Are you considering keeping a bearded dragon as a pet? If so, you probably know that reptiles like them have very particular care needs. Many new bearded dragon owners find themselves with an unhappy or unwell pet if they don't have the right diet, routines, and environment set up for their scaly friend. Because of this, here our Rabun County vets provide a basic guide to feeding your new scaly friend.
Bearded dragons, like all reptiles, have specific care requirements, ranging from diet to socialization and habitat. Bearded dragons, on the other hand, are much easier to care for than other reptile pets such as turtles or snakes due to their calm temperament and docile nature. For people who enjoy the scalier side of the animal kingdom, bearded dragon care could be a very rewarding pet to care for and keep in your home.
Here, our Rabun County veterinary team explains some of the things any new owner of a bearded dragon should keep in mind when planning the care, for their scaled companion.
Bearded dragons are medium-sized lizards (often between 20 and 24 inches long, with males being a little bigger than females) with a characteristic scruff of spikey scales around their neck that gives them their "beard." These lizards are native to Australia and have become increasingly popular as pets since the 1990s.
Bearded dragons are omnivorous and live on their own in a variety of environments, including shrublands, woodlands, the ocean shore, and subtropical areas. Bearded dragons are known for being tough for a reptile, making them a more forgiving pet for first-time reptile owners.
With that being said, new bearded dragon owners have a number of questions about how to care for their bearded dragon. And our vets are here to answer them.
What Is a Bearded Dragon's Diet?
The best bearded dragon diet for your pet will likely be a diverse one. Since they are omnivores, they eat both plants and animals and can dine on a wide range of food, from live mealworms, king worms, and crickets to greens such as parsley and kale and vegetables like pepper and sweet potato. You can even give them limited amounts of fruit. Today, we'll share a number of veggies, meat, weeds, greens, and fruits that can make up a bearded dragon's diet.
The age of your bearded dragon will influence what they eat; the typical baby bearded dragon diet should consist of 80 percent bugs and 20 percent plants, with the caveat that some owners have difficulty convincing their dragons to eat any vegetables at all when they are young. For the adult bearded dragon, the ratio should be nearly flipped, with 80 percent plants and 20 percent insects and bugs.
Let your dragon determine how much they should eat by allowing them to eat for a certain time - 10 minutes when they're given insects. Remove uneaten insects at the end of the 10-minute mark.
For fruits and vegetables, leave them in your dragon's enclosure only for approximately 30 minutes, which allows your dragon enough time to have its fill but prevents overfeeding. This also ensures leftover food doesn't grow moldy.
The following are some of the foods that are safe to feed your bearded dragon:
- Asparagus (Raw)
- Butternut squash
- Yellow squash
- Acorn squash
There are many other foods that are suitable to feed your bearded dragon. Ask your vet what diet they suggest for your scaly companion.