REPTILE / nutrition
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat? Complete Food & Diet Guide
Being a pet parent to a bearded dragon means knowing exactly what they need nutritionally in their diet so they can stay full, happy and healthy. The type of food you feed your bearded dragon is important, as well as how often you feed them, the reptile supplies you use to feed them and how you store their food.
There isn’t bearded dragon food on grocery store shelves like there is for dogs and cats, so where should you start? Keep reading to learn more about what bearded dragons eat and how you can be the best pet parent for them. Remember to always consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your pet’s diet.
Why a Good Diet is Essential:
Just like other pets, beardies need to have a well-rounded and complete nutritional diet in order to stay healthy. What bearded dragon food goes in their belly has an impact on how they feel, their quality of life, how active they are and even how they look.
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
Young bearded dragons are omnivorous (approximately 50% insects and 50% plant matter). As they mature, they will eat more vegetables and transition to mostly herbivorous (approximately 90% plant matter).
- Insects - Feed gut-loaded insects (crickets or dubia roaches) 1x daily. Mealworms, superworms and waxworms should be offered in only small amounts. Young bearded dragons need a diet that’s more insects than vegetables because they need the added protein to grow and develop.
- Vegetables - Veggies should make up 25% of a young bearded dragon’s food and half of an adult’s. Favorites include kale, collard greens, mustard greens, zucchini and shredded carrots. Make sure to remove any vegetables that have not been eaten so they do not go bad inside their habitat.
- Fruits - Fruits like melons, berries and citrus may be offered 1 time a week.
- Prepared Diets - Bearded dragon pellet food, moistened with water, may be offered daily. Commercial food adds variety to a beardie’s diet. Many brands are available in high-protein formulas for juvenile lizards and lower-protein versions for adult beardies.
- Vitamins/Supplements- Dust food with a calcium/Vitamin D3 powder: 4-5x a week (juveniles); 2-3x a week (adults). Dust food with a multivitamin 1x a week (juveniles); 2x a month (adults), or as directed by your veterinarian.
- Water - Cleaned daily and provided at all times. Pet parents should empty out their beardie’s water and refresh it at least once a day.
How Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?
Depending on the type of bearded dragon food you’re feeding your pet, there are different ways to feed them.
Feeding Tongs: Reptile feeding tongs are small, tweezer-like tools that help you grab hold of insects and feed them to your bearded dragon.
Food Bowl: When feeding your beardie, reptile food bowls can be a great way to give them pellet or commercial food.
Feeders - There are also reptile feeders that make it easy to give your pet things like mealworms.
How Often Should They Eat?
Young bearded dragons will eat more often than adults. They need all of that extra energy while they grow. A bearded dragon that’s less than 18 months old might eat 2-5 times a day, whereas an adult bearded dragon only eats 1 time a day.
Where Should I Store Their Food?
Insects - There are a few different types of storage for reptile feeder insects. A cricket feeder is usually the best option if you’re feeding them crickets. For worms and other insects that aren’t hopping around, the container they come in or a plastic storage container usually works best.
Vegetables and Fruits - Store your beardie’s fresh foods the same way you would store yours – in the fridge.
Commercial/Pellet Food - Store bearded dragon pellets inside a sealed, airtight container to keep them fresh for your pet.
Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.