What do bearded dragons eat? For a healthy life, it is important to feed your bearded dragon with a proper balanced diet. As a smart omnivore, this dragon either eats fruits, plant or animal products/ supplements.
Maybe you have come across a bearded dragon in the fields, zoo or probably own one and wonders what this reptile eats.
Bearded Dragons can also feed on vegetables/greens such as cabbages, celery, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, courgette, butternut squash, okra, bell pepper, clover, turnip green, mustard green, coriander or collard/ kales.
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat? 7 Tips
Also, you can feed your bearded dragon with animals like crickets, earthworms, cockroaches, mealworms, waxworms, butter worms, Dubia roaches, silkworms, locust or king worms.
1. Fruits Eaten by Bearded Dragons
Tomatoes are ideal meal for your bearded dragon as they are the main source of vitamin A, which promotes good vision, skin development and protein synthesis.
However, it is dangerous to feed your dragon with excess of these fruits. Tomatoes contain oxalic acid (not easily excreted) which inhibits absorption of calcium needed for bone development.
Importantly, avoid feeding your pet bearded dragon with tomato’s leaves, stem or flowers since these parts contain alkaloids such as solanine and tomatine, which negatively affects its health, and alter its physiological processes greatly.
Apples for bearded dragons are an essential fruit as they contain 1% of vitamin A, 5% of Vitamin K and 14% of vitamin C, which enhances good vision and development. When feeding, it is necessary to peel the apples and slice them into sizable pieces that can be chewed and swallowed smoothly without chocking the lizard.
Apples have high-level Calories (95%) and 4g fibers per fruit that will boost your dragon’s energy and reduce indigestion problems.
Moreover, apples large quantities of magnesium and potassium minerals, which improves development and immune system of your Breaded Dragon.
Peal your bananas and slice them into small pieces before feeding your bearded dragon if unripe. Most beardies won’t eat banana peels unless they are grown under natural care.
You should feed your pet beardie with banana occasionally (maybe once or twice a month). Why because, bananas contain high levels of phosphorous that binds the calcium in the body (inhibits its intake) and thus may end up causing metabolic bone disease (calcium deficiency disease).
Berries such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries or blueberries can be fed to bearded dragon as they add extra water content to the blood stream. In addition, berries contain rich fiber-networks that improves digestion process – just like the cantaloupe.
Berries should be fed directly without peeling or mashing. However, wild picked berries should be cleaning thoroughly before feeding or you avoid them since they may contain toxins or harmful pests.
Blackberries are slightly harder and can be split for easier swallowing. Blueberries should be given occasionally since they contain oxalates that binds calcium leading to metabolic bone disease.
e. Papaya and watermelon
Papaya and watermelon contain sugary taste that attracts your beardies for extra feeding. They have strong fiber content that prevents your beardie from constipation. You can also feed your bearded dragons with cucumber.
Though necessary, the excess water content found in these fruits may be dangerous as they may lead to over hydration and runny poo. Therefore, it is recommended that you supplement these fruits with main meal and use them occasionally (twice per month).
f. Cherries and plums
Cherries have high level of potassium necessary for fluid balance regulation and blood pressure reduction. However, excess eating may lead to calcium inhibition and thus cherries should be fed once per week as a supplement to main meal.
Apart from water content addition, plums have fibers that help prevent constipation. It also contain iron, calcium and magnesium minerals necessary for growth and development.
It is necessary to remove the central seeds found in cherry and plum as they may cause impaction to your bearded dragon.
g. Grapes and mangoes
Grapes contains a high level of calcium necessary for bone strengthening. You will need to slice them into small pieces for easier swallowing.
Grapes also have fair level of oxalate and phosphorous thus should be supplemented with other main meal. Like grapes, mangoes have fibers that help in digestion of your beardie.
The sugary component in mangoes makes them favorite to beardies. However, these fruits have high level of oxalate that binds and inhibits calcium absorption. They should, therefore, be fed twice or thrice per month and be supplemented with other main feeds.
2. Vegetables/Greens Eaten by Bearded Dragons
Cabbages are essential meal for your bearded dragon since they contain high-energy content (113kJ). They also contain strong fibers (prevents constipation), water and vitamin A, C, & K necessary for growth and development.
Moreover, magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese minerals are also plenty – just like broccoli for bearded dragons. Notably, cabbages have high level of calcium to phosphorous ratio (2:1) which prevents occurrence of metabolic bone disease.
Ensure that green or red cabbages are thoroughly washed (to remove harmful chemicals or insects) and sliced into sizable pieces before feeding your bearded dragon. Minimize use of purple cabbages since they are highly acidic.
b. Sweet potatoes
Normally, bearded dragons don’t eat raw sweet potatoes. They may feed on peels, but occasionally. Actually, raw sweet potatoes are great challenge to chewing as most beardies swallow food as a whole.
However, these lizards will eat mashed or cooked sweet potatoes. You can also supplement your beardie’s main meal with sweet potatoes vines, which should be chopped well. But bearded dragons can also eat carrots.
The relative level of calcium to phosphorous ratio (1:1.56) make it inappropriate to use sweet potatoes as daily meal. Sweet potatoes vines have rich fiber networks that help in preventing constipation.
c. Green beans and peas
Green beans and peas are ideal meal for your beardies as they contain high-energy content (131 kJ), vitamins A, C&K as well as calcium, magnesium and iron minerals.
You can either feed your beardies with green pods or vines, which need to be chopped into small sizes first. The relative calcium to phosphorous ratio of these greens means that they can only be used occasionally (once or twice per week.).
Beans or peas pods and vines have rich fiber content, which will help prevent your bearded dragon from indigestion problems. You need to clean green peas and beans before feeding your pet bearded dragon so as to remove any toxic chemical or poisonous insects (fireflies).
d. Corianders or Kales
Corianders are rich in fibers, vitamin (A, C, E&K) and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, copper and phosphorous. This occasion meal should be fed once per week. The relatively high calcium: phosphorous ratio means that overfeeding/excess use will lead to metabolic bone disease.
Kales are rich source of vitamin K and C as well as magnesium mineral. Kales also have thiamine that boost the immunity of your beardie. However, these green should only be supplemented with the main meal.
Notably, corianders or Kales are acidic in nature thus will alter the pH of digestive track leading to indigestion problems.
3. Animals / Animal Products Eaten by Bearded Dragons
a. Crickets and Locusts
Crickets and locusts are staple insects to feed your bearded dragon. They have high level of proteins necessary for growth and development of your pet lizard.
Crickets and locusts also contain a large quantity of iron needed to strengthen teeth and bones. When feeding your beardie, remove the legs to allow easier swallowing and slice large locust where possible.
Baby beardies should only be fed with small locust/crickets (1-10 days).
Earthworms are major source of calcium for your bearded dragon. They are also fatty, thus should not be used as the main diet – too much fat accumulation will make your pet docile.
Purchase earthworms from vet approved vendors.
Avoid feeding your beardies with wild picked earthworms, as they may be poisonous.
Silkworms have soft bodies that make its swallowing easier. They contain high protein and calcium level needed for growth and development.
Bearded dragon (of any age) can be fed using silkworm as basic diet. Actually, you can use silkworms as main meal since they contain low-fat levels and are highly nutritious.
Silkworms also contain minerals such as magnesium, iron, sodium as well as vitamin B1, B2 and B3 that help boost immunity.
The tasty mealworms are known to be the most favorite of bearded dragons’ meals. They contain high fat level and thus should be used occasionally with other feeds such as fruits and vegetables.
Mealworms should be fed, mostly, to beardies aged 5-6 years. Though Mealworms contains proteins and calcium, the quantity is quite low as compared to silkworms and earthworms.
Just like mealworms and silkworms, waxworms are fatty meals that should be fed to your bearded dragon occasionally in order to avoid abnormal weight accumulation, which may make it inactive.
Supplement 2-12 waxworms with vegetables and fruits per week. Waxworms are best diet for fattening young beardies.
f. Dubia roaches
Dubia roaches are the best insect meal for your bearded dragons as they contain 50% proteins (necessary for growth) and 61% moisture content. They have fairly soft bodies, which make your breaded dragons chew and digest them easily.
Unlike crickets, Dubia roaches have high calcium: phosphorous ration and thus enhance prevention of metabolic bone disease. The top benefits of Dubia roaches is that they are quiet, never jump a lot, don’t smell, live longer and are easier to breed.
What Can’t Bearded Dragons eat? Which Foods Do You Avoid From Feeding Your Bearded Dragon? Breaded dragons are very sensitive to some meals. You need therefore need to be very cautious of every diet you feed them. Avoid feeding your bearded dragon with some of the following meals:
Oranges have high quantity of citric acid that causes throat discomfort and hurt burn. In addition, too much accumulation of acid content will inactivate digestive enzymes reaction leading to indigestion problems.
Oranges also have excess sugars that may cause tooth decay and excess diarrhea to your bearded dragon.
Though avocados have good fiber content, they shouldn’t be fed to bearded dragons since they contain excess oxalate that binds calcium and prevent its absorption in digestive track. This may lead to metabolic bone disease at long run.
Rhubarbs have high content of oxalic acid and nephrotoxin that damages the kidneys of your bearded dragons when eaten. They also cause watery diarrhea and muscular weakness of beardie.
In case of consumption, seek immediate assistance from a veterinary.
h. Spinach and beet tops
These vegetables have chemical that binds calcium in the digestive system thus inhibiting it from absorption into the bloodstream. This, with time, may lead to calcium deficiency that cause metabolic bone disease.
i. Lighting insects
All insect that glow (produces light) such as fireflies should be avoided as they contain toxic chemical, which may poison/kill your bearded dragon when eaten.
What Not to Feed on Bearded Dragons
What do Baby Bearded Dragons eat?
Baby Bearded Dragon will need a special care through proper feeding habit and health attention (use vet for regular medical check-up).
It is important to feed your baby beardie with more insect (especial Dubia roaches) than vegetables. Insects contains high protein level, fat and minerals that is needed at the young stage for growth and development.
Fruits such as grapes, peeled bananas and berries should be supplemented with mealworms or silkworms to boost the breadie’s feeding habit.
Though baby bearded dragon do eat vegetables, normally they climb on them when left in the cage. You will need to mix vegetables with some insects and monitor the feeding for 10-15 minutes.
Feed your baby beardie 1-2 times more that you feed adult ones. A baby bearded dragon aged 4-16 years should eat 40-60 insects per day. At juvenile stage, supplement their main diet with calcium and multi-vitamins powder to boost their growth and immunity.
How to Feed a Bearded Dragon
When feeding breaded dragon, it is necessary to follow the following steps and instructions:
- Never feed your bearded dragon with dead insects. Always introduced live insect in the cage and allow the beardie to hunt – this create an exercise chance and boost its psychology.
- All vegetable feeds should be washed thoroughly; freshly chopped and fed while wet –water ease swallowing and reduces dehydration.
- When feeding your bearded dragon, ensure that the chopped pieces are lesser than the space between its eyes.
- Feed your bearded dragon for a given period (10-20minutes) and then carry the leftovers. Most of these beardies never stop eating – they may end up being docile because of excess feeding.
- Peel and chop all fruit meals that you feed your bearded dragon.
- It is necessary to mix vegetable/fruits with insects when feeding your bearded dragon to improve the nutrition level.
Never feed your bearded dragon directly into its mouth (this may cause health complication or impaction). You should, therefore, place all the meals in a dish to allow self-feeding unless the beardie is sick and needs medical attention.
Bearded dragon can eat either fruits (apple, grapes, berries), vegetables (cabbages, green beans, corianders) or animals such as crickets, roaches, silkworms and locust.
Avoid feeding your beardies with avocados, rhubarbs, spinach, onions or fireflies as they negatively affect their health. Mix plant diet with animal feed to improve the nutritional value.
You will also need to supplement meals with calcium and multi-vitamin powder to boost growth and immunity of your bearded dragon further. Importantly, do not overfeed your dragon as they end up being docile.