Contrary to popular belief bearded dragons are not picky eaters! They enjoy a wide range of foods, from insects like crickets or meal worms, to veggies like kale or parsley.
Many myths about bearded dragon diets exist which can make it confusing for a beginner.
The most common myth is that they can eat wild-caught insects. Another common one is lettuce is a good staple food for them. These are both wrong!
Bearded Dragons need a healthy diet to grow, maintain bone density and stay healthy. Feeding bearded dragons the wrong food or diet can lead to poor health.
Are you sure you are feeding your Beardie the right way?
Read our complete feeding guide to learn how, what and when to feed baby and adult bearded dragons. We also share myths and misconceptions about their diet and how age affects what you should feed.
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded Dragons are omnivores, so they eat both meat and plants. In the wild Bearded dragons eat crickets, cockroaches, worms, fruits and vegetables. They are cunning, resourceful, and skilled hunters.
Their natural diet includes a wide variety of:
- Insects (Crickets, cockroaches and worms)
- Small Mammals
Bearded Dragons are born with natural hunting instincts.
They are efficient hunters, and use as little energy as possible when searching for prey. They utilize a “sit-and-wait” strategy for catching prey. They will sit completely still, waiting on something to make a move into their zone of attack. If they have chosen the right spot, they will lunge, and capture their prey with their long and sticky tongues.
The bearded dragon is naturally open-minded when looking for food. They eat a mix of foods so that they can get all the nutrients they need from them.
In the wild, a balance of insects, vegetables and fruits is key for survival.
It is common for adults to eat more fruits and vegetables than meat. However, this is not true for babies and juveniles that eat a ratio of 75% meat and insects. Plant matter makes up the remaining 25%.
Juveniles need a higher intake of protein to build up their muscles, tissues, and organs. As they get older, their bodies require more vitamins to maintain their internal organs and a smaller amount of protein.
Bearded Dragon Diet
It is important that you feed a bearded dragon a healthy mix of insects, vegetables and fruits.
A common mistake owners make is that they do not know a bearded dragon’s diet should change. As a bearded dragon ages the ratio of insects to vegetables they eat changes:
- Babies and juveniles should have 75% feeder insects and 25% vegetables.
- Sub adults and adults should have 25% feeder insects and 75% vegetables.
Some good feeder insects for a Bearded Dragon include Dubia Roaches, Horn Worms and Crickets. Their favorite types of meat are feeder insects, these are full of protein and calcium. Insects make up the meat aspect of a bearded dragon’s diet.
In order to encourage their natural hunting behaviors it is important to feed live insects.
You can buy insects at your local reptile store or online. You should never feed insects or bugs that you have caught in the wild. These insects usually contain pesticides and diseases that could harm your beardie.
Pet stores often sell “easy diets,” such as freeze-dried insects and dried fruits and veggies. However these diets do not stimulate a Bearded Dragon to hunt or forage. Most of the nutritional value is also lost during the processing too.
Supplements, however, are very important to buy from pet stores.
Bearded dragons need a calcium powder supplement with vitamin D3 and a multivitamin supplement.
All of the foods you feed to your bearded dragon should be lightly sprinkled with a multivitamin supplement and a high standard calcium. The calcium supplement should have a mix of D3 in it. Simply dust either their insects or salad with a powder supplement
These supplements will help to prevent metabolic disorders and bone weakness (i.e. Metabolic Bone Disease).
Bearded Dragons should also eat vegetables and some fruit.
A helpful tip is that any leafy, dark green should make up the majority of their diet. Beet greens, collard greens, broccoli, kale, alfalfa hay, cilantro, parsley, and red or green cabbage are all great examples. You can layer salads with added supplements to encourage foraging. This means you should find several vegetables that your bearded dragon likes. The variety provides enrichment and nutrients.
You should also feed fruit, but not too much. The only downside of fruit is that it contains a high amount of sugar, and it does not have too many beneficial nutrients. A high intake of fruit can lead to obesity. Overfeeding fruits will cause more harm than good in the long run.
Baby bearded dragons should be started off on a mostly insect diet.
Insects provide a high amount of protein that will help to build up their muscles as well as their tissue and organs:
- Baby bearded dragons (0 to 4 months) should eat 80% feeder insects and 20% vegetables.
- Juveniles (4 to 12 months) can eat 70% insects and 30% vegetables.
How many times a bearded dragon should be fed is also based on their age.
Baby bearded dragons under four months need to be fed between three to four times a day. You should feed your beardie as many insects as they can eat in 5 to 10-minute increments. Make sure to give them a small amount of vegetables too.
Juveniles from 4 to 12 months should be feed three times a day.
As your Bearded dragon ages their diet will change. The number of times a day you need to feed them changes too:
- Sub adults (12 to 18 months) should eat 30% feeder insects and 70% vegetables.
- Adults (18 months and up) should be eating 20% feeder insects and 80% vegetables.
Feed sub adults twice a day and adults over 18 months once a day.
Salads become more important for adult bearded dragons. It can actually become quite creative and fun. You can create layered salads, stocked full of greens, colorful veggies, and a few fruit to finish it off. These salads can be masterful works of art. The options for what goes in the plant medley are almost infinite.
Make sure the veggies and fruits are chopped down to an appropriate size before feeding. Each piece should be smaller than the distance between their eyes.
You can give your adult Beardie salads every day, or every other day for older dragons.
Bearded Dragon Food List
There are hundreds of greens, vegetables, fruits, and insects that you can feed a bearded dragon. But what foods are the best?
Mustard greens, collard greens, kale, bell peppers, and carrots are the best vegetables.
The best insect choice would be Dubia roaches, goliath horn worms, or phoenix worms. This is because they provide the most protein and nutritional value with the least amount of fat and exoskeleton. They are soft, easy to digest, and easy to feed.
As for fruits, while they shouldn’t be fed too often, mango, blueberries, raspberries, and apples are great.
Below is a list of recommended fresh or staple foods to give your beardie without hesitation!
Vegetables For Bearded Dragons
- Acorn Squash
- Alfalfa Hay
- Beet Greens (not root)
- Bell Peppers (Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red)
- Bok Choy
- Brussel Sprouts
- Butternut Squash
- Cabbage – Red or Green
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens and Flowers
- Dandelion Weeds
- Floret Mix
- Geranium Flowers
- Green Beans
- Hibiscus Flowers
- Lambs’ Lettuce
- Maple Leaves
- Mint Leaves
- Mustard Greens
- Nasturtium Flowers
- Parsley and Cilantro
- Prickly Pear Fruit
- Rose Petals
- Snap Peas
- Spring Greens
- Summer Savory
- Sweet Potato
- Turnip Greens
- Yellow Squash
Fruits For Bearded Dragons
- Cactus (Pad Leaf or Prickly Pear)
Great insects are ones that are high in protein with thin exoskeletons. Some of the best feeder insects for bearded dragons include:
- Dubia Roaches
- Goliath Horn Worms
- Phoenix worms (Black Soldier Fly larvae)
- Super worms (not mealworms)
You can also occasionally feed super worms and butter worms.
Mealworms or wax worms are not recommended as they are high in fat, lower in protein, and have a hard exoskeleton, which can cause digestion issues. A regular supply of these insects would be unhealthy.
Make sure you buy your insects from a reputable reptile-specialized pet store and never feed wild-caught insects. All insects should be the same size as the length between your bearded dragon’s eyes (i.e. the size of their mouth).
Water is also very important.
Bearded Dragons have evolved to conserve as much water as possible. Their natural desert habitat does not provide them with a steady supply of fresh water.
They excrete solid uric acid instead of normal urine. This helps to retain water. They also capture water from the foods they eat, such as vegetables.
Finally, they have a head with a small indent in between their eyes, where water can collect and run straight down to their lips! All the dragon has to do in the rain is stand still and open their mouth!
Like most pet lizards, Beardies should always be given a water dish. They generally don’t usually drink from the dish, but it helps to create a bit of humidity and allows for them to bathe. Any fresh water works to fill the dish, and there’s no need to dechlorinate it.
The amount of food a Bearded Dragon will eat depends on multiple factors. The most important is age.
Baby and juveniles eat the most and need a higher ratio of insects to vegetables (~75% insects and 25% veggies). They grow rapidly from hatchlings to adult size in just one year. After their first year they continue to gain weight, but will not grow any longer.
Feed babies and juveniles insects twice or three times a day and salad once a day. To avoid over-feeding, limit their feeding window to 10 minutes. Younger dragons have a harder time determining when they are full.
When it is feeding time, put some insects in the cage. As the insects start to move around more, your Bearded Dragons instincts will kick in. Allowing them to hunt, just like how they do it in the wild, gives them an opportunity to use their natural skills and exercise.
|Day||Morning Insects (7AM)||Morning Vegetables (7AM)||Evening Insects (7PM)|
|Mon||Dubia Roaches||Kale, Carrots, Cucumber||Crickets|
|Tues||Pheonix worms||Collard greens, Okra, Fig||Dubia Roaches|
|Wed||Dubia Roaches||Cabbage, Bok choy, Cilantro||Horn worms|
|Thurs||Crickets||Turnip greens, Watercress, Peach||Super worms|
|Fri||Dubia Roaches||Zucchini, Mustard greens, Cactus||Earthworms|
|Sat||Locusts||Arugala, Cauliflower, Butternut squash||Horn Worms|
|Sun||Dubia Roaches||Pumpkin, Brussel Sprouts, raspberries||Crickets|
- Feed 20 to 40 insects (e.g. Dubia Beetles, Meal Worms, Silkworms or Crickets) over the course of the feeding times.
- Lightly sprinkle food with calcium that contains vitamin D3.
- Once a week, sprinkle food lightly with a general reptile vitamin and mineral supplement.
Adults should be fed the opposite diet of a baby. Salads should be given every day and insects three times a week. Aim for a ratio of 75% veggies and 25% insects.
Salads will most likely be foraged and eaten throughout the day. Just toss out any leftovers at night.
Adults tend to spend more time eating with more breaks. They do not need as much food because their insects are larger and they are not growing that much. They only need to maintain their body weight.
|Day||Morning Insects (11AM)||Morning Vegetables (11AM)|
|Mon||Dubia Roaches||Kale, Carrots, Cucumber|
|Tues||None||Collard greens, Okra, Fig|
|Wed||Pheonix Worms||Cabbage, Bok choy, Cilantro|
|Thurs||None||Turnip greens, Watercress, Peach|
|Fri||Horn Worms||Zucchini, Mustard greens, Cactus|
|Sat||None||Arugala, Cauliflower, Butternut squash|
|Sun||Dubia Roaches||Pumpkin, Brussel Sprouts, Raspberries|
- Feed 10 to 20 insects (e.g. Dubai Beetles, Crickets, Locusts and Butter Worms) every other day.
- Serve a large mix of leafy, green vegetables like Green bell pepper, Kale, Cilantro and Parsley.
- Three times a week lightly sprinkle food with calcium that contains vitamin D3.
- Once a week, sprinkle food lightly with a general reptile vitamin and mineral supplement.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat
Grapes: Yes. Both Red and Green Grapes are great treats. They contain a lot of water and still provide a nutritious meal. Make sure to cut the grapes into small pieces to avoid the risk of choking and remove any seeds if the grapes are not seedless.
Strawberries: Yes. Many enjoy the soft texture and bright color. They are also high in vitamin C. They are also very tiny, so they pose no risk for choking. Feed them once a week.
Bananas: Yes, but they should be fed at most a half of a banana once a week. They are high in sugar and phosphorus. A high consumption of bananas could cause paralysis or even death.
Apples: Yes. They are a great snack with a nice, crisp crunch. Remove the core and any seeds because those are toxic. You should also peel the apple as they can’t digest the apple peel.
Tomatoes: Yes, but only rarely because Tomatoes are very acidic. They can have them once a month in small amounts. The tomato needs to be washed, peeled, seeds removed and cut before given to the beardies.
Spinach : No. Spinach is high in oxalates, which is calcium binding, so beardies that consume it will be unable to process their calcium which will cause bone deformations.
Blueberries: Yes. Blueberries are both tasty and provide them with many antioxidants. Bearded dragons can eat a few blueberries once a week. Wash the blueberries before feeding and you can cut them into small pieces.
Carrots: Yes. Carrots are a great staple veggie. It provides both color and crunch to their daily salad. They can eat them a couple times a week, just not every day. Thoroughly wash the carrots and use a grater to shave them down to eat.
Broccoli: Yes, but Broccoli should be given rarely because they have a lot of vitamin C which negatively affects the thyroid gland. They can eat broccoli once a month. Wash the broccoli and cut off the stem and stalk, they can only eat the floret part.
Cucumbers: Yes. Cucumbers are a good source of water, but only give a few along with their salad. They can have them every other week. Wash the cucumber, peel the skin, and scoop out the seeds. Next cut them into small pieces and serve it.
Watermelon: No. watermelon has very little nutritional value besides a bit of sugar and lots of water. Watermelon does not contain too many nutrients compared to other fruits.
Celery: No. Celery is calcium binding, so beardies that eat it will be unable to process their calcium. This will cause health issues.
Kale: Yes. Kale is high in calcium and vitamin A, so it’s a great salad base. It can be fed a few times a week. Wash the leaves thoroughly, remove the leaves from the stem and cut the leaves finely before serving.
Cabbage: Yes. Green or Red Cabbage are both high in vitamin C. Red cabbage in particular is full of great nutrients for your bearded dragons. Green cabbage is great as well and can be given once a week.
Zucchini: Yes. Zucchini with some calcium powder is perfect. It should be fed once a month or less. The zucchini does not have to be cooked, just make sure it is washed, peeled, and grated.
Oranges: No. Both Mandarin and Navel Oranges are high in oxalic acid which can be dangerous. It is best to stay away from highly citric fruits. They are too acidic and can cause upset stomachs.
Raspberries: Yes. Bearded dragons love raspberries, they can have two to three every other week. Raspberries are very soft, so they don’t need to be cut into smaller pieces, remember to wash them before serving.
Blackberries: Yes. Blackberries are great because they are high in both fiber and vitamin C. They can be given every other week. Blackberries aren’t too soft so they should be cut into small pieces prior to serving.
Cilantro: Yes. Cilantro (aka. Coriander) is a favorite. It is a fun way to introduce a great amount of vitamin A into their diet. They can be added to the bearded dragon’s vegetable salads every other day. Make sure you separate the leaves from the stem and wash them.
Mango: Yes. Mango is high in vitamin A and can bring some color and sweetness to make a salad look and smell great. They can eat them a few times a week. Ripe mangoes are better because they are sweeter and softer. Wash the mango, peel it and cut it into small pieces before serving.
Bell Peppers: Yes. Any color of Bell Pepper adds color to a layered salad! They can have them a few times a week or less. Make sure you wash the pepper, take the seeds out and cut it into small pieces prior to serving.
Pineapple: Yes. They can safely eat them once or twice a month. You don’t want to give them too much pineapple because of the acid content and the high sugar content. As fun as Pineapple can be, it should only be given a few times a month.
Cherries: Yes. Cherries can be given as long as you remove the pits and stems. They are a great source of potassium.
Avocado: No. Both the flesh and pit of the avocado is toxic for most reptiles, including the bearded dragon. Avocados also contain too much fat. There have been reports of bearded dragons dying after eating avocado.
Kiwi: No. It is best to avoid feeding Kiwi because they are high in oxalates.
Lettuce: No. It is a common myth that beardies can be given lettuce. Lettuce (Iceberg, Romaine, Red Leaf, and Loose Leaf) is simply water and fills their belly without providing any other nutritional content.
Green Beans: Yes. Green Beans are easy for them to chomp down on and provides great fiber. Wash the beans and chop them up in small pieces before serving.
Asparagus: Yes. Asparagus is great either finely chopped or given in long piece. They can eat them on a weekly basis. You can serve the asparagus raw or cooked, if you do cook it make sure that you do not season it or cook it with oil.
Dandelions: Yes. You should buy the dandelions from a grocery store instead of picking them outside. Wild dandelions could have pesticides on them that would make beardies sick. Also, feed dandelion greens and not the flower.
Aloe: No. Aloe has a high hydration and causes runny stool. It is not beneficial.
Earthworms: Yes, but finding healthy Earthworms can be hard. The ones found in bait shops should not be given to them. You should buy the earthworms at a reptile store because those won’t have any pesticides on them.
Sweet Potatoes: Yes. Sweet Potatoes are some of the tastiest snacks to uplift any plain-looking salad. Almost every beardie is obsessed with them and their vitamin A addition. Wash the sweet potatoes and cut them into small pieces prior to serving.
Brussel Sprouts: Yes. Brussel Sprouts can be fed once a week. Make sure they are thoroughly washed and then chop them into small pieces.
Peaches: Yes. Peaches are a fabulous fruit for dragons because after the pit is removed. They provide a juicy addition to any salad. Wash the peach, peel the skin, remove the pit and cut them into small pieces.
Bearded Dragons are omnivores. This means that they can eat meats, like insects, and plants, such as fruits and vegetables. Some of the best insects are Dubia roaches, goliath horn worms and phoenix worms. They are not picky eaters and generally eat whatever is given to them.
A mix of feeder insects and veggies with a sprinkle of supplements is sure to keep your bearded dragon healthy.
Just remember that Bearded Dragons cannot eat wild-caught insects because of the risk of disease, parasites, and pesticides. This is true for all reptiles. It is why Leopard Geckos should not eat wild-caught insects too.
Also avoid lettuce as it has zero nutritional value.
The right diet will provide both enrichment and important nutrients for their physical and mental development. A lack of nutrients can lead to malnourishment and lethargy.
Your bearded dragon should not cost more than a dollar or two per day to feed.
Did you learn anything new when it comes to feeding a Beardie? Let us know in the comments below!