What can bearded dragons eat?

Bearded dragons, with their captivating personalities and distinctive appearance, have become increasingly popular pets among reptile enthusiasts. Proper nutrition is crucial for the health and well-being of these fascinating creatures.

As responsible caregivers, understanding what constitutes a suitable diet for bearded dragons is paramount. From insects to vegetables, the dietary needs of these reptiles are diverse and require careful consideration.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the question, “What can bearded dragons eat?” to provide you with essential insights into crafting a balanced and nutritious diet for your scaly companion.

Importance of proper nutrition for bearded dragons

What can bearded dragons eat

Ensuring proper nutrition for bearded dragons is paramount for their overall health and well-being. These reptiles require a balanced diet to thrive and maintain optimal physiological functions. Here are several key reasons highlighting the importance of proper nutrition for bearded dragons:

  1. Growth and Development: Adequate nutrition is essential for the proper growth and development of bearded dragons, particularly during their early stages of life. A diet rich in essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D3, and protein supports healthy bone formation, muscle development, and overall growth.
  2. Immune Function: A well-balanced diet plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system of bearded dragons. Nutrient-rich foods help strengthen their immune response, making them more resilient to infections and diseases.
  3. Digestive Health: Bearded dragons are prone to digestive issues such as impaction and metabolic bone disease (MBD) if their diet lacks proper nutrients or is imbalanced. Providing a variety of foods, including sources of fiber, helps promote digestive health and prevent gastrointestinal problems.
  4. Energy Levels and Activity: The right balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in their diet provides bearded dragons with the energy they need to remain active, explore their environment, and exhibit natural behaviors. Inadequate nutrition can lead to lethargy and reduced activity levels.
  5. Reproductive Health: Proper nutrition is crucial for the reproductive health of breeding bearded dragons. Female dragons require additional nutrients to support egg development, while males need optimal nutrition to maintain fertility. Inadequate nutrition can lead to reproductive complications and egg-binding in females.
  6. Longevity and Quality of Life: A well-nourished bearded dragon is more likely to live a long and healthy life. Providing a balanced diet throughout their lifespan helps prevent nutritional deficiencies and associated health problems, ensuring a higher quality of life for these captivating reptiles.

General Dietary Guidelines for Bearded Dragons

General Dietary Guidelines for Bearded Dragons:

  1. Variety is Key: Offer a diverse range of foods to ensure nutritional balance and prevent dietary deficiencies. Bearded dragons are omnivores, so their diet should include a mix of insects, vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens.
  2. Protein Sources: Provide high-quality protein sources such as gut-loaded insects (e.g., crickets, roaches, mealworms, dubia roaches) and occasional small vertebrates like pinkie mice. Insects should be appropriately sized for your dragon’s age and size.
  3. Vegetables and Greens: Offer a variety of fresh vegetables and leafy greens, such as collard greens, mustard greens, kale, dandelion greens, bell peppers, squash, and carrots. These provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber in their diet.
  4. Fruits: Offer fruits in moderation as treats due to their high sugar content. Suitable options include berries, mango, papaya, and melon. Remove any seeds or pits before feeding.
  5. Calcium and Vitamin D3: Dust insects with a calcium supplement containing vitamin D3 to prevent metabolic bone disease (MBD). Additionally, provide a calcium supplement without vitamin D3 on vegetables a few times a week.
  6. Hydration: Ensure access to clean, fresh water at all times. While bearded dragons primarily obtain moisture from their food, they may still benefit from occasional misting or soaking in shallow water.
  7. Avoid Toxic Foods: Refrain from offering foods that are toxic to bearded dragons, such as avocado, rhubarb, and foods high in oxalates (e.g., spinach). Also, avoid feeding insects caught in the wild, as they may contain pesticides or parasites.
  8. Feed Appropriately Sized Meals: Offer appropriately sized food items based on your dragon’s age and size. Young dragons require more frequent feedings of smaller prey items, while adults may eat larger meals less frequently.
  9. Monitor Feeding Behavior: Pay attention to your bearded dragon’s appetite and adjust feeding accordingly. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health issues, while underfeeding can result in malnutrition.
  10. Consult with a Veterinarian: If you’re uncertain about your bearded dragon’s dietary needs or if they have specific health concerns, consult with a reptile veterinarian for personalized guidance and recommendations.

By following these general dietary guidelines and monitoring your bearded dragon’s health and behavior, you can ensure they receive a balanced and nutritious diet that supports their overall well-being and longevity.

What can bearded dragons eat?

What can bearded dragons eat

Bearded dragons are omnivorous reptiles, meaning they consume a variety of insects, vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens. Here’s a breakdown of what bearded dragons can eat:

  1. Insects:
    • Crickets
    • Dubia roaches
    • Mealworms (in moderation and only for larger dragons due to their chitin content)
    • Superworms (in moderation and only for larger dragons due to their high-fat content)
    • Waxworms (as an occasional treat due to their high-fat content)
    • Phoenix worms (nutritious and high in calcium)
    • Black soldier fly larvae (also known as phoenix worms or calciworms)
    • Silkworms (high in protein and low in fat)
    • Hornworms (high in water content, suitable as occasional treats)
    • Grasshoppers
    • Locusts
  2. Vegetables:
    • Collard greens
    • Mustard greens
    • Turnip greens
    • Dandelion greens (washed thoroughly to remove pesticides)
    • Kale (in moderation due to its high oxalate content)
    • Swiss chard
    • Bell peppers (red, green, yellow)
    • Squash (e.g., butternut squash, acorn squash)
    • Carrots (grated or thinly sliced)
    • Sweet potatoes (cooked and mashed)
    • Green beans
    • Okra
    • Cucumber (peeled and sliced)
    • Zucchini
  3. Fruits:
    • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
    • Mango
    • Papaya
    • Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon)
    • Apples (remove seeds)
    • Bananas
    • Kiwi
    • Figs (in moderation)
  4. Leafy Greens:
    • Romaine lettuce (in moderation due to low nutritional value)
    • Escarole
    • Endive
    • Arugula
    • Bibb lettuce

It’s essential to provide a balanced diet by offering a variety of these foods. Additionally, be sure to dust insects with calcium powder and provide a calcium supplement on vegetables a few times a week to prevent calcium deficiency and metabolic bone disease (MBD). Always provide fresh, clean water for hydration. Avoid feeding toxic foods such as avocado and rhubarb.

Safe Vegetables for Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons can enjoy a variety of vegetables as part of their balanced diet. Here’s a list of safe vegetables for bearded dragons:

  1. Collard Greens: High in calcium and vitamin A, collard greens are a staple in a bearded dragon’s diet.
  2. Mustard Greens: Another excellent source of calcium and vitamin A, mustard greens offer variety in texture and flavor.
  3. Turnip Greens: Rich in vitamins and minerals, turnip greens are nutritious and can be fed regularly.
  4. Dandelion Greens: These leafy greens are high in calcium and other nutrients, but be sure to source them from pesticide-free areas.
  5. Kale: While kale is nutritious, it should be fed in moderation due to its high oxalate content, which can bind calcium.
  6. Swiss Chard: A colorful addition to your dragon’s diet, Swiss chard provides vitamins and minerals.
  7. Bell Peppers (Red, Green, Yellow): Rich in vitamin C and other nutrients, bell peppers add variety and color to meals.
  8. Squash (Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash): Cooked and mashed squash is a tasty treat for bearded dragons and offers vitamins and fiber.
  9. Carrots: Grated or thinly sliced carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, which can be beneficial for eye health.
  10. Sweet Potatoes: Cooked and mashed sweet potatoes provide vitamins and fiber, but feed them in moderation due to their high starch content.
  11. Green Beans: Rich in vitamins and minerals, green beans offer a crunchy texture and can be fed raw or lightly cooked.
  12. Okra: A nutritious vegetable, okra can be sliced and offered raw or cooked.
  13. Cucumber: Peeled and sliced cucumber is hydrating and low in calories, making it a refreshing snack.
  14. Zucchini: Another hydrating vegetable, zucchini can be grated or sliced and offered raw or lightly cooked.

When feeding vegetables to your bearded dragon, ensure they are washed thoroughly to remove any pesticides or contaminants. It’s also important to provide a variety of vegetables to ensure nutritional balance and to avoid overfeeding certain types, especially those high in oxalates like kale. Rotate vegetables regularly to provide variety and offer a balanced diet.

Nutritious Fruits for Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons can enjoy a variety of fruits as part of their diet, but it’s essential to feed them in moderation due to their high sugar content. Here are some nutritious fruits that can be offered to bearded dragons:

  1. Berries (Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries): Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, berries are a tasty and nutritious treat for bearded dragons.
  2. Mango: Mango is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fiber. Feed it in small, manageable pieces.
  3. Papaya: Papaya contains digestive enzymes and is rich in vitamins A, C, and E. Offer ripe papaya chunks as an occasional treat.
  4. Melons (Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon): These hydrating fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals. Remove seeds and offer small, bite-sized pieces.
  5. Apples: Apples are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. Remove seeds and core, then offer thinly sliced or grated apple pieces.
  6. Bananas: Bananas are high in potassium and vitamin B6. Offer small pieces of ripe banana as an occasional treat.
  7. Kiwi: Kiwi is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. Peel and slice or dice the kiwi fruit before offering it to your bearded dragon.
  8. Figs: Figs are a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, and potassium. Offer them occasionally as a treat, but avoid feeding too many due to their high sugar content.

When offering fruits to your bearded dragon, be sure to cut them into appropriately sized pieces that are easy for your dragon to eat. It’s also essential to wash fruits thoroughly to remove any pesticides or contaminants before feeding them to your pet. Remember to offer fruits in moderation and as part of a balanced diet that includes a variety of other foods like insects, vegetables, and leafy greens.

Foods to Avoid or Limit

There are several foods that should be avoided or limited when feeding a bearded dragon due to potential health risks or nutritional concerns. Here’s a list of foods to avoid or limit:

  1. Avocado: Avocado contains a compound called persin, which can be toxic to reptiles and may cause gastrointestinal issues and difficulty breathing.
  2. Rhubarb: Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which can bind calcium and lead to calcium deficiency and metabolic bone disease (MBD).
  3. Spinach: Spinach is high in oxalates, which can also bind calcium and contribute to the development of MBD. While small amounts occasionally may be okay, it’s best to avoid feeding spinach regularly.
  4. Iceberg Lettuce: Iceberg lettuce has little nutritional value and can cause digestive issues due to its high water content. Opt for more nutritious leafy greens like collard greens, mustard greens, or dandelion greens instead.
  5. Insects Caught in the Wild: Insects caught in the wild may have been exposed to pesticides, herbicides, or other toxins that can harm your bearded dragon. Stick to purchasing feeder insects from reputable sources to ensure their safety.
  6. Large Prey Items: Avoid feeding bearded dragons prey items that are too large for them to consume safely. Large prey can cause choking or gastrointestinal blockages.
  7. High-Fat Foods: Foods high in fat, such as fatty meats, fatty insects (e.g., waxworms, superworms), and high-fat dairy products, should be fed sparingly or avoided altogether to prevent obesity and related health issues.
  8. Sugary Foods: Limit sugary fruits and treats as excessive sugar intake can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.
  9. Hard Foods: Be cautious when feeding hard foods like nuts or seeds, as they can be difficult for bearded dragons to digest and may cause choking or digestive issues.
  10. Citrus Fruits: While small amounts of citrus fruits like oranges or lemons are generally safe for bearded dragons, they can be acidic and may cause digestive upset in some individuals. It’s best to offer citrus fruits infrequently and in small amounts.

By avoiding or limiting these foods and focusing on offering a balanced diet consisting of appropriate insect, vegetable, and fruit options, you can help ensure the health and well-being of your bearded dragon.

Special Considerations for Juvenile vs. Adult Bearded Dragons

When it comes to feeding bearded dragons, there are some special considerations to keep in mind based on their age and developmental stage. Here’s a comparison of dietary considerations for juvenile and adult bearded dragons:

Juvenile Bearded Dragons:

  1. Higher Protein Requirements: Juvenile bearded dragons have higher protein requirements for growth and development. They need more frequent feedings of protein-rich insects such as appropriately sized crickets, dubia roaches, and small mealworms.
  2. Calcium and Vitamin D3 Supplementation: Calcium and vitamin D3 supplementation is crucial for juvenile bearded dragons to support proper bone growth and prevent metabolic bone disease (MBD). Dust insects with calcium powder containing vitamin D3 at most feedings.
  3. Vegetable Introduction: Introduce a variety of vegetables to juvenile bearded dragons to encourage acceptance and establish healthy eating habits early on. Offer finely chopped or shredded vegetables alongside insect feedings.
  4. Hydration: Juvenile bearded dragons may be more prone to dehydration than adults, so ensure they have access to clean, fresh water at all times. Additionally, consider offering occasional misting or baths to help with hydration.
  5. Frequent Feedings: Juvenile bearded dragons typically require more frequent feedings than adults, often 2-3 times per day, to meet their energy and growth requirements.

Adult Bearded Dragons:

  1. Decreased Protein Requirements: Adult bearded dragons have lower protein requirements compared to juveniles. Adjust their diet to include fewer protein-rich insects and more plant-based foods such as leafy greens and vegetables.
  2. Calcium Supplementation: While calcium supplementation is still important for adult bearded dragons, they may require it less frequently than juveniles. Dust insects with calcium powder without vitamin D3 a few times a week, and offer a balanced diet with calcium-rich vegetables.
  3. Dietary Fiber: As adults, bearded dragons benefit from a diet higher in dietary fiber to support digestive health and prevent constipation. Offer a variety of fibrous vegetables and limit high-fat or low-fiber foods.
  4. Feeding Frequency: Adult bearded dragons typically require fewer feedings than juveniles, often 1-2 times per day. Monitor their appetite and adjust feeding frequency accordingly based on their individual needs.
  5. Variety and Nutritional Balance: Ensure adult bearded dragons receive a balanced diet with a variety of insects, vegetables, and occasional fruits. Rotate food options regularly to prevent dietary deficiencies and maintain interest in their diet.

By understanding and addressing the specific dietary needs of juvenile and adult bearded dragons, caregivers can promote their overall health and well-being throughout different stages of life. Regular monitoring and adjustments to their diet as they grow and develop are key to ensuring optimal nutrition and vitality.


The dietary needs of bearded dragons are diverse and require careful consideration to ensure their health and well-being. A balanced diet for these fascinating reptiles includes a variety of foods, including What can bearded dragons eat: insects, vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens.

By providing a nutritious and varied diet tailored to their age, size, and individual preferences, caregivers can help their bearded dragons thrive. Regular monitoring of dietary intake and adjustments as needed are essential to maintaining optimal nutrition and promoting a long, happy life for these captivating creatures.

Remember, when asking “What can bearded dragons eat,” the key is variety and balance to support their unique nutritional requirements.