Feeding bearded dragons is quite simple and should give no problem to any bearded dragon owner. The type of food you feed your dragon can vary depending on its age. At the earlier stages of life a dragon will need more protein and fewer greens, but it is advisable to introduce greens as early as you can.
If you shun these, your pet may not take to them later as it matures. Bearded Dragons are omnivorous – they eat bugs and vegetation.
Your dragon will feed only if both the food you give it and its body temperature are right and will not show any appetite if the conditions are wrong and even if it would show an appetite and feeds, it cannot digest the food if the temperature is wrong.
In good condition your bearded dragon should be a hearty eater and considering the importance of various conditions that influence its feeding and digestion, here is a short nutrition checklist:
- Pay attention to the health of insects you store for feeding your dragon.
- Wash greens / vegetables thoroughly.
- Adequate light and heat – both are vital for your bearded dragon’s satisfactory food intake.
- Try and hand-feed insects to your dragon.
- Clear uneaten greens / vegetables from dragon’s cage daily. Clean dish.
- Guard against vitamin A overdose.
- Gut-load insects before you feed them to your dragon.
- Choose younger prey because of its lower chitin content. – Supplement normal food with mineral (calcium) and vitamin additions.
- Make feeding age-appropriate.
- Chop greens and vegetables finely.
- Fasten suitable larger greens to a peg for your dragon to nibble.
- Match size of prey to size of your dragon’s mouth. (Prey size half the width of the mouth)
- Offer water to your dragon through spraying, misting (greens and vegetables) and in dish.
Beside these, always remember to never-ever feed your dragon the items not recommended them (see the list bellow).
What not to feed your Beardie
If you know what food you should be feeding your bearded dragon, you should also know that there are some things that you shouldn’t feed them. If you accidentally feed your bearded dragon something from them, that is not poisonous, just watch him or her carefully for signs of illness. However, you’ll want to call or take him to the vet immediately if he or she has ingested something poisonous. Here is a short lis what to watch for:
- Do not feed wild insects or insects found around the house to your Bearded Dragon. They may carry diseases that could be deadly to your pet.
- Lightning bugs (also known as fireflies) are deadly poisonous (they contain phosphorous).
- Avoid also spinach as calcium binds to it and will not be digested by your animal.
- Avoid feed citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits).
- Do not feed dog or cat food to your Dragon.
- Carrots should only be used as a treat though due to the high amounts of vitamin A. Any food with high amounts of vitamin A should be avoided, as reptiles do not absorb a lot of vitamin A.
- NEVER iceberg lettuce.
You should also take care not to over feed your dragon. Especially the adults will usually eat much more than they need and this can get them to overweight.
Even if bearded dragons are omnivorous eaters you should remember these simple rules that will help you feed your dragon.