Bearded dragons are popular pets among reptile enthusiasts because of their unique appearance and docile temperament. As they are omnivorous, they have a varied diet that includes both plants and insects. In this discussion, we will focus on the insects that can be a part of a bearded dragon’s diet. Understanding which insects are safe and nutritious for your beardie can help ensure their overall health and well-being.
Understanding Bearded Dragon Diet
Bearded dragons are omnivores and require a balanced diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, and insects. Insects make up a significant portion of their diet and provide essential nutrients such as protein and calcium. It is crucial to ensure that the insects provided are appropriate for their health.
Common Insects for Bearded Dragons
Here are some of the common insects that are safe and nutritious for bearded dragons:
- Crickets: They are a staple food for bearded dragons, and they are rich in protein and calcium. However, they should be gut-loaded with nutritious food before feeding them to the dragons.
- Dubia Roaches: They are an excellent alternative to crickets because they are low in fat and high in protein. They are also easy to digest, making them ideal for younger dragons.
- Mealworms: They are a popular choice, but they should only be fed in moderation due to their high-fat content. They are also low in calcium, so it is important to dust them with calcium powder before feeding them to your dragon.
- Waxworms: They are high in fat and should only be fed as an occasional treat.
Insects to Avoid
Not all insects are safe for bearded dragons. Some insects can be toxic and cause health problems, so it is important to avoid the following:
- Fireflies: They contain a toxic chemical called lucibufagins, which can be fatal to your dragon.
- Wild-caught insects: They may have been exposed to pesticides or other harmful chemicals, which can be harmful to your dragon.
- Butterworms: They are high in fat and low in nutrients, making them a poor choice for bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons should be fed insects every day when they are young, but as they grow older, the frequency can be reduced to every other day. It is also essential to vary the insects provided to ensure that your dragon receives a balanced diet.
The amount of insects to feed your dragon will depend on their age and size. As a general rule, feed your dragon as many insects as they can eat in 15 minutes. This will prevent overfeeding and obesity.
Calcium and Vitamin Supplements
In addition to a varied insect diet, it is crucial to provide your dragon with calcium and vitamin supplements. This will ensure that they receive all the essential nutrients they need for optimal health.
Bearded dragons also require access to clean drinking water at all times. It is important to change their water daily to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. You can provide water in a shallow dish or use a water bottle designed for reptiles.
FAQs for What Insects Can Bearded Dragons Eat
What types of insects can bearded dragons eat?
Bearded dragons are known to be omnivores, and they can eat a variety of insects as part of their diet. Some of the insects that bearded dragons can eat include crickets, mealworms, super worms, wax worms, roaches, and silk worms. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t feed your bearded dragon wild-caught insects because they may be carrying parasites or other harmful substances.
How often should I feed my bearded dragon insects?
The frequency with which you should feed your bearded dragon insects depends on their age and size. For younger bearded dragons, you should feed them insects once or twice a day, while adult bearded dragons only need to be fed insects around once a week. However, you should also offer your bearded dragon vegetables and fruits in addition to insects.
How do I prepare the insects for my bearded dragon to eat?
Before feeding your bearded dragon insects, you should ensure that the insects are properly prepared. For example, if you’re feeding your bearded dragon crickets or mealworms, you should “gut-load” them first by feeding them nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. You should also “dust” the insects with calcium powder before feeding them to your bearded dragon. This helps ensure that your bearded dragon is getting the nutrients they need for bone health.
Can bearded dragons eat insects that are too big?
You should not feed your bearded dragon insects that are too big for them to handle, as this can lead to digestion problems and impaction. A good rule of thumb is to feed your bearded dragon insects that are no bigger than the space between their eyes. For larger insects like super worms, you should only feed them to adult bearded dragons.
Are there any insects that bearded dragons should not eat?
Some insects, such as fireflies, ladybugs, and ants, should not be fed to bearded dragons, as they can be toxic. Additionally, any insects that have been exposed to pesticides or other harmful chemicals should not be offered to bearded dragons. It’s always best to stick to commercially-raised insects that are specifically made for reptiles.