A bearded dragon is an incredibly beautiful reptile that is great for keeping in a city apartment. It’s quite communicative as for exotic reptiles. That’s why we consider it one of the best lizard pets for beginners. Because of its complaisance, small size (15-20 inch) and ease of maintenance, it has become a very popular pet in recent years. In this article, you will learn how to feed a bearded dragon. You’ll also get a free pdf of bearded dragon food list and a nutrition chart.
What do bearded dragons eat?
Feeding bearded dragons the right foods will increase their lifespan, enhance coloring, and increase activity. If you’re interested in what to feed bearded dragon so that the diet is optimal – you came to the right place!
In a natural environment, bearded dragons can eat leaves, stems, berries, fruits, seeds, and other parts of plants. Any insect is also a desirable prey. Adult dragons eat mice, small birds, other lizards, and even small snakes.
Such a variety of food sources allows them to receive all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. It is impossible to reproduce the full diversity of the natural diet accurately. But you have to try to get as close to it as much as possible.
Some Key Points:
The owner of an exotic pet must consider the following details:
- Bearded Dragons are omnivorous – in the natural environment, the reptile feeds on vegetation and insects;
- The reptile’s diet depends on its age and size – the menu of baby bearded dragon animals should be 3/4 of insects and 1/4 of plants, but for adult, lizards are vice versa (more about that later in this article);
- When feeding, it is necessary to grind food, so that size pieces are no more than the distance between the eyes of the reptile. It is mainly required to be careful when feeding pets with vegetables. If the food has large pieces, a bearded dragon can choke.
Baby Bearded Dragon Food List
The baby bearded dragons grow very intensively. Therefore, the young lizards require food with high nutritional value, and plant products do not fully meet these requirements. A baby bearded dragons should eat about 50-60% of proteins (mostly from live food), and about 20-40% of the plant meals.
Advice: Please, don’t feed a baby lizard mealworms. They have a sturdy outer shell, which can be a challenge bearded dragon kid. It might be too hard to digest and could lead to gut disease.
Adult Bearded Dragon Food List
Lizards who have reached puberty do not need abundant protein foods. The basis of their menu can consist of vegetable components. Although the eating of vegetables is not so exciting, this option is quite economical. In opposite to the baby bearded dragon diet, the adult ones should eat mostly vegetable meals, and only 30% left for protein live food.
Advice: Reptiles can’t control themselves properly and tend to overeat, which leads to their obesity and decreased activity. So the owner should understand his responsibility to manage a pet’s diet. We must dose food and feed according to the established ration.
Vegetables are given to reptiles three times a day, and one feeding should consist of insects. What insects are suitable for feeding these lizards? There are two basic requirements for them – they must be non-toxic and nutritious. We recommend to purchase them at specialized shops since creatures caught on the street can be carriers of parasites.
All products are given raw, without prior heat treatment, they should be cut into small pieces.
Reptiles gladly enjoy:
- dubia roaches;
- the larvae of beetles;
Vegetables, fruits, plants should also be useful. They act as sources of vitamins and minerals. Reptiles can be given the following:
- carrot tops;
- strawberry berries;
- slices of apples, melons.
How often do bearded dragons eat?
Young bearded dragons (up to 5 months old) need to be fed three times a day so that animal feed makes up more than half, and plant less. “Teenagers” can be fed once a day, adult bearded dragons (after 18 months) should be fed every other day. And, again, the adult live feed is less than half, and the plant is the most significant part of the menu.
Bearded dragons will eat any insect that creeps in front of their eyes, so make sure it is non-toxic. First of all, it is not recommended to feed those bugs that you find near your house, but only those that you bought at the pet store. They can carry parasites and be poisoned by insecticides. And you can buy ordinary insects in a pet store or on the market without any problems.
Here is the list of best feeder insects for bearded dragons.
Most can be purchased at pet stores or grown on their own. We have a definitive easy guide on how to breed your dubia roach colony, which is a favorite insect for bearded dragons and much better than crickets.
Any feeder insects must be feed on high-calorie and nutritious foods, so before feeding the lizard, it needs to artificially “saturate” the future prey. This can be achieved by placing insects in a separate container 48 hours before feeding. At the bottom of the box is placed food for tropical fish, dry food for puppies, or dry baby food. In the “load” mixture, you can also add vitamin and mineral supplements for reptiles.
You can also buy ready served food if you don’t want to spend time on breeding insect colony or keeping it at your home.
Vegetables and Fruits Food List
Vegetables and fruits are a base for feeding adult bearded dragons. A plant-based feed contains essential minerals and vitamins. Here are the most popular plants from the bearded dragon food list:
- Tops of carrots;
- The apples;
Advice: Lettuce is not nutritional! It is used as a treat for taming and for sick lizards because they love it very much. But a salad can not be the basis of the diet!
Some plants, as well as all mushrooms, are poisonous to most of the reptiles. For example, you shouldn’t feed your pet apple seeds, avocado leaves, azalea, and more. See the full list of dangerous food for bearded dragons.
The problem with getting water might appear because most of the bearded dragons don’t like to drink water. In this case, we recommend adding fruit syrup to a bowl of water to attract attention or spray the face of the reptile once a day so that it reflectively licks off the drops from the surface of the skin. But be careful not to get water in their nostrils and ear openings. Another cunning way to supply water is by feeding moistened greens.
It is essential to change the water in the drinker daily. If your pet does not want to drink and refuses even to approach the water tank, try replacing it with another.
Advice: In any case, do not worry if the animal does not drink water, but feels normal – this means that it receives enough moisture from the main feed.
It is necessary to monitor the cleanliness of the water dish because some reptiles tend to put their droppings into the water and use the water bowl for these purposes. It is nearly impossible to wean the animal from this habit. As one of the solutions, we can only advise you try to rearrange the water bowl to another place. Also, you have to remember that bearded dragons can even begin to splash around in the water dish during molting.
For proper nutrition, it is essential to feed a bearded dragon with a sufficient amount of nutritional supplements.
The most important supplements for these reptiles are vitamin D and calcium. They have to be given to bearded dragons all the time from birth to death. Usually, these supplements come in a powdered form, which makes it super easy to feed to your pet.
We recommended looking at the mixes designed for desert reptiles, geckos, and turtles. The use of feed additives is desirable with every feed of live feed.
Baby bearded dragons should eat vitamin and calcium (with vitamin D3) supplements about 1-3 times per week.
Adult bearded dragons have to be given the same supplement, but only once per week.
Advice: Lizard skin generates vitamin D and Calcium under the power of UV radiation. Accordingly, we can say that a correctly chosen UV lamp is also an element of the bearded dragon healthy diet.
Bearded Dragon Food List Overview
Feeding Baby Bearded Dragon (up to 5 months) –
Protein – 60% , Plants – 40%
3 times a day + supplements
Feeding Semi Adult Bearded Dragon (5-18 months) –
Protein – 60% , Plants – 40%
1 time a day + supplements
Feeding Adult Bearded Dragon (18 months and over) –
Protein – 30% , Plants – 70% + supplements
1 time per 2 day