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.
|Fruit||Serving Size Suggestion||Serving Frequency Recommendation|
|Apples (peeled)||1-2 slices||Weekly|
|Apricot||1 fruit||Every other week|
|Bananas||1 small slice||Once or twice a month|
|Blackberries||3-4 berries||Every other week|
|Cantaloupe||1-2 slices||Every few weeks|
|Dates/Raisins||1 date/ small handful||Very rarely|
|Figs||1 fruit||Every other week|
|Kiwi (peeled)||1 slice||Monthly|
|Mango||1-2 slices||A few times a week|
|Papaya||1-2 slices||A few times a week|
|Pears (peeled)||1-2 slices||Very rarely|
|Raspberries||3-4 berries||Every few weeks|
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.
|Vegetable||Serving Size Suggestion||Serving Frequency Recommendation|
|Acorn squash||Small slice||A few times a week|
|Bell peppers||1-2 slices||A few times a week|
|Bok choy||1-2 leaves||Every other week|
|Butternut squash||Small slice||2-3 times a week|
|Cactus leaves||1-2 leaves||Daily|
|Carrots||Small slice or 1-2 baby carrots||A few times a week|
|Cauliflower||1-2 florets||2-3 times a week|
|Celery||1-2 stalks||Every other week|
|Cilantro||Handful||Every other day|
|Collard greens||1-2 leaves||Daily|
|Cucumber||1-2 slices||Every other week|
|Dandelion leaves||1-2 leaves||Daily|
|Eggplant||Small slice||Once every two weeks|
|Green Beans||1-2 beans||2-3 times a week|
|Green cabbage||1-2 leaves||Every other week|
|Hibiscus||2-3 flowers||A few times a week|
|Lettuce (Romaine)||1-2 leaves||2-3 times a week|
|Mustard greens||1-2 leaves||Daily|
|Okra||1-2 pods||Every other week|
|Parsnip||Small slice||A few times a week|
|Peas||5-6 peas||Every other week|
|Pumpkin||Small slice||Every other week|
|Radishes||1-2 radishes||Every other week|
|Red cabbage||1-2 leaves||A few times a week|
|Spinach||1-2 leaves||Once a week|
|Turnip greens||1-2 leaves||Daily|
|Watercress||Handful||A few times a week|
|Yellow squash||Small slice||A few times a week|
|Zucchini||Small slice||2-3 times a week|
|Vegetable||Serving Size Suggestion||Serving Frequency Recommendation|
|Carrot tops||1-2 tops||Monthly|
|Sweet potato||Small slice||Monthly|
What Insects Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
|Insect||Serving Size Suggestion||Serving Frequency Recommendation|
|Grasshoppers||2-3 insects||2-3 times a week|
|Cockroaches (Dubia roaches preferred)||3-5 insects||2-3 times a week|
What Worms Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
|Worm||Notes||Serving Size Suggestion||Serving Frequency Recommendation|
|Butter Worms||Full of calcium and protein, excellent dietary supplement.||2-4 worms||2-3 times a week|
|Earthworms||Offer calcium and moisture; ensure they are rinsed before feeding.||1-2 worms||1-2 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 Worms||High in protein and calcium; ideal as supplements.||4-6 worms||Daily|
|Silkworms||Packed with nutrients including protein, moisture, and minerals.||3-5 worms||2-3 times a week|
|Superworms||Packed with nutrients including protein, moisture, and minerals.||3-5 worms||2-3 times a week|
|Wax Worms||High 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 Item||Description||Serving Frequency Recommendation|
|Eggs||Whether 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.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.