Bearded Dragons – The Right Diet

Bearded dragons are reptiles and are often kept as pets in terrariums because of their character and appearance. Since these beautiful animals are not typical pets, it is important to find out about the needs of the reptiles in advance. This not only applies to keeping in general, which includes choosing a suitable terrarium and setting it up. Diet is also a very important part and contributes significantly to the health and well-being of the bearded dragon. In this article, you will find all the important information about the ideal diet for bearded dragons.

Do bearded dragons eat everything?

The answer here is quite simple – yes. Whether in the wild or in a terrarium, bearded dragons feed on both plant foods and live prey. They take every opportunity and will eat anything that can be overpowered quickly. In the wild, they are among the omnivores that have few demands on their diet, but this does not mean that you as the owner are allowed to feed everything.

When feeding, one should differentiate between young animals and adult bearded dragons. The younger animals tend not to touch plant-based food, preferring instead to eat an animal-based diet. Here it is advisable to feed the vegetable food with the tweezers and move it slowly and jerkily so that the bearded dragon is more likely to respond and grab the food. It is important that they remain consistent and offer green fodder every day so that they can get used to it.

In older animals, the vegetable diet should predominate. Experts recommend a diet that consists of 70 percent plants and 30 percent live food. While plant-based food should be given daily, it is sufficient to give the animals two to four live foods, such as crickets or house crickets. Of course, you can always choose the feeding days yourself, which also affects the number. However, bearded dragons should take a break from feeding once a week. On this day there is only fresh water. These no-nutrition days are important and practical too. After these days, young animals should be provided with plant-based food, as hunger and the chance that the food will be accepted are greater. In this way, they can be acclimated optimally.

Vegetable food for bearded dragons

The possibilities in the area of ​​plant-based nutrition for bearded dragons are huge. Here you can be creative and see what your desert animals like best. Put a mixed plate of green fodder in the terrarium every day, from which the animals can choose something. Here you don’t have to be afraid that you will give the bearded dragons too much green fodder. While the animals know no limits with live food and quickly overeat, this does not happen with the plant-based diet. Also, cut the green fodder into bite-sized pieces or grate it in advance.

Many owners keep asking themselves which plant nutrition is suitable at all. When choosing green fodder, plants with an excess of calcium should predominate. The calcium content should therefore be greater than the phosphorus content. Many experts recommend salads, some vegetables, and a piece of fruit every now and then, which can be served as a small treat. However, this should rarely be the case.

Green fodder that has high nitrate levels or generally poor nutritional values ​​should be avoided. These include, for example, iceberg lettuce and lettuce. For other types of lettuce, you should make sure that they are organic so that exposure to any pesticides is minimized. The nitrate content is also usually lower in organic products.

Vegetables such as spinach or cabbage have a high oxalic acid content. These types of vegetables should also be served rarely. Oxalic acid can lead to problems with the kidneys and the lack of calcium is one of the consequences that can occur. Although the individual types of cabbage also have an optimal CA-PH ratio, they contain mustard oil glycosides and should therefore only be given in small amounts. Incidentally, peppers should not be fed.

In addition to the fresh green fodder, you can also give dried herbs and flowers. In addition to the successful variety, these also ensure the supply of sufficient raw fibers. These are particularly important for the animals and ensure good digestion. They also play a role in parasite prevention that should not be underestimated. In contrast to the fresh green fodder, these clean the intestines and stay there longer, which means that the individual nutrients in the fodder are better absorbed and processed.

What you can give your animals:

vegetables plant fruit


Romaine salad

Rocket salad

Small amounts of broccoli



Pumpkin without shell


dandelion leaves

dandelion flowers




Small amounts of kitchen herbs







Non-toxic wild herbs

hazelnut leaves

grape leaves


pigeon nettles






lemon balm


Parsley in small amounts

Anything that tastes good is allowed. But please only in a few amounts once a week







You should pay attention to this when choosing plant-based food:

  • Positive Ca:PH value;
  • Free from pesticides;
  • organic feed;
  • Please never collect from the roadside;
  • Only pick plants from untreated meadows;
  • Nitrate is toxic;
  • Only fresh fruit in small quantities and never canned products;
  • Wash green fodder thoroughly beforehand.

Animal nutrition of bearded dragons

As already mentioned, you can give live food two to four times a week. You can easily buy this in the pet shop and most shops now offer a large selection, so that you do not always have to feed the same animals. Of course, there is also the option of catching the individual prey animals in the garden or of breeding them yourself. Almost everything is allowed here that the desert animals can handle based on their own body size. If you want to catch crickets and other insects in the wild, you should make sure that the meadows have not been fertilized or treated in any other way.

When breeding the individual feed animals, some experience is often required. The animals often do not survive the brood or rearing, so there are certain criteria to be met, which of course again requires a lot of experience. In addition, a lot of space is needed to breed the animals properly. Patience and time would then come on top of that, because the time until the animals can also be fed should not be underestimated. It takes a long time for the animals to reach the right size after hatching, so that most bearded dragon owners give up quickly.

If you don’t feed the animals with the tweezers, but give them freely into the terrarium, you have to take out the uneaten insects in the evening. Otherwise, there is a risk, especially with the small young animals, that they will be nibbled on at night when they sleep, which of course can have serious health consequences. Dead food animals, on the other hand, can also lead to diseases as they are a source of parasites.

After you have bought the food animals, they are transported in plastic containers. However, they should be relocated at home. There are special and escape-proof boxes for insects. In this way, you can significantly extend the life expectancy of the feed animals. In addition, of course, the feed animals should also receive food every day. For example, pieces of apple, salads, or special mineral preparations and fresh water are well suited.

Good to know

If you feed your feed animals optimally and with high-quality feed, this will also benefit your bearded dragons. If the feed animals receive important vitamins and minerals, this is high-quality nutrition for your darlings, with which you can be supplied all around.

These feed animals are ideal for bearded dragons:

  • house cricket;
  • Scrape;
  • grilling;
  • grasshoppers;
  • To fly;
  • Beetle;
  • larvae;
  • moths;
  • little mice;
  • meadow plankton;
  • dewworms;
  • worms;
  • woodlice;
  • snails;
  • mealworms;
  • wax moth larvae;
  • Zophobas.

However, the last three feed animal types contain a large amount of fat, so they should not be given too frequently. It is important for feed animals with shells that they contain a lot of calcium and phosphorus, which can also lead to constipation if they are fed very frequently. For this reason, it is important that they are only fed once a week, even if they are always well received by the bearded dragons.

Beetles and larvae, on the other hand, contain a lot of nutritional value and should be the main part next to the Zophobas. However, it is important for the Zophobas to cut off the head before feeding, as the animals can otherwise injure themselves when eating due to the hard head.

Fresh water every day

Of course, water is also very important for the bearded dragon. However, since these are desert animals, you can rarely see the reptiles standing on or in the water bowl and drinking. However, that doesn’t mean anything bad. They need significantly less water than other pets and will drink as needed.

In addition, bearded dragons also take in water or liquid via the individual feed animals. Some owners carefully spray their animals with a little water from time to time, but you should only do this in extreme emergencies, since most animals react with stress, but this does not apply to all animals. So it also happens that some bearded dragons like to take a bath in the drinking bowl. So it should be tried. If the animal reacts with stress, you should of course avoid it in the future.

There should always be fresh water in the water bowl itself, which must be changed every day. The size of the bowl is not that important. Rather, care must be taken to ensure that the water is easily accessible for the animals. For animals that like to go swimming, however, a particularly large bowl is suitable so that the reptiles can lie down in it if they wish.

Due to the fact that standing water is very uninteresting for most bearded dragons, you can also try to get the water moving. You can do this by possibly putting the food animals in or swiveling the bowl, which of course would only have a short effect. A bubbling fountain, on the other hand, is not recommended as it is a magnet for parasites.

To promote fluid intake, you can also support this with plant food, such as feeding a cucumber strip. Furthermore, the salads and co. can be placed directly on the water or partially into the water. However, since the animals are not only pure herbivores and tend to pounce on the living food, it does not work with all bearded dragons.

Vitamins and minerals

Many owners feel that their bearded dragon should be fed extra vitamins and minerals. However, this is only partially correct. Of course, there are many products that can be added to the actual feed, but an excess of vitamins is not particularly well tolerated by the animals, which can lead to health problems.

It is advisable to ensure that these vitamins and minerals are ingested through the feed animals. As mentioned above, these animals can be fed with vitamin supplements and other products. For example, there is the possibility of using the preparations as bedding. Your bearded dragons now receive the perfect supply of vitamins indirectly via the intestines of the individual feed animals.

Many owners give their animals vitamins and minerals once a month in the form of a liquid supplement that is added to the water in which the animals bathe. Of course, this is only suitable for bath-loving reptiles. It is also possible to place a bowl of Korvimin next to the animals or to dust the feed animals with it, which of course makes it easier to take in.

In addition, it is a good idea to always place a bowl of cuttlefish in the terrarium so that the animals’ calcium balance can be improved. The bearded dragons can thus help themselves as needed. Once a calcium deficiency occurs, some bearded dragons will begin to eat the substrate. However, this is anything but healthy, so constipation can quickly occur here.

In addition, vitamin D3 can be given, which is also produced by UV rays. It is also important with this vitamin that you make sure that there is no overdose. If the vitamin D3 balance is not right, bearded dragons cannot store calcium in their bones, so the bones would become too soft.


Even if bearded dragons are omnivores, feeding the animals is anything but easy and should be well thought out. Always make sure not to overfeed your animals. Vegetable food should predominate and in general, it is important to only give high-quality food. Do not mean too well, but make sure that there is not too much food left over and that there is no overdose of vitamins and minerals. With a species-appropriate diet, you will enjoy your animals for many years.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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