Bearded dragons are just about one of the tamest reptiles. Thus, their interesting personalities only add to their popularity for reptile-keepers. Therefore, when it comes to feeding, however, bearded dragons can get hyperactive, and this may lead to difficulties without certain precautions.
Providing a varied and nutritious diet is very important for the long term health of a bearded dragon. The best insects to feed bearded dragons usually contain very good amounts of protein, calcium, and other trace minerals. Hence, it is good to feed insects that provide the highest nutritional value. And fairly resemble what a bearded dragon would eat in the wild. However, never feed bearded dragon insects caught in the wild unless they are deemed safe.
The following information will be addressing bearded dragons live food:
- best live food
- dubia roaches
- goliath worm
- wax worms
- phoenix worms
What is the best live food?
The most popular live food for bearded dragons are crickets and mealworms. You can find them in most pet stores.
Live crickets are also a good choice because chasing them can be stimulating for your dragon. And you might be surprised how quick they are!
When buying live food most people think about the nutritional value, how easy it is to store and how much it costs. You should also make sure you vary what you buy occasionally so that your pet eats a range of animal matter.
However, only use crickets that your bearded dragon can eat easily. If they’re bigger than the space between your dragon’s eyes, they may have a problem consuming them.
Once you drop the crickets in with your bearded dragon make sure they don’t drown in its water bowl. If they do, you can just pick them out, but don’t leave them there. Pet shops do sell covers for water bowls to stop them from getting in.
And some people recommend filling the bowl with polymer crystals, which crickets can walk on.
Mealworms are also cheap and you can store them in or out of the fridge. If you put them in the fridge they will survive and last a little longer. But they’ll go into a dormant state. Also, mealworms do have a higher fat content than crickets.
Thus, make sure you don’t give your dragon too many, they won’t stop eating them even if it’s making them fat!
Most live feeders for bearded dragons can start to smell when you’re storing them. It’s worth finding space for them in a garage if you have one.
These are one of the best staple insects to feed a bearded dragon. They are rich in protein, low in fat content, and provide an array of valuable nutrients.
This insect feeder is very easy for bearded dragons to digest and it comes in different sizes depending on its life stage.
Meanwhile, purchase dubia roaches at reputable pet stores and through online dealers. They are easy to care for and offer some advantages over crickets:
- they are quiet and do not make any noise
- are not as smelly as crickets
- easily bred for a continuous supply of quality insect feeders
- cannot climb which makes it nearly impossible for them to escape.
How Many Dubia Roaches should you Feed a Bearded Dragon
For a baby bearded dragon, you can give him or her 10-20 Dubias three times a day until they are 4 months old. After which, you can go down to feedings twice a day.
Thus, once your baby reaches a year, try to transition them down to feeding just once a day.
For an adult bearded dragon that is exactly 2 years or older. Try to give them 10-20 Dubias usually one to three times a week, depending on their weight.
- Moisture Content – 61%
- Protein – 36%
- Fat – 7%
- Ash – 2%
These (or Horned worms) are another excellent choice as a staple insect feeder for bearded dragons.
These worms can rapidly grow four to five inches in length and are a good source of protein. Try to purchase Goliath worms at reputable pet stores or through online vendors. They generally come in large cups pre-loaded with food and contain 15 – 25 worms.
Generally, these worms grow very quickly. And you can feed a bearded dragon with it after a couple of days growth.
- Moisture Content – 85%
- Protein – 9%
- Fat – 3%
- Calcium – 46.4mg/100mg
These are small white-colored worms that are an excellent occasional treat insect to offer bearded dragons. These worms should not be a staple food item, because they tend to be high in fat content.
Also, feed an adult bearded dragon no more than five to six wax worms per day. Feeding your bearded dragons too many wax worms can lead to obesity issues later in the bearded dragon’s life.
Try to purchase wax worms at most reputable pet stores or online vendors. They are very easy to maintain and can last up to a few weeks with proper storage.
- Moisture Content – 61%
- Protein – 15%
- Fat – 21%
- Calcium – 28.3mg/100mg
These are a very popular bearded dragon feeder insect. They can grow to a length of about two inches in length and contain a hard outer shell called chitin. Likewise, young bearded dragons can have a difficult time digesting the chitin. Feed mealworms to adult bearded dragons only because of the risk of impaction.
Only offer mealworms (very large mealworms are sometimes called Superworms) to your bearded dragons as a supplement to staple insects. Therefore, five to six mealworms per feeding for an adult bearded dragon should be fine.
Most pet stores and online pet retailers carry a good assortment of mealworms.
- Moisture Content – 62%
- Protein – 20%
- Fat – 13%
- Calcium – 13.3mg/100mg
These offer a good amount of protein and calcium. They are arguably the most well known feeder insect for bearded dragons. They are widely available in most pet stores and bait shops.
Bearded dragons can have some difficulty digesting crickets because of its hard body parts, such as the hind legs.
Therefore, keeping crickets can be a bit of a challenge. They are masters of escaping and sometimes getting into the home, they can be noisy at night when trying to sleep. And storage can become very smelly.
How Many Crickets to Feed your Baby Bearded Dragon in a Day
Now, if you aren’t able to get dubia roaches for your baby dragon, your next best bet is going to be crickets. A baby of 4 months and under should eat between 30 and 60 crickets a day over the course of three 10 minute feedings.
Likewise, a baby between the ages of 4 months and a year should eat between 20 and 40 crickets over the course of 2 feedings. Once they’ve reached like a year, just go down to one feeding a day of 10 to 20 crickets.
- Moisture Content – 69%
- Protein – 21%
- Fat – 6%
- Calcium – 34.5mg/100mg
Phoenix Worms (Black Soldier Fly Larvae)
These (Black Soldier Fly Larvae are the same thing) are a very good feeder insect to offer bearded dragons. They have high levels of protein and calcium to offer and are easy to keep. Also, phoenix worms are a good supplemental insect for bearded dragon’s diet.
Due to their very small size, it can be impractical to offer them as a staple food. The large quantities you need to feed an adult bearded dragon would be difficult to maintain and possibly expensive.
The best way to offer your bearded dragon Phoenix worms is placing them in a shallow bowl. Fill the bowl with 10 – 15 worms then add the bowl to the terrarium.
- Moisture Content – 68%
- Protein – 15.5%
- Fat – 8%
- Calcium – 43mg/100mg
These are another very small worm that offers good amounts of protein and high levels of calcium.
This small nutritious worm is usually an excellent feeder insect to offer as a supplement to other feeders. Therefore, purchase butterworms at reputable pet stores and online vendors.
- Moisture Content – 58.5%
- Protein – 16%
- Fat – 5%
- Calcium – 87mg/100mg
These are not a very popular feeder item for bearded dragons. But are a good source of calcium and moisture. Offer earthworms occasionally to vary the diet and mix things up a bit.
Purchase earthworms for your bearded dragon from pet stores, trusted bait shops, or online vendors. Thus, rinse the earthworms off before offering to the bearded dragon to remove any bedding particles.
Ensure earthworms you purchased from a bait shop do not have any dyes. However, Many bait shops dye the earthworms for fishing purposes.
- Moisture Content – 83%
- Protein – 10.5%
- Fat – 1.6%
- Calcium – 444mg/kg
These are another small, soft-bodied worm that can grow to a length of 3/4″ to 1-1/4″ in length and are very nutritious. Particularly, they boast a very high amount of protein and moisture content. The fat content is moderate and beneficial amounts of ash (potassium, phosphorus, and calcium).
Therefore, high amounts of protein make silkworms a nutritious food item for bearded dragons.
Purchase silkworms in cups pre-loaded with food at many pet stores and online retailers.
- Moisture Content – 76%
- Protein – 64%
- Fat – 10%
- Ash – 7%
These are an excellent feeder insect to offer a bearded dragon. They offer high amounts of protein and are relatively low in fat.
The United States bans the shipment of locusts. However, you can find them in the UK and other countries.