Bearded dragons are becoming increasingly popular and are amazing pets to have. Like any other living animal, bearded dragons require a proper diet to stay healthy and content. At first glance, the diet requirements may seem daunting – and even more, intimidating with baby ones. However, don’t get overwhelmed yet. Once you know the basics and get the hang of it, it will be a cakewalk.
These friendly reptiles are omnivores and so, their dietary regime consists of a variety of foods. They also require supplements like calcium and different vitamins. This article will discuss various dietary requirements and useful tips for raising your baby bearded dragon.
The amount of food and supplements needed depends on the age of the dragon. Your lizard friend gets their proteins from the insects they eat. For your convenience, a cursory guide is listed below.
Newborn lizards up to the age of 3 to 5 months are known as hatchlings. Hatchlings need to be fed 3 to 5 times a day. Their diet should consist of 80% protein (insects) and 20% vegetables.
They should be fed calcium supplements every meal five days a week. Vitamins should be fed to them twice a week. This will ensure healthy growth and development.
Juvenile dragons are aged between 5 to 18 months. They need to be fed twice or thrice a day. Like hatchlings, their diet also should consist of 80% protein and 20% vegetables. They should be fed vitamins once a day, three days a week.
Adults are regarded as over 18 months of age and need to be fed once or twice every day. Their diet should be 80% vegetables and 20% insects.
Regarding supplements, they should be given calcium once, three days a week. Vitamins should be served once, two days a week.
Best Insects for Your Beardie
Every bearded dragon loves chomping on live insects. If you love watching preying videos on the science channels, then you will love watching your reptilian friend chasing and munching on a live bug. Pet beardies are usually fed roaches, worms, and crickets.
It is ideal to select one core and primary insect and supplement it with other insects for added nutrients. Ensure the bugs you feed your dragon are about the same size as the distance between its eyes.
Your bearded reptilian will love eating Dubia Roaches. They have an incredibly high protein content, are also low-fat, and are immensely nutritious. Their nutritive value is at least five times more than other live bugs.
Moreover, they aren’t the kind that can fly or climb. If one somehow escapes, it will not cause a catastrophic infestation. They are also very quiet and harmless. They do not bite or spray an unpleasant smell.
Crickets are the most popular choice as a primary protein source for beardies. They are enriched in proteins and calcium, and are readily available at many pet stores.
However, they are annoyingly noisy and can easily escape. Therefore, they need to be stored securely and in something semi soundproof.
There is a wide range of worms. While there are many worms that have high nutritive value, there are some that should only be served as special treats.
These worms have high calcium and protein content. Hence, they are the ideal dietary supplements to go with your beardie’s primary feeder bugs.
These worms provide calcium and moisture to your reptilian companion. Before giving them to your pet, do not forget to rinse them to ensure that there is no dirt or foreign particles on their slimy surfaces.
These crawlers should only be fed to adult bearded dragons. Hatchlings and juveniles will not be able to fully digest the tough exoskeleton of mealworms. Hence, these are snacks for only fully matured lizards.
These are great at being served as both supplements and primary insects since they are a great source of calcium and protein. However, they should be generally used as snacks for adult dragons as they are very small and cannot fully satisfy them.
These grubs make superb snacks for your lizard as they contain protein, water, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.
These wigglers should be only served as treats or desserts. They have high-fat content. It must be kept in mind that they should not consume more than five worms.
Bugs to Avoid
There are some insects that your reptilian pet should never eat, no matter what. The following insects are highly toxic to your beloved beardie:
● Any free insect you or your dragon caught in the wild, your home, your yard, or a bait shop.
● Dead insects
● Elder insects
● Any bug that glows like fireflies
● Venomous insects
It is best to purchase live insects from a trusted pet shop that has commendable reviews. You need to ensure that the insects were fed proper diets that have a high content of vitamins and minerals.
Learn about the ways to keep the grubs healthy from the supplier. This will give you the assurance that the essential nutrients are properly passed to your bearded dragon.
Important Factors to Keep in Mind
There are some conditions and factors you need to be aware of when raising a baby bearded dragon.
Gut loading is basically the method used to fatten up the live grubs your beardie will eat. Insects do not usually have high nutritional content if they are not well fed. Hence, it is vital to gut load the bugs to give the required nutrition.
You need to feed the grubs for at least 48 hours prior to being served as your dragon’s dinner. You can feed vegetables, baby food, or even puppy chow to the live insects.
Dusting and Dizzying
Vitamin and calcium supplements are also available in powders. You can dust these powders over the insects and other foods served to your beardie.
Dizzying is the term used for disorientating live insects by gentle shaking. This will prevent the live bugs from scurrying around the tank, making it easier for your hungry reptilian to eat them.
You can prepare your beardie’s meal by putting the insects in a small box then sprinkling the supplement dust over them. Then gently shake the box, enough to coat them fully. Avoid shaking too vigorously; your dragon needs the insects to be alive and appetizing, not dead and mushy.
Healthy Diet, Healthy Beardie
Baby bearded dragons require proper diets and nutrition. When they have meals with high nutritive value on schedule, you can ensure beautiful growth and development. With a nutritious diet, your beardie will be happy and healthy. Give the ultimate care your exotic pet deserves.