While a majority of homeowners like to keep dogs, birds, cats, rabbits, and other animals as pets, others prefer to have bearded dragons. Well, that’s a unique preference, but even then, these pets deserve the best care there is. What you feed your pet is so important as far as taking care of them is concerned. For this reason, you should stick around to learn more about foods that are considered suitable for beardies.
Bearded dragon diets
One thing you need to know about bearded dragons is that they are omnivores, meaning that they can feed on plants and animal meats alike. When young, beardies will eat 80% bugs and 20% plants, even though they mostly prefer bugs at that age. Adult bearded dragons, on the other hand, have a different diet, consisting of 80% plants, and 20% insects and bugs.
You will generally have to feed a baby beardie three times daily with as many insects as the pet can have in 10-15 minutes. In most cases, a bearded baby dragon should be comfortable having 20-30 insects each day.
An adult beardie, on the other hand, needs to eat insects only one time daily. The rest of the time, you can let them have some veggies and non-citrus fruits.
Important tip: Be careful not to overfeed your beardie as they may end up getting overweight, which is not a good thing for their health.
Best diet for a bearded dragon
The following are the main foods that you should consider feeding your bearded dragon. Keep in mind, however, that you may need to put in some extra effort and time to get them. While feeding your pet, ensure that any insects you offer are from online or reputable local pet stores. This is in consideration that insects you have caught on your own can contain harmful parasites and/or pesticides.
Crickets are the most preferred bearded dragon meal, but here’s a list of the insects that are considered safe for a beardie.
1. Staple Insects:
- Roaches such as Dubia Roaches
2. Occasional insects:
- Wax Worms
- Butter worms
- Super Worms
- Red Worms
- Black soldier fly larvae
3. Insects you never want to feed
- Boxelder bugs
- Fireflies (lightning bugs)
- Wild-caught insects
As mentioned earlier, wild-caught insects may contain harmful chemicals or even parasites, which is why you never want to let your beardie feed on them. Boxelder bugs and fireflies, on the other hand, are considered significantly toxic to bearded dragons, which is why they should be avoided as well.
Staple insects are, however, the safest to feed you beardies, and should preferably make up the biggest portion of your bearded dragon’s meal. The occasional insects should be included as a supplementary portion; you can as well offer them as a seldom treat.
Vegetables that a bearded dragon can have
Most of the vegetables are considered safe for bearded dragons, but that doesn’t mean that you can have your beardie “munching” on all sort of vegetables. Here’s a list of the vegetables they can have and the ones that they should stay away from:
1. Staple greens
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Turnip Greens
2. Staple veggies
- Acorn Squash
- Snap Peas
- Green Beans
- Yellow Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet Potato
3. Occasional greens
- Carrot Tops
- Cucumber (peeled)
- Bok Choy
- Celery Leaves
- Kohlrabi Leaves
- Swiss Chard
4. Occasional veggies
- Green Peas
- Bell Peppers
- Celery Stalks
5. Rarely fed greens and veggies
- Beet Greens
6. Greens and vegetables to avoid at all costs
Spinach and beet greens have a lot of oxalic acids, a calcium-binding agent that can limit the absorption of calcium. Therefore, letting your beardie feed on such foods regularly puts them at a high risk of Metabolic Bone Disease and other conditions. These foods should be fed on very seldom, but it’s best not to let your bearded dragon have them to be on the safer side.
Rhubarb and avocados are some of the foods that you never ever want your beardie to feed on as they are toxic to them. Lettuce should also not be fed to any reptile, beardies included, as it doesn’t have any significant nutritional value. Since lettuce is mostly made up of water, feeding it to a beardie can lead to diarrhea.
Lettuce can, however, be useful when a bearded dragon is suffering from dehydration, but you have to ensure that you don’t offer too much. Feeding too much can cause diarrhea, which will more than likely worsen the dehydration. You can go for peeled cucumbers as an alternative as they are generally better for such scenarios.
Tomatoes should be rarely fed as they are acidic and can be harsh on your beardie’s digestive system. An interval of six months should, however, be fine.
Fruits that a bearded dragon can eat
There are lots of fruits that a bearded dragon can have, as you will see in the following list.
1. Staple Fruits
- Prickly Pear (Cactus Leaves
2. Occasional Fruits
- Pears (peeled)
- Honeydew Melon
- Apples (peeled)
- Grapes (remove the skin on grape)
- Kiwi (peeled)
3. Fruits to Feed Seldom or Never
- Any Citric Fruits
The main reason why citric fruits should not be fed to bearded dragons is that they can be harsh on their digestive systems. With so many safe alternatives, you better not let your beardie feed on citric fruits.
So there you have it. The information above should be useful to anyone who was wondering what foods they should offer their beardie. The good thing is that most of these foods are readily available in local pet stores near you, as well as online stores such as Amazon.
Keep in mind that providing your beardie with the right food can improve their growth and health, which in turn puts a smile on your face. Be careful, however, not to overfeed your pet, to avoid health issues that result from being overweight.