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What Can Bearded Dragons Eat? [Ultimate Feeding Guide]

Knowing how to feed your bearded dragon is crucial for their optimal health and well-being.

If you are a new beardie owner or a prospective one, it can be a challenge to know what is a good option, and what one is not.

Today, I’m going to be uncovering what an optimal bearded dragon diet it.

From all the vegetables, fruits, and bugs that you can provide, all the way through to those foods which you would be best to avoid!

So, let’s delve in.

What Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

Bearded dragons eat a variety of insects (like crickets and mealworms), vegetables (such as kale and bell peppers), fruits (like strawberries and mango), and some commercial pellets.

Bearded dragons, being omnivores, require a diverse diet consisting of insects, fruits, and vegetables.

The ratio between these foods changes as the dragon matures.

Adult bearded dragons usually consume 80% plants and 20% insects, while the dietary needs of juveniles vary between 80% insects and 20% plants to an even 50-50 split.

To take it a step further, you need to ensure your dragon receives an optimal balance of specific vitamins and minerals, as we shall now explore below

What Fruits Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

Bearded dragons can eat a variety of fruits, favoring those with low sugar content. Optimal choices include berries, melons, and some tropical fruits, while high-sugar fruits should be given sparingly to avoid digestive issues.

FruitServing Size SuggestionServing Frequency Recommendation
Apples (peeled)1-2 slicesWeekly
Apricot1 fruitEvery other week
Bananas1 small sliceOnce or twice a month
Blackberries3-4 berriesEvery other week
Blueberries3-4 berriesWeekly
Cantaloupe1-2 slicesEvery few weeks
Cherries2-3 cherriesMonthly
Dates/Raisins1 date/ small handfulVery rarely
Figs1 fruitEvery other week
Grapes3-4 grapesWeekly
Guava1-2 slicesWeekly
Kiwi (peeled)1 sliceMonthly
Mango1-2 slicesA few times a week
Papaya1-2 slicesA few times a week
Peaches1-2 slicesWeekly
Pears (peeled)1-2 slicesVery rarely
Pineapples1-2 slicesMonthly
Raspberries3-4 berriesEvery few weeks
Strawberries1-2 berriesWeekly
Watermelon1-2 slicesMonthly

Note: Always remove seeds and wash fruits thoroughly.

What Vegetables Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

Bearded dragons thrive on calcium-rich vegetables. Leafy greens, squash, and bell peppers are ideal. High-oxalate veggies, which bind calcium, should be limited.

VegetableServing Size SuggestionServing Frequency Recommendation
Acorn squashSmall sliceA few times a week
Asparagus1-2 stalksWeekly
Bell peppers1-2 slicesA few times a week
Bok choy1-2 leavesEvery other week
Butternut squashSmall slice2-3 times a week
Cactus leaves1-2 leavesDaily
CarrotsSmall slice or 1-2 baby carrotsA few times a week
Cauliflower1-2 florets2-3 times a week
Celery1-2 stalksEvery other week
CilantroHandfulEvery other day
Collard greens1-2 leavesDaily
Cucumber1-2 slicesEvery other week
Dandelion leaves1-2 leavesDaily
EggplantSmall sliceOnce every two weeks
Endive1-2 leavesDaily
Green Beans1-2 beans2-3 times a week
Green cabbage1-2 leavesEvery other week
Hibiscus2-3 flowersA few times a week
Kale1-2 leavesWeekly
Lettuce (Romaine)1-2 leaves2-3 times a week
Mustard greens1-2 leavesDaily
Okra1-2 podsEvery other week
ParsnipSmall sliceA few times a week
Peas5-6 peasEvery other week
PumpkinSmall sliceEvery other week
Radishes1-2 radishesEvery other week
Red cabbage1-2 leavesA few times a week
Spinach1-2 leavesOnce a week
Turnip greens1-2 leavesDaily
WatercressHandfulA few times a week
Yellow squashSmall sliceA few times a week
ZucchiniSmall slice2-3 times a week

Occasional Vegetables

VegetableServing Size SuggestionServing Frequency Recommendation
Broccoli1-2 floretsMonthly
Carrot tops1-2 topsMonthly
Sweet potatoSmall sliceMonthly
Tomato1 sliceMonthly
Okra1-2 podsMonthly

What Insects Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

InsectServing Size SuggestionServing Frequency Recommendation
Grasshoppers2-3 insects2-3 times a week
Cockroaches (Dubia roaches preferred)3-5 insects2-3 times a week
Crickets4-6 insectsDaily

What Worms Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

WormNotesServing Size SuggestionServing Frequency Recommendation
Butter WormsFull of calcium and protein, excellent dietary supplement.2-4 worms2-3 times a week
EarthwormsOffer calcium and moisture; ensure they are rinsed before feeding.1-2 worms1-2 times a week
Mealworms (Adults only)Popular for adults due to tough exoskeleton; avoid for young dragons.5-6 worms (for adults)Daily for adults
Phoenix WormsHigh in protein and calcium; ideal as supplements.4-6 wormsDaily
SilkwormsPacked with nutrients including protein, moisture, and minerals.3-5 worms2-3 times a week
SuperwormsPacked with nutrients including protein, moisture, and minerals.3-5 worms2-3 times a week
Wax WormsHigh in fat, considered a treat for dragons.5-6 worms (max for adults)Once or twice a week

Note: Always ensure the worms are sourced from reputable suppliers to guarantee their quality and safety. Adjust feeding based on the dragon’s size and nutritional needs.

Miscellaneous Foods for Bearded Dragons

Food ItemDescriptionServing Frequency Recommendation
EggsWhether they’re scrambled, poached, or boiled, eggs can be a nutritious snack for bearded dragons. They’re packed with protein but should be offered in moderation due to their high-fat content. Avoid giving raw eggs as they can pose health risks.Once every couple of weeks

Note: Always remember that while these miscellaneous items can be a treat, the primary diet of a bearded dragon should be balanced with vegetables, fruits, and insects.

Food Not To Feed Your Bearded Dragon

  • Grass: While they might nibble on it, it’s not easily digestible and provides no nutritional value.
  • Cheese: Bearded dragons cannot digest dairy products well; it can lead to digestive issues.
  • Bread: It offers little to no nutritional value and can be hard for them to digest.
  • Onions: These can be toxic to bearded dragons and can cause digestive upset.
  • Rhubarb: Contains oxalic acid, which can be harmful to dragons when consumed.
  • Avocados: High in oxalic acid, which can be toxic to bearded dragons.
  • Fireflies: These are highly toxic to bearded dragons and can be fatal if ingested.
  • Ladybugs: Contain toxins that can be harmful to dragons.
  • Caterpillars and Butterflies: Some species may contain toxins or may have been exposed to pesticides, making them unsafe.
  • Acidic Foods: Can upset their stomach and throw off the pH balance in their digestive tract.

The Importance Of Dietary Vitamin/Mineral Balance

The health and well-being of bearded dragons depend greatly on the right balance of vitamins and minerals in their diet.

Among the most crucial is the balance between calcium and phosphorus.

A proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is vital for bone health and preventing metabolic bone disease, a common ailment in captive bearded dragons.

Ideally, their diet should have a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of about 2:1.

Calcium aids in strong bone development, nerve function, and muscle contraction.

Additionally, vitamin D3 is essential as it facilitates calcium absorption.

As a bearded dragon owner keeping these reptiles in captivity, supplementation is typically required to ensure they adequately meet their needs.

Water Requirements for Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons, while hailing from arid regions, still have essential hydration needs. Here’s what you need to know about keeping them well-hydrated:

  • Source of Moisture: Though they extract a significant portion of their required moisture from the fruits and vegetables they consume, ensuring they have direct access to water is essential.
  • Water Bowl Necessities: Always maintain a water dish within their enclosure. It’s not uncommon for dragons to exhibit a preference for lounging in the water, reminiscent of their native hot climate habits, rather than drinking from it.
  • Hygiene Matters: Bearded dragons occasionally may soil their water bowls. For this reason, it’s crucial to refresh their water consistently. Additionally, after mealtimes, promptly remove any insects that might have ended up submerged.
  • Alternative Hydration Methods: If you observe that your bearded dragon isn’t frequently drinking from its bowl, consider gently misting the enclosure once or twice daily. This not only offers them another hydration source but also emulates the feel of a fresh morning dew or occasional rainfall, akin to their natural Australian desert habitat.

Tips on Feeding Your Baby or Juvenile Bearded Dragon 

  • Frequent Feedings: Unlike adults, baby and juvenile bearded dragons have a faster metabolism. It’s essential to feed them multiple times a day, usually 2-3 times, to support their growth.
  • Varied Diet: At this age, they need a mix of insects and vegetables. Aim for a diet that’s about 70% insects and 30% leafy greens and finely chopped veggies. As they grow, gradually adjust this ratio.
  • Opt for Soft-bodied Insects: Offering soft-bodied insects like phoenix worms and silkworms can be easier for young dragons to digest. Avoid hard-shelled insects like mealworms as they can cause impaction in juveniles.
  • Monitor Portions: While it’s tempting to offer a lot, it’s vital to monitor portion sizes. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health issues. As a general guideline, offer insects that are no larger than the space between the dragon’s eyes.
  • Hydration: Always ensure there’s fresh water available. Additionally, lightly misting their greens with water not only provides hydration but also makes them more appetizing.

Tips on Feeding Your Adult Bearded Dragon 

  • Less Frequent Feedings: Adult bearded dragons don’t require as frequent feedings as juveniles. Typically, offering food once a day or even every other day is sufficient.
  • Balanced Diet: As they mature, the ratio of their diet shifts. Adult bearded dragons should consume a diet that’s approximately 20% insects and 80% vegetables and greens. This ensures they get essential nutrients without excessive protein.
  • Limit High-fat Treats: Treats like wax worms are high in fat. While they can be a tasty treat for your dragon, they should be given sparingly to prevent obesity.
  • Regularly Offer Calcium and Vitamin Supplements: Even as adults, bearded dragons benefit from regular supplements. Dust their food with calcium and vitamin D3 powder a few times a week to ensure they’re getting essential nutrients.
  • Provide Fresh Water Daily: Always ensure your dragon has access to fresh water. A shallow dish is best as it prevents the risk of drowning. Remember to clean the dish regularly to prevent bacterial growth.