Bearded Dragon Diet

Bearded Dragon Diet – What Should You Feed Them

Understanding your bearded dragon’s diet will help your pet live longer.

Bearded dragons are omnivores which means they eat insects and vegetables and fruits (that are non-citrus). Now, this doesn’t mean you should feed them bugs from your garden. This could end up making your bearded dragon sick and eventually die. The reason being is because outside there could be pesticides on them.  Pesticides will cause your bearded dragaon to get sick and die.

In this article I am going to discuss the following:

Juvenile Bearded Dragon Versus Adult
Insects You Can Feed To Your Bearded Dragon
Vitamins & Minerals Your Bearded Dragon Should Have
Vegetables That Are Safe For Your Bearded Dragon
Plants Safe For Your Bearded Dragon
Fruits That Are Safe For Your Bearded Dragon
Food You Should Avoid Feeding Your Bearded Dragon
Plants That Are Toxic To Bearded Dragons

Juvenile Bearded Dragon Versus Adult

Adult and Baby Bearded Dragon

It’s important to determine the age of the bearded dragon. Depending on whether it’s a juvenile or an adult will determine what kind of diet they should be eating. For instance, baby bearded dragons need more insects rather than vegetables because they contain more protein in they’re still growing. However, bearded dragons that are adults require more vegetables than insects.

A lot of people tell you that you should put in live food and remove it if they don’t need it within 20 minutes or so. I don’t really think that’s necessary. But, your bearded dragon will like it because crickets can annoy the crap out of your bearded dragon. For instance, they crawl on your bearded dragon and can bite them.

Insects You Can Feed To Your Bearded Dragon

Below are the following insects that are safe to feed your lizard. Please note that just because they are safe doesn’t mean they should get them every meal, though.

  • Black soldier fly larva. Both juvenile and adult bearded dragons can eat these. They’re not very popular amongst bearded dragon owners though. I would only feed them 5 or so a week.
  • Butterworms. These should only be used as treats for your bearded dragon. Both Young an adult bearded dragons can eat butterworms. Only 5-9 of them a week.
  • Crickets. These are a good staple diet for your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons really enjoy eating them. The do chirp at night so make sure you put them in a place where you can mute their sound. Make sure you don’t leave a lot of crickets in the habitat because they tend to bite your pet and can annoy them from time to time. Do make sure you dust them with calcium powder.
  • Dubia Roaches. These are very good for your bearded dragon. A lot of bearded dragon breeders use dubia roaches exclusively. However, some people are apprehensive to get roaches for their lizards because they freak them out and if the roaches do escape it can be an absolute nightmare. Roach infections are very hard to get rid of.
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  • Earthworms. These can be fed to your bearded dragon. Just make sure they are not ones you found outside or bait worms used for fishing. Also, earthworms should only be used as treats because they are high in fat. I would only feed them to your bearded dragon 5-7 times per week.
  • Locusts. These are a good staple diet for your bearded dragon. Make sure you gut load them to give them the nutrients they need. Locusts can’t be sold online, though. Therefore, they are pretty hard to obtain. If you do manage to get locusts at a local pet store they are pretty expensive.
  • Redworms. You can feed these to your bearded dragon. I wouldn’t feed them to them as a staple, though. They do have pretty decent nutrients. I have heard of people feeding their bearded dragons redworms when they think their bearded dragon might be sick.
  • Superworms. These should only be fed to your bearded dragon as treats. Meaning, if you feed them to them as a staple diet it isn’t the healthiest insect you can feed them. The fat content of superworms is pretty high and your bearded dragon could end up becoming obese.

Vitamins & Minerals Your Bearded Dragon Should Have

Hopefully, you are feeding your bearded dragon a steady staple of insects or vegetables. Below are the vitamins and minerals that you should be concerned with for your bearded dragon.

Iron

It’s very important that your bearded dragon has the proper amount of iron. Especially, for baby bearded dragons. Vegetables typically have the most iron in them. Some good vegetables, fruits, and plants that have a decent amount of iron in them are:

  • Kale 9mg
  • Mustard greens 8 mg
  • Lemon grass 8.2 mg
  • Oregano 36 mg
  • Rosemary 6.6 mg
  • Thyme 17.4 mg
  • Figs 2 mg
  • Raisins 1.9 mg

Be careful because you can overdo it when you give your bearded dragon iron. It can be fatal if you give them to much iron.

Vitamin A

Bearded dragons also need vitamin A. Typically, they usually get enough of this through their daily vegetables. I highly recommend you get a multivitamin for your reptile called Herptivite Multivitamin for Reptiles. It’s a safe vitamin that you can give them. It won’t put you at risk of overdosing them on vitamin A. Other vitamins you can actually overdose your bearded dragon on vitamin A if you’re not careful.

Vitamin D3 & Calcium

I can’t stress the importance of providing your bearded dragon with the proper amount of Vitamin D3 and calcium. It’s very important for them so their bones grow and remain strong. Also, it’s very important that you give your bearded dragon extra vitamin D3 and calcium if they become gravid (meaning pregnant).

Typically, in the wild bearded dragons get enough vitamin D3 from the natural sunlight that they get from the sun. So, the best thing you can do is take them outside so they can get natural sunlight. Do make sure that you put them on a leash so that they don’t run away.

There is a good supplement called Rep-Cal Reptile Calcium Powder with D3 that I recommend you purchase. You want the calcium to phosphorus ratio to be 2:1 or 3:1. The first number is better because you don’t want your lizard to get to much phosphorus.

So, let me make it easy for you and break down vitamin D3 and calcium:

  • Baby. Need a daily dosage of vitamin D3 and calcium to help support bone growth. Dust their crickets with it and sprinkle a small amount on their vegetables.
  • Juvenile. Make sure you give them vitamin D3 and calcium at least 3-4 times per week.
  • Adults. Provide them with extra vitamin D3 and calcium at least once a week.

If you fail to give your bearded dragon enough calcium and vitamin D3 they could develop MBD (Metabolic Bone Disorder).  This could end up killing your bearded dragon slowly.

Vegetables That Are Safe For Your Bearded Dragon

It’s important that you feed your bearded dragon vegetables. Typically, they need more vegetables when they are adults. But, if your little baby bearded dragon likes to eat vegetables let the little guy eat them. I should note that the first time your bearded dragon is offered a certain kind of vegetable they might not eat them right away. They all have a specific taste just like humans. But, below are some vegetables you should certainly try feeding them:

  • Acorn squash.
  • Bok choy.
  • Carrots.
  • Endive.
  • Artichoke heart.
  • Butternut squash.
  • Celery.
  • Mustard greens.
  • Bell peppers.
  • Cabbage.
  • Cucumber.
  • Yellow squash.

Plants Safe For Your Bearded Dragon

Also, you can feed your lizard plants. Here is a list of plants that are safe for your bearded dragon:

  • Basil.
  • Clover.
  • Impatiens.
  • Oregano.
  • Sage.
  • Carnations.
  • Dandelion greens.
  • Maple leaves.
  • Rose petals.
  • Thyme.
  • Chives.
  • Daylilies.
  • Mint leaves.
  • Rosemary.

Fruits That Are Safe For Your Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons can also eat fruits, too. Here is a list of safe fruits:

  • Apples.
  • Cherries.
  • Grapes.
  • Pears.
  • Prunes.
  • Watermelon.
  • Blackberries.
  • Cranberries.
  • Melons.
  • Pineapple.
  • Raisins.
  • Blueberries.
  • Figs.
  • Peaches.
  • Plum.
  • Strawberries.

Food You Should Avoid Feeding Your Bearded Dragon

Here is a list of food that I would avoid. They have very little health benefits and shouldn’t be offered to your bearded dragon:

  • Lettuce. It’s just mostly water. Doesn’t have any nutrition for your bearded dragon. A lot of people think that because it’s green it has a lot of nutritional value. It doesn’t so don’t make the mistake of buying them lettuce.
  • Spinach. When you think of iron spinach certainly comes to mind. However, I would avoid spinach. It does have a lot of healthy nutrients the calcium binds and it makes it very hard for your bearded dragon to digest.
  • Insects from your yard or garden. It can be tempting to feed your bearded dragon food from your garden. This could be vegetables, fruits, or insects that you have caught. The problem with this is they could contain parasites which could end up making your lizard ill or could even end up killing them.
  • Fireflies. This is a huge no-no. These are highly toxic to your bearded dragon. Sure, they will probably eat them, but sooner or later you will have a dead bearded dragon on your hand.
  • Avocados. A lot of birds are not supposed to be fed avocados because it’s poisonous for them. This is also the same with bearded dragons. Avocados should never be fed to your bearded dragon.

Plants That Are Toxic To Bearded Dragons

  • Boxwood.
  • Elderberry.
  • Iris.
  • Juniper.
  • Poison Ivy.
  • Poinsettia.
  • Tulip.
  • Buttercup.
  • Holly.
  • Ivy.
  • Mistletoe.
  • Poison Oak.
  • Rhododendron.
  • Water Hemlock.
  • Wild Daffodil.
  • Hydrangea.
  • Jack-in-the-Pulpit.
  • Oak.
  • Poison Sumac.
  • Tobacco.

Hopefully, this bearded dragon diet guide has helped you in choosing which foods you should feed them. You have a lot of options which you can see from reading this article. Just remember that you should pick a staple diet of insects when they are babies, provide them with supplements, and ultimately switch them over to vegetables when they reach their adulthood.

Please if you have any questions leave a comment down below.

13 thoughts to “Bearded Dragon Diet – What Should You Feed Them”

  1. Thanks for writing this on bearded dragon’s diets. I had some questions that you have answered. However, I do have a question about superworms, though. How long will they stay alive?

    1. I’m glad you found this article to be helpful. Typically, super worms will begin to die after 30 days or so. Once, they begin to die they start to smell very bad, though. I would suggest flushing the dead ones down the toilet, though.

      Also, I should note that you shouldn’t ever freeze them or put them in the refrigerator. If you do they will die. They are not like mealworms where you can put them in the refrigerator to halt them from turning into beetles.

  2. Wow! What a detailed and informative article on the Bearded Dragon Diet. I didn’t think about the pesticides in the insects and plants in our gardens. That’s a very good point. Your article will be very helpful for people with bearded dragons.

    1. Yeah, a lot of people think they can go ahead and save money by giving their bearded dragon grasshoppers or crickets they got outside. I’m not stating that I haven’t done it before. But, you do run the risk of feeding them insects that have pesticides on them.

  3. Thank you for explaining clearly the foods a bearded dragon can eat. One thing that puzzled me, you said I shouldn’t feed it spinach because of the calcium, but I’m supposed to dust the crickets with calcium so it can get enough. I don’t quite understand. I won’t give it spinach.

    On more question, when they are full grown, about how much do they eat?

    1. Spinach is one of those gray areas for bearded dragon owners. Most would agree that it shouldn’t be fed as a staple diet. It does contain lots of nutrients. However, spinach will block the absorption of calcium which bearded dragons need.

      When they are full grown they slow down on eating. Meaning they might eat 4-5 leaves from a collard green, a couple small chunks of a bell pepper, and a small amount of squash.

  4. I had no idea the age of the dragon mattered so much when planning the diet. About what age do you recommend making the shift to more vegetables?

    1. Bearded dragons usually take about 18 months to get their full size. This first year they will get their length. The following year they usually get their bulk. I would start trying to switch up their diet at about the 14-16 month mark. Some bearded dragons are picky eaters. You might find that your bearded dragon prefers some food over others.

  5. Wow, really cool site!

    I have been reading up on bearded dragons. I’m pretty excited to get one in a few weeks or so. I was thinking about getting 2 of them. However, do you think there is a chance they will fight over food though? For instance, if I gave them crickets would they get mad at each other over food?

    1. Thanks!

      When housing bearded dragons you don’t want to put two males in the same cage. They will fight and it won’t be pretty. If you are going to get two of them I would get two females. Otherwise, you are going to have to house them separately.

      Bearded dragons don’t fight over food, though. I’ve had several of them over the years. I have seen them try to pull the worms out of each others mouth. But right after that they just looked for food elsewhere. They are just attracted to movement so I don’t believe they were really mad or anything. In fact, I know they weren’t because bearded dragons are pretty docile creatures.

  6. I’ve had a bearded dragon from 1.5 years now and I’ve been feeding it butterworms. I think my bearded dragon is getting sick of it as it’s not been eating them from a few days. I thought I should change and move to crickets. Will my dragon have any allergies if I change the type of food? 

  7. My grand daughter has a bearded dragon.  Her pet is about 3 years old.  From what she told me it’s full grown.  It’s about 20 inches long.  Really amazing looking creature.  However, I have seen bearded dragon pellets sold in the stores.  Is it alright to feed them that instead of veggies, and insects?  I know they sell them at Petco, but I figured I would ask before purchasing them.

  8. I love bearded dragons!  I’ve never had any of my own but, I’ve nursed a few, babysat a few…and hung out with plenty *chuckles.*

    I’m glad I am not the only person to tell people that iceburg lettuce wasn’t a staple diet for any reptile really. Contrary to popular belief..rabbits don’t eat lettuce carrots as a staple diet either *smiles.*  I suppose I’m not shocked that people still don’t research pets before they bring them home but, it still gets me riled up when I see animals suffer (and have to rescue/nurse them) when people don’t read articles like yours to get informed! 

    Bearded dragons have such cool personalities/traits.  I Have known and still know some finicky ones out there too!  Don’t give in to your picky eaters! Just like humans, we can’t always get what we want, we need to eat what’s good for us too! 

    Thank you for steering people clear of the heavy oxalate foods for their beardie babies! 

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