A big part of caring for a bearded dragon comes from giving one the best possible diet. You need to ensure you can give your bearded dragon a healthy diet that fits its needs. But what can Bearded Dragons Eat? Their diet focuses on insects and plenty of natural foods. You can even feed your beardie mice if desired. You must be aware of what it needs plus what you have to avoid feeding it.
What Can Bearded Dragons Eat? The Ultimate Nutrition Guide.
What Insects Work?
Beardies love to eat insects above all else. In fact, insects are critical to the dragon’s diet as they allow it to get the critical proteins and nutrients they need to grow and keep their bodies as healthy as possible.
You must make sure you feed your dragon the right insects though. There are many important standards that deserve to be reviewed when getting a dragon’s diet ready:
- Roaches contain plenty of protein with a small amount of carbohydrates.
- Black soldier fly larvae work great for all dragons.
- Crickets are among the best insects to feed. You can use quarter-inch or full-inch crickets.
- Redworms and earthworms have plenty of meat in them for your dragon to enjoy.
- Locusts have bright colors that make them visible to dragons.
- Butterworms are great for younger dragons but they should be used simply as treats for your adults.
- Mealworms have about as much protein as fat and contain very little carbohydrates. These are better served to younger dragons.
These insects are great to have but you need to make sure you keep your insects for feeding purposes healthy. Don’t bother feeding your dragon dead insects. Live insects are easier to consume and have more of their nutritional properties intact.
Also, you must make sure you avoid catching insects on your own and then raising them to be fed to your dragon. You are better off ordering live insects from a bait and tackle store or other supply store that sells products for reptiles. Many insects you might catch on your own could have been in contact with pesticides and other harmful chemicals that might be dangerous. The insects you can get for sale will have been raised in a safer habitat free from such chemicals and are much better to use.
You must also avoid feeding your bearded dragon any kind of insect that glows in the dark. Such insects can be harmful to the dragon’s body as it will struggle to digest them. The components in the insect’s body that cause it to glow can can especially contain a number of dangerous chemicals that might be poisonous to your dragon.
Mice Can Work
Mice can be used as great food sources for bearded dragons. A live mouse may be used as food for your dragon to provide it with plenty of protein and calcium without all the fat.
You should make sure the mouse is provided to your dragon in its live form and that it has been raised in a proper environment. The mouse needs to have been raised on organic foods and in a comfortable environment.
Also, this should be fed whole to the dragon instead of being cut up in any form. While fruits and vegetables should be cut up, dragons tend to do well with chewing up pieces of meat instead of trying to devour them whole as they are consuming them. Besides, the food is supposed to be alive before your beardie can actually have it.
You can always breed mice at your home to use as food for your dragon. A typical litter of mice can consist of at least eight of them, thus giving you more than enough food to give to your dragon over time. You’d have to create your own habitat and raise them with the right foods in mind though. This can take in an extra bit of effort to complete.
Don’t forget that the fat content on an adult mouse is higher than that of what a younger mouse has. Still, the fat content is typically less than fifteen percent of its body and should therefore be easy for the dragon to digest. It is nowhere near as harmful as people might think.
What Vegetables Work?
Various different kinds of vegetables can be added to your bearded dragon’s diet. This is especially critical with age. Good vegetables are required to keep a beardie nourished and less likely to suffer from extreme physical distress.
You might be surprised to see that most vegetables that a dragon needs are greens. Some of the best vegetables to give your your dragon include:
- Cabbage, preferably raw
- Cucumber; make sure you peel it
- Bell peppers, preferably raw
- Artichoke hearts
- Squash; you will have to cook it before serving
- Turnip greens
These vegetables are perfect as they contain strong water contents and plenty of vitamin A. You should still make sure every vegetable you serve is cut up properly into small pieces that your dragon can consume.
What About Plants?
Vegetables aren’t the only greens you can feed to your bearded dragon. You can also feed it a variety of different plants. Naturally, this comes from how these dragons have come from many wild environments where many vegetables are not easily accessible.
Many of these plants contain vitamin A and iron while also containing a good amount of water. Here are a few of the best plants to serve to your beardie:
- Basil; you can feed your dragon the flowers, buds and leaves
- Clover; get rid of the flowers and buds before serving
- Rose petals; the buds are all you need to serve
- Mint leaves
- Maple leaves
- Thyme; look for fresh thyme if possible
- Rosemary; again, use fresh rosemary in this case
These plants are all safe to have for your dragon. Make sure they are as fresh as possible and are prepared the right way so the dragon can actually consume whatever you are feeding it.
Are Any Plants Dangerous?
As great as plants can be, you must avoid some plants to protect your dragon. There are many plants out there that may be dangerous and threatening to your dragon as they contain components known to be toxic to them. You must avoid feeding your beardie these particular plants:
These plants all contain compounds that are especially dangerous to smaller creatures as their bodies are unable to handle the extreme stresses that can come about after consuming them. You must avoid giving any of these plants to your bearded dragon or else the effects could be tragic.
Don’t Forget Fruits
Some of the best fruits to feed to your dragon include:
There are a few important tips to use as well when getting good foods ready for use by your dragon:
- Always peel and core any fruit you serve so the dragon will have an easier time consuming it. This is also to remove the core and its seeds; the core may be harmful if consumed.
- Keep everything cut up in small pieces. These are easier for the dragon to digest. Fruits may be tougher to chew through than smaller mice or insects.
- Don’t bother with any fruits that have decayed or are rotting. These will not contain all the healthy components that you want to get out of them.
What Should You Avoid Feeding?
There are some important foods that you need to avoid feeding to your bearded dragon. These go alongside the different plants mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t feed to your dragon:
- Spinach is harmful as it contains calcium, a component that is hard for a dragon to fully digest.
- Citrus fruits are also very hard for dragons to digest. These include oranges and grapefruits.
- Lettuce isn’t necessarily harmful but it is essentially worthless to dragons. It has a high water content and hardly any nutrients.
- Avocados are known to be toxic to dragons and should always be avoided.
Watch For Vitamin A
Many of the vegetables you can feed to your bearded dragon contain vitamin A. The beardie can convert beta carotene to vitamin A when necessary. It can excrete its excess amounts of this compound when not needed. This is important as an extreme amount of vitamin A can poison a bearded dragon.
The odds of your beardie being poisoned by an extreme amount of vitamin A from its typical vegetable diet are extremely small. Still, you should be careful as there are plenty of synthetic vitamin A supplements available for bearded dragons and other reptiles to consume. A dragon cannot excrete synthetic vitamin A, thus making it potentially harmful when not used right.
Is a Commercial Product Worthwhile?
Many commercial food products are available for sale at pet supply stores. These are prepared in a series of small pellets that are easy for a beardie to consume.
These are made with many of the same fruits and vegetables that you need to feed to your bearded dragon. It can especially be easy to lure the beardie over to the food if you add a little mist to it to make it easier for the reptile to chew upon.
You should still check to see what the ingredients of any commercial food product are before serving it to your dragon. You don’t want to stick with something that has loads of fillers or artificial ingredients.
Also, such commercial food products work best for adults. You are better off giving a younger dragon a blend of live insects to help facilitate its growth instead of a commercial food that may not support the growth process all that well.
How the Diet Changes By Age
A young baby bearded dragon will need more insects than vegetables. This is to support its overall growth.
You need to feed your baby bearded dragon plenty of insects three times a day. See how many insects it can Bearded Dragons Eat in a span of ten minutes. This should be a good time frame for feeding it. A dragon at this point can eat at least twenty insects in a day. Some can get more than fifty in that time period.
Meanwhile, you only need to give your adult dragon flies once per day. The adult will not have as much of a need to eat as many insects as possible as it will be fully grown. It needs more vegetables if anything but you should still have plenty of files at one feeding point in the day.
In summary, you must keep a good watch over what you are feeding your bearded dragon. A great dietary plan for your bearded dragon can be important to consider but you must make sure your dragon is treated carefully and that you don’t feed it things that you must avoid.