A Well-Balanced Bearded Dragon Diet plan for Health and Vitality

Bearded dragons are exotic creatures, which means that they need a little more care than your average pet. When we talk about their diet, they have some special requirements. But don’t worry, we have made a complete diet plan for your Bearded Dragon which is balanced as well as healthy, and covered the following questions in this article.

  • What is bearded dragon diet?
  • What do bearded dragons eat?
  • What are best Bugs for bearded dragon?
  • What insects should you avoid?
  • Can Bearded Dragon eat fruits?
  • What vegetables can bearded dragon eat?
  • What are best vegetables for bearded dragons?
  • What fruits can bearded dragon?
  • What are best fruits for bearded dragon?
  • How to keep a bearded dragon hydrated?
  • Tips on feeding baby or juvenile bearded dragon?
  • Tips on feeding your adult dragon?What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?

Omnivores are animals that can eat plants as well as animals. The term originates from the Latin word Omnis, meaning “All or everything”, and Voeare meaning “to devour or eat”.

As bearded dragons are omnivores, they eat plants and animals. Their strong jaws allow them to eat hard-shelled insects, lizards, and rodents and they can also go for leaves, fruits, flowers, etc. They enjoy altering feasts between insects like worms, crickets, roaches, and mealworms and plants like vegetables & and fruits, etc.

For greens, keep a stock of dandelion greens, mustard greens, and collard greens in your home refrigerator. They also go for mixed vegetables including peas, carrots, beans, and salads.

If we talk about insects your pet, be careful that they are no bigger than half the width of the beardie’s head. For example, if your pet is three (3) inches wide from eye to eye, choose insects that are no longer than 1.5 inches long. 

For drinking, Tap water is safe and always offers a shallow dish of water. However, be mindful of the high content of sodium in case you have a water softener. Beardies have a low tolerance for sodium and it affects them especially if they have a health condition. In that case, it’s best to use bottled water instead.

As a general thumb rule, remember the following:

  • For an adult dragon, 80% plants and 20% insects.
  • For a juvenile dragon, 80% insects and 20% plants or 50-50.
  • The Best Bugs/ Insects for Your Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons enjoy eating bugs – live bugs. So, when it’s feeding time, you will enjoy a good chase of bugs by your exotic pet.  Typically crickets, roaches, and worms are fed to them.

One of the most popular choices, and most liked by a bearded dragon. Crickets are protein and calcium-rich snacks for your bearded dragon and are easily available at pet stores.

Just remember that they can escape easily and their noise is irritating, so store them securely and out of hearing range.

Many types of roaches are available and your bearded dragon loves them. But the most preferable one is Dubia roaches. They are low in fat and high in protein. They provide at least five times more nutrition as compared to other insects.

Dubia Roaches are also easy to handle as they don’t make noise and can’t escape. Also, they don’t bite or stick.

Worms are nutrient-rich and several options are available at your pet store. Let’s discuss them one by one.

  • Butter Worms: They are full of calcium and protein. A great dietary supplement for your bearded dragon’s primary feeder insects. 
  • Earthworms: They are not popular, but they offer calcium and moisture to your bearded dragon. Always rinse them before feeding to remove particles stuck in their slimy surface
  • Mealworms (for adult dragons only): One of the popular snacks for an adult bearded dragon. You can provide this snack five or six a day. Young bearded dragons can’t digest them as they have a tough exoskeleton. It can cause gut impaction in little dragons.
  • Phoenix Worms: A great source of protein and calcium, and an excellent feeder insect. They are small in size and can be used as snacks only. You can also use them as the main meal but in this way, they are not cost-effective.
  • Silkworms: This healthy worm contains protein, moisture, phosphorous, calcium, and potassium, a treat for your dragon.
  • Wax Worms: These are definitely a dessert kind of worm due to their high-fat content. An adult bearded dragon can have only five or six wax worms a day.

Never feed your Bearded Dragon these poisonous or potentially damaging insects:

  • Any insect from the wild, your backyard or home, or a bait shop
  • Dead insects
  • Elder bugs
  • Fireflies or any insect that glows
  • Venomous insects

Green veggies are a great source of calcium and your bearded dragon can eat them as much as they want, all day, every day. They are an easy way to maintain a well-balanced diet for your pet dragon. The good news is that they don’t make your dragon fat.

Always offer vegetables to your bearded dragon especially to baby dragons even if they don’t like them. They help them to grow faster.

Try to give your bearded dragon dark green plants. Out of plants, 80-90% should be vegetables.

  • Acorn squash (a few times a week)
  • Alfalfa (daily)
  • Asparagus (weekly)
  • Bell peppers (a few times a week)
  • Bok choy (every other week)
  • Butternut squash (daily)
  • Cactus leaves, also called prickly pear(daily)
  • Carrots (a few times a week)
  • Celery (every other week)
  • Cilantro (every other day)
  • Collard greens (daily)
  • Cucumber (every other week)
  • Dandelion leaves (daily)
  • Endive (daily)
  • Green beans (a few times a week)
  • Green cabbage (every other week)
  • Hibiscus (a few times a week)
  • Kale (weekly)
  • Mustard greens (daily)
  • Okra (every other week)
  • Parsnip (a few times a week)
  • Peas and snap peas (every other week)
  • Pumpkin (every other week)
  • Radishes (every other week)
  • Red cabbage (a few times a week)
  • Turnip greens (daily)
  • Watercress (a few times a week)
  • Yellow squash (a few times a week)
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot tops
  • Sweet potato
  • Okra
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini
  • Avocado
  • Beet greens 
  • Citrus fruits (While it may be safe to offer these every few months or so, some Dragon Keepers like to avoid feeding citrus fruits altogether because the acid can be very harsh on your bearded dragon’s stomach and digestive system.
  • Lettuce or any similar light green vegetable that is rich in fiber and low in nutrients (they can cause diarrhea)
  • Mushrooms
  • Rhubarb
  • Wild plants 

When we talk about the fruits, your bearded dragon needs a small amount and they don’t need it daily. Of the plants, 10-20% should be fruit.

Always cut fruit into bite-size small pieces before offering it to your dragon.

Always avoid citrus fruit, which can be too acidic for your dragon’s stomach.

Some fruits that are healthy for your dragon are as under: 

  • Apples (peeled; weekly)
  • Apricot (every other week)
  • Bananas (with or without peel; once or twice a month) 
  • Blackberries (every other week)
  • Blueberries (weekly)
  • Cantaloupe (every few weeks)
  • Cherries (monthly)
  • Dates and raisins (very rarely)
  • Figs (every other week)
  • Grapes (weekly)
  • Guava (weekly)
  • Kiwi (peeled; monthly)
  • Mango (a few times a week)
  • Papaya (a few times a week)
  • Peaches (weekly)
  • Pears (peeled; very rarely)
  • Pineapples (monthly)
  • Raspberries (every few weeks)
  • Strawberries (weekly)
  • Watermelon (monthly)

Bearded dragons get water from their diet, i.e. fruits and vegetables, but still, it’s necessary to provide them water.

  • Always keep a shallow water tray in the dragon’s tank and observe their water consumption. Overhydration can cause diarrhea in them.
  • Similarly, some dragons tend to play with water instead of drinking it. So, a shallow dish is recommended so that your dragon may not drown in the water.
  • One other issue with water is that bearded dragons tend to leave their solids or urinate in the water bowl. So, you need to change the water frequently.
  • In case your bearded dragon does not drink from the water bowl, you need to spray it in the tank, twice a day.

In the wild, bearded dragons get calcium from varied diets and Vitamin D3 from exposure to the sun. But in domestic settings, these things are not possible. You can copy their natural environment but it is not possible to recreate the replica. So, in domestic settings, a bearded dragon can’t satisfy their calcium carvings only from diet and UVB light.

In short, your bearded dragon needs supplements. To read everything about Calcium and Vitamin D3 read our other article.

  • Calcium. One of the most important supplements that prevents bearded dragons from Metabolic Bone Disease, caused by calcium deficiency.
  • Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 and calcium go side by side as Vitamin D3 is necessary for calcium absorption. So, it is recommended to buy a supplement that also contains Vitamin D3.
  • Multivitamins. Multivitamin supplements are for your bearded dragon but are not necessary.

Feeding young bearded dragons is difficult. To help you feed your baby or juvenile dragon right, here are some tips:

  • Baby dragons need 3 meals daily. Spend 10-15 minutes per feeding.
  • Baby dragons need more insects as they are growing. Around 60 insects a day is recommended.
  • Remember the thumb rule for adults, 50% plants and 50% insects.
  • Remember that, don’t leave uneaten insects in a cage, as they can bite your dragon. Uneaten, dead insects can also stuck in the substrate and cause illness to your dragon.
  • Leaving uneaten vegetables in a tank is fairly safe for your baby dragon. Your bearded dragon will consume it when he desires.
  • Don’t feed your baby in a tank that has loose substrate, since they might accidentally ingest it. 

It’s feeding time for your adult dragon! Here are some quick tips.

  • Adult bearded dragons need fewer insects, only once a day.
  • Veggies should be given more often and left in the cage.
  • Remember the thumb rule for adults, 80% plants and 20% insects.

I hope, you have understood the diet considerations and now you can make a customized diet plan for your bearded dragon.

If you have questions or would like to give feedback, please contact us.

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