If you have a bearded dragon, you have probably heard many times that you should feed it crickets, but this often causes bearded dragons to become overfed. So now you may wonder what else it can eat.
What Can Bearded Dragons Eat Besides Crickets? Besides crickets, bearded dragons can eat an array of different foods. They should mostly be fed vegetables and leafy greens. Bearded dragons can also eat fruit, locusts, and super worms more rarely. They also can eat dubia roaches and they might be the best live food for bearded dragons as they are highly nutritious.
Since bearded dragons can eat a wide range of different foods, it makes keeping them as pets a lot easier than others. However, make sure that you monitor the amount of food that your bearded dragon eats; this is because the majority of them tend to be overfed.
If your bearded dragon is older, you especially should not feed it as much meat, because it will not get as much exercise, which will cause it to gain weight.
So, here is a list of food that bearded dragons can eat besides crickets.
Some of the absolute best things to feed your bearded dragon- adult bearded dragons in particular- are dark leafy greens. These are very nutritious and contain lots of vitamins and calcium.
Since it is necessary for greens to be included in your pet’s diet, you will need to be feeding your bearded dragon a variety of greens.
Here are some that are safe for bearded dragons.
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Turnip Greens
Vegetables are another important part of your bearded dragon’s diet. Be sure to start incorporating some vegetables in its diet when it is a baby to see which ones it likes.
A baby bearded dragon’s diet should consist of around 20 percent vegetables, and an adult’s should consist of about 80 percent. This is why it is essential to know what vegetables are good for your bearded dragon, and which ones you should avoid.
Luckily, you probably eat many of these vegetables yourself already. Keep any and all vegetables that you give to your bearded dragon fresh because vegetables that have been frozen will lose their nutritious value.
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
- Butternut squash
- Yellow squash
- Bell peppers
There are many different kinds of insects that you can give to your bearded dragon. Some of these include crickets, dubia roaches, earthworms, locusts, and redworms.
It is absolutely necessary that you purchase these from a store or breeder to avoid any possible parasites or other illnesses that could be passed on to your bearded dragon.
It is also important to note that you need to pay attention to how to keep feeder insects. You will need to get special containers to put them in, because they are alive and can escape, which would be a nightmare for you. This is an adequate container.
There are containers referred to as ‘critter keepers’ that are not made of cheap plastic or any other material that insects can easily eat through – like the one above.
You will also want to keep the insects in an area that has a consistent temperature, and to feed the insects with nutritious foods (you can find out more about specific foods from the breeder you purchased them from). But be sure to not put your insects in a bowl of water because they will drown.
Your home will probably end up smelling from these feeder insects, so try to store them in a place where the smell won’t be strong or purchase an air purifier.
However, if you choose to feed dubia roaches, you won´t have that problem as dubia roaches do not smell. You can get them here.
Another important thing to note about feeding your bearded dragon is that you will need to cut up the food you give it into small pieces. It should be no larger than the area between your beardie’s eyes in order to prevent any pressure from being placed on your bearded dragon’s spine.
This can cause problems for your dragon’s health and ability to move around. Feeder insects should not be “cut” into small pieces of course. Just buy the right size for your bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons do receive most of their water from vegetables, and they are animals that can live without a lot of water. But you might need to give it water in other ways.
A popular thing that many people do is get a small bowl of water that their bearded dragon soaks in.
Or, they will spray water on the bearded dragons. These will aid with the digestion process, hydration, moisture, and shedding. However, if your bearded dragon is soaking in water, you will want to check them out, because they typically urinate or defecate while doing so.
Bathing a bearded dragon should not be done too often even though most people do it anyway. We have created an article that explains why you should avoid that. Read here why you should not bathe your bearded dragon too often.
Foods to Feed Your Bearded Dragon Less Often
There are also many foods that you can feed your bearded dragon, but less often than you should feed it any of the foods listed above.
These can be used as treats or as an occasional snack. This all will depend on what your bearded dragon prefers to eat as a snack and what your veterinarian suggests you give it.
Here is a list of different foods that you can give your bearded dragon less often than the foods listed above.
Fruits are not the most necessary foods for your bearded dragon, as they do contain a lot of sugar content, which is not healthy for bearded dragons.
So, if you do choose to incorporate fruit into your dragon’s diet, you should only do so occasionally as a small treat, and definitely not every day and as part of their daily meals. Not all fruit can be easily digested by bearded dragons, either, so it is important to keep this in mind.
Here are some of the fruits that you can give your bearded dragon.
- Berries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries in particular
It is important to note that if you feed your bearded dragon a fruit that has skin on it, such as apples, melons, watermelon, grapes, or kiwi, you need to peel the fruit first before you can feed it to the beardie.
While vegetables are an essential part of your bearded dragon’s diet, there are also some vegetables that should be fed less often. You can use these as special treats, but avoid giving them to your bearded dragons too much.
Here are some vegetables to feed less often.
- Cucumbers (Make sure both of these are peeled before giving any to your bearded dragon)
- Spinach? (You can technically feed your bearded dragon spinach, which is why we included it on this list. However, you will want to make sure that the spinach is only used as a very occasional treat because spinach absorbs calcium. This means that your bearded dragon’s body will not be able to metabolize calcium. Too much spinach can cause health problems for your bearded dragon.)
Foods to Never Feed Your Bearded Dragon
While bearded dragons are much more flexible as pets when it comes to what they can eat, there are, of course, some foods that are very toxic for bearded dragons and should be avoided in all circumstances.
There are other foods which can be fed to bearded dragons in extremely small quantities and on very rare occasions. However, if you can avoid giving your bearded dragon these foods and sticking to some of the more nutritious options listed above, then that would be the ideal choice.
Here are some of the foods that you should absolutely never feed your bearded dragon.
Avocado, while extremely healthy and a tasty treat in salads, is not a good food for many pets, especially not for bearded dragons. There is a large amount of oxalic acid in avocados, which can cause death in a bearded dragon if consumed in large quantities.
There are plenty of much better fruits and vegetables that can be fed to your beardie.
Bearded dragons must avoid rhubarb at all costs. While this might be tasty food for humans, it contains oxalic acid and anthraquinone glycosides, which are extremely poisonous and toxic for bearded dragons.
If your dragon does at all come into contact with rhubarb, make sure to give it water and to call the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Lettuce is not technically poisonous or toxic for your bearded dragon. So, if the need arises for you to feed lettuce to your pet, you may do so in small quantities, and can be assured that nothing bad will happen to your beloved bearded dragon.
Lettuce does not technically have any form of nutritional benefits for a bearded dragon, however, and can even cause problems with digestion, such as diarrhea. So, it should be avoided in all circumstances unless it is an absolute emergency.
Since bearded dragons do like to eat insects, you might think that fireflies might be some fun treats for your pet. But think again. Fireflies are actually poisonous for bearded dragons and you should never, ever feed it any.
And especially pay attention to what your bearded dragon is eating if you take it outside to make sure that it doesn’t mistakenly eat a firefly or two.
Grapefruit, Oranges, any Citric Fruit
You should also not be feeding your bearded dragon any citric fruit, grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, and lemons in particular.
This is because the citric acid that is contained in these fruits can have a negative impact on your bearded dragon and its digestive system, especially if your pet is a baby. There are plenty of other fruits that would be much better options for your pet to have as a snack.
Insects captured in the wild
Similar to how bearded dragons should avoid fireflies at all costs, they should also never be fed any insects that have been caught outside. Never go outside to look for insects to catch as a treat for your bearded dragon.
This is because insects that have been captured in the wild have been exposed to a variety of things that you neither can be aware of nor that would be good for your bearded dragon to come into contact with.
This can include parasites and chemicals. So avoid such insects at all costs, and only give your bearded dragon insects that you have purchased at a store from a reputable breeder.
It is also recommended that you avoid giving your bearded dragon any mushrooms. This is because mushrooms can contain poisons or toxins that will be fatal for your bearded dragon.
Baby Bearded Dragon Diet Vs. Adult Diet
What you feed your bearded dragon and how much you feed it will also depend on its age. Baby bearded dragons have different needs than adult bearded dragons do.
Of course, having a baby bearded dragon will require a lot more time and effort. You will doubly need to make sure that the animal is getting the proper nutrition that it needs. Baby dragons need to be provided with supplements, protein, and fat so that it can grow healthier.
Adult dragons do not need as much, because they simply need to maintain the health that they had as babies.
Baby bearded dragons
With a baby bearded dragon, it is very important that you make sure that it has enough calcium, vitamin D3, and other important nutrients. This is why it is important that you give your beardie supplements or gut loaded feeder insects on a daily basis.
You can get these supplements from your local pet store, and make sure that they are specialized for lizards. Routine check-ups at the veterinarian are vital, too, to ensure that your bearded dragon is getting the right amount of everything that it needs.
The vast majority of a baby bearded dragon’s diet will consist of meat, so this means insects. This is because a baby bearded dragon needs to have all the protein it can get so that it can grow healthy and strong.
Baby bearded dragons also get hungry very frequently. So, be sure to feed them at least once per day, and let them eat as much as they can in 15 minutes. Be sure to get the insects you provide from a reputable breeder, and only get ones from a pet store.
Don´t try to find insects from outside, because they may carry parasites or other things that are bad for your bearded dragon.
It is also important to note that approximately 20 percent of your baby bearded dragon’s diet should include some vegetables. Some people do find that their baby bearded dragons do not eat and vegetables, but it is important to include these in their diet, along with the regular insects.
Make sure that the vegetables you give your pet are always kept fresh to avoid any issues.
Adult bearded dragons
Taking care of adult bearded dragons is not as much of a hassle as taking care of baby ones is. It is recommended by many people that, if you have never taken care of a bearded dragon before, you should consider getting an adult one first.
Adult bearded dragons do not get as hungry as often. So, you do not need to feed it as often throughout the day. It is also important to mention that adult bearded dragons do not need to eat meat as often; in fact, their entire diet almost changes when they get older.
An adult bearded dragon’s diet consists of 20 percent meat, and 80 percent vegetables. As it gets older, test different vegetables to see what it likes in particular, and feed those to your pet often when it is an adult.
Also, it is recommended that you give your adult dragon insects every two days or so to mix up some variety in its diet and to ensure that it maintains the amount of protein it needs.
It is also important to feed your adult bearded dragon the supplements it needs, but it is not necessary to do so as often as you would with babies. Simply gut loading feeder insects should be enough.
As always, be sure to consult with your pet’s veterinarian regarding questions about its diet and the nutrients it needs.
Minerals And Vitamins Your Bearded Dragon Needs
As with any animal, including humans, there are some nutrients that are necessary for your bearded dragon, and that you should be making sure your bearded dragon gets plenty of in its diet.
Bearded dragons need calcium in order to have healthy bones.
Two of the most important nutrients for your bearded dragon are calcium and vitamin D3. Many bearded dragons suffer from calcium deficiencies, so you want to make sure that you can avoid this and keep enough calcium in your beardie’s diet.
Our article on the 5 greatest bearded dragon diet tips shows you exactly how you can make sure that your bearded dragons always gets the perfect amount of calcium.
You also need to make sure that it gets both nutrients at the same time (or as close to that as possible), due to the fact that bearded dragons can’t metabolize calcium if they do not have enough vitamin D3.
There are several ways in which you can increase the amount of both these nutrients in your pet’s diet.
The best and most natural way to make sure that your bearded dragon gets enough Vitamin D is to get a UVB lamp. These lamps make sure that bearded dragons can produce Vitamin D in their bodies to absorb calcium.
Of course, we also have an article on how to set up the perfect lighting for bearded dragons that include UVB lamps. If you are unsure about your lighting setup you MUST read this article. With the wrong lighting setup, your bearded dragon will die sooner or later.
Sunlight has the same effect on bearded dragons as UVB lamps. However, placing your bearded dragon in the sun once a week for a couple of minutes won´t do the trick. It is best to provide your bearded dragon constantly throughout the day with a good UVB source.
That works best with a UVB lamp.
For the rest of the vitamins that are good for your bearded dragon, you can get special multivitamins that are made just for lizards. However, before giving your bearded dragons a multivitamin supplement isn´t correct.
You have to weigh your bearded dragon first to know what the right amount of supplement for your bearded dragon is. Otherwise, you could even poison your bearded dragon.
That´s why we recommend to just make sure to gut load the feeder insects properly and to feed enough fresh greens to your bearded dragon.
If your bearded dragon refuses to eat greens, our ebook shows you how to make your bearded dragon eat greens within the next 7 days. Get it here!
As you can see, keeping a bearded dragon is not all that difficult. A lot of the food that it eats is likely already found in your kitchen. Give your pet lots of love and care and you will see that your pet will grow healthy and strong.
Be sure to keep an eye on the nutrients your bearded dragon is getting, and always make sure to include healthy food in its diet.
Stay away from foods that will not provide your bearded dragon with the nutrition it needs, and especially stay away from foods that have been deemed toxic for them.
And, as always, if you notice any changes in your dragon’s behavior, or if you have questions about specific food or nutrients, it is always best to reach out to your veterinarian. They will know your bearded dragon the best.