Bearded Dragon Diet & Food – What do They Eat?
Bearded dragons are omnivorous creatures, and they consume a variety of insects, fruits, and vegetables. Their varied diet makes them easy to keep as pets.
This article explains all you need to know about the feeding habits of bearded dragons. You will get an insight into what foods to provide for them and when you should be feeding them.
Wild Bearded Dragon Diet
As earlier mentioned, wild bearded dragons eat several kinds of vegetation, small lizards, mammals, and insects; hence they’re regarded as omnivores. They feed on insects like crickets, mealworms, and ringworms.
Wild bearded dragons mostly feed on animals. In fact, their diet comprises about 75% animal and 18% to 30% plants. Vegetables eaten by bearded dragons in the wild include the following:
- Alfafa sprouts
- Red and green cabbage
- Mustard greens
- Sweet potatoes
- Collard greens
Wild bearded dragons feed on insects such as grasshoppers, ants, wasps, termites, beetles, cockroaches, beetles, spiders, crickets, and bugs.
Pet Bearded Dragon Diet
Pet dragons eat a wide range of foods such as insects, vegetables, fruits, and greens. They should be fed at least once daily, based on their age.
Pet owners should feed their bearded dragons with the following bugs:
- King worms
- Phoenix worms
Mealworms and superworms should only be fed to adult bearded dragons.
Fruits that can be given to your pet bearded dragon include:
They can also be fed with vegetables such as:
- Bell pepper
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
- Bok choi
- Yellow squash
Bearded dragons can also feed on greens like parsley, collards, clover, mustard green, endive, turnip greens, and coriander.
What do Baby Bearded Dragons Eat?
Baby bearded dragons are usually 0-5 months old; hence they need sufficient nutrients and vitamins for healthy growth and vitality. The amount and size of the food given to them at this stage are very important.
A baby beardie’s diet should be 75% insects and 25% fruits. You’ll need to feed them lots of insects several times a day. For instance, baby beardies between 0-2 months can be fed many crickets every 5-10 minutes for about 4-5 times a day.
Ensure you don’t feed beardies with foods larger than their heads as this can lead to serious injury and impaction. Being that they have voracious feeding habits, they can attempt to eat large insects.
A baby bearded dragon can consume up to 60 insects daily. They should be fed pinhead crickets that are about one-half inch with small wax worms and fireflies. Baby beardies shouldn’t be offered mealworms as they possess a tough outer shell which is not easily digested by pets.
Feed your pets with tiny insects thrice or four times a week with finely chopped veggies at least thrice weekly.
Also, baby bearded dragons should be administered with vitamin and calcium supplements on a routine basis. This can be done by dousing their meals with these supplements.
How To Feed a Bearded Dragon?
Having a calm and tame demeanor, a bearded dragon isn’t too difficult to feed. Most times, they’ll like to eat from your hand or bowl.
It would help if you let your beardie get accustomed to a feeding routine. The diet of a baby bearded dragon differs from an adult beardie.
How To feed a Baby Bearded Dragon
Baby bearded dragons often undergo high metabolism, so they need to be fed with little, more regular meals. Besides, their nutritional needs vary from that of a grown adult. They require more proteins (insects) than plants.
How To Feed a Juvenile Bearded Dragon
A juvenile beardie is about 6 months to 18 months old. As a juvenile, the beardie grows bigger with fat reserves, so they’re less frequently fed than the baby beardies. Insects can be given once a day with vegetables provided not less than 4 times a week.
Mealworms can be offered once or twice per week. At this stage, you can feed the beardie with more vegetables and fewer insects. If juvenile bearded dragons are fed the same rate as the small counterparts, they can become obese, causing serious health issues later.
How to Feed an Adult Bearded Dragon?
Once a bearded dragon is about 18 months old and above, it’s considered an adult. Here, the feeding rate is lessened except for breeding females. An adult beardie’s diet should be composed of 20-25% insects and 75-80% vegetables.
Pinkie mice, soft rabbit pellets, and small lizards can also be fed to adult dragons. Ensure these foods are occasionally given as treats, maybe once in three weeks or a month. Since they’re prone to obesity, you should watch them closely by monitoring their food intake.
Food To Avoid Feeding To Bearded Dragons
Since you know the foods to feed your bearded dragon, what foods shouldn’t be offered to them? Below are meals you shouldn’t give your beardies:
Iceberg lettuce: Naturally, bearded dragons enjoy eating lettuce, most especially Bibb lettuce. Since iceberg lettuce is water-based and contains little or no nutrients, you should avoid feeding it to your pet except in emergencies.
You might be tempted to feed your beardie lettuce and leafy vegetables like escarole, dandelion leaves, and kale are better alternatives.
- Fireflies: Fireflies shouldn’t be offered to bearded dragons as they’re quite dangerous to their health. Though fireflies are a cheaper treat, they can make your beardie feel sick, causing their death. If allowed to roam outside, ensure you keep a close watch on bearded dragons and prevent them from hunting and feeding on fireflies.
- Avocados: Avocados contain chemical substances like oxalic acid, which can be harmful to dragons. While a small quantity of the fruit can make the reptile ill, a large amount of it can lead to their death.
- Spinach and beet tops: Comprising magnesium and Vitamin A, spinach and beet tops are nourishing but contain calcium-binding chemicals that can prevent calcium absorption in beardies. It can cause calcium deficiency, leading to metabolic bone disease. If you want to feed your dragon with these veggies, they should be given in small quantities, at least once a month. Beet greens are better substitutes.
- Rhubarb: Another food that should be fed to these small-sized lizards is rhubarb, which is also poisonous to pets. Peradventure you offer your beardie rhubarb, ensure you give them water as soon as possible with an immediate visit to the veterinarian.
Other foods that shouldn’t be given to bearded dragons are:
- Wild-caught insects
- Onions and garlic
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Raw Meat?
Bearded dragons should not eat raw meat because they harbor parasites that can cause disease in beardies. Meat contains a high amount of fat and phosphorus, which can inhibit the absorption of calcium.
Do you wish to feed your beardie meat? Be sure you cook it with no seasoning or oil to make meat lean. Offer small quantities as treats to your pet. Often, bearded dragons eat meat in the form of insects like cockroaches, locusts, silkworms, among others.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hard-Boiled Eggs?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat boiled eggs. Whether scrambled or boiled, eggs should only be offered as treats to beardies as they’re susceptible to obesity.
Eggs are highly proteinous and can result in accumulated fat and fatty liver disease if given high amounts to bearded dragons. An adult beardie shouldn’t eat more than half an egg at once.
To feed your pet boiled eggs, ensure they’re peeled and chopped into tiny bits. Eggs from free-range and grass-fed chickens are highly recommended for feeding these reptiles.
Raw eggs and eggshells should not be fed to beardies as they are likely to contain parasites, making them sick.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Mice?
There’s been conflicting information about the feeding of mice to bearded dragons. Healthy beardies do not need to eat mice. Only pregnant and malnourished bearded dragons should be fed occasionally with mice.
Baby mice contain a high amount of fat and protein, which can lead to disease in healthy dragons. A bearded dragon can be fed pinky mice when it’s 6 months old or has grown to about 10 inches or more in length.
It’s better to feed your beardie with pinky mice than mice that are a week old. Pinky mice are low in fat and have a good calcium/phosphorus ratio compared to a week old mice.
Pregnant beardies require much nutrients and energy hence the need to feed them with mice. They’ll need lots of energy for the production of eggs.
Also, for bearded dragons that are just recovering from an illness, it’s ideal for you to feed them with mice since it helps to rejuvenate and revitalize them.
By now, you know what, what not, and when to feed your bearded dragon. With the right diet, adequate hydration, and care, your beardie will definitely be happy, live long, and healthy.
Enjoy feeding time with your beardie!