When you decide to have a pet bearded dragon there will be many things you have to consider, such as health concerns, habitat and nutrition. In this post, our Gillette vets share some of the foods your new bearded dragon will eat and what their diet might look like from a juvenile to an adult.
Bearded Dragon Diets & Nutrition
If you have a bearded dragon then you should feed it a diverse diet filled with fruits, vegetables and insects. Since they are omnivores, they eat both plants and animals and can dine on a wide range of food, from live mealworms, king worms and crickets to greens such as parsley and kale and vegetables like pepper and sweet potato. Small amounts of fruit make for a great treat, just like humans have snacks and dessert. Today, we'll share a number of veggies, meat, weeds, greens and fruits that can make up a bearded dragon's diet.
If you have any questions or need more information about nutrition and other issues faced by bearded dragons and other exotic pets.
What diet should juvenile and adult bearded dragons follow?
When it comes to your bearded dragon's diet, their age will play a large factor in what they eat and how much. If you have a baby bearded dragon their diet should be comprised of 80% bugs and 20% plants, although the plant intake at this age can be difficult as many owners report juvenile bearded dragons being picky with veggies. However, when you have an adult bearded dragon then you should flip this ratio offering your scaly friend a diet made up of 80% plants and 20% insects and bugs.
Keep in mind that while a juvenile bearded dragon's diet may have fruit on the list, this should be offered in moderation and not on a daily basis. To much fruit can be very unhealthy for your bearded dragon.
Adult bearded dragons should eat mostly plants and vegetation, and less animal matter and insects. This will keep them at a healthy weight and prevent them from becoming obese.
How much will a bearded dragon eat?
Your bearded dragon will reach adulthood and become sexually mature around 18 months of age. At this point your adult bearded dragon will be eating twice daily using the diet guidelines listed above.
Your bearded dragon is able to show you how much they need to eat by using a set time frame. For example, you can leave insects in for up to 10 minutes allowing your bearded dragon to eat as many as it would like during that time. Be sure to remove any uneaten insects after 10 minutes.
Fruits and vegetables should only be left in the enclosure with your bearded dragon for up to 30 minutes to avoid overfeeding and mold.
What to Feed Your Bearded Dragon
Here are some of the different types of food that are safe for your bearded dragon:
Live Food to Feed Your Bearded Dragon
There are a number of little critters that your bearded will love to munch on that are healthy for them including:
- Wax Worms
- King Worms
Some of these can be found in pet stores. Keep in mind that live crickets are a good food source in addition to being stimulating since a wild bearded dragon diet would typically include these and your dragon can chase them. When purchasing live food, consider the nutritional value, ease of storing and cost. Our vets also recommend occasionally varying the food you provide so that your pet dines on a diverse range of animals. Bearded dragons should not eat wild insects as they can have diseases or parasites that could hurt or kill your dragon.
Remember to gut load any insects your dragon eats - meaning ideally, you'll feed your insects what you're not feeding your dragon that week so your pet gets the nutritional variety and value of whatever the insect has eaten.
Vegetables that are Safe for Bearded Dragons to Eat
A bearded dragon can safely eat many vegetables. Here is a list of the most common staple vegetables they can dine on daily:
- Asparagus (Raw)
- Butternut squash
- Yellow squash
- Acorn squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Peeled Cucumber
- Yams (Raw)
- Turnip greens
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Zucchini (Raw)
- Okra (Raw)
- Bell Peppers (Raw)
- Cabbage (Raw)
- Artichoke Heart
- Bok choy
- Cooked Lentils
Fruits that a Bearded Dragon May Enjoy
Here are some fruits that are safe for Bearded Dragons to eat on a limited basis:
Is there anything else to know about feeding a bearded dragon?
Since bearded dragons can sometimes inadvertently ingest the substrate around their food, we don't recommend feeding smaller bearded dragons in tanks with loose substrate.
Older bearded dragons are typically more accurate and may be able to digest a little substrate more easily.
Is there a specific feeding chart to follow when feeding bearded dragons?
While we don't have a bearded dragon diet chart, the photo that accompanies this article is a great example of what bearded dragons can practically eat.
If you are wondering what to include in a diet plan for your bearded dragon, schedule a checkup for your pet with our vets. We can assess him or her and provide advice and guidance based on their unique needs and characteristics.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.