What do bearded dragons eat? These curious, active reptiles have lived in exotic environments, which means they need some extra attention and care than our average pet. It also means that they have got some special requirements when it comes to their diet. But no fretting, this article will help you with the do’s and don’ts so you can guarantee that your dragon will live a happy and healthy life.
We can guarantee that first-time reptile owners can easily master a bearded dragon’s diet with our straightforward ultimate guide. We made sure that this article will explain everything you need to know about feeding our scaly friends.
At first glimpse, you might think that a bearded dragon’s diet is too complicated. Honestly, these lizards are omnivores, so they eat a mixture of fruits, vegetables, and insects. Also, bearded dragons have different diets, from young to adult. It is essential to change your pet’s meal as they grow to ensure that they receive the correct nutrients they need.
What Are the Essential Foods for Bearded Dragons?
Do you know how many nutrients are in your dragon’s diet? Making sure that our pets receive the daily required nutrients is essential. Also, we have to feed them the highest quality we can afford to keep up with their energy requirements.
However, since pet beardies eat diverse insects, vegetables, and small vertebrates, we can easily arrange their everyday meals. The essential foods for bearded dragons are:
Proteins contain amino acids that act as essential building blocks for all reptiles, including bearded dragons. This nutrient helps in forming muscles, enzymes, and antibodies. Providing the proper amount of nutrients to your pet will help it grow healthily.
For many reptile owners, maintaining a good calcium intake is the key to preventing metabolic bone disease. All reptiles, whether turtles, iguanas, or bearded dragons, are at risk of developing this disease. Veterinarians said we could prevent this if the dietary calcium to phosphorus ratio stayed between 1:1 to 2:1.
Some of the common symptoms of the metabolic bone disease include soft, brittle, or deformed bones, soft and short jaws, and swollen limbs. Instead of relying on their diet alone, you can consider feeding your pet a calcium powder with vitamin D. It has high calcium gut-loading nutrients before mealtime.
To help a dragon’s body to absorb calcium, make sure that its vitamins contain Vitamin D3. This nutrient acts as the sponge to help reptiles to distribute calcium where it is needed the most. Remember that sometimes Vitamin D3 from sunlight isn’t enough since it does not travel well through the glass of your pet’s enclosure.
Veggies are also the most essential in a beardie’s diet. To be exact, it should make up at least 25% of a young dragon’s diet and 50% of an adult’s. Some of the most recommended veggies are shredded carrots, kale, mustard greens, and collard greens.
Just like people, young bearded dragons require less food than an adult since they are still not that active. In case you didn’t know, veggies are very high in calcium and a healthy source of calories. However, before feeding it to your bearded dragon, you must wash them first and serve them raw.
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Water is essential for all animals, including bearded dragons. These reptiles need water to drink and some to splash in, especially during summer. Always provide plenty of clean water to your pets since this essential liquid allows cells to function and process skin shedding.
- Packaged food
We encourage reptile owners to offer their pets some high-quality packaged foods from trusted brands. Not only is it delicious for your pet, but it also provides a variety of nutrients in your dragon’s diet. Although these animals eat plants and insects, some packaged foods offer greater amounts of nutrients.
Nowadays, many brands offer high-protein formulas for juvenile species and lower-protein versions for adults. You don’t have to fret about preservatives if you know how to choose high-quality commercial food. Always buy foods with no-preservative or natural preservatives whenever possible.
What Are the Best Bugs for Your Beardie?
These cute little reptiles love eating live bugs. They typically look for crickets, roaches, and worms. However, there’s so much more that you need to know. Here are the best bugs for your beardie.
Crickets are by far the most popular snack for bearded dragons due to their calcium-rich nutrients. These bugs are widely available at pet food stores. However, keep in mind that crickets can be irritating due to their noise and can easily escape. Make sure to securely place it in a container and away from your ears.
- Dubia Roaches
Bearded dragons also love dubia roaches. These bugs are extremely low in fat but high in protein. According to our research, dubia roaches contain at least five times the nutritional value of other live bugs. Also, this insect is very quiet and cannot climb or fly. Therefore, dubia roaches make feeding a little easier for you compared to crickets. If they do somehow escape, they won’t bite, stink, or infest your home.
Since worms have various species, we will show you the top five healthiest choices for your bearded dragons. Some of these are more nutrient-rich than others, so it’s up to you which one suits your pet’s special needs.
Butterworms make a great dietary supplement to your dragon because it is rich in calcium and protein.
Although earthworms are not as popular as other worms, these bugs offer great moisture and calcium to our pets. However, be sure to rinse them before giving them to your beardie to ensure no dirt or other particles were stuck to their slimy skin.
- Mealworms (for adults only)
Mealworms are also a popular snack for adult bearded dragons. However, it is not suitable for younger ones since it has a tough exoskeleton safe for a mature dragon but can cause a gut impaction to the little guys. Gut impaction is a potentially fatal digestion blockage.
- Phoenix Worms
Phoenix worms are a great source of protein and calcium, like butterworms. However, this one is very small. So, if you have a large or adult dragon, you will need a large number of phoenix worms if you want to include it on your pet’s main course. Most owners only use phoenix worms as snacks since it’s more costly than other worms.
Silkworm contains a great amount of potassium, phosphorous, moisture, calcium, and protein.
- Wax Worms
According to the veterinarian, an adult bearded dragon should eat a maximum of five or six wax worms per day since it has a high-fat content.
What Insects Should We Avoid?
Never feel the following insects to your bearded dragon since these are all potentially harmful and poisonous.
- Elder bugs
- Venomous insects
- Dead insects
- Any insects from the wild or bait shop
Tip: Look for a trusted and reliable pet food source where insects are available.
What Are the Best Vegetables for Your Beardie?
Vegetables should make up at least 50%-75 of your bearded dragon’s daily food intake. The following vegetables are the healthiest and most recommended for them:
- Collard Greens
- Sweet Potatoes
These veggies will surely provide a good amount of nutrients and calories to your pet. However, it would be best if you would wash them first before serving. Also, make sure to only serve raw vegetables.
What Are the Best Fruits for Your Beardie?
Fruits also play an essential part in a bearded dragon diet since they contain many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients usually not found in other foods. Some of the best options are:
You should not consider food as your pet’s main course. Use these as treats, instead. If your pet needs more nutrients, try this liquid vitamin.
5 Tips in Feeding Your Baby Dragon
- Feed your adult dragon once a day maximum.
- Insects should not make up more than 50% of an adult’s daily food intake.
- Feed your adult with more veggies than insects.
- Dust a light coating of a multivitamin supplement onto the adult’s meal twice a week.
- Do not feed your adult dragon with insects from outside of your home.
Remember to always feed your pet with any of the food items listed above to ensure balanced nutrition. If you have observed that your bearded dragon has inappropriate supplementation, do not hesitate to check with your veterinarian for specific recommendations to improve your pet’s diet.
Plus, if you plan to change your pet’s diet, you must first discuss it with your veterinarian. Always follow your vet’s advice, especially if your dragon is sensitive.