If you're considering keeping a bearded dragon for a pet, one of your first questions will likely be about what they can eat. In this post, our Baltimore vets list the foods that make up the bearded dragon's diet, how much they should eat, and more.
Bearded Dragon Diet Plan
The best bearded dragon diet for your pet will likely be a diverse one. Since they are omnivores, they eat both plants and animals and can dine on a wide range of food, from live mealworms, kingworms and crickets to greens such as parsley and kale and vegetables like pepper and sweet potato. You can even give them limited amounts of fruit. Today, we'll share a number of veggies, meat, weeds, greens and fruits that can make up a bearded dragon's diet.
Remember that your vet is a great source of information about nutrition and other issues faced by bearded dragons and other exotic pets.
Juvenile & Adult Bearded Dragon Diet
Your beardie's age will factor into what they should eat; the typical baby bearded dragon diet list should be comprised of 80% bugs and 20% plants, with the caveat that some owners have issues with persuading their dragons to eat any vegetables at all when they are young. This ratio is nearly flipped for the adult bearded dragon, whose diet should be made up of 80% plants and 20% insects and bugs.
While a juvenile bearded dragon's diet may have fruit on the list, this should be in limited quantities, and not every day.
Adult bearded dragons should eat mostly plants and vegetation, and less animal matter and insects. This will keep them at a healthy weight and prevent them from becoming obese.
How much should I feed my bearded dragon?
Bearded dragons are sexually mature and will reach adulthood at around 18 months old. By this age, they'll be eating only twice daily, using the ratio of veggies to live insects noted above.
Let your dragon determine how much they should eat by allowing them to eat for a certain time - 10 minutes when they're given insects. Remove uneaten insects at the end of the 1-minute mark.
For fruits and vegetables, leave them in your dragon's enclosure only for approximately 30 minutes, which allows your dragon enough time to have its fill but prevents overfeeding. This also ensures leftover food doesn't grow moldy.
Here are some things Bearded Dragons can eat, at a glance:
- Wax worms
- King worms
Some of these can be found in pet stores. Keep in mind that live crickets are a good food source in addition to being stimulating, since a wild bearded dragon diet would typically include these and your dragon can chase them. When purchasing live food, consider the nutritional value, ease of storing and cost. Our vets also recommend occasionally varying the food you provide so that your pet dines on a diverse range of animals. Bearded dragons should not eat wild insects as they can have diseases or parasites that could hurt or kill your dragon.
Remember to gut load any insects your dragon eats - meaning ideally, you'll feed your insects what you're not feeding your dragon that week so your pet gets the nutritional variety and value of whatever the insect has eaten.
A bearded dragon can safely eat many vegetables. Here is a list of the most common staple vegetables they can dine on daily:
- Asparagus (Raw)
- Butternut squash
- Yellow squash
- Acorn squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Peeled Cucumber
- Yams (Raw)
- Turnip greens
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Zucchini (Raw)
- Okra (Raw)
- Bell Peppers (Raw)
- Cabbage (Raw)
- Artichoke Heart
- Bok choy
- Cooked Lentils
Here are some fruits that are safe for Bearded Dragons to eat on a limited basis:
What Else to Know About Feeding a Bearded Dragon
Since bearded dragons can sometimes inadvertently ingest the substrate around their food, we don't recommend feeding smaller bearded dragons in tanks with loose substrate.
Older bearded dragons are typically more accurate and may be able to digest a little substrate more easily.
Is there a bearded dragon diet chart?
While we don't have a bearded dragon diet chart, the photo that accompanies this article is a great example of what bearded dragons can practically eat.
If you are wondering what to include in a diet plan for your bearded dragon, schedule a checkup for your pet with our vets. We can assess him or her and provide advice and guidance based on their unique needs and characteristics.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.