Bearded dragons are popular pets that are native to Australia. The expected life span of bearded dragons is around 8 to 10 years when they are cared for properly. Bearded dragons are noted for their fascinating and endearing greeting behaviour that make them interesting and entertaining to watch. These moderately sized lizards are considered as good pets because they are easy to handle and tame. They are docile and social animals that rarely display aggressive behaviour in captivity. However, they have fairly complex environmental and nutritional requirements so you may have to buy special equipment to take care of your pet.
Bearded Dragon Diet
Bearded dragons are omnivores that must be given a mixture of plant material, vertebrate and invertebrate prey. In captivity, they must be given a combination of vegetables, greens and insects.
The chitinous exoskeleton of the prey can affect the normal functioning of the digestive system of bearded dragons. Since crunchy bugs like roaches and mealworms are known to have a negative impact on their digestive system, you must feed them these bugs in limited quantities. To reduce impaction of the digestive system, you can feed them bugs immediately after a molt. After a molt the exoskeleton of the bugs becomes weak and has little impact on the digestive system.
Insects for Baby Bearded Dragons
Baby bearded dragons must be fed bugs more often than adult bearded dragons but the size of the bug must not be too large. You must feed them at least twice a day with appropriately sized bugs as they usually eat their food in less than 10 minutes. Make sure you don’t feed them in the morning until their cage is heated up or after their cage cools down in the evening because they require heat for digestion.
Insects for Adult Bearded Dragons
Unlike juveniles that must be fed twice a day, adult bearded dragons must be fed just once a day. Adult bearded dragons can be fed a wider range of bugs like red worms, waxworms, butterworms, superworms, earthworms and mealworms. However, these bugs must only be given as special treats with crickets making up the major portion of their diet. You can also feed your pet pinkie mice once or twice in a month.
Insects you should not feed
You should not give your pet wild caught insects as they can increase the risk of pesticide contamination. Also, you must not feed them boxelder bugs or fireflies as it can be toxic for both baby and adult bearded dragons.
The insects must be fed with nutritious food before you give them to your pet. They must also be dusted with phosphorus-free Vitamin D and calcium supplement. However, you must not dust them with multivitamins more than four times in a month.
Vegetables and Greens
You must feed bearded dragons green leafy vegetables like chickory greens, dandelion greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, parsley and escarole. You must also give them vegetables like green beans, squash, peas, carrots and bell pepper and fruits like apples, berries, papaya, grapes, mangoes, banana and blueberries. Vegetables and fruits must not be more than 35 percent of their diet. You can chop and mix all the vegetables and fruits to make a salad which can be given to them in shallow bowl.