Feeding your bearded dragon
Unlike most reptiles, adult bearded dragons eat vegetables rather than solely feeding just on a diet of insects. Fresh foods should be given every day, with insects offered to adults on alternative days.
Juveniles less than 30cm need more protein while they’re growing and should be fed insects daily. Like cats and dogs, bearded dragons are prone to obesity. Unlike most pets, food can be withheld for a day or more without causing harm and may even be beneficial if it is part of a considered management regime.
Bearded dragons enjoy eating live whole insects such as crickets and locusts which themselves need to be well cared for and fed nutritious foods. The insects then need to be ‘dusted’, by shaking them in a sealed container with a vitamin and mineral powder before being offered to your dragon. These insects should be smaller in length than the distance between your bearded dragon’s eyes, if the insects are too large they may be difficult to swallow. Release the insects into the vivarium to be hunted by your pets, as this will provide them with natural stimulation. Live mealworms should only be given occasionally.
Fresh foods should consist mainly of greens, such as dandelions, watercress, spring greens and rocket supplemented with vegetables such as grated carrot or pepper.
Occasionally fresh fruits such as apples or grapes can be offered but these should be a treat. There are dry foods available that are an alternative to fresh foods and are easy to use. Prepared dry foods or greens should be provided in a suitable dish and should always be fresh.
Water should be available at all times. Spraying babies with water is also useful until they learn bathing or to visit the water bowl.
They will drink small droplets in just the same way as they would drink morning dew in the wild. As a guide, feed juveniles at least once a day with live, dusted and ‘gut loaded’ insects. Fresh or prepared foods should be available at all times and calcium powder can be provided in a small bowl.