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Can My Bearded Dragon Eat?

Updated on July 19, 2019
Jade Hassenplug profile image

I love animals and I love doing research. So I combine the two to bring you some fact filled articles on animals around the world.

My bearded dragon, Alice
My bearded dragon, Alice

Introduction To Your Dragons Diet

If you are on this page then chances are you either have a bearded dragon or you are planning on getting one. A bearded dragon can eat a wide variety of vegetables, greens and fruits along with insects but not all vegetables, fruits and insects are good for your dragon. This article will answer the numerous questions of “Can my bearded dragon eat this?”. I see these kinds of questions a lot on social media and even with some of my friends who are just curious about these reptiles. Below I will have different sections of daily foods, occasional foods, rare foods and dangerous foods.

Bearded dragons are omnivores and this means that their diet consists of a mix of plants and animals. A baby dragon which is a hatchling to five months old, should have a diet consisting of around 60%-80% insects and only about 20%-40% vegetables and greens. As they get older this percentage will change so for juvenile dragons aged from five months to eighteen months they should be eating a good balance of 50% insects and 50% vegetables and greens. Adult dragons are any dragons older than eighteen months and should have a diet of 25%-30% insects and 70%-75% vegetables and greens.

For added vitamins and to insure a healthy dragon, make sure to dust their food at least once a week with calcium supplement powder and a multivitamin supplement. This is important when they are little to ensure proper growth. If you want you can add a small water dish to their enclosure but just make sure to watch the humidity as if it gets above 40% it can cause health problems for your dragon.

If something you are looking for isn’t on this list and you can’t find it elsewhere, it’s a good idea to not risk feeding it to your dragon. This list will not contain other reptiles, even though they eat other small lizards in the wild, it is not recommended or responsible to feed smaller lizards to your own bigger dragon.

Daily Foods

Daily foods, also known as staple foods, are ones that have the best nutritional value for your dragon and can be fed every day. This list will have insects first followed by vegetables and plant matter.

Alice eating Kale with some strawberries tossed in calcium powder.
Alice eating Kale with some strawberries tossed in calcium powder.

Daily Insects

One rule with insects is that you should never feed something to your dragon if it’s bigger than the gap between their eyes.

  • Crickets- These are one of the most popular insects to feed dragons and they are found in almost every pet store. For baby dragons, they should be fed small pinhead crickets and as they get bigger you can gradually feed them larger ones.
  • Dubia Roaches- These roaches are becoming more and more popular among the bearded dragon community for the fact that they can’t climb up the sides of the enclosure, they don’t fly an they don’t make noise like crickets do.
  • Horn Worms- These squishy green worms are also known as Goliath worms and are very juicy so be aware. These are large so they should be fed to larger, older dragons.
  • Super Worms- These worms look like mealworms but they are not the same. These have been debated if they are a good staple for bearded dragons but it seems they can be a staple but only for adult dragons and should only be given about 3 to 4 a day as they are high in fat.
  • Silkworms- With high protein and moisture these little worms are great for your dragon to keep them hydrated. These are especially good for baby and juvenile dragons because of the high protein
  • Phoenix Worms- These worms have an almost perfect balance of calcium and phosphorous but are low fat so they can be a staple but should also be fed along with other higher fat insects to young dragons to ensure proper growth.

Daily Greens and Vegetables

  • Kale- Kale has been a staple source of food for dragons for many years but recently it has been up for debate. A myth about kale being dangerous began to make the rounds but this isn’t true. Kale is rich in thiamin and vitamin A, the only way kale would be an issue is if your dragon has a thyroid problem but healthy dragons should have no issues with eating kale. Just make sure when you buy kale it’s organic and thoroughly washed before you feed your dragon.
  • Collard Greens- These are full of nutrients and vitamin C. This green is also a great immune system booster and can be fed daily to your dragon after being washed and torn up into small pieces.
  • Dandelion Greens- These might be a little harder to find in stores, and never ever just pick these from the wild. Dandelion greens are full of vitamins A, C and K and have a good source of calcium.
  • Endive- This plant is high in folate and vitamins A and K. Wash and tear the leaves into small pieces for your dragon.
  • Mustard Greens- These greens have almost a perfect ratio of calcium to phosphorus.
  • Turnip Greens- These are the greens, not the roots. These leaves are high in vitamins A, C and K and high in folate, calcium and lutein.
  • Squash- Not all squash but Acorn, butternut, winter, summer and yellow. These vegetables contain magnesium, potassium and vitamin C. Squash should be peeled as the outer skin can be difficult for your dragon to digest. Cut up into small pieces.
  • Cactus Pad- Cactus pads are high in calcium and a good staple. They should be peeled and chopped for your dragon.
  • Alfalfa Sprouts- These have a high water content and a good source of protein.

Occasional Foods

Occasional foods are often foods that can be given as a treat or for special occasions for your dragon. These foods aren’t bad for your dragon but they aren’t a good enough source of daily nutrition to be used every day. Fruits should only make up about 10% of your dragons diet and so no fruit should be fed as a staple but they are very good for treats.

Alice with some sliced squash.
Alice with some sliced squash.

Occasional Insects

  • Wax Worms- These little white worms are very high in fat but are also high in calcium. These should only ever be a daily if you need to fatten up your dragon. This could be if you have a rescue dragon that was not fed properly or if your dragon is underweight.
  • Butterworms- Butterworms are very similar to wax worms but they aren’t as easily found in pet stores. They are also high in fat and high in calcium.
  • Red Worms- These long worms are a good nutrition source for dragons but often need to be cut in half to prevent your dragon from having issues when eating them. While a good nutrition source they should still be given only occasionally to your dragon.
  • Earth Worms- If you wish to give your dragon Earth worms, don’t buy ones that are specifically raised for fish bait or from bait shops. These can have chemicals in them that are made to attract fish and may have been fed harmful things to your dragon.
  • *Not an insect but a protein source** Pinkie Mice- These can be safely fed to your adult dragon but only if they are between one and three days old. Newborn mice are very low in fat and high in calcium and protein and can be given as occasional treats. These can be bought frozen in most pet stores.

Occasional Greens, Vegetables and Fruits

  • Apples- High in sugar, but also high in water but should be peeled and chopped. Don’t feed your dragon the core or seeds.
  • Apricot- Very high in vitamin A but again, a lot of sugar.
  • Artichokes- Should be given raw, is a good source of vitamins C and K.
  • Asparagus- High in protein and water content.
  • Basil- High in vitamin A but also high in sugar.
  • Garbanzo beans-Low in oxalates.
  • Snap peas- Canned with no salt, and raw are moderate in oxalates and high in water content.
  • Kidney beans- Canned and rinsed also have moderate oxalate rates and high water content.
  • Lima Beans, Pinto beans
  • Bell peppers- Green, red and yellow should be fed raw and finely chopped. They are high in vitamin C and A, and moderate in oxalates.
  • Blackberries- High in fiber, moderate in oxalates and a good source of vitamin C.
  • Blueberries- Moderate in oxalates.
  • Bok Choy- Should be fed raw, and is high in vitamin C and A and goitrogens.
  • Borage- High in potassium, should be fed raw.
  • Green/Red Cabbage- High in vitamin C and goitrogens.
  • Cantaloupe-High in vitamin A
  • Carrots- Fed raw and preferably peeled and shredded. High in vitamin A and moderate in oxalates.
  • Celery
  • Chayote
  • Cherries
  • Chicory
  • Cilantro/Coriander
  • Clovers
  • Cranberries
  • Cucumber- Should be peeled, and has poor nutritional value but is a good source of water.
  • Figs- High in calcium and fiber
  • Grape leaves and grapes- NOT Ivy.
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava
  • Hibiscus/ Rosella
  • Honeydew- Should be cored and sliced along with peeled as the rind is hard to digest.
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks- Bulb and lower leaf can be eaten
  • Lemon Grass
  • Mango-This fruit has high levels of vitamin A but also have moderate oxalate levels so they should be given as a treat.
  • Nectarine
  • Okra
  • Oranges, Mandarin and Tangerines
  • Papaya-
  • Parsnip- Should be peeled and shredded for easy eating.
  • Peaches
  • Asian and Bartlett Pears
  • Peas- Pods can also be eaten but should be finely chopped
  • Peppermint- Should be fresh mint leaves.
  • Pineapple- Contains high acidity should be sparingly, not really occasionally but not rarely either.
  • Plumbs
  • Prunes
  • Pumpkin- Never feed the rind, only feed them the meat of the pumpkin. chopped.
  • Radish
  • Raisins- High in fiber but also high in sugar.
  • Raspberries
  • Rosemary
  • Seaweed or Kelp- Must be raw, is high in calcium
  • Spearmint
  • Strawberries
  • Turnip
  • Watercress
  • Watermelon- Very high in water content, can cause loose stools if fed too often.
  • Wheat Grass
  • Yams
  • Yucca Root- This root is tough so it should be peeled and very finely shredded before feeding to your dragon.
  • Zucchini

Alice with a blueberry on her head. Just playing with our food.
Alice with a blueberry on her head. Just playing with our food.

Rare Foods

Rare foods are foods that you can feed your dragon but you shouldn’t. These aren’t fully fatal to your dragon but they don’t have any real nutritional value either. These foods are very risky to your dragon and are not recommend to be fed to them.

Rare Insects, Greens, Vegetables and Fruits

  • Mealworms- These worms are low in calcium and high in phosphorus and fat. They have a hard chitin shell and can be hard to digest in young dragons. Adult dragons can have them but it’s not recommended.
  • Bananas
  • Soy Beans
  • Beet Grass and Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Chines
  • Corn, Yellow
  • Eggs- Any style eggs, whole hard boiled but with no oil or salt. They are a good source of protein but high in phosphorus.
  • Kiwi- Peeled and remove the seeds before feeding.
  • Olives- need to be pitted.
  • Parsley- Should be fresh if fed to dragons
  • Pomegranate
  • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes- Should be peeled and cooked. No salt, no oil and no other seasonings.
  • Rice- Brown or long grain rice, cooked with no salt and no butter or spices.
  • Rutabaga
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Starfruit, Carambola
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tomatoes

Dangerous Foods

The list of dangerous foods below this are ones you should absolutely never feed your dragon. These foods are often toxic and lethal to your dragon meaning it can and most likely will kill them if not make them incredibly sick.

Lighting bug, or firefly.
Lighting bug, or firefly. | Source

Dangerous Insects

You shouldn’t feed your dragon any insects caught in the wild. You don’t know if they might have parasites or could have been sprayed by pesticides or chemicals or may have fed on plants that contain these things.

  • Fireflies/Lightning bugs- these fun little bugs that children love to catch are highly toxic to your dragon. Teach your children that these little bugs are not good for your dragon and can potentially kill them.
  • Boxelder Bugs

Dangerous Greens, Vegetables and Fruits

  • Avocados- While a lot of humans love these, your dragon will not. These are highly toxic to your dragon and can kill them if they ingest enough of it.
  • Rhubarb- Highly toxic extremely high in Oxalates.
  • Wheat Bran- Very high in Phosphorus and fiber.
  • Ground Beef
  • White/Whole Wheat Bread
  • Cheerios
  • Chicken
  • Eggplant- Is known to be toxic to dragons.
  • Garlic- This is also toxic for dragons.
  • Lettuce- Iceberg, Loose leaf, romaine most any kind of lettuce has absolutely no nutritional value and can cause diarrhea.
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions- Toxic for dragons
  • Pork Chops
  • Fish- Any kind of fish, salmon, tuna, tilapia just all fish is bad for dragons.
  • Spinach
  • Cheese- Mainly Swiss cheese but any dairy products should be avoided as dairy is bad for dragons.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

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