In recent times, one type and species of lizards that have grown in popularity is the bearded dragon. Their dragon-like characteristics have gotten the attention of reptile enthusiasts.
Just like any pet in captivity, it is essential and fundamental to their health that they are fed a nutritious and healthy diet. So, the question you may want to ask is what do bearded dragons eat?
In this article, we will go over all you need to know about the dietary habits of bearded dragons.
- 1 What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
- 2 What Vegetables Can Bearded Dragons Eat
- 3 What Fruits Can Bearded Dragons Eat
- 4 What Insects Can Bearded Dragons Eat
- 5 Bearded Dragons Supplements
- 6 What Not To Feed Bearded Dragons
- 7 Baby Vs Juvenile Vs Adult Bearded Dragons Diet
- 8 Final Words On What Does Bearded Dragons Eat
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded dragons are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders. In the wild, this means they practically are able to feed on both plant and animal matter found around them. In captivity, this translates to feeding on live insects and an assortment of fruits and vegetables.
To know what to feed your beardie, it is important that you are familiar with what they eat in the wild. As much as possible, you want to replicate this habit/lifestyle when kept in captivity.
Although not extensive, studies have been able to provide a clue to what bearded dragons consume in the wild by looking into the content flushed out of their stomachs.
It was found that insects (mostly termites) constitute 61% of the diet. The rest of the content was made of plant matter. This suggests that this reptile and type of lizard are opportunistic feeders. That is to say that they are always ready to consume any food that is available.
Simply said, bearded dragons are omnivorous and in captivity, this translates to feeding on live insects and an assortment of fruits and vegetables.
This is to say that their food should consist of both animal and plant-based materials. It can be overwhelming and complicated for some inexperienced owners as the ratio between these two food materials varies at every stage of their life.
As a general guideline, their diet can consist of about 50% of both of these food sources/materials.
What Vegetables Can Bearded Dragons Eat
Bearded dragons are known to love vegetables and leafy greens, and it is recommended that these form the basis of their diet.
That is, it is important that they be provided with this food as much as possible – as much as 80% of their diet.
Furthermore, you want to feed them with these on a daily basis, and as fresh as possible. Avoid frozen or cooked forms of these foods as much as possible for maximized nutrition.
Fortunately, you can find a good enough variety and types of vegetables and leafy greens so your beardies don’t get used to a particular type and get bored.
Their diets should be varied and interesting. Also, make sure that the veggies and greens are not hard. To help with softening, you may want to cook to the state where they’ll be able to conveniently eat. (1)
Here’s a list of what veggies can bearded dragons eat,
- Green beans
- Artichoke hearts
- Sweet potato
- Collard greens
What Fruits Can Bearded Dragons Eat
This is another important constituent of bearded dragon diets. Bearded dragons love the sight of them, plus these fruits provided them with many minerals and vitamins, and other nutrients you don’t readily find in other foods.
A major downside of this food is the high sugar content in it which usually gets your beardies obese.
But, do not fail to include them in their diet as they are very important for your dragons. Rather, they should be given in strict moderation – say about 15% of plant matter.
You can come up with creative ways of feeding it to them, like serving it as a dressing on top of green and vegetables. So generally, fruits should be the smallest part of their diet. Make sure that these fruits are fresh; always check that they do not get rotten.
Here’s what kind of fruit can bearded dragons eat,
- Star fruit
What Insects Can Bearded Dragons Eat
Bearded dragons are doubtless fans of insects and they tend to devour about anything in that form. Much more is that insects are a major source of protein to them.
It is important to acknowledge here that beardies prey on food, and thus insects that are to be offered to them must be live. That means that you either raise them up yourself or you buy from reptile stores around.
Also, these insects must not be too large, to avoid them getting choked in the process.
Again provide your beardies with enough insects they are able to consume. When they are done eating, takeout out the remaining and save for the next feeding time.
This is to avoid insects running rogue in the enclosure, thereby stressing your bearded dragon or becoming a nuisance and nibbling on them.
It is recommended that you avoid feeding your dragons with insects you find outside around the garden or your yard. These insects could contain fertilizers, insecticides, or pesticides, which are toxic to your reptilian buddy.
Here’s what insects do bearded dragons Eat
- Dubia roaches
- King worms
- Butter worms
- Black soldier fly larvae
- Phoenix worms
Bearded Dragons Supplements
Chances are that the best diet may be deficient in many nutrients. To ensure that your dragons get as many nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as they need, you need to use supplements.
Before feeding your beardies, dust your feeder insects with the supplements. It is important that these supplements be given in moderation, as over-supplementation can be as bad, if not worse than under-supplementation. They are also not to be applied too often.
There are some of these supplement-sourced nutrients you should look out for and they are:
Calcium and Vitamin D3
Calcium and vitamin D3 go hand in hand for bearded dragons – they can’t absorb one without the other. This duo plays a very important role in their growth and development.
They help in promoting bone health and preventing conditions such as metallic bone disease. This already implies that baby dragons will need a regular dose – as much as 3 – 5 times per week. Adults are not left out, although once a week is good enough for them.
When it comes to bone development, Phosphorous is a key player. Besides great sources such as vegetables and fruits, a supplement will help ensure that the bone of your reptilian buddy stays in good shape.
But, they should be given in moderation, to avoid its interference with calcium (too much phosphorus affects proper ingestion of calcium).
This mineral comes in handy in the development of your beardies. This makes it essential for baby dragons. It is particularly important to include this supplement because, even though they can be gotten from greens and vegetables, beardies avoid these foods at their tender age. Any source of iron at this stage will go a long way.
A major problem associated with bearded dragons is dehydration, and this suggests that water will go a long in their diet and health. In the wild, their source of water is majorly from rainwater and dew from plants.
In water, you can use a water dish and place it in their enclosure. A lot of bearded dragons will be clueless about what having a dish means, but with time and some creativity on your part, they will get a hang of it.
Or, you can mist his cage with fresh water say once or twice daily. You can use a spray bottle for this as it simulates the rainfall and dew they are already used to in the wild.
What Not To Feed Bearded Dragons
It is doubtless important to know what foods you can feed your bearded dragon. Also, knowing what you can’t feed them is important as well.
There are certain foods that rather nourish your beardie, end up causing harm. For instance, it is not advisable to feed our dragon with night-glowing insects such as fireflies or lightning bulbs.
There are chemicals responsible for causing this glow in the dark which can be toxic. Some foods may not be poisonous, but you may want to avoid them because they are unhealthy.
Here’s a list of some foods to avoid in the bearded dragon diet:
- Elder bugs
- Horse chestnut
- Fish and seafood
- Lightning bugs / Fireflies
Baby Vs Juvenile Vs Adult Bearded Dragons Diet
Dieting for bearded dragons is somewhat interesting, seeing that it gets to change over the lizard’s lifetime. The change here is not about the constituent of the diet, but rather the ratio of the plant matter to insects.
Baby Bearded Dragons
Growth for bearded dragons usually seems surprisingly quick, and to meet up with the demands, they need to be provided a large amount of protein.
This can get from live insects such as termites, locusts, and crickets. At this juvenile stage, it is recommended that live insects comprise about 80% of the bearded dragon’s diet.
The plant matter should take up the remaining 20% of the diet. This is also a time in their life when they are always hungry. So be ready to feed them as often as possible – say 3 – 4 times daily.
Juvenile Bearded Dragon
Juvenile is generally considered to be lizards between the ages of 5 and 17 months old. This is a stage between babyhood and adulthood.
As an in-between phase of their life, their dieting can be a bit tricky. At this stage, their dietary requirements are further altered a bit. Typically, a juvenile bearded dragon’s diet should comprise 50% plant matter and 50% insects. Also, you can drop down on the frequency of feeding them.
Adult Bearded Dragons
As your dragons mature, there is naturally a reverse of this ratio. At this stage, it is expected that your bearded dragon has stopped growing, and reached peak sexual maturity as well.
The hunger for food is bound to decrease to a large extent. The proportion of insects taken in the diet is supposed to drop, and then an increase in the plant matter.
Simply put, you should feed your adult bearded dragons with 80% plant matter and 20% live insects.
Final Words On What Does Bearded Dragons Eat
The bearded dragon is one pet any reptile enthusiast will desire to have, thanks to its general hardiness, temperament, and long life span.
Whether as your first pet or an addition to your pet family, this lizard is nothing short of a perfect option.
You will agree with me that like humans, what you feed your bearded dragons will make them healthier. Much more than that is the boost it gives to their lifespan, increases their activity level, and maintains a more vibrant coloring.
As overwhelming and complicated as it may seem, you want to adhere to their dietary requirements as omnivores. The proper combination of plant and animal matter at every stage of their lives is the key to a healthy and vibrant pet.
I hope you enjoyed and have gotten some value from the information contained in this article? If you have any questions to ask or contributions to make, kindly drop them in the comment section below. I’ll be happy to respond as soon as possible.
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