What Do Bearded Dragons Eat? Best Food List and Feeding Guide

At first glance a Bearded Dragon’s diet can seem complicated.

In the wild these lizards are omnivores and eat a mixture of insects, vegetables and fruits.

A pet Beardie should be fed a variety of foods to make sure they are heathy.

In addition to feeding a variety of foods juveniles and babies should be fed different diets – it is important to change a Bearded Dragon’s diet as they grow.

Their diet can seem complicated, but even first time reptile owners can easily master their nutrition.

This article will explain everything you need to know about feeding bearded dragons. We even have a ready to go feeding chart for you to follow, so keep reading…

What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?

What Do Box Turtles Eat?

Pet Beardies have a very diverse diet and eat insects, small vertebrates, greens, vegetables, and fruits.

There are many different types of insects, fruits, and vegetables that are safe to feed, but the foods below are nutritionally better:

  • Ants and beetles.
  • Dubia roaches, earthworms, crickets and superworms.
  • Collard greens, dandelion greens and kale.
  • Grapes, bananas, apples, strawberries, watermelon and blueberries.

They are not very picky eaters.

Bearded dragons are agile and in the wild hunt live prey. They crush crickets and mealworms with their powerful jaws and eat every day.

When kept in captivity adults should be fed once a day but they require different foods at different life stages.

Juveniles require more protein because they are rapidly growing. Juveniles should be fed three times a day. They should also eat a diet of mostly insects compared to adults that eat fewer insects and more fruits and vegetables.

Hatchlings should be offered crickets constantly.

It is important adults, juveniles and hatchlings receive the correct food and nutrients to stay healthy.

Bearded dragons will also need a calcium powder sprinkled on their food twice a week. Calcium is necessary for bone development, neurological processes, and a variety of other bodily functions.

Formulating their diet can be overwhelming.

The easiest way to vary their food intake is to use a weekly feeding chart.

Bearded Dragon Diet

The correct diet for a bearded dragon should contain protein, greens, vegetables and fruits. Feeding a balanced diet is vital for their health. Feed a split of 25% insects and vertebrates and 75% greens, vegetables, and fruits:

  • Dubia roaches, earthworms, crickets and superworms.
  • Collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, grapes, bananas, watermelon and blueberries.

Bearded dragons have only been popular pets for two decades and still retain many of their wild behaviors and eating habits.

When we introduce a wild reptile to captivity it is important their food mimics the foods they eat naturally.

This will not only help keep them happy but also healthy too.

Baby Bearded Dragon Feeding Schedule

Feeding A Baby Bearded Dragon

Young Bearded Dragons grow very quickly and need lots of protein. Because of this, hatchlings and juveniles have a different feeding plan from fully grown adults.

Their ratio of protein to greens, vegetables and fruits should be 75/25.

They should be fed 75% insects and 25% plant material.

For the first two months bearded dragons will need to be fed crickets throughout the day.

Start with two crickets every 10 to 15 minutes at the hatchling stage. As they grow, gradually feed them less often until they are being fed three times a day at two months of age.

Protein Greens and Vegetables Fruit
Day 1 (am) 10x crickets. 2x small kale leaves,
1x small pumpkin piece.
1x blueberry.
Day 1 (noon) 10x dubia roaches. 2x small collard green pieces,
1 small squash piece.
1x peach slices.
Day 1 (pm) 10x crickets. 2x small dandelion green pieces,
1x pepper slice bell.
1x blackberry.
Day 2 (am) 10x dubia roaches. 2x small kale leaves,
1 small pumpkin piece.
1x blueberry.
Day 2 (noon) 10x crickets. 2x small collard green pieces,
1 small squash piece.
1x peach slices.
Day 2 (pm) 10x dubia roaches. 2x small dandelion green pieces,
1x pepper slice bell.
1x strawberry.

It is important to make sure you cut up any greens, vegetables, and fruits into bite sized pieces before feeding. Pieces should be no bigger than the distance between your bearded dragon’s eyes.

Feeding food in large pieces can result in gastrointestinal issues.

As your Bearded Dragon grows their diet will change.

Beardies reach adult size at 18 months. After this they become less active and do not need the high protein food fed to juveniles and hatchlings.

At around this age they can gradually be transitioned to an adult’s diet.

Adult Bearded Dragon Feeding Schedule

Bearded Dragon Eating An Insect

Adults should be fed once a day. Try to feed a split of 75% greens, vegetables, and fruits and 25% insects and vertebrates.

It is very important to vary the types of foods you are feeding. This acts as a form of enrichment and keeps them interested in their food.

An example feeding schedule can be seen below:

Protein Greens and Vegetables Fruit
Day 1 5x crickets, 5x dubia roaches. Kale, collard greens, 2x sweet potato pieces, 2x bell pepper slices. 3x blueberries, 1x strawberry.
Day 2 5x superworms, 3x earthworms. Dandelion greens, Bok choy, 2x baby carrots, 2x pumpkin pieces. 2x peach slices.
Day 3 5x crickets, 5x dubia roaches. Kale, collard greens, 2x sweet potato pieces, 2x bell pepper slices. 3x blueberries, 1x strawberry.
Day 4 5x superworms, 3x earthworms. Dandelion greens, Bok choy, 2x baby carrots, 2x pumpkin pieces. 2x peach slices.

Before serving any vegetables or fruits chop them into small bite-sized pieces – this will make them easier to eat.

Some owners choose to chop vegetables and fruits weekly and then freeze them. They then thaw this mix in the microwave before feeding. Greens should always be offered fresh.

If your bearded dragon does not eat their food you should remove it from their enclosure within an hour. This will prevent them from eating spoiled food and falling ill.

Adults are typically good eaters.

If they start to refuse food or eat less than normal speak with your vet as this could be the first sign of an illness or injury.

Bearded Dragon Eating Fruit

Bearded Dragon Food

The following list of insects, vegetables and fruits are good choices to include in your bearded dragon’s diet:

  • Dubia roaches, earthworms, crickets and superworms.
  • Apples, blueberries, peaches, strawberries and watermelon.
  • Cabbage, carrots, collard greens, kale, pumpkin and sweet potato.

Dubia roaches are very high in protein and are easy to digest so they make an excellent addition to a bearded dragon diet. Crickets and superworms can also be fed for variety but are not as easily digestible.

You should feed lots of leafy greens such as collard greens, dandelion greens, and kale. These greens are high in calcium and are nutrient dense.

A small amount of fruits can be added to their intake but it is important not to overfeed them as they are high in sugars.

Bearded Dragons Food List
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Collard Greens
  • Dandelion greens
  • Kale
  • Pepper
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Crickets
  • Dubia roaches
  • Earthworms
  • Mealworms (only adults)

What Fruit Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

Fruits are an important part of bearded dragon diets. They provide many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients not readily found in other foods. The following fruits are good options to feed your bearded dragon:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

You should only feed your bearded dragon fruits occasionally and use them as treats.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat:

Grapes: Yes. Grapes should be chopped into quarters to prevent choking.

Bananas: Yes. You should only feed bananas occasionally as they have a high phosphorous to calcium ratio which can be unhealthy.

Apples: Yes apples are an excellent choice of fruit to feed your bearded dragon. You should peel the apples and cut them into bite sized pieces before serving.

Strawberries: Yes strawberries are excellent as a treat as they have high amounts of several key nutrients including vitamin C, manganese, folate, and potassium. You shouldn’t feed strawberries too often as they are high in oxalates.

Watermelon: Yes. However unlike many fruits in this list it is not nutritionally dense and so is not the best food to feed.

Blueberries: Yes you can occasionally feed blueberries. They are high in vitamin C and vitamin K. Don’t feed too many as they are high in oxalates that can prevent your bearded dragon from receiving enough calcium.

Oranges: No. It is best to not feed oranges or other citrus fruit such as lemons and limes. These fruits are too acidic for bearded dragons. Acidity can irritate their stomach and lead to a variety of gastrointestinal issues.

Raspberries: Yes bearded dragons can eat raspberries occasionally. Raspberries contain many important nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants.

Bearded Dragon Eating A Flower

What Vegetables Can Bearded Dragons Eat?

Vegetables and leafy greens are a very important part of a bearded dragon’s diet. They should make up 75% of their food intake. The following vegetables are good choices to feed:

  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Collard Greens
  • Kale
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tomatoes

Vegetables provide your bearded dragon with many nutrients and calories.

When feeding your bearded dragon vegetables you should always wash them and only serve them raw.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat:

Spinach: No. It is best not to feed your bearded dragon spinach as it binds to calcium and can lead to a calcium deficiency if fed too often.

Kale: Yes Kale is an excellent food choice and is high in calcium, vitamin C, vitamin, K, vitamin A, and folate. Kale can be fed regularly and should be a staple food.

Carrots: Sometimes. Carrots should only be fed occasionally as too many can cause toxicity from too much vitamin A. Include the carrot’s green top as they are also heathy.

Zucchini: Yes it is safe to feed but it does not have many nutrients.

Broccoli: Yes broccoli is high in vitamin A, thiamine, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Celery: No like iceberg lettuce, it is mostly water and contains very few nutrients.

Tomatoes: Yes tomatoes are low in oxalates and high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin, K, and folate.

Cabbage: Yes. Cabbage should be fed occasionally to bearded dragons as it can provide them with lots of vitamin C.

Common Feeding Mistakes

Bearded Dragon and Dragon Fruit

There are three common feeding mistakes that can be made when feeding a bearded dragon. These mistakes can lead to a variety of health issues and obesity.

Mistake One: Overfeeding
Obesity in adult bearded dragons is very common.

Like most reptiles they have a very healthily appetite and are prone to obesity if fed to many insects.

An adult should receive no more than twenty insects a day!

It is easy to accidentally overfeed as they will eat as many insects as you feed.

Obesity is a major health issue as it can predispose your bearded dragon to heart disease and joint issues.

Mistake Two: Feeding Juveniles Mealworms
Feeding juveniles mealworms can stunt their growth and prevent them from receiving the nutrients they need.

Mealworms have an outer shell made up of chitin that juveniles cannot properly digest. You should avoid feeding bearded dragons mealworms, and opt for superworms when they reach 18 months of age.

Mistake Three: Not Gut Loading
When feeding your bearded dragon live insects it is important to gut load them at least a day before feeding.

Gut loading involves feeding the insects fruits and vegetables that are dense in nutrients before feeding the insects to your bearded dragon. This process greatly improves the amount of nutrients that your bearded dragon receives.

What Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat?

There are a handful of foods that should always be avoided when feeding a bearded dragon. The foods in the list below can cause a variety of health abnormalities and toxicities:

  • Avocado
  • Beef
  • Bread
  • Chicken
  • Eggplant
  • Fireflies
  • Fish
  • Garlic/Onion
  • Iceberg lettuce/Celery
  • Spiders/ticks

Bearded Dragons do not eat meat in the wild, so it should not be fed in captivity. Meats and fish are too high in fat and phosphorous.

Avocado, garlic, onion, and eggplant should all be avoided as they can be toxic even in small amounts.

Non-nutrient dense foods with a high water content should also not be fed. These include iceberg lettuce and celery.

Finally, fireflies, spiders, and ticks can be toxic to bearded dragons. Even half a firefly can kill an adult bearded dragon because of the cardiotoxins.

Summary

Bearded dragons are one of the most common pet reptiles.

A juvenile needs a diet of mainly insects and some plant material. They should be fed three times a day. Once a bearded dragon reaches 18 months of age they should transition to an adult diet.

An adult requires food consisting mainly of leafy greens and vegetables and some insects and should be fed once a day.

Varying the foods you feed, giving occasional fruits and gut loading insects before feeding will help to make sure your bearded dragon gets the nutrients it needs.

Ensuring you feed a healthy diet is fundamental to a good husbandry routine that will keep your pet happy and healthy.

What do you like to feed your pet? Let us know below.

Johnathan David Author Bio Picture
Johnathan David leads the editorial team at Everything Reptiles as our Editor in Chief. He brings decades worth of publishing experience. A reptile hobbyist since childhood, he has years' of experience in herpetoculture and has cared for Geckos (2 Gargoyles), Skinks (Blue Tongue) and a Frog (Poison dart). A trusted member of the industry, his work being featured by major publications (e.g. PetMD).

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