You see an annoying fly buzzing around as you go about your business. You get sick of trying to swat it and wonder, perhaps it would make an excellent snack for your bearded dragon! Can your beardie eat the fly and feel OK?
Can bearded dragons eat flies? Yes, bearded dragons can eat flies. It won’t hurt them. However, flies do not provide adequate nutrition compared to other bugs you can feed to your bearded dragon. Pet store flies are OK, but other flies should not be fed regularly.
Now you know the quick answer to whether or not a bearded dragon can eat flies. Let’s learn about why wild-caught flies are not so great of an idea.
1. Why Avoid Wild Flies?
Flies are scavenger animals. They eat the stuff that’s been left behind.
If you have ever had the unfortunate experience of stumbling upon a dead animal while walking (such as roadkill) or saw a pile of fecal matter left behind from a dog or other animal, you likely saw a fly or two or three walking upon the object.
It is normal and the nature of the fly. That being said, we would not handle either of these objects with our bare hands, nor would we consider letting our bearded dragon near them.
And consider this: flies are not welcome in eating establishments or in homes. People put up flypaper or call exterminators, even use old-fashioned fly swatters, to get rid of the insects. The point is, they are unsanitary and can be found in places that smell bad or are otherwise unclean.
The bottom line? Wild flies are unclean creatures that are often found walking and feeding on things that are unclean. It is, for this reason, I do not recommend feeding them to your bearded dragon.
2. Can Flies Carry Disease?
The answer is, yes. It is another reason why I don’t recommend giving flies from your house or neighborhood to your bearded dragon.
Different types of flies, such as house flies, cluster flies, and stable flies (plus other species) are known for spreading over 200 pathogens and parasites to human beings.
Flies land on trash cans, rotting animal flesh, fecal matter, manure, old food, and other unsavory surfaces. Typhoid, cholera, and dysentery are just a few of the diseases that flies can spread.
The transfer of the house flies’ germs takes just a matter of seconds-imagine a house fly landing on your bearded dragon. (Yuck!) They not only spread germs fast; they actually vomit and eliminate where they land and eat.
3. Keep Your Home Clean (Don’t Give Wild Flies A Chance)
For the sake of your bearded dragon, and for your family, it is a good idea to keep everything clean.
Here are some tips to keep your home and bearded dragon enclosure neat, which will help keep flies away:
- Keep the bearded dragon enclosure clean and make sure to complete daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning tasks daily without fail. If you cannot do this, ask a friend or family member to help do it for you.
- Make sure to remove any uneaten veggies and fruits as soon as your beardie is done with them.
- Make sure you keep all drains in your home clean.
- Keep rubbish cans covered up.
- Make sure your bearded dragon’s enclosure has a mesh screen above so that flies do not enter the enclosure.
- Make sure doors and windows are screened or shut so that flies do not come inside.
- Make sure to keep your house clean and perform regular duties of cleaning up like cleaning dishes after eating immediately, storing food properly, and sweeping up after mealtimes to avoid crumbs left on the floor.
- Make sure all of your pets’ fecal matter is appropriately taken care of, whether they are a dog, cat, reptile, or something in between.
Simple acts of cleanliness and good bearded dragon hygiene practices will keep you and your family healthy.
4. What Can Bearded Dragons Eat Instead Of Flies?
You may be wondering at this point what you can give your bearded dragon to keep things interesting. After all, you may have been considering allowing him to chase flies outside or in your room because it was a chance for him to hunt as he did in the wild.
The good news is, there are plenty of ways your beardie can have fun and enjoy a variety of different foods without having to eat the same boring stuff over and over again.
Live Foods That Are More Appropriate Than Flies (For Bearded Dragons)
To recreate hunting as it is done in the wild, crickets and locusts can be fed. For adult bearded dragons, you can allow them meat 20% of the time and veggies 80% of the time. Dubia roaches also make an excellent way to shake things up.
I even give my beardies mealworms on rare occasions. Although my dragons really love them, they are quite fatty and make the beardies gain weight rather quickly. Thus, treat it as you would desserts for humans-keep it occasional for best results!
Baby dragons aged up to 6 months can eat as much as they like, whenever they want. As a result, you can put in as many live crickets or locusts as you like. (And, flies from the pet store are OK too!)
Veggies: They Taste Great
Your bearded dragon’s diet should be composed of 80% veggies once they reach adulthood. It is really good news, as there are plenty of vegetables your bearded dragon can enjoy. Sometimes, I like to make little salads for my beardies, consisting of a variety of different veggies they can enjoy.
Here’s what I put into my recent salad:
- Collard greens
- Bok Choy
- Turnip Greens
The beardies loved, and I am sure yours will, too. These are just a small sample of the veggies your bearded dragon can enjoy.
Other great vegetables your reptile is going to love are:
- Swiss chard
- Dandelion greens
- Bell pepper
- Peeled cucumber
- Raw squash
- Sweet potato (raw)
Indeed, the sky’s the limit with veggies. Avoid lettuce- it’s really nothing more than water with a slight crunch and could give your bearded dragon diarrhea.
Fruit: A Special Treat For Bearded Dragons
Naturally sweet and super juicy, your bearded dragon is sure to love digging into a piece of strawberry, apple, or pear. There are other fruits you can give your dragon too.
Fruit should be given as an occasional treat, as I recommend a diet of 80% veggies and 20% meat. Here is some fruit your bearded dragon will really love:
Put simply, flies are to be avoided. Responsibly sourced flies, like ones from the pet store, are absolutely fine. However, flies that go around your home or outdoors are like coins. We don’t know where they’ve been or what’s on them.
It’s best to keep your bearded dragon safe and prevent them from eating flies in the wild. It will keep your bearded dragon safe and free from possibly ingesting a pathogen or a parasite that could do some serious damage.
Aside from this, there are plenty of other great treats for dragons out there. Offer up a crisp veggie or sweet fruit instead, or maybe even a fat mealworm once in a while. Enjoy treat time the healthy way!