Feeding a beardie can feel like trying to feed a toddler. You want to provide them the healthiest bearded dragon food…but they don’t always want to eat it. On top of that, everyone has a different opinion on what’s best for your beardie! Crickets? Roaches? Greens? Fruit? Supplements? There’s just too much information!
Today we’re breaking down the bearded dragon diet. Let’s start with what bearded dragons eat in the wild.
The Wild Bearded Dragon Diet
Bearded dragons originate from the arid shrublands of Australia. Here, they eat primarily insects such as beetles and ants, and some plant material like leaves, flowers, and fruit. They’ll also eat other lizards! Yep, that’s right. Wild bearded dragons are known to eat smaller lizards – including other bearded dragons. Gross? Gross.
However, it’s not recommended to feed your beardie the same diet their wild cousins eat. Why? Well, your beardie lives a very different life from a wild dragon.
Wild bearded dragons need to eat about 75% animal protein because they run around all day. In captivity, bearded dragons don’t get nearly as much exercise. They also don’t need to keep an eye out for predators. That’s why pet beardies need less animal protein and more plant material.
You’re probably asking, “alright, so what should I feed my bearded dragon, then?”
Glad you asked! Let’s take a look at the “bearded dragon food pyramid”.
Bearded Dragon Food Pyramid
The proper diet for bearded dragons will look different depending on your dragon’s age. Keep in mind, this food pyramid only applies to healthy bearded dragons. If your bearded dragon is over- or under-weight, work with a vet to come up with an individualized feeding plan to get them back to peak health.
Young bearded dragons need to eat more insects than adults. We’ll talk more about bearded dragon food for different life stages in next week’s blog.
Adult bearded dragons usually eat just once a day. The majority of their diet should be leafy greens, with staple insects such as dubia roaches a close second. Other vegetables such as squash, flowers, and peppers should be fed about 4 days each week. Fruits are best fed as treats, limited to just one day per week.
And don’t forget supplements! Calcium and vitamin D supplements are vital to prevent illnesses such as metabolic bone disease. A general vitamin and mineral supplement may also be a good idea. Most supplements should be given three days each week.
What Insects Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?
There are a lot of different kinds of insects available as bearded dragon food. Which ones are best?
We like to separate feeder insects into two categories: staples, and treats. Staple insects are high in protein, low in fat, and often have good ability to gut load. These are the insects that can – and should – be fed frequently and are considered healthy. Staple insects include dubia roaches, crickets, and hornworms.
Treat insects are often high in fat, making them perfect for occasional treats. Eating them frequently can cause your bearded dragon to gain too much weight. Insects such as mealworms, superworms, and waxworms are often considered treats.
Keep in mind, “treat” insects aren’t unhealthy. Fed as part of a varied diet, they can be very good for your bearded dragon! They’re just not best as the main insect your beardie eats.
Healthy Insects for Your Bearded Dragon
Looking for healthy insects for bearded dragon food? We offer dubia roaches, superworms, and mealworms to all lower 48 states (except Florida, sorry!). Take a look at our selection and pick out something good for your bearded dragon today!