are fonder of exotic animals, typically bearded dragons.

Though this species’ popularity has grown considerably over the past decades, their diet is still inadequately known to their owners.

It’s vital to feed your animal on the proper food for the sake of its long-term health.

If you are wondering about the bearded dragon diet, you’ve arrived at the right place.

Below is what you need to know.

Page Contents

What Do Wild Bearded Dragons Eat?

As omnivorous, opportunistic predators, bearded dragons tend to eat any prey that they can hunt down in the wild, mainly insects. They also gulp down a lot of greens available.

It’s not easy to replicate their natural diet for those tame, but you don’t need to make great attempts to do so.

They enjoy both natural and omnivorous diets.

For your beardie, a balanced recipe should consist of various captive-bred feeder insects, leafy vegetables, and fruit.

The ideal proportion is 25% fruits and vegetables while their favorite treats such as tender, juicy insects make up the rest.

What matters most is which food to feed them and how to feed them properly.

If the menu doesn’t cater to their nutritional needs or the feeding frequency doesn’t suit their biological clock, bearded dragons will expose symptoms of illnesses or deteriorating health.

What Do Baby Bearded Dragons Eat?

Like any animal, younger bearded dragons need sufficient proteins to grow fully and healthily, especially for muscular building and fat reserve development.

In other words, the percentage of insects must outnumber that of plants.

Usually, the 4/1 ration will do well for their nutrient absorption. Such a proportion will change as beardies become mature.

As the backbone of the baby bearded dragon diet, insects should cover a large percentage.

Crickets, dubia roaches, phoenix worms are a few highly-recommended animals for young intake.

Don’t forget to include these insects with calcium and multivitamins, five times and twice per week respectively, so that your little lizard can enjoy healthy development to the maximum.

The importance of greens is no doubt though they only constitute 20% of the standard meal.

Pay attention to seeking collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, and dandelion greens since these greens can support the immature digestive system.

Bearded dragons need more frequent feeding in their childhood than their life stages later on.

On average, a baby bearded dragon needs at 5 meals a day. That equals to 80 pinhead crickets.

Suppose you feed your little pet five times a day, you should divide into three feedings of insect prey and the other two of half varied plant matter and half insects.

Since most bearded dragons are likely to pick insects first and ignore greens, you’d better offer insects after the vegetable or fruit mix.

By this way can you train them to eat plant matter from the early ages.

What Do Juvenile Bearded Dragons Eat?

The bearded dragon diet will change a bit as they enter the juvenile stage.

Their body mass is gradually in good shape, so it makes sense to increase the amount of plant matter while reducing that of insect prey.

For those aged between 5 and 18 months old, a meal consisting of half insect prey and half-plant matter will be an ideal choice.

Cut down on the feeding frequency, depending on your pet’s specific nutritional needs.

A juvenile beardie typically requires about three times a day.

At each turn, you can choose to offer half-plant matter and half insects.

Alternatively, you can feed plant matter in the morning, insects for lunch, and a mixture of both for dinners.

What Do Mature Bearded Dragons Eat?

Like human beings, the diet of bearded dragons doesn’t remain unchanged throughout their lifespan.

Unlike babies, adult lizards will benefit from a diet made up of 20% insects and 80% veggies.

You should prepare an assortment of vegetables and large lefty salads every day besides a few roaches or worms so that the pet can be supplemented with enough nutrients timely.

Remember to train such animals to eat matter at an early age.

Don’t postpone the training until they reach adulthood since it would be challenging to stop insect addiction.

The number of feedings also reduces to one or two a day.

If your pet has two meals a day, give them chopped vegetables and fruit for breakfast and provide plant matter mixed with a few insects for the evening meals.

Adults also share the same benefit of occasional calcium and multivitamin dusting with baby bearded dragons.

What Insects Do Bearded Dragons Eat?

 

What Insects Do Bearded Dragons Eat

Bearded dragons aren’t fussy eaters. They will eat insects that move; therefore, it’s essential to make sure they are taking in safe bugs.

Butter worms, earthworms, mealworms, silkworms, cockroaches, hornworms, phoenix worms, super worms, king worms, crickets, roaches, and wax worms are fit for this species’ consumption.

Bugs found in your property or surrounding may contain pesticides or parasites that cause health problems; therefore, on no condition should you give them to your pet.

How to feed insects is another story. It’s not so difficult, but you can apply some tips to boost the effect.

Feeder insects should subject to gut loading for at least 24 hours before giving to the pet.

FYI, gut loading means providing the feeder insects a highly nutritious meal so that the bearded dragon can get the most out of the food.

Also, choose insects of a suitable size. Never go for too large ones. Otherwise, they will get stuck in the pet’s throat.

The best size is smaller than the space between the eyes of the bearded dragon. For babies, insects shouldn’t be bigger than a quarter of an inch.

Hand Feeding

As docile and friendly as bearded dragons are, you can feed them by hand easily without fear.

It is also a great way to tighten the bonding between you and the pet. Just grab and hold a cricket, hornworm, or roach in front of the pet.

  • Once the insect catches the notice of the beardie, he will use his tongue to swipe at it and munch away.
  • Take a firm grasp of the insect, but use just enough strength not to kill it so that the pet can approach the prey.
  • It takes most pet owners some time to learn to hold feeder insects properly.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t master it at the very first try. Practice makes perfect!
  • Bamboo feeding tongs may come in handy in case you want to feed tiny insects.
  • The tongs made from plastic or bamboo will hold the food better while being safe in hygiene.

Remember to cover the tips of metal tongs with plastic. It will minimize potential hurt to your bearded pets.

Bowl Feeding

If you can’t make your little friend accustomed to hand feeding, bowl feeding can make an alternative option.

Go for a food bowl that is shallow enough for the beardie to see and reach the food while adequately holding treats.

You can find specially designed bowls available here which can accommodate different worms such as wax worms or mealworms.

There’re attractive feeder bowls and simple, practical plastic designs for you to choose.

What Plant Matter Do Bearded Dragons Eat?

Bearded dragons can eat a variety of vegetables and greens, including peas, green beans, courgette, butternut squash, sweet potato, bell pepper, broccoli, kale, collards, parsley, dandelion greens, clover, turnip greens, mustard greens, endive, rocket, coriander, and so on.

Compared to insects, greens and veggies are much easier to feed.

Just ensure they are finely chopped into small pieces to fit the tiny mouth of your bearded dragon.

If possible, a small electric food chopper or processor will do an excellent job for you.

Afterward, fill the bowl with the chopped plant matter; pour some vitamin supplement and calcium before putting away into the terrarium.

Once again, purchase a shallow bowl so that the food is visible to the pet.

Don’t stick to a certain kind of fruits or vegetables.

Try to vary the bearded dragon diet frequently, so your little friend can enjoy the complete nutrition.

What Fruits Do Bearded Dragons Eat?

To increase the flavor of green salads, you can add fruits such as apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, mango, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, and so on.

Watch out for soft fruit since its sugary nature can result in tooth problems.

It should go with a fixed diet that features fibrous vegetables once a month.

Vitamins and Mineral Supplements

The variety of your bearded dragon diet can’t make up for the importance of vitamin and mineral supplementation.

All beardies need feeding enough vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and energetic.

However, you should keep the dose of such supplements under careful control to prevent overdosing.

Calcium

Commercially raised feeder insects can’t provide eaters with enough calcium.

Meanwhile, depending on the type of plants, the ability of bearded dragons to absorb calcium greatly varies.

Therefore, without timely calcium supplementation, you may risk having a poorly-developed pet.

Try dusting feeder insects or salads with calcium daily for babies and five times a week for adults.

Some pet owners recommended using mixtures since leaves can hold the powder better than insects.

However, bearded dragons prefer to eat insects, so insects make a wiser choice.

Phosphorus

The ratio of phosphorous to calcium should remain at 1:1 to ensure proper metabolism.

However, this proportion is nowhere to be found in a mass number of foods, mainly feeder insects, highlighting the significance of calcium supplementation.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is abundant in various leafy greens and vegetables in the form of beta-carotene.

When ingested into the body, beta-carotene will convert to vitamin A until adequate; the rest of it will flush out.

However, this doesn’t apply to the synthetic vitamin A. This substance may end up lingering in the beardie’s body to cause vitamin A poisoning.

Thus, reptile multivitamins that include beta-carotene or an adequate amount of vitamin A are the safe option.

Don’t go for synthetic versions. If you plan to use food with the multivitamin powder, cut down on the food that is rich in vitamin A.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is crucial in the calcium metabolism of reptiles. Bearded dragons are no exception.

As a hormone-like substance, vitamin D3 is synthesized by the body upon sunlight exposure.

A UVB bulb can compensate for the lack of direct sun rays in the terrarium circumstances.

If your pet never basks in the natural sunlight, vitamin D3 supplements will satisfy his needs. If possible, take him outdoors as frequently as possible.

Remember not to cover feeder insects with both vitamin D3 and calcium supplements daily.

Iron

Not all the meals of bearded dragons contain a sufficient level of iron.

Dark leafy greens like charts, spinach, kale, though rich in iron, have a dangerously high amount of oxalates.

Also, you can’t give iron supplements to your pet at will since the risk of an overdose is potential.

To prevent the worst scenario from happening, you can dust food with a supplement once or twice a week.

Iron is available in multivitamins. Also, tolerable dark leafy greens like collard or kale are possible to add to the menu in small amounts.

Never resort to red meat for iron enhancement. Red meat is widely known to contain too much phosphorus and fat, serving as a deterrent to calcium absorption.

Moreover, feeding raw meat gives rise to salmonella harboring in your pet lizard, putting you and other family members at risk.

Make Sure Your Bearded Dragon Can Get Enough Water

Water is an indispensable factor regarding the best-bearded dragon diet.

You’d better prepare a shallow bowl of clean and freshwater within reach of the bearded dragon all the times. Or else, he may not see standing water in a pot or drink from it.

The chance is that he is too thirsty to resist stumbling in the container and taking a drink.

The water must undergo the dechlorinating process before serving the animal.

Nonetheless, it’s acceptable to give bottled spring water or tap water treated with a dechlorinator.

Another way to prevent the pet from dehydration is to mist his body.

Given that this species of lizard often licks rain droplets or dew on their nose in the wild, you can mimic this habit by gently misting the pet with a bottle of fresh and dechlorinated water.

He may not feel at ease after the first misting, but he will get used to it soon and begin lapping up water droplets off the nose tip.

Experts recommend misting bearded dragons at least twice or three times a day, of which one turn lasts for a few minutes.

What Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat?

Bearded dragons can’t differentiate between what is good and what is bad for their health.

Thus, you should place harmful foods out of their sight.

If they show any signs of illnesses or allergic reactions, immediately consult a vet for advice.

Remove the following foods from your bearded dragon diet:

  • Iceberg lettuce: Water makes up the most of iceberg lettuce while it is deficient in the nutritional value.
  • Spinach and beet top: These foods consist of chemicals that are the root cause of calcium deficiency among pets, resulting in metabolic bone diseases. They are also often treated with pesticides. An occasional taste is harmless, but in the long run, different greens are preferable.
  • Fireflies: Insects that glow tend to be toxic and kill reptiles, so never give them to beard dragons, notably fireflies.
  • Avocados: Beardies are susceptible to toxic chemicals in avocados. Just a tiny amount of intake will sicken your pet, and even a significant portion will kill him.
  • Rhubard: It contains a high level of oxalic acid that is poisonous for bearded dragons.
  • Raisins: Contrary to grapes, raisins are dry and contain too much sugar, which isn’t good for bearded dragons.
  • Onions: Whether they are green or mature, onions are potentially toxic. Your pet’s life doesn’t deserve being challenged by a thin slice of onions.
  • Potatoes: Raw potatoes aren’t compatible with reptiles, not excluding bearded dragons. Even cooked products still contain harmful toxins found in various parts of a potato plant.
  • Mushrooms: Too high in phosphorus, fungi cause difficulties indigestion. Some types have toxic compounds, not safe for pets’ use.
  • Grass: Tough to digest, grass requires complicated digestive tracts to process it. As human beings, eating grass isn’t beneficial for bearded dragons.
  • Ants: Ants spray a huge amount of nasty formic acid as a means of self-defense. Thus, only horn lizards and other highly specialized lizard species can eat ants.
  • Spiders: There is one kind of poison or another in the teeth glands of all spiders. Don’t be tempted to feed your pet spiders; otherwise, you may end up in deep regrets later on.
  • Stink bugs: As suggested by their name, these bugs stink to prevent the attack of predators. Besides, the aromatic chemicals in their bodies are the primary source of burning while they are likely to carry pesticides due to their resistance to these chemicals.
  • Moths: There’s no point in wasting your time chasing after wild moths to feed your friend. Besides not having real nutritional values, they are pesticide, parasite, and even defensive chemical carriers.
  • Chicken: There aren’t enough studies on the effects of chicken on this reptile, so it isn’t worth a try.
  • Bread: The food contains a high content of salt, additives, and other harmful ingredients. A regular supply of dough should be restricted to not only bearded dragons but also other pet animals.
  • Toxic plants: They include oak, horse chestnut, poppy, tulip, wisteria, red maple, primrose, and milkweed. Most pet owners stand little chance of feeding their companions on them, but we can’t eliminate the possibility of running into them around the house or in the yard.

What Is The Best Live Food For Bearded Dragons?

What Do Bearded Dragons Eat

Crickets and mealworms are the two most popular live food favored by bearded dragons.

They’re on sale at most pet stores for affordable prices. Storage is a piece of cake so that you can buy in bulk for later use.

When it comes to living food, people often take into account their cost, secure storage, and nutritional value.

You should usually diversify what you buy to ensure your pet can try a wide range of animal matter.

On average, you only have to pay about £5 for 500 crickets. Place them in boxes with holes, or else they will die for lack of air.

Give them leftover fruit and vegetable so that they can become more nutritious when being served to your pet.

You can enhance the nutritional value by dusting these crickets with vitamin or calcium powders.

When feeding, make sure you don’t let crickets drown in your pet’s water bowl.

There’re covers for water bowls to prevent insects from getting in at pet shops.

Alternatively, you can try filling the container with polymer crystals for crickets to walk on.

Like crickets, mealworms are cheap. You can store them in or out of the fridge.

The freezing condition inside the refrigerator keeps them fresh for a longer time, but the dormant state is unavoidable.

Compared to crickets, mealworms are more abundant in the fat content, so your reptile runs a high risk of getting overweight as a result of overconsumption.

Most live feeders can smell when being stored, so the best solution is to find a space in a garage for them.

What Should You Feed An Ill Bearded Dragon?

In all cases, you must follow your vet’s advice and instructions strictly. Stick to his suggested diet for each specific health condition.

You can take specific measures to support the treatment.

If your pet is dehydrated, it’s necessary to cut solid foods into small portions and drop an electrolyte solution on their mouth from a syringe.

For other diseases, pour a watery mixture of food and nutrients into a syringe to feed the reptile.

By this way, you can make him eat more to absorb nutrients essential for the recovery process.

Bearded Dragon Diet Related FAQs

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?

Yes. Apples are entirely safe for reptiles’ consumption, including bearded dragons.

They even supply abundant vitamins such as vitamin C along with good hydration to keep the pet active in hot summer days.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Zucchini?

Yes. Zucchini is among the highly-recommended plant foods for bearded dragons by experts.

However, Zucchini packs high content of phosphorus. You must balance out the supplement with calcium in the pet’s diet.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Grapes?

Yes. Pet owners can use grapes as a favorite treat regularly. Also edible, grape leaves may make an excellent addition to the diet.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Raspberries?

Yes. Bearded dragons are generally fond of eating berries like raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries.

These fruits are rich in water and have a sweet, appealing taste.

Start introducing a small number of raspberries to your pet to see the pet’s reaction, then decide to use them as an occasional treat or not.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Mango?

Yes. Mango is comparatively rich in vitamin A and oxalates, so an occasional slice of raw fruit to your bearded dragon is acceptable.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kiwi?

Yes. No research has indicated eating kiwi does harm to your little friend. However, kiwi intake should remain in moderation, given its high content of acids and oxalates.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Eggs?

Yes. Eggs boast a high nutrient density, so consuming them too much is by no means healthy.

Carnivorous and omnivorous reptiles eat many eggs in the wild, so this food acts as an excellent occasional supplement to the regular diet of your beardie.

Boil the egg first to eliminate elements that cause salmonella contraction.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Fish?

No. Given that the primary habitat of bearded dragons includes deserts and dry grasslands, they aren’t familiar with feeding on fish as natural food. Also, the impacts of fish consumption on their health are unknown.

You’d better not risk your pet’s life by giving him marine products.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Strawberry Leaves?

Yes. Strawberry tops can make a healthy treat when being added to salads.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrots?

Yes. Carrots have a high content of vitamin A with a moderate level of oxalates, so they are good for reptiles’ health. Finely cut them into thin circles or quarters of circles before giving to your little friend.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Peppers?

Yes. An occasional provision of sweet red or bell peppers can supply enough vitamin C and water for eaters.

However, be careful since the content of oxalates in peppers is moderately high.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dragon Fruit?

Yes, but rarely. Dragon fruit is rich in fiber and phosphorous.

Make sure you supply enough calcium to strike a balance in the calcium to phosphorus ratio after feeding your pet a small slice.

The mass of little black seeds in the fruit may make his digestive system overwork.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Green Apples?

Yes. Green apples offer a perfect treat for beardies as long as they get their peel and seeds wholly removed.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas?

Yes, but rare. Bananas don’t contain much water but sugar.

They are rich in phosphorous, which adversely affects the calcium absorption ability of your pet.

It is advisable to give him a small portion of bananas, about 100 grams once a month.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Oranges?

No. Citrus fruit, including oranges, isn’t edible to bearded dragons since they are too acidic.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cherries?

No. Cherries aren’t good for bearded dragons’ health at all.

The high content of fruit acid and sugar can easily irritate their digestive system, leading to diarrhea from overconsumption. Then, dehydration is unavoidable, and this reptile’s immunity to parasites also lessens.

Moreover, cherries contain oxalic acid, which makes all the calcium the pet ingests become unusable.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Lettuce?

No. Lettuce is quite weak in the nutritional value. It primarily consists of water and fiber, so eating lettuce brings about quite a few health benefits.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Asparagus?

Yes. Asparagus is considered safe for bearded dragons, given its nutritional value.

Don’t forget to chop it up before giving to your pet.

Serving it alone is okay, but you should usually mix it with other vegetable options for diversity so that the reptile can eat more.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Arugula?

Yes. Arugula is fit to feed occasionally. Though high in vitamin A, it tastes a little bit bitter, so the pet may refuse to eat arugula in the first place.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Chard?

No. Like spinach, chard is extremely rich in oxalate. It isn’t suitable for bearded dragons’ stomach.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Celery?

Yes. Both celery leaves and sticks are safe for beardies’ consumption.

Don’t forget to wash them carefully before meals and cut them into pieces of the right size.

You can change to the organic celery for fear that farmers overuse pesticides when planting celery.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kale?

Yes. Kale has a high content of useful minerals like calcium or iron.

However, you should also pay attention to its considerable amount of oxalates.

High quantities of kale may harm bearded dragons, so you’d better feed it rarely.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Radicchio?

Yes, but try to keep it minimal. Radicchio exposes excessive calcium to phosphorous ratio.

Besides, its highness in acidic content shouldn’t be overlooked.

Therefore, it’s possible to feed your pet on a minimal amount of such veggie and rare occasions.

Moderation is a must to prevent the animal from getting sick.

Before You Leave

Omnivorous animals like bearded dragons ask for a complete diet that comprises insects, plant matter, and fruits.

Learning about what they can and can’t eat is crucial to prevent unwanted illnesses.

Like any pet animals, your little reptile deserves the best treatment, including a nutritious and safe bearded dragon diet.

Hope you both have a wonderful time together!

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