Feed Your Bearded Dragon: Veggies, Worms and More
There are many different types of food available for reptiles. From the varying worms to crickets to dehydrated vegetable mixes, how is an owner to decide what food is best for their dragons? Here is a quick rundown of the basic food types and where you can get them.
The most basic of food that you can find at any pet store are meal worms and super worms. For most owners these become the staple of their dragons’ diet. They come in varying sizes from mini to giant meal worms and small to large super worms. Mini meal worms are great for the baby dragons. Super worms are a great addition, but they do have a tough outer shell, which can make it harder for dragons to digest.
Phoenix worms, also known as calcium worms, are one of the best calcium sources for Bearded Dragons. These worms will aid in high levels of growth when consistently fed to baby and young dragons. They can be found at pet stores, but are also widely available online.
Silkworms and Goliath Worms (known to some as horned tomato worms) can range in size from small to very large. Depending on how much you feed them they can feed your dragons of all ages and sizes. They have no hard outer shell so it is very easy for the dragons to chew them and to digest them. They are available online mostly, but can make a nice treat for your pet.
Butter worms and wax worms are smaller, fat worms with a high fat content. These are good occasionally to add something new to your dragon’s diet, but not too often due to the fat content. These also have soft outsides, making them easy to eat and digest. Wax worms are available at pet stores but butter worm are not, so you will want to look online.
Crickets are available at pet stores. You can either get already bagged ones or ask a store employee to get you fresh ones from out back. If you are not to immediately feed your dragon the crickets, you may want to get fresh ones so they last longer. Crickets come in sizes small to large, allowing you to feed your baby dragons crickets as well. When you feed your dragon crickets, not only are you giving your dragon protein, but you are giving it exercise since most dragons will chase the crickets. The downfall is that crickets will hid in any crevasses you have in your tank, so you may consider feeding your dragon in a smaller tank or in a large plastic bin.
Now I know what you are thinking. Why would you want roaches in your house? Well, there is a big difference between the dirty cockroaches invading homes and roaches bred to feed reptiles. Dubia roaches are the most common type of roach for feeding. This roaches range in size from as small as pinky nails to being as large as your thumb. This range is great for all dragons from babies to adults. These roaches are great protein sources, cannot climb or fly. That means if one every accidentally escapes, it will not be able to go far. For the most part they try to bury themselves so your dragon will have to be quick to get these yummy treats.
The other type of roach is lobster roaches. This roach offers similar nutrition and size variances as dubia roaches. The only difference is that they can climb and while they cannot fully fly, they can flutter for small distances. If escaping roaches is a concern for you, you may want to stay away from this particular species.
Pinkies are frozen baby mice. These are good to feed the larger dragons with an age range of about 6-9 months and older. Pinkies are good as a treat every once in a while for your dragon. They have a good protein content but are also high in fat. You want to thaw out the pinkie before feeding it to your dragon. You will want to hand feed it using tweezers or tongs since it should not sit in a dish with worms or under a heat lamp. I usually keep my pinkie in the bag and shake it in front of my dragon. If she looks interested I will thaw it out under hot running water.
Vegetables are essential to a Bearded Dragon’s diet. Since they do not directly drink water very often their main water intake is from their veggies. You will want to cut the pieces small enough so they can be easily eaten. Some veggies my dragons like are cucumbers, romaine lettuce (not iceberg since there is not nutrition in iceberg), apple, green pepper, and carrot. You will need to experiment with what type of veggies your dragon likes.
You will want to buy a calcium powder for your dragons. 2-3 times a week you will want to coat some of the worms in this powder and you will want to coat the crickets in it. This will keep your dragon’s calcium intake stable and keep your dragon healthy.
Do not catch crickets or grasshoppers outside and feed them to your dragon. Same goes for other worms or bugs. Wild bugs can have bacteria on them that can ruin your dragons digestive tract.
Do not feed your dragon anything processed, like bread, pasta, sauces, cheese, etc. These are not naturally occurring in the Bearded Dragon’s habitat and can ruin their digestive system.