New Pet Bearded Dragon

New Pet Bearded Dragon

So you brought home your new pet bearded dragon! Now, what to feed them?

 First, we have to determine how old your new pet is. Each life stage has different requirements so making sure that you care for your new scaly friend properly starts with their diet. Beardies require sources of both vegetation and protein.


 It is very important to vary your protein offerings as to not cause nutrient deficiencies. Insects, like dubia roaches, butterworms, hornworms, grasshoppers, wax worms, mealworms, occasional pinky mice, king mealworms, and Phoenix worms dusted in calcium powder are all great foods for your beardie. Fruitflies are a great option for babies as well. Feeder insects should also be gut loaded with nutritious vegetables before being given to your lizard. Make sure to always feed vegetables and fruits as a beardie can become addicted to insects and not want to eat their salads.


 Vegetation is broken down into multiple categories. Daily vegetables and greens are ones that you can feed every time you feed. They have nutrients that a beardie needs to grow and live a healthy life. Make sure that you cut up harder fruits and veggies into small pieces as your beardie is not strong enough to break them apart. Shredding them on a cheese grater is also a fantastic option for items like apples, carrots, and zucchini.


  • Collard Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Mustard Greens
  • Turnip Greens
  • Watercress
  • Acorn Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Green Beans
  • Okra
  • Parsnips
  • Snap Peas
  • Sweet Potato
  • Yellow Squash
  • Green/Red Leaf Lettuce

 Weekly greens and vegetables should be mixed in every other or every two feedings. You can vary them when doing daily salads.

Greens and vegetables to rarely feed are beet greens and spinach. This is because they are high in oxalic acid which will limit the absorption of calcium. They should be fed very seldom, if at all. Feeding these foods can increase the risk of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). It would be best to not feed these foods at all. Tomatoes will not increase MBD, but the acid can cause stomach issues. Watch your beardie when feeding this item or do not feed at all.

Greens and vegetables to NEVER feed are avocados, rhubarb, onions, and iceberg lettuce. Avocados, rhubarb, and onions are extremely toxic to almost all animals and should be avoided at all costs. Iceberg lettuce is only water and cellulose, rendering it nutritionally useless. The high water content can also cause diarrhea in your pet.

 There are not many fruits that should be fed daily as the high levels of fructose can cause diarrhea. Alternating fruits throughout the week creates diversity and interest in salads. Beardies especially like brighter colored fruits as it catches their attention.

 Apples (peeled)

  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapes (remove the skin on grape)
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Kiwi (peeled)
  • Peaches
  • Pears (peeled)
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Mango
  • Cactus Pads
  • Papaya


Citrus fruits are very high in citric acid and can be harsh on a bearded dragon’s digestive system, especially babies. It’s best to never feed citrus fruits.

 Commercial diets:

 There are many different commercial diets on the market for beardies. Most are brightly colored, to attract the dragon to eat them, but those dyes aren’t the best for their systems. If you do feed a pelleted diet look for the ones that have moisture, natural colors, and do not feed more than a few times a week. Commercial pellet diets are convenient but are not nutritionally complete and do need to be supplemented with fruits, veggies, and insects.


 A clean bowl of water should be provided daily treated with a water conditioner or use spring water from the store. Tap water can have contaminants that can cause health issues in your dragon. Many dragons like to drink from moving water, so using a spray bottle or giving them a soak in the sink a few times a week can help hydrate your pet if they are not drinking from the water bowl. Make sure that your bowl is shallow enough that your beardie can get out and not drown.

 Hatchling dragon diet:

 A bearded dragon is considered a hatchling from ages 0-4 months old. Hatchling bearded dragons will not need food for about three days due to their yolk that is being absorbed. After those couple of days, the baby should start to show interest in food. Hatchlings require lots of protein as they are building weight and muscles. Make sure to feed hatchlings 3-4 times a day by offering around 10 small insects per feeding. Make sure to remove any uneaten insects after feeding as the insects can cause harm to your baby dragon. The insects that you are giving to your pet must not be wider than the space between their eyes. Baby dragons should eat more insects than vegetables, about 60-80% of insects and 20-40% vegetables, greens, and fruits. A half a cup a day of salad is an appropriate serving size for a hatchling.


 Juveniles are classified as beardies that are 5-18 months old. You should start adding more veg and fewer insects to their daily feedings, 70-85% vegetation and 15-30% insects. The number of salads you are feeding daily will also change from 3-4 times a day to twice a day. The insects you are feeding will also increase in size, just make sure to measure your dragon’s head and not to feed too large as your pet can choke.


 A bearded dragon is considered an adult after 18 months of age and they have a lifespan of 8-10 years. At this point, you are feeding 1.5 cups of salad once a day to every other day. Offering different foods through your pet’s baby and juvenile stages will hopefully have helped your adult dragon not be picky with their salads. Offer them larger insects supplementing the foods a few times a week with calcium. As your bearded grows older, reduce the amounts of insects that you offer as the high protein and fat amounts can cause health issues.

 Keeping bearded dragons can be such an incredible journey, and one of the ways we as owners can interact with our pets is through food. Making sure that we offer healthy, age-appropriate, and stimulating foods is definitely part of that fun!