In the wild, bearded dragons are accustomed to eating whatever they find. This includes a variety of foods such as worms, bugs, fruits, vegetables, and other things. It can be tricky to create the perfect diet for your pet at home.
So, what does a bearded dragon eat anyway? Is it okay to feed him worms and bugs only? What should you never feed your beardie?
Your duty as a pet owner is to create a diet similar to their natural diet. Beardies are sensitive creatures. They are prone to several diseases and health concerns that can arise from an improper diet. A young bearded dragon must have a balanced diet to support proper growth and body functions.
This article discusses everything you need to know about what your bearded dragons can and cannot eat.
What Foods Can a Bearded Dragon Eat?
A baby bearded dragon must be fed at least 2-3 times daily.
This is to ensure its timely growth. If you fail to provide a varied, nutrient-rich diet to your young reptile, it might face health issues in the future. This can also affect its age span.
With time, you can tone down the insects and focus more on fruits and vegetables since they are easily digestible and require less exercise to burn off.
The best approach to keeping your beardie’s health and longevity intact is to replicate the diet it receives in the wild. Let’s start with the foods that your bearded dragon should eat.
We all know that fruits are essential for growth and enrichment. They contain vitamins and minerals that help boost your body and support your organs to do their job properly.
Furthermore, their bodies cannot produce all the vitamins and minerals they need daily. Fortunately, they are found in fruits.
However, pet owners often forget that fruits are packed with sugar. So, portion control is necessary. Fruits can also give birth to dental problems, forcing you to rush your beardie to a vet.
Here are a few common fruits that are safe for your beardies:
All of these fruits are safe for your beardie to eat, in controlled portions.
The Kiwi is one fruit that your bearded dragon will love to eat. It contains dietary fiber, which will assist your pet’s digestive functions. Plus, kiwi is a soft fruit. Feed your beardie with some kiwi once in a blue moon to bring variety to its diet.
Greens And Veggies
Leafy greens are loaded with essential minerals and nutrients. Vets recommend giving your pet beardie a variety of greens and veggies to promote healthy growth and prevent common diseases.
You can feed your bearded dragon okra, parsnips, sweet potatoes, peas, courgette, yellow squash, swiss chard, asparagus, broccoli (in controlled portions and small pieces), and other vegetables from time to time.
In greens, clover, collards, kale, spring greens, rocket, coriander, watercress, mustard greens, and parsley are suitable.
A young bearded dragon is supposed to eat meat more often since it helps with muscle growth, whereas older beardies should eat more leafy greens and vegetables since they are easy to digest.
While feeding vegetables and greens, remove the pips and peel off the hard skin to expose the soft interior. Then, cut it into bite-sized portions so your beardie doesn’t choke on them.
If you want to be extra cautious, pay a visit to your vet and ask them to make a list of vegetables and greens that your bearded dragon is allowed to eat. Your vet knows about your beardie’s health status and conditions. It is best to rely on their expert advice.
It’s okay if your beardie munches on some undesirable weeds occasionally.
But don’t make it a habit. Since weeds grow in awkward places, they might not be the best thing to eat. They offer little to no nutritional value, and although they’re not poisonous, it is best not to feed them to your beardie.
Besides, weeds could be difficult for your reptile buddy to digest.
Perhaps the most favored item out of the lot, crickets are loved by bearded dragons. They are high in protein and are frequently referred to as a beardie’s diet staple.
Protein is very important for a growing bearded dragon. Juvenile beardies that are less than 2 years old need a healthy source of crickets in their diet to grow steadily.
The best part about crickets is that they are available almost everywhere. You can check your nearest pet store or even browse online. They are inexpensive and can become a fun activity for your bearded dragon as well.
Just leave a few crickets outside for your beardie to chase. This activity improves your beardie’s hunting abilities by encouraging him to use his muscles and body. Therefore, in addition to feeding your pet reptile, you also give it the necessary exercise.
Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Worms come in various forms, shapes, and colors. To whet its appetite and encourage healthy growth of its body, muscles, and organs, you can feed your bearded dragon a variety of worms.
Your bearded dragon will enjoy eating superworms, waxworms, butterworms, hornworms, silkworms, mealworms, and a variety of other worms. All of these worms come with a high source of protein, so if your beardie is getting a bit old, you should reduce the number of worms in his diet.
Worms may try to flee as soon as you leave them on the floor or in the garden. Your bearded dragon will be motivated to pursue and catch them as a result of this, awakening its hunting instinct in the process. Again, this will be a fun activity for your pet.
This may also allow you two to develop a better bond.
Worms, however, shouldn’t be a baby bearded dragon’s main source of protein. They should be considered treats and snacks that your beardie munches on from time to time.
Baby and juvenile bearded dragons have a large appetite. This means you can’t rely only on worms and crickets. Your beardie needs some variety in its diet, so why not throw in some dubia roaches every once in a while?
Bearded dragons cherish Dubia roaches because they are delicious and very easy to digest.
By weight, dubia roaches have around 54% protein, according to Dubia Roach Depot.
Since these roaches are found in the wild, bearded dragons in jungles and forests love eating them. It is also safe and fine for your pet beardie to have them. Dubia roaches are, in fact, inexpensive and easy to find.
Can a Bearded Dragon Eat Home Food?
If you’re wondering whether your bearded dragon can take a bite out of that delicious hamburger you made, then the answer is no.
As much as we’d like your pet beardie to have some of the foods you usually do, it is unsafe for them to consume such foods.
On the bright side, bearded dragons can have salads, fruits, vegetables, and other food items we regularly do. However, you should be careful. Don’t feed every type of fruit or vegetable to your bearded dragon.
You should make sure the fruit or vegetable your beardie consumes passes two tests:
- Digestibility – It is easily digestible.
- Nutrition – It is nutritious.
Your pet reptile should not eat any food that is not easily digestible and provides no nutrition.
What Should a Bearded Dragon Never Eat?
In this article, we’ve talked about plenty of items. But there are certain foods that your beardie should never eat. What are those? And why should your pet reptile never have them? Well, let’s have a look.
You should never include onions in your beardie’s diet. They are acidic, which will upset your pet’s stomach and cause a variety of digestive and stomach problems.
Eggplant is another acidic fruit. Although you can feed the interior of the eggplant in small amounts, it is better to stay safe and keep your beardie away from them entirely. Better safe than sorry!
Fireflies are insects; there should be no problem with letting your bearded dragon have them, right? Wrong!
Insects that glow are mostly toxic. It is better to steer clear of them entirely.
Why not other wild insects, then?
For starters, wild insects are most probably covered in parasites. Since bearded dragons have delicate digestive systems, it’s always better to feed store-bought insects to your pet reptile.
When we’re talking about wild bearded dragons, it’s a different ball game altogether. Wild bearded dragons have stronger immune and digestive systems compared to their household counterparts.
Never feed avocados to your bearded dragon. They contain toxic elements that can even kill your pet. Even a small amount can make your beardie ill.
There’s no simple way to say this: bearded dragons do not possess a digestive system that can digest milk.
Therefore, all and any products that contain dairy are prohibited. Under any circumstances, you are not allowed to let your beardie have any dairy products.
The most important things for your beardie’s long life are timely checkups and a balanced diet. It might take some time to process and digest all of this information, but we’re sure you’ll get there in time.
Just make sure you don’t slip up along the way. If you do, the best solution is to visit a vet immediately and rely on their advice.