Bearded dragons, affectionately known as beardies, make a good choice for a pet lizard. As omnivorous reptiles, their diet consists mostly of insects and plants.
Bearded Dragon Diet List
According to Drs. Foster and Smith, bearded dragons eat a variety of meat and vegetable matter, including insects, vegetables and fruits. Adults will even eat pinky mice and baby lizards. The best adult bearded dragon diet is varied and consists of mostly vegetables and fruits. The following foods are some of their favorites:
- Crickets (Young crickets known as pinhead crickets are right for juveniles)
- King worms
- Wax worms (High in fat, so use as an occasional treat)
- Bell pepper
- Frozen mixed vegetables
- Grated carrots
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
- Bananas (peel first)
- Strawberries (remove seeds)
Commercial Bearded Dragon Food
Commercial bearded dragon foods can also be purchased and used to supplement your pet's diet. However, even though most of these foods are comprised of plant and animal ingredients, some beardies choose not to eat these dry alternatives. If you decide to try a commercial food, pick one especially designed for bearded dragons such as:
- Zoo Med Natural Bearded Dragon Food (Available in adult and juvenile formulas)
- Fluker's Buffet Blend
- Rep-Cal Bearded Dragon Food (Available in adult and juvenile formulas)
- Nature Zone Bearded Dragon Bites
How to Feed a Bearded Dragon
When feeding a bearded dragon one thing that has to be taken into consideration is the lizard's age. Nutritional needs change as they grow, and baby and juvenile bearded dragons require more protein in their diets. In fact a juvenile beardie (two to four months old) may eat as many as 20 to 60 crickets per day along with fresh greens, while an adult bearded dragon should be offered a plant-based diet consisting of more fruits and vegetables and however many insects he can eat within five to 10 minutes. Other than age, the following tips will help you decide what to feed your pet:
Bearded Dragon Feeding Tips
- Young beardies eat two to three times a day.
- Spray greens with water: This not only keeps your pet hydrated, it helps the greens stay fresh longer.
- Gauge size of food: Don't feed your beardie insects any bigger than the space between their eyes. Doing so can lead to health issues such as impaction or hind-leg paralysis.
- Feed freshly-molted insects: Freshly-molted insects are easier for your pet to digest.
Along with a varied diet, your beardie needs fresh water daily. Most often, water is placed in a shallow bowl on the bottom of the cage. However, some bearded dragons are a little persnickety and won't drink from a bowl. To work around this, mist greens with water before serving, or trying putting a droplet on your finger and letting it drop onto his snout. Another trick is to stick the tip of your finger in the water and move it to create ripples. Sometimes the movement draws the bearded dragon to sample the water in the dish.
Fireflies Are Toxic
In an effort to keep your beardie well-fed, you may go out and catch insects, but always check to be sure the food you feed your pet is safe. For instance, fireflies may be great fun to catch, but these seemingly harmless bugs are poisonous to bearded dragons.
Raising Bearded Dragon Food
Insects fed to your bearded dragon can be wild caught or store bought, but juvenile beardies can keep you running to the pet store almost every day to buy enough protein in crickets or mealworms. Another consideration is the option of raising your own supply. Raising your own ensures a steady supply of young, smaller insects which will be just the right size for a juvenile. Another benefit to raising your own insects is that it allows control over the diet for these feeder insects. When fed a vitamin rich diet, home-raised insects become a nutritious meal for your beardie.
Plenty of Options
Between fresh foods, commercial diets and live foods, you can certainly feed your pet a varied diet. Follow the tips listed here, and you'll be well on your way to feeding your dragon right.