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Among all the pets in the reptile word, the bearded dragon is often regarded as one of the easiest to take care of. These “beginner lizards” have been so widely domesticated that crucial tasks, such as preparing a bearded dragon diet, have been made extremely simple.
Seriously, any local pet store, along with your nearest grocery, will have all the necessary ingredients for a proper beardie diet. The hardest part may be finding accurate information on feeding your bearded dragon in order to maintain a healthy and happy lizard. All of which, I will cover extensively in this guide.
Types of Food Bearded Dragons Eat
A common misconception is that all reptiles are herbivores, meaning they strictly eat greens (think fruits and vegetables). While it’s true that most pet reptiles are herbivores, the bearded dragon is not. In fact, they are omnivores, which means that they’ll be more than happy to munch on fruits and vegetables in addition to protein (such as insects). With that being said, a bearded dragon’s diet should be comprised of vegetables, certain insects and (non-citrus) fruits.
A Baby Bearded Dragon’s Diet
A baby bearded dragon, also known as a “Hatchling” in the beardie circle, should not have the same diet of an older beardie. Let me first clarify that a hatchling is a baby dragon that’s less than 2 months old.
This rule should be no surprise because a larger reptile will, without doubt, eat more than a smaller reptile. However, the difference in their diets is not just the quantity of food, but also the ratio for types of food given to them. Let me elaborate.
A hatchling should be given approximately 5% – 10% plant matter (fruits and veggies) and 90% – 95% protein (insects). If you were to apply this same diet plan for your adult bearded dragon, they will certainly have intestinal impaction in a matter of hours. Bearded dragon impaction is no joke, as it can cause serious health issues and in several cases even death.
But don’t worry about your hatchling. They can handle the high percentage of protein if you follow the proper feeding guidelines.
The Juvenile Bearded Dragon Diet
A juvenile bearded dragon is a young “teenage” dragon and classified as at least 2 months old. It’s recommended that you feed them insects about 3/8 of an inch in size. And as far as food ratios, I would keep it around 20% to 30% plant matter (vegetables) and 70% to 80% protein matter (insects). As a juvenile dragon gets older, slightly increase their intake of vegetables and decrease their intake of insects.
Adult Bearded Dragon’s Diet
The adult beardies do not and should not eat as many insects as their younger counterparts. If you’ve gradually added vegetables to a juvenile’s diet, then they should be used to eating little protein as a full-grown adult bearded dragon.
You really only need to feed them insects once per day. The maximum number of insects your adult dragon should be eating is 50 to 60 insects. Many owners think it’s time consuming to count how many insects they’ve eaten, but it’s not. Just don’t put in more than 60 insects into the cage when feeding them. And, if you’re worried about them eating too little: count how many insects are going in and subtract that by how many are left (post meal) to get the number of insects they’ve eaten.
If your adult bearded dragon is eating less than 20 insects per day, something may be wrong. It could be because of impaction of even an illness. Regardless of what it is, consult a veterinarian with experience in dragon care.