What should you feed your pet Beardie? Bearded Dragons (AKA “Beardies”) are extremely popular pet lizards for several reasons. They are extremely hardy making them easy to care for, healthy lizards. They are also medium-sized animals which means that they don’t require a very large enclosure to keep them happy. They come in a variety of attractive color morphs, are very docile, tame creatures, and they also enjoy being handled and develop individual personalities.
So now on to the million dollar question – what do these guys eat?
Bearded dragons are omnivorous opportunists and eat both veggies and meat. They have very large appetites and will often eat when they are not hungry, just like some people, so make sure you are aware of what your Beardie eats on a daily basis so that he/she doesn’t get fat.
Here are some basic rules to follow when feeding your bearded dragon.
1) Because baby Beardies are growing, they will need to consume more food in general than an adult would. They will need to eat protein (i.e. insects) three times per day, whereas adults will eat once per day. An insect is of an appropriate size for your dragon if it is not longer than the space between the dragon’s eyes.
2) Each insect feeding session should last about fifteen minutes. Dust your gut-loaded insects appropriately with vitamin supplements and allow the Beardie to consume as many as possible within that fifteen minute time frame. After feeding is finished, remove leftover insects from the enclosure.
3) It’s always a good idea to have fresh vegetable and/or fruit matter available to your Beardie. Cut the veggies or fruits into small, manageable pieces and make sure to replace daily as you don’t want your Beardie to eat wilted, rotted, or otherwise harmful food.
4) Some plants, fruits, and veggies are not safe for Beardies to eat, while others are just plain not nutritious. Don’t feed your Beardie avocados as they are toxic to their systems. Avoid lettuce because its mostly water (particularly iceberg lettuce). Also don’t use wild-caught insects as food because they can carry parasites or diseases that could harm your lizard.
5) Variety is important. Make sure your dragon is getting a varied and balanced diet of both protein and vegetative matter. They will develop favorite foods, but like a human being, they need to eat different things on a regular basis to keep them healthy. In other words, switch up the type of protein and veggies weekly.