Basic Diet and Nutrition for Adult Bearded Dragons

Updated on July 24, 2020
Neena Daniels profile image

Neena is an owner of two bearded dragons and a self-described reptile enthusiast.

The diet for a baby vs adult bearded dragon is very different; adults require 80% veggies and 20% protein while the opposite applies to babies.

I am going to be focusing on the adults' diet for this article.

Staple Foods

A staple for the adult bearded dragon is going to be their greens. They need a fresh mixture of various greens every day. (Although some are very stubborn and don't always eat their greens, they should still be offered every day.)

Suitable Greens

  • Collard greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Dandelion greens

Examples of Vegetables to Add to the Salad

  • Butternut squash
  • Yellow squash
  • Peas
  • Carrot shavings
  • Cut-up green peppers

Foods You Can Add Every Once in Awhile

  • Dandelions (the flower part)
  • Bok choy
  • Cut-up blueberries

Mine also love eating clovers in the yard but make sure that there aren't pesticides used where they will eat outside. I also wash off the dandelions.

It's important to provide a variety of greens and different combinations so they don't become bored and get a lot of different nutrients.

Poisonous foods

Avocados and lightning bugs (fireflies) are fatal when eaten by a bearded dragon so never let these near your beardies.

The rule of thumb is that if you aren't sure if something is safe for them to eat, don't offer it until you know for sure. Never offer wild-caught bugs that can carry parasites.

Sources of Protien

I recommend offering various insects every other day or every 3 days.

Insects You Should Offer Often

Dubia roaches

  • These are my number one recommendation for a staple.
  • Offer 5-6 each meal.
  • They are full of protein and very nutritious for your bearded dragon.
  • Lightly dust with calcium and multivitamin 2x a week.
  • I also feed my dubia roaches greens that my lizards would eat to gut load them full of nutrition.

Phoenix worms

  • These are naturally a good source of calcium so will not require dusting.
  • Can offer up to 10-20 in a serving.

Silkworms

These are also perfectly okay to offer often but are a bit more expensive than the others.

Insects to Feed Occasionally

Hornworms

  • Feed about 2-3 each serving once a week or every other week.
  • They are a wonderful treat that bearded dragons go crazy for!
  • They provide lots of hydration so too many can cause watery stool.

Superworms

  • Another one of bearded dragons' favorite treats that should also be given sparingly.
  • They are a high-fat food and also high in phosphorus.
  • The high amount of phosphorus contracts with the calcium, meaning superworms should always be dusted with calcium each time they are given.
  • Should only be given as a treat; 2-3 given once or twice a week is okay mixed in with their staple foods

Waxworms

These are \also high in fat but a delicious treat to give every once in a while.

Supplemental Nutrition

As mentioned above, most feeders will need to be dusted with calcium (I recommend with vitamin D3 to help them absorb the calcium) and a multivitamin. Pictured below is what I use. Unless you are feeding Phoenix worms, feeders will need to be dusted at least 2x a week.

Water

While reptiles don't often need water daily, be sure to offer it at least 2x a week by either dripping some onto their nose until they stop licking or under a slow running faucet. Bath time is an excellent time to make sure they are getting their water intake!

Conclusion

I hope this simple guide was helpful to you; these were not all-inclusive lists but the main staples and basic guidelines that I follow! If you have other foods that your bearded dragons enjoy, drop them in the comments below!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2020 Neena Daniels

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    • Neena Daniels profile imageAUTHOR

      Neena Daniels 

      2 weeks ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      Thank you, Linda!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      If I ever have a reptile as a pet, it will be a bearded dragon. I think they're lovely animals. Thank you for sharing the feeding instructions, Neena. This is a very useful reference source.

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