What Do Baby Bearded Dragons Eat
Baby bearded dragons have recently become the go-to choice for many people looking for pets. Their tame demeanor, their extraordinarily colored coats and comparatively easier handling make them a favorite among many pet owners. Most of us like to start with a baby beardie rather than an adult since it is much more fun watching a baby grow up right in front of our eyes. Having said that, it is not uncommon for pet owners to question what do baby bearded dragons eat and how to care for baby bearded dragons.
This article gives you all the information you’ll ever need about a baby bearded dragon diet. We also provide information about what juvenile bearded dragons eat. If you are looking for an adult bearded dragon diet list, click here.
So what do baby bearded dragons eat? Bearded dragons or pogonas are omnivores and eat almost anything. That doesn’t mean that they should be fed anything. Young bearded dragons don’t often have fully developed feeding habits and can sometimes ingest stuff which may be harmful to them. So care needs to be taken about what you feed them.
In the wild, baby bearded dragons will eat any small insect that they can get their jaws on. Insects like crickets, fly larvae, grasshoppers, waxworms, superworms, roaches and many others are all game. They also like their veggies and greens, although not quite as much as the insects.
What Do Baby Bearded Dragons Eat
Most of the baby bearded dragons available as pets are somewhere around 2-3 months old. But if you have bred adult bearded dragons, you might have a newly-hatched dragon on your hands. Our baby bearded dragon diet deals with newly hatched beardies to baby dragons up to 6 months old.
A newly hatched baby bearded dragon might go a day or two without eating. It will continue to feed off of the remnants of its egg, so don’t worry if it is not eating anything you feed it. Bearded dragon hacthlings are also lower on energy and need time to recuperate after having spent themselves breaking out of their eggs. They won’t move about as much and or even attempt to hunt any insects you offer.
An important thing to remember when caring for a baby bearded dragon is that they are very fragile. You are not supposed to physically handle them at all before they are at least 8 weeks old. After that, handle them with utmost care and never pick them up for too long.
For more information on how to care for baby bearded dragons – click here.
Baby bearded dragons are also incredibly messy eaters, easily excitable while catching their prey. What this means is that they can and will ingest sand or substrate around their food while feeding. This is not good for them and could kill them. It is best to keep your baby bearded dragon hatchling in a cardboard box lined with newspapers or somewhere where it won’t have access to substrate. As with most wild animals, not all hatchlings survive in the wild. But as far as your beloved baby bearded dragon care is concerned, you need to make sure it lives a long and healthy life.
With that said, let’s find out what do baby bearded dragons eat.
Insects For Baby Bearded Dragons
What do baby bearded dragons eat? Insects make up almost 80% of a baby bearded dragon’s diet. Your baby beardie is growing and needs the protein – insects are the biggest source of protein available to them. As they grow older, their reliance on insects will decrease but for the time being, insects are their primary food.
Baby bearded dragons like to hunt. They are more likely to go for a moving insect rather than a dead one. This is another reason that fruits and greens do not appeal to them at this stage.
What do baby bearded dragons eat as far as insects are concerned? The best insects for baby bearded dragons include:
- Fruit Flies
- Fly larvae
- Waxworms (occasionally)
Note: Baby bearded dragons will try to eat mealworms and roaches if you provide them. But we highly recommend that you avoid giving them any, especially when they are less than 2 months old. Mealworms (or roaches) have tougher exteriors and could be troublesome for a baby beardie.
Baby bearded dragons will attack any insect you put in front of them regardless of its size. If it tries to swallow a large insect, it could choke. The general rule of the thumb is to feed it insects that are half the size of its face. Use your best judgement – if you feel that an insect is too large, avoid it.
Although feeding your baby bearded dragon with insects in their natural form should be enough, you could go the extra mile and add some extra nutrition to the mix. You could dust your insects with calcium or multivitamin powder before serving them up to your beardie.
Some people also like to fatten up the insects before feeding them to a beardie – a technique called gut loading. You can try gut loading as well. You just need to feed your insects well (preferably crickets, locusts or hoppers), making sure that your beardie gets the maximum nutrition from them.
A baby bearded dragon will feed 3-4 times a day. If you are looking for a cheap way to feed them, your best bet would be to set cricket traps around your home. Catching and feeding your baby beardie with crickets takes more effort, since you will need to dust them, but it is generally lighter on the pocket.
How Many Crickets To Feed A Baby Bearded Dragon?
How many crickets to feed a baby bearded dragon? In one feeding period, your baby dragon will eat anywhere around 10-15 small sized crickets (or other insects). In other words it will eat 30-50 crickets a day. How you feed them these crickets depends on the baby dragon’s living space. If there is enough room for the insects to move about easily, you can add all of them together.
Sometimes you will notice that your beardie has not eaten the cricket or locust within 15-20 minutes. You should remove the insect from the dragon’s space. If the insects are left in their long enough, they could start eating away at the baby bearded dragon’s skin, causing infections and wounds. Baby bearded dragon care requires that you do not touch one before its older, so if a cricket does chew it up, treating the baby dragon would be impossible at this time.
Insects To Avoid
Now that you know what do baby bearded dragons eat, let us talk about things it shouldn’t eat. Never feed your baby dragon any insect that you have caught in the wild. Such insects might have parasites and might even have small amounts of pesticide on them. This is just too risky for a baby bearded dragon.
If you plan to catch your own crickets, make sure that you dust them properly before feeding them to your beardie. Mealworms or other hard skinned insects should also be avoided.
Fireflies or any other insect that glows should be avoided at all costs. Such insects glow for a reason. They contain chemicals that could prove lethal to your beardie.
Vegetation For Baby Bearded Dragons
Vegetation including plants and fruits make up just 20% of a baby bearded dragon diet. As we’ve said before, baby dragons are quite like human babies and don’t like their greens all that much. While you will be feeding them insects 3-4 times every day, you need only feed them vegetation once. Even then there is a good chance that they won’t touch it at all. This is perfectly normal and not a cause for concern.
If you feel that your beardie is not eating up its greens, you can reduce the serving frequency. Make sure that you serve the greens at least 4 times week. A baby dragon needs time to develop a taste for it and you need to do your part in helping the process.
What can baby bearded dragons eat as far as vegetation is concerned depends on each individual dragon. You will need to try and see what works best for you. While they will eat almost all insects, they are more picky with greens. From our experience, the most healthy vegetation choices for baby bearded dragons include:
- Salad leaves (Other than lettuce and spinach)
- Acorn Squash (cooked)
- Butternut Squash (cooked)
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Lentils (cooked)
- Yellow squash
- Turnip greens (cooked)
Baby bearded dragons may also eat fruit, but we advise that you keep the fruit for when they are older. For baby dragons, greens are enough.
Vegetation to Avoid
Some common veggies and plants are lethal or harmful for baby dragons and should be avoided. These include:
- Lettuce (Any form)
- Spinach (hard to digest)
- Avocados (high toxicity)
- Other toxic plants that are recommended against for all reptiles (see complete list here)
At the end of the day, although it is important that you know what do baby bearded dragons eat, it is equally important to know what to avoid.
Juvenile Bearded Dragon Diet
A juvenile bearded dragon is one between 6 months to 18 months of age. Once your bearded dragons is over 6 months old, its feeding habits will change slightly. Juvenile dragons won’t eat as many times as baby dragons and you can adjust your juvenile bearded dragon diet accordingly. If you feed it too much, it will grow obese and lazy. Nobody wants that.
The general rule of thumb regarding a juvenile bearded dragon diet remains the same. You can now feed it insects that are larger but not too large (should be less then the size of their head). Mealworms and roaches are all game as well.
What to feed juvenile bearded dragons?We recommend that you feed your juvenile bearded dragon insects once or, at most, twice a day. For vegetation, now you need to start feeding it regularly, at least once a day.
Treat your beardie with tasty fruits like strawberries, mangoes, papaya, apples, prickly pear and watermelon every once in a while.
Vitamins Supplements For Baby And Juvenile Bearded Dragon
Now that you know what can baby bearded dragons eat, it’s time that you find out what vitamins and supplements should be included in a baby bearded dragon diet.
Baby and juvenile bearded dragons need vitamin D3 and calcium for the healthy growth of their bones. A dragon’s body cannot process calcium without vitamin D3, so the two must be given together.
The best way to feed supplements to your dragon is to dust your feeder insects or vegetation with the supplement powder. You can also gut load your insects with supplement powder before feeding them to your dragon. Special multivitamin powder for reptiles is easily available at pet stores and should do the trick.
A baby bearded dragon requires more vitamin D3 and calcium compared to a juvenile. It is recommended that you feed it with the supplement with one of the 3-4 meals that it eats every day. Juvenile dragons need the vitamin supplement 3-4 times a week.
So now that you have learned what do baby bearded dragons eat, we hope you put the information to good use. The more you treat your baby with love, the more it is likely to grow and flourish. A little bit of love and care goes a long way. Babies, irrespective of their species, require special attention and your baby beardie is no different. Even a slight miscalculation or irresponsibility on your part could have a grave consequences.