Bearded Dragon Food

The Food of Bearded Dragons is Very Different from What You Thought

The most important part of taking care of a bearded dragon is its diet. Check for the list of foods that you can give to your pet bearded dragon.
PetPonder Staff
Last Updated: Aug 6, 2018
A bearded dragon is commonly found in the dry and arid regions of the Australian continent. When it senses a threat by an enemy, it puffs out the skin on its throat, which resembles the beard of humans. This self defense mechanism gives it the name bearded dragon lizard.
This lizard can grow to a length of 16 to 22 inches from head to tail. Its weight depends on the species. It can be a good pet since it is friendly and calm. It eats a variety of foods and has limited requirements.
At home, it can be kept in an aquarium. The size of the aquarium for an adult must be 50 - 60 gallons while for a young one, 10 - 15 gallons.
You can add plants like dracaena and hibiscus in its enclosure. This lizard requires heat for proper digestion, so you will have to provide it with a supplemental source of heat. For this habitat, accessories like incandescent lights, heating pads, and infrared heat emitters are available in the market.
A shallow pool of water in the cage is also important. Lack of proper heat and light can lead to sickness and the lizard will also not be able to eat properly. Make sure you take appropriate measures for the habitat.
What It Eats
Being an omnivore, its diet contains a variety of vegetables, fruits, and insects. The quantity and size of the meals matters a lot. Remember that the size or quantity of the vegetables, fruits, and insects should not be larger than the space between its eyes. Large-sized meals can prove fatal for the little ones.
Insects
In the beginning, a young one should be fed insects. Make sure that the insects are not caught with the help of pesticides as it can harm the health of the lizard. Fireflies should be strictly eradicated while considering the insects for this lizard.
The most common health problem is calcium deficiency. So, coat some insects with a calcium supplement. Feed the insects with healthy food before giving it to the dragon. Here are some insects you can include.
  • Cricket: Cricket is the most popular and staple diet. The movements of a live cricket can help the lizard to eat well, as it loves things which move.
  • Locusts: Locusts are larger than crickets and are more nutritious too.
  • Waxworms: Waxworms are high in fat content, hence should be given in less quantity. They should not be given every day, but are good for undernourished pets.
  • Mealworms: Mealworms are not as nutritious as crickets and locusts, but can be given occasionally. The exoskeleton of mealworms can be hard to digest, hence avoid feeding them daily.
  • Feeding earthworms and cockroaches occasionally is also nutritious.
Vegetables
Apart from insects, some other foods are vegetables and fruits. To satisfy the nutritional requirements, feeding your pet with green, leafy vegetables is extremely essential. Ideally, at least 20 percent of the diet should consist of vegetables. Shred the greens and dice the vegetables finely, keeping the quantity of the food in mind.
  • Green leafy vegetables: Include ones like mustard greens, parsley, turnip greens, spring greens, dandelion greens, collard greens, carrot tops, and alfalfa pellets.
  • Other Vegetables: You can include other vegetables like zucchini, okra, grated carrots, squash, peas, corn, bell peppers, and sweet potato.
  • Some Vegetables to Avoid: Vegetables like rhubarb and broccoli can be fatal for the bearded dragon, and hence should be completely avoided. Also avoid lettuce by all means. Spinach in large amounts can reduce the calcium absorption of the body, which can lead to bone disease. So avoid it or give it in very less quantity.
Fruits
Many types of fruits can be included in the diet, but in very less quantity. Fruits should be shredded and properly diced. Include fruits like apples, kiwi, grapes, dates, figs, tomatoes, papaya, melons, raspberries, peaches, and plums. Avoid bananas as their high phosphorus content can affect calcium absorption.
Apart from these foods, make sure you provide your pet with a shallow bowl of water. To maintain its proper health, make sure that the bright light coming from UV light or mercury vapor bulbs is appropriate. You can also let it outside in an outdoor basking enclosure because the natural UV light can also aid calcium absorption, which will help to keep it fit and healthy.