Feeding bearded dragons is fairly simple and easy, but you want to make sure you’re feeding your bearded dragon the right types of insects and greens. Owners should also ensure that bearded dragons are getting adequate amounts of calcium and other nutrients to keep them strong bones and not suffering from mineral or nutrient deficiencies.
The diet of bearded dragons usually consists mostly of insects. The most commonly fed insect is the cricket. Crickets are good for bearded dragons of all ages. The bearded dragon lizard will also appreciate a number of different insects. Large bearded dragons like to choose between mealworms, superworms, silkworms, and waxworms. Waxworms are high in fat and it is recommended that you do not overfeed these worms but rather give them to your bearded dragon as a treat. The young bearded dragon should not have mealworms, as the mealworm contains a high proportion of indigestible chitin. These worms will cause a young bearded dragon to suffer from an impaction that can be fatal. If you decide to collect some insects for your bearded dragons, make sure they are pesticide-free. You also don’t want to feed your bearded dragon lightning beetles. There have been several bearded dragons that died from just eating a lightning beetle.
Crickets are generally available at all pet stores. They can also be purchased through wholesale stores that will ship them to your home for bearded dragon feeding. Crickets require a home of their own and generally do well in a five to ten gallon aquarium. Provide some form of hiding place for the crickets as they need to be able to hide from each other. Crickets have been known to eat each other, leaving fewer crickets to feed bearded dragons. Empty egg cartons and other pieces of cardboard provide hiding places for crickets. Crickets also need to be fed well before feeding them to your bearded dragon. Crickets eat a variety of different foods, including vegetables, oatmeal, powdered milk, alfalfa hay, dog or cat food, and cricket food. Crickets also need a damp sponge as a source of water and moisture. Crickets drown in a bowl of water.
Young bearded dragons have very large appetites; That’s because they have a rapid growth spurt in their first year. If your young bearded dragon lizard isn’t showing a hearty appetite, there is an underlying problem somewhere. Young dragons can develop feeding disorders or simply be intimidated by their cagemates. They also need to have a body temperature of a hundred degrees before they can digest their food. New bearded dragon lizards may also have a tough tome acclimating to their new home and may take a few days before they are ready to eat.
Many owners may also have a separate feeding cage. So you don’t have to worry about food and insects polluting their traditional habitat and developing odors. The bearded dragon feeding cage can be a very simple cage that allows the bearded dragon to stay warm enough to feed, but doesn’t require all the other features like peat moss. You may also have several different types of dishes for different types of insects or food. This makes cage cleaning much easier. The frequency of feeding bearded dragons varies with age. Bearded dragons’ bodies need to warm up before they can digest their food, so you should feed them about an hour after you turn on their lights. Timers make this process easier for you, as you can easily set the light to come on an hour before you wake up in the morning. You should also give the bearded dragon all the food she or he will eat in one feeding. Each bearded dragon can eat between five and twenty crickets. Adults benefit from fresh vegetables and fruits every other day. Worms can be kept in a bowl with some potato as they also need food. Pregnant or pregnant females require longer feeding times. The pregnant females will appreciate waxworm treats. She should also get plenty of calcium in her diet. Pregnant female bearded dragons should increase their UVB lights and increased calcium supplementation.
The bearded dragon diet should also consist of appropriate fruits and vegetables. Some bearded dragons may have trouble fist-eating these, but there are some tips to help them learn. Vegetables should be offered about every other day and a wide variety should also be offered. Most bearded dragons will enjoy a staple diet of kale, mustard greens, kale, parsley, carrot tops, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, and escarole. For variety in the diet, you can also add bok choy, red cabbage and endive cilantro. These dark greens are high in calcium and will be very beneficial for bearded dragons. Avoid spinach as it contains oxalic acid, which causes calcium to bind, which we want to avoid. Iceberg lettuce should also be avoided as it consists mainly of fiber and water with no nutritional value. Other vegetables and fruits can include peas, broccoli, peppers, grapes, honeydew melon, raspberries and bananas.
Eating a balanced diet with lots of variety will keep your bearded dragon strong and healthy. Avoid foods of low nutritional value and be sure to wash all vegetables and fruits well before feeding to remove pesticide residue.
Thanks to Nigel Titley