You may have encountered this reptile in your social media feed once or twice, but do you know what it is? The bearded dragon or pogona is a reptile genus containing six lizard species. Its common name refers to the beard underside of its throat. It turns black or gains weight for several reasons, often because it feels threatened or under stress.
These are semi-arboreal species, meaning they spend at least half of their life in trees, near human habitation, and in bushes rather than roaming around. They like basking on rocks and branches in the mornings and afternoons to get sunlight.
Their diet widely consists of vegetables, insects, and small rodents. We recommend getting to know its diet should you wish to pet one or are interested in more about it. This article discusses everything about its diet, feeding schedule, and the food list it can eat.
What do bearded dragons eat in the wild?
Let us start by understanding what they eat when they are not in captivity. This creature is very resourceful in the wild because they consume a lot of bugs, such as beetles and grubs. However, some studies suggest termites provide the most nutrition. They have a ton of natural calcium supply in their gut.
This creature is allergic to dragonflies, so they stay away from it. Dragonflies have a component that is toxic to beardies.
In terms of plant-based food, they prefer flowers and leafy greens. They also eat fruits and other vegetables. We will deal with specifics in the coming sections.
The plant-based portion of its diet should include the best veggies, such as leafy, dark greens that provide high levels of nutrition. It includes things such as:
- turnip greens
- dandelion greens
- and Swiss chard.
It gets all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy by eating these leafy vegetables. Take note not all leafy vegetables to provide the same level of nutrients. Light green ones, such as celery and iceberg lettuce, are poor-nutrient vegetables.
The bearded dragon eats:
- and sprouts.
There are no restrictions for veggies. Moreover, they also eat fruit but make a small portion of their diet.
How much do bearded dragons eat?
One of the usual questions includes how often you should feed a bearded dragon and how much it eats. We discussed in the previous section the safe foods for our beloved reptiles. Generally, almost all human foods are safe for them, with a few exceptions. In this section, we want to tackle the quantity it eats.
Their food intake is highly dependent on the age group they belong. A one to three-month-old is likely to consume as many crickets within five to ten minutes plus 20% vegetables. They also eat five meals a day, which makes sense because they are in a developing stage.
The quantity per meal is similar for three to six months, six to twelve months, and twelve to eighteen months at 50% insects and 50% veggies. It differs in the daily frequency at four, three, and two meals a day, respectively.
Lastly, adults or those more than 18 months consume 75% veggies and 25% insects at a twice-daily frequency.
|Age of Bearded Dragon||Quantity & Types of Food||Number of Meals per Day|
|1-3 months||As many crickets as they’ll eat in 5-10 minutes + 20% veggies||5|
|3-6 months||50% veggies, 50% insects||4|
|6-12 months||50% veggies, 50% insects||3|
|12-18 months||50% veggies, 50% insects||2|
|Adult (18+ months)||75% veggies, 25% insects||2|
What can I feed my bearded dragon baby besides crickets?
There are several other options to feed your pet dragon aside from crickets. We will cover these options in the following sections, so please continue reading!
Bearded dragon food charts
The following sections focus on the food charts for bearded dragons. As a homeowner or aspiring homeowner, these charts will serve as a guide for you. They eat almost everything edible, such as:
- and other meat.
Occasionally feed them fruits because they rarely eat them in the wild. Focus their diet on vegetables, leafy greens, and protein/meat. The following sections will discuss more details on what to eat and avoid.
What fruits can bearded dragons eat?
The ideal rule with fruits is to have them in moderation only. This reptile will accept almost anything you offer them, so not controlling its food intake will affect its health. Offer fruits to them sparingly because they are mostly high in sugar, leading to obesity in the long run when offered frequently.
Frequently is defined as more than once a week. Citrus fruits have high acidity, causing diarrhea or an upset stomach. Soft fruits like kiwi and dragonfruit may cause teeth problems.
We suggest the following fruits in the table with a “Yes” remark to feed your bearded dragon. However, keep in mind these must all be provided sparingly.
|Food||Can bearded dragons eat it?|
What vegetables & greens can bearded dragons eat?
A wide variety of vegetables and fruits work great for bearded dragons. They are not picky eaters and will eat almost all vegetables. However, it does not mean you can feed them type. There are a few you should not offer, which we will present in the table below. Only offer broccoli in tiny bits and once a week.
On the other hand, leafy green vegetables are a great source of nutrients, especially calcium. These are also low in calories, preventing obesity. Feeding them more vegetables are they grow older is important to keep them healthy.
Some leafy greens we recommend are the following:
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Bok choy
There are a few vegetables that you should not offer, such as:
- aloe vera
- and onions.
|Food||Can bearded dragons eat it?|
Live foods & meats for a bearded dragon
They prefer eating insects and worms for meat, such as:
- darkling beetles
- and silkworms.
Below is a table listing almost everything they can and cannot eat. Avoid anything caught in the wild because it can poison them.
|Food||Can bearded dragons eat it?|
|Beetles||Some are safe|
Calcium for bearded dragon
The most important dietary need is calcium, followed by phosphorus. It is most notable to the young because of their developing bones.
Veterinarians recommended providing vitamins two to three times a week. Include calcium powder that does not contain vitamin D3 when sprinkling food on your bearded dragon pet. Also, add calcium powder with vitamin D3 2 to 3 times a week.
Below is a calcium powder we recommend feeding to your pet.
Zilla Reptile Munchies Omnivore with Calcium
The Zilla Reptile Munchies is an excellent source of calcium coming from a snack pack. Its content has been dehydrated, eliminating the need to store it in a refrigerator. It is also easy to prepare by adding water to rehydrate it, bringing it back to its original form. Although not beneficial to everyone, it comes in a resealable package for easy storage.
The Zilla Reptile Munchies packs the nutrients your pet needs in a convenient, no-refrigeration package. We prevent the metabolic bone disease from happening by supplementing with calcium nutrients.
Best treats for bearded dragons
We recommend the following treats for your bearded dragon pet.
Fluker’s Medley Treat
The Fluker’s Medley Treat packs several vitamin-enriched formulas, providing:
- and proteins your pet needs.
It is a blend of grasshoppers, mealworms, and crickets freeze-dried to preserve maximum nutrition and flavor.
The Fluker’s Medley Treat is a convenient way to feed your pet if you do not want to deal with live prey items. We recommend storing in a dry, cool environment for the best results.
What should you feed a baby & juvenile bearded dragon? The perfect diet
The perfect diet for a baby dragon involves as many crickets as they can eat within a 5 to 10-minute timeframe, plus 20% vegetables. On the other hand, juvenile dragons must have a 50% veggies and 50% insects diet.
Bearded dragon feeding schedule chart by age
There is a chart in the “How much do bearded dragons eat?” section, which explains their feeding schedule by age.
For example, a 6 to 12 months old should have three meals per day. On the other hand, 12 months and older should only have two meals per day.
How many crickets should you feed a baby bearded dragon?
Baby dragons have ages 1 to 3 months. They can eat as many crickets within a 5 to 10 minutes timeframe. They should also eat about 20% vegetables.
Why is my bearded dragon not eating?
They can lose their appetite if they are feeling unwell. Poor diet and vitamin deficiency are the leading causes for your bearded dragon to stop eating.
The following are some of the major reasons for it to stop eating:
- It feels stressed because of a new environment. It may involve changes in diet, temperature, and lighting.
- They might refuse to eat if their size is growing. Your pet may also stop eating if its tank feels small. A 16-inches long should fit well in a 40-gallon tank. Get at least a 50-gallon tank if it is longer than 16-inches.
- Shedding is sometimes uncomfortable, causing them to lose their appetite. Do not pull the skin off. Instead, provide warm baths to ease the shedding.
- Your pet is transitioning from eating more insects to more greens. We recommend mixing the greens with a few insects as incentives.
- Your dragon suffers from malnutrition. Providing a balanced diet should address the issue.
- Illnesses may cause it to lose its appetite. Metabolic bone disease, mouth rot, and gut impactions are common diseases.
What flowers can bearded dragons eat?
The following flowers are okay for this pet to eat:
On the other hand, you can offer fruits and vegetables too. However, fruits do not offer a lot of minerals. We recommend serving raw vegetables because it contains more nutrients.
The following are the frequently asked questions regarding bearded dragons.
Vegetables are their favorite food. On the other hand, their favorite live food is meal worms and crickets.
Their typical lifespan is 10 to 15 years. So if they are in captivity, we recommend replicating their natural habitat as much as possible. We urge you to learn more about them, including how to keep them happy and healthy.
Replicating what they eat in the wild is essential in growing a healthy bearded dragon. These include greens, fruits, weeds, vegetables, and meat. We recommend portioning for a balanced meal.
It is hard to see, but they have around 30 to 40 teeth on their upper jaw and another 30 to 40 teeth on their lower jaw. It is in a U-shape arrangement similar to the human mouth.
Each tooth has a hard enamel coating and a dentin body. The core is full of pulp, keeping the tooth alive.