Along with leopard geckos, bearded dragons are probably the most popular pet reptiles in the world. They’re docile and pretty low maintenance when it comes to a pet reptile. Bearded Dragons also enjoy a wide variety of foods. They are omnivores and will eat greens, vegetables, fruit, as well as insects. So in this article we’ll discuss what to feed a bearded dragon and give you some examples.
Let’s get into this!
What to Feed a Bearded Dragon (16 Things You Can Feed a Bearded Dragon)
Below is a list of 15 different foods you can feed your bearded dragon, from invertebrates to vegetables. Then we’ll talk a little about calcium and bearded dragons.
Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle, and are about an inch long. They are a real treat for adult bearded dragons, though they can sometimes be hard to digest so there is a risk of impaction. This is especially true for younger bearded dragons. Because of this it’s best not to feed mealworms to young or juvenile beardies, and only feed mealworms to adults.
Because they’re so small you should be fine feeding an adult bearded dragon 5 or so mealworms per feeding. Many bearded dragon owners opt for the larger superworms that you’ll see next.
You can buy mealworms here.
Superworms are essentially extra large mealworms and have a great calcium to phosphorus ratio. They’re also great for protein. Superworms are very high in fat and should only be fed occasionally.
Bearded Dragons can put on weight when fed superworms regularly, which can work great if you need to put some weight on a recovering or starved beardie. An already healthy Bearded Dragon, however, can put on too much weight. A chunky Bearded dragon can be cute, but it can be near impossible to help them lose the weight once it’s on and can considerably impact their life span and health.
You can get gut-loaded superworms here.
3. Phoenix worms (black soldier fly larvae)
Phoenix worms are great for bearded dragons. Due to their high calcium content and excellent source of protein. Phoenix worms are considered a superfood for many species of reptiles. They are relatively low in fat compared to other insects like superworms. Phoenix worms are an exceptional staple for beardies.
Crickets might be one of the first things you think of when you consider what to feed a bearded dragon. They are an excellent staple for dragons and even better once gut-loaded. If you feed your crickets nutritious food, the health benefits will pass on to your bearded dragon. Crickets also offer the chance for your bearded dragon to get some exercise. Crickets will keep your beardie active while they jump all over the place.
Hornworms are great feeders. They are a good source of calcium and protein and work nicely for keeping your beardie well hydrated. You can buy them here.
6. Dubia Roaches
Dubia roaches are a staple in a bearded dragon’s diet. They are great for their calcium content, have a healthy calcium to phosphorus ratio, and are a nutritious source of protein. Dubia Roaches are also very easy to keep alive. Because they are easy to care for, you can buy them in bulk if you choose and save money. You can order dubia roaches here.
7. Collard Greens
Collard Greens are amongst one of the best foods you can feed your bearded dragon. They are considered a staple. You can serve them daily. They are high in calcium and contain other vitamins like A, C, and K. These are necessary for the health of your bearded dragon, promoting eye health and a great immune system.
8. Endive Lettuce
Endive Lettuce is another great staple for beardies. It has lots of nutritional content and has a healthy calcium to phosphorus ratio. A few Vitamins and Minerals that you can find in Endive lettuce include C, E, K, B1, B2, calcium, iron, and zinc.
9. Dandelion Greens
Bearded Dragons love Dandelion Greens, which is great because they are really nutritious for them. Dandelion Greens are high in calcium and contain multiple minerals and vitamins that are very important to your Bearded Dragons health including A, and K. Dandelion Greens are a staple and can be fed daily.
10. Mustard Greens
Mustard Greens contain essential vitamins and minerals your Bearded dragon needs making them a staple and an excellent choice. This veggie is high in calcium and contain vitamin C and K.
11. Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash is a fine addition to your bearded dragons’ diet and is safe and healthy to feed daily. This type of squash is low and fat, has safe doses of oxalates, and is nutritional, containing calcium and vitamins A and C.
Cilantro is not a staple as it does not contain all of the valuable nutrition a bearded dragon needs in their diet. It should be fed in moderation, but cilantro is an excellent source of antioxidants, and from experience, it can sometimes help with picky eaters! So while it shouldn’t be a staple, it does still provide great benefits.
Blueberries are a fantastic choice in small amounts. Like most things, too much of a good thing can be bad. Blueberries are high in sugar, but they do contain antioxidants, which can assist in the health of your bearded dragon. They are excellent for the heart and helpful in reducing inflammation. Blueberries don’t provide everything a bearded dragon needs, but they are a good source of vitamin C, K and magnesium, and potassium.
Mangos have a lot of nutritional value. They have vitamins A, C, E, K, Fiber, folate, manganese, zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants. All of which are vital benefits for bearded dragons. However, like blueberries, they contain quite a bit of sugar. They are also low in calcium which is very important to a Bearded dragon’s health. Mangos work excellent as a way to switch up your beardies diet a couple of times a week, not as a staple.
15. Prickly pear
Prickly pears are the only fruit safe for daily consumption for bearded dragons. The calcium, phosphorus ratio is good, which is very important for beardie health. Prickly pears also contain essential vitamins and minerals. They are a great way to keep your dragon hydrated.
Papayas make a nice treat that will be sure to make your dragon happy. This fruit doesn’t have a great calcium to phosphorus ratio, so they shouldn’t be given daily. Papayas are also very acidic and sweet.
The importance of calcium for bearded dragons
Seeing a trend? Throughout this list, you may have noticed we mention calcium content a lot. Calcium is vital to a bearded dragon’s health. If your beardie doesn’t get the calcium they need, their body will use stored calcium from their bones. When the body does this, it can cause MBD (metabolic bone disease). MBD can eventually lead to death.
It is vital that you also supply your bearded dragon with vitamin D3. Without it, Bearded dragons can not absorb the calcium they need. A bearded dragon can have too much D3 in its system. If this happens, it can cause a condition called Hypervitaminosis D. This is more common in young bearded dragons, but it is still a concern. Instead of dusting with D3 daily, you only need to every other day.
Zoo Med Repti Calcium is a popular option among beardie owners.
Calcium to phosphorus Ratio
Calcium to phosphorus ratio, Why’s it important? Phosphorus is not harmful to the body in small amounts. If, however, there is more phosphorus than calcium in the system, it can lead to a calcium deficiency. Phosphorus binds with calcium. If there is not enough calcium in their system, it will bind with the phosphorus and leave none to be metabolized by the body. When this happens, it can lead to MBD (metabolic bone disease)
What NOT to feed a Bearded Dragon
What not to feed a bearded dragon is just as important as what to feed a dragon. Here’s a list of items you should never feed a bearded dragon.
- Boxelder bugs
- lubber grasshoppers
When you combine a wide range of foods for your bearded dragon, they will receive all the nutrients they need and live a happy and healthy life, and while your dragon can eat a wide variety, some foods should be limited to occasional meals or treats. Having said that, after seeing the examples above you should know what to feed a bearded dragon now.
If you want see more bearded dragon articles, check out this page.