Bearded dragons are popular pets for many reasons. They can feel and connect with their owner, something that lizards in general are not entirely known for, especially when compared to the more traditional pets of dogs and cats.
You wouldn’t necessarily think of this scaly creature and think it would be up for some snuggles while watching TV. But, guess what? Beardies love that! A nice stroke while watching some of your favorite shows sounds like a perfect night for both pet and owner.
However, some of the bearded dragon’s popularity is due to the misconception that it is an easy pet to maintain. It’s actually not as easy as many think it is, and it can be quite costly.
One of the most important parts of keeping a bearded dragon happy and healthy is its diet. Beardies require a variety of insects, vegetables, and fruits to make sure they get all of their required nutrients.
What does a bearded dragon need to eat? And, specifically, what are the best veggies for bearded dragons?
What should a bearded dragon eat daily?
Alright, before we get into the best veggies for your beardies, we’re going to get into an overview of what types of foods your bearded dragon should be eating every day.
Bearded dragons are omnivores, which means they eat both plant and animal-based foods. I know, it’s out of fashion in our current vegan-forward culture, but these reptiles come from hot and dry desert climates. This means food is scarce, so they aren’t picky about what they eat.
What a bearded dragon needs and craves will change with age. Young beardies will want more protein to aid their growing bodies. That means more insects. However, as they age, they will crave fewer insects and more veggies.
While it’s important to understand your bearded dragon’s preferences, you should also know that they need their veggies at every age. Beardies will especially benefit from green, leafy vegetables, which have the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy.
As bearded dragons age, green leafy vegetables take up the majority of their diet. They aren’t exactly lazy reptiles, but they are pretty subdued, hence their tendencies to happily lounge with you on the couch for your Netflix binges. Their chill vibes require less protein once they’re past their young, protein-seeking months (usually the first six months of their lives).
Best veggies for bearded dragon
Alright, it’s time to get to the meat of the article, which in this case is the topic of vegetables. All bearded dragons, joking aside, vegetables are an important part of your beardie’s diet. Once they’re grown, green leafy vegetables will make up the majority of your reptile’s diet.
Your bearded dragon’s staple food should be green, leafy vegetables. Like many other reptiles, beardies are susceptible to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). MBD occurs when reptiles have an imbalance of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. It can cause a myriad of symptoms such as depression, seizures, weakness, and, in the worst case, death.
Green, leafy vegetables tend to be high in calcium and vitamin D and low in phosphorus. They are just what beardies need to stay healthy.
Staple Greens for Beardies:
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
The staple greens are what you’re going to want to give to your beardies daily. These greens will keep your reptiles’ calcium to phosphorus ratio at a healthy level.
However, variety is key to your bearded dragon’s health. Other vegetables should be mixed in occasionally.
Other Healthy Veggies for Beardies:
- Bell peppers
Fruit for bearded dragons
Like other pets, bearded dragons should not be fed many fruits. While the occasional fruit is fine, you want the majority of their diet to be green, leafy vegetables. Fruit should only consist of about 10% of beardies’ diets.
Best fruits for beardies:
These are the best fruits to occasionally feed your bearded dragon. They are rich in antioxidants and well balanced in nutrients and vitamins.
Mix up the fruits that you serve to your beardies. Like you, they’ll enjoy a change in their diet. If continuously fed the same thing, they’ll get bored.
What insects do bearded dragons eat?
We know that bearded dragons’ diets should consist mainly of green, leafy vegetables. As beardies age, they need less protein (insects). But, they do still need some insects, especially when they are young. So, what are the best insects for bearded dragons?
Best insects for bearded dragons:
Like with the types of vegetables and fruits you give your beardies, the insects you give your bearded dragon should also be changed frequently. Beardies need variety in every aspect of their diet, including these creepy crawlers (insects).
Foods to avoid
Not all vegetables, fruits, and insects are created equal when it comes to your beardie’s diet. Certain foods need to be avoided as they could be a detriment to your reptile’s health.
Let’s start with the biggest part of your beardie’s diet: veggies. Never feed a bearded dragon c or rhubarb. They are both poisonous to beardies.
Lettuce is another veggie that isn’t worth your beardie’s time. It has no real nutritional value and can cause diarrhea.
Now, onto your beardie’s sweet treats: fruits. Citrus fruits need to be avoided. They’re high in citric acid, which will upset your reptile’s stomach.
Bearded dragons should never eat fireflies or boxelder bugs. They’re poisonous to beardies. When it comes to insects, it’s best to buy them live at the pet store. If you try to catch them, you could run the risk of getting some that have been in contact with toxins or could have parasites or diseases.
Bearded dragon diet by age
We mentioned that a bearded dragon’s diet will vary greatly by age. But at what age are beardies considered “young” or “old?” And how does that affect their diets?
Baby beardies are considered to be 0-4 months old. They’ll require an insect-rich diet. During these months, you should feed your bearded dragon 80% insects and 20% leafy greens. They should also be eating about 4-5 times a day.
From 4-18 months, beardies will have a diet of 50% insects and 50% vegetables. For up to 12 months, they should be fed three times a day. And from 12-18 months, they should be fed twice daily.
Beardies enter adulthood at 18 months. At this point, they should only be fed once a day (possibly twice). Their diet should be 80% vegetables, mainly leafy greens. The other 20% should be insects.
What about fruits? You may have noticed that fruits weren’t mentioned in those diets. Fruits should be given sparingly to beardies. Depending on your beardie’s age, they’re an occasional treat or a small topping to the main entree of veggies or insects.
Veggies for Beardies
Beardies’ diets are mainly vegetables, mainly leafy greens. While young bearded dragons will require more protein and insects, as they age, their diets will shift to vegetables as the staple. Veggies are vital to maintaining your bearded dragon’s health as they provide much-needed nutrients and vitamins.
Vary your bearded dragon’s diet so it doesn’t get bored with the same daily meals. As long as you stick to the lists and staple veggies, and avoid harmful foods, your pet will be happy with the variety.