Keeping a bearded dragon pet is a much different experience from having cats, dogs, or other non-exotic, adorable, and fuzzy friends. There is a lot of consideration and patience that goes into ensuring your bearded dragon is healthy, and one of the major aspects is its diet. If you’re planning to adopt a bearded dragon or you have just brought your new friend home, their feeding routine is the best place to start your journey. Well, aside from setting up their enclosure.
The regularity of how bearded dragons eat is influenced by their age; baby dragons eat 3 to 5 times a day, youngsters 2-3 times, and adult dragons daily, all with specific menus that influence their well-being. While feeding routines are highly important for your bearded dragon, the diet you put them on is of equal importance- both of these aspects work hand in hand and are crucial for the well-being of your beardie.
A wrong diet is as bad as it could get, it’s even worse than incorrectly rationing the feed. Did you know that your dragon could die from eating fireflies? Or that overfeeding could put a strain on their poor spines and break them?
In this article, I’ll put you through how frequently you should feed your beardie and how to place them on the best diet for a healthy lifestyle. Read on!
How Often Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?
The answer is all in age; bearded dragons have different stomach capacities for each stage of their life. The age of your beardie will determine just how often they should be fed.
0 to 3 Months Old (Baby Dragon)
If your bearded dragon falls under this age group, they’re still babies- and tend to eat voraciously! At this stage, they eat 3 to 5 times a day and might appear to be insatiable. Baby dragons need a substantial amount of protein for them to put on the considerable weight required for their health. This stage features rapid growth and cell development, all of which are central demands for a lot of proteins.
4 to 6 Months Old (Juveniles)
Juvenile dragons are still placed under the category of baby dragons, as well as the frequency with which they should be fed. At this stage, they are still maturing into adulthood and are probably more active than ever. They will scurry around and wiggle around their tank with all the energy they get from their diet. Same with baby dragons, juveniles should be fed 3 to 5 times daily.
7 to 9 Months Old (Pre-Adult)
If you’ve been on a long jump keeping up with your bearded dragon’s insane feeding routines, you can pull the reins a bit at 6 to 9 months of age. At this stage, their metabolism begins to slow down, and so will the need for more than 3 squares of grubs and veggies, bringing the frequency to 2 to 3 times a day.
10 Months to 1+ Years Old (Adult)
Finally, you can now feed your dragon a proper diet once a day. Adult bearded dragons have a much slower metabolism in comparison to younger beardies. This is also the period when they tend to be more docile and thus, burn less fat. All that much protein isn’t a requirement for them. At this juncture, they’d be more interested in greens, trying to lock a good level of moisture in, and getting the best basking spot they can find.
What Does A Good Bearded Dragon Diet Look Like?
A good beardie diet should comprise the necessary percentage of protein, minerals, and vitamins. Again, it’s never one size fits all. Bearded dragons at different stages of their lives would require different diet compositions to stay healthy and happy. As simple as this may sound, it’s a crucial step in caring for your dragon.
The protein sources for bearded dragons majorly come from grubs and small rodents. Protein also constitutes other values such as fat, water, and mineral content. It’s important to understand the value of these protein sources so that you can take advantage of minor differences and how they will affect your dragon at its specific age.
Baby dragons and juveniles will do better with high-protein food in comparison to pre-adult and adult beardies.
Wax worms specifically are not recommended as a staple source of protein because of the high levels of fat. They can be introduced at weekly intervals, or especially for recovering beardies to help them put on healthy weight.
I have tabled 7 well-known protein sources and their content in percentage to help you weigh and understand your options better.
|ACTUAL PROTEIN %
Vegetables are highly important to your bearded dragon’s lifespan. It contains significant minerals that will assist in the metabolism and restructuring of their cells as well as composition. It’s highly vital to maintain a healthy mix of protein and minerals so that your pet isn’t easily susceptible to illnesses.
Here is a good list of dragon-worthy greens:
Avoid light-colored or transparent-looking veggies like lettuce. The water content may be too high for your dragon and that could cause periods of diarrhea. Instead, make a beeline for dark-colored, chlorophyll-saturated, or flavonoid-rich vegetables for the best and safest results.
Raw Minerals And Vitamins
This category contains calcium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin D, which are important minerals for the well-being of your dragon. Reptile-safe calcium or iron powder can be sprinkled on their food before consumption, Vit C can be gotten from fruit-fed worms or berries, and short walks in the sun will provide good doses of vitamin D.
The UVB lamp is also another good source of Vit D. Don’t fall for that shabby scam where “experts” claim that UV lights are just the same as UVB! UV lights are completely distinct from UVB and will deprive your dragon of the benefits of basking.
The Proper Dietary Fraction For Bearded Dragons (Based On Age)
Now that we’ve reviewed the contents of an adequate dragon meal, you can easily deduce the most suitable diet structure for your pet based on their age using this ratio:
|Fraction in Percent (Bugs & Veggies)
|Number of Insects
|0 to 2 (Baby dragon)
|25 – 50/day
|3 to 6 (Juvenile)
|25 – 50/day
|6 to 9 (Pre-Adult)
|9 to 18+ (Adult)
Diet For Feeding A Sick Or Recovering Bearded Dragon
Recovering or sick dragons need sufficient levels of vitamins and minerals to properly fight against the illness. Mineral-rich foods and Vitamin C should be a priority. Vegetables like collard greens and spinach, including a few high-protein worms to rejuvenate the body cells should be included. Also, vitamin D (walks in the sun) remains a reliable way to help your dragon recover much faster.
However, ensure to pay a proper visit to the vet for an ethical diagnosis and treatment. These measures are simply ways to speed up your dragon’s recovery process, not to treat them by yourself.
Commonly Asked Questions About Bearded Dragon Food
Is a supplement-free diet enough to sustain a bearded dragon in captivity?
Bearded dragons tend to develop certain deficiencies when they are in captivity, although they are fed a proper diet. Calcium and vitamin deficiencies are quite common for these beardies in captivity and as such, vitamin supplements can go a long way to aid your commendable efforts in keeping your beardie healthy.
Do bearded dragons hate fruit?
Beardies do not care too much for fruits. Since they originate from arid regions, their taste buds are not quite evolved to find fruits delicious. However, they seem to tolerate berries particularly.
How do I know I’m not overfeeding my dragon?
Bearded dragons are habitual for leaving little clumps of vomited food. You may find these clumps and think the meal was indigestible, but that’s just your overfed dragon relieving itself.
What other insects pose a threat to the health of a beardie?
Just like butterflies, any other insects, bugs, or worms that tend to glow in the dark are harmful to your beardie. The chemical responsible for this admirable feature in the bug could be detrimental to the life of your dragon.