There are eight species of bearded dragons, but the most popular one is the inland or central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) from the arid to semi-arid southeastern parts of Australia. Pogona vitticeps is the spcies discussed in this handout.
What do bearded dragons eat?
Bearded dragons come from a habitat where food may be sparse, so they accept a wide variety of different foods. Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant- and animal-based foods, including insects.
"Bearded dragons eat both plant- and animal-based foods."
They have a sharp eye and keen sense of smell. Young, growing bearded dragons tend to be primarily carnivores, and adults tend to be more herbivorous. As a guideline, depending on its age, a bearded dragon's diet should be about 50% plant-based material and 50% animal-based material. Be sure to discuss a specific diet for your pet lizard with your veterinarian.
How often should I feed my bearded dragon?
Most young bearded dragons eat once or twice daily, while older lizards can be fed once daily, depending upon each pet's individual appetite.
What are some types of plant material I can feed my bearded dragon?
Most (80-90%) of the plant material should be vegetables and flowers, and only 10-20% should be fruits. As a rule, anything dark green and leafy can make up a large part of the diet. Yellow, red, and orange vegetables may also be included. Avoid fiber-rich, nutrient-poor and vitamin-deficient light green vegetables, including iceberg or head lettuce and celery; these vegetables are mainly composed of fiber and water with little nutrient value. The inner, light colored parts of some vegetables are less nutritious than the darker green, outer leaves.
Acceptable vegetables that should represent a high percentage of the diet include collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, broccoli, turnip greens, alfalfa hay or chow, bok choy, kale, parsley, Swiss chard, watercress, clover, red or green cabbage, savory, cilantro, kohlrabi, bell peppers, green beans, escarole, and dandelion. A lesser percentage of the diet can include cactus, various squash, sprouts, cooked sweet potato, parsnips, okra, cucumber, asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, peas, and corn. Fruit can include apples, pears, bananas (with skin), mango, grapes, star fruit, raisins, peaches, tomato, guava, kiwis, and melons. Fruits that are particularly healthy include figs (high in calcium), apricots, dates, raspberries, and strawberries. Fruits may be eaten preferentially, but are generally mineral-poor so they should be fed sparingly as top dressing. As a treat, flowers such as geraniums, carnations, dandelions, hibiscus, nasturtiums, and roses, may also be offered.
"Fruits are generally mineral-poor, so they should be fed sparingly as top dressing."
Vegetables can be offered cooked or raw, although raw is more natural and retains more nutrients. Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables. Flowers can be home grown or purchased from floral shops. Often, floral shops throw out older, wilted flowers. While these may be unacceptable for sale to the public, bearded dragon owners can often get them at no charge. Before feeding them to your dragon, be sure that no chemicals have been applied to the flowers or water.
Swiss chard, spinach, and beet greens should be fed sparingly, as they contain oxalates that can bind calcium and other trace minerals, preventing their absorption. Diets composed primarily of these can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Caution should also be exercised when feeding cabbage, kale, and mustard greens; these vegetables contain goitrogens (substances that suppress thyroid gland function by interfering with iodine uptake), and excessive intake may lead to hypothyroidism.
"Swiss chard, spinach, and beet greens should be fed sparingly, as they contain oxalates that can bind calcium and other trace minerals."
Food should be presented in a shallow clean dish that is not easily tipped over. Vegetables should be finely chopped and mixed together to ensure your bearded dragon eats a wide variety of food types and to discourage selection of a single preferred food item.
What types of animal-based proteins can I offer my bearded dragon?
Appropriate animal-based protein sources include grasshoppers, gut-loaded (i.e., fed nutritious food that is then passed on to the lizard) or calcium-dusted crickets and mealworms, spiders, wax worms (occasionally, as they are high fat), silk worms (occasionally), tofu, moths, slugs, and earthworms.
Live prey, such as crickets and various worms, may be raised by owners or purchased from pet stores, bait stores, or reptile breeders. Collecting insects from outside or from the home garden is not recommended, as fertilizers and insecticides may be present in or on these insects and may be toxic if fed to bearded dragons. Fireflies should never be fed to bearded dragons, as these flies are generally toxic to lizards. Larger bearded dragons may be fed pinkie or young "fuzzy" mice sparingly.
Remember to feed a healthy and wide variety of food items from all of the food categories listed above for balanced nutrition.
Do I need to give my bearded dragons vitamins and minerals?
Bearded dragons have a higher need for dietary calcium than phosphorus, especially when they are young and their bones are growing. Generally, veterinarians recommend that 2-3 times per week, you LIGHTLY sprinkle food offered to bearded dragons with a calcium powder (calcium gluconate, lactate, or carbonate) not containing vitamin D3, and an additional 2-3 times a week, you LIGHTLY sprinkle food with a calcium powder containing vitamin D3. In addition, once a week, you should provide a LIGHT sprinkling of a general reptile mineral supplement on the food. Supplements should be dusted onto small portions of salads or moist foods, and those portions should be fed first to ensure that the bearded dragon consumes them.
A common problem seen in pet bearded dragons is inappropriate supplementation with calcium and vitamins (especially vitamin D3) and minerals. Check with your veterinarian for specific recommendations about supplementing your pet's diet.
What about water?
Fresh water in a crock that will not easily tip over should be available at all times. Provide fresh water daily and ensure it stays clean; wash and disinfect the water bowl daily.
Bearded dragons in the wild get most of the water they need from rain or morning dew on plants and the other food they eat; some do not seem to recognize a dish of water. Misting vegetable matter fed to pet bearded dragons is another way to help keep them hydrated. In addition, pet bearded dragons may be misted directly with water from a plant mister or soaked a few times a week, too, to ensure they are hydrated.
Different types of bearded dragons may have slightly different nutritional needs. Opinions vary regarding the most appropriate diet for captive bearded dragons, and our knowledge and understanding of this subject continues to grow and change. Please discuss your bearded dragon’s specific dietary needs (based on his age, weight, and health status) with a reptile-savvy veterinarian familiar with your lizard.
Remember – always WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY after feeding, cleaning, and handling a bearded dragon, as they can carry bacteria and parasites that may not be harmful to them but that may affect us.
What fruits can bearded dragons eat?
It’s a common question among owners as we’re always trying to spice up our beardie’s diets.
I’ve done significant research and found 15 solid fruit choices that are just perfect!
Let’s dive in and see how we can make our beardies’ diets more interesting.
What Fruits Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Certain fruits can be an excellent way to punch up your bearded dragon’s life. Let’s take a quick look at some safe options that owners could use as a delicious treat.
As one of the more popular fruits, apples represent a good treat for beardies.
Some owners love to make green apple treats that your beardie will likely love.
Another interesting use is placing a little apple juice into a beardie’s drinking water.
It adds a little incentive to get them to drink their provided water. Owners with finicky or picky dragons have found this technique to be a lifesaver.
Several benefits come from providing a beardie with apples, as well. Your little guy will gain a healthy dose of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, certain phytochemicals, and other nutrients.
As a result, apples can help a dragon stay well-hydrated. But there is a specific way that dragons need to be fed apples, or an issue might arise:
- Peel off the apple skin
- Remove any pits within the apple
- Proceed to cut them into bite-sized pieces
- Keep apple intake to smaller than 20% of their plant materials.
Lastly, the reason for peeing off the skin isn’t because it’s not safe. But it might be a little hard for baby dragons or any dragon to digest them.
Everyone loves to eat a banana every now and then but can beardies eat bananas?
Bearded dragons aren’t any different, considering these pets love them as an occasional treat.
But moderation is key with bananas because they’re low in calcium and high in sugar. So it’s not the best combination for your little friend to consume regularly.
However, there’s some good news as these fruits do contain other beneficial vitamins and minerals: vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C, folate, manganese, and plant compounds like catechin and dopamine.
Preparing them for a beardie isn’t difficult, either. It’s a simple exercise of slicing them into bite-sized pieces and allowing them to enjoy their treat. You don’t even have to peel them.
As with bananas, blackberries are another fruit that can be an occasional treat.
Owners will need to cut them into small bits, especially when feeding them to younger dragons.
Another thing to consider is introducing them slowly, or your beardie might not eat them. But if they do end up eating them, several benefits come from a blackberry treat.
Bearded dragons stand to gain high doses of several helpful nutrients: zinc, fiber, manganese, vitamins (A, C, and K), and antioxidants like anthocyanins (help neutralize free radicals).
Our next option, blueberries, is my personal favorite fruit. I can eat blueberries by the bucket if someone lets me.
Bearded dragons don’t have to sit out when it comes to snacking on them, either. Fresh blueberries for bearded dragons are a solid choice to provide as a treat on special occasions, like most fruits.
More importantly, blueberries offer some great health benefits. After all, these fruits are known for their richness in manganese, antioxidants, vitamins (C and K), and other nutrients.
Owners could undoubtedly do a lot worse than feeding their dragons’ blueberries on occasion. Of course, it also helps that these fruits don’t require any preparation before serving.
One of the odder choices on this list would be cantaloupe. It’s just not something that an owner would usually expect a beardie to have as a snack.
But it happens to be one of the safer fruits for beardies to eat. This safeness comes from cantaloupe being a source of potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
Some preparation is required with cantaloupe, though. You’ll need to peel off the rind or sink and chop it into small pieces before serving.
READ MORE: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Honeydew?
One of the first things to know about cherries is their high potassium levels. Of course, potassium is entirely safe in smaller amounts.
But higher doses can affect a dragon’s metabolism of calcium. So this high potassium level makes them more suitable as a highly occasional treat.
Anyone who intends on serving cherries will need to remove the stone. If you leave this stone inside the cherry, it can cause impaction when a dragon eats it.
In other words, a bearded dragon won’t be able to break down the stone inside the cherry. So please make sure to remove them before giving them this tasty treat.
New beardie owners might be a little surprised by cranberries being on this list. But cranberries have proven to be an effective treat or snack for these pets.
But like most other fruits, moderation becomes necessary. It becomes even more critical when talking about cranberries.
It would be best if you only served them once or twice a month. Some essential nutrients do come from them as they provide a good amount of copper, vitamins (C, E, and K1), and manganese.
Antioxidants are also present within cranberries Their inclusion will offer a wide range of health benefits, such as boosting their immune systems.
Can bearded dragons have grapes? Grapes are another example of fruits bearded dragons can eat.
But owners must consider the grape’s size compared to their beardie’s head and its skin’s toughness when serving it.
Most people end up cutting a grape into four pieces to reduce any potential swallowing issues. It’s a crucial step for anyone with juvenile or baby bearded dragons.
As for their nutrient benefits, grapes are a decent source of calcium with solid phosphate levels. But these fruits are another that suffers from being quite sugary.
The high sugar content makes them a treat meant for moderate consumption. Plus, they contain a high amount of oxalates, making them a bad fit for dragons with a calcium deficiency.
#9 Fig fruits
If you aren’t familiar with fig fruits, these fruits come from a fig tree. They’re known for offering beneficial amounts of vitamin B, K, calcium, and magnesium.
Bearded dragon consumption will need limited to about once every week or two. But please make sure these figs are fresh before offering them to a beardie.
Another crucial tip is beardies can have issues eating dried figs. So owners should take that into account before giving them to their dragons.
Kiwi or Kiwifruits around the world as a healthy, fun fruit. Humans see them as representing a vacation lifestyle while providing solid levels of copper, potassium, and vitamins (C, E, and K)
These solid nutrients levels will only help your beardie, as well. Owners should look to provide these fruits once a month for practical usage.
Keeping the consumption limited will prevent a kiwi’s oxalates from being problematic. A higher consumption rate could allow these oxalates to affect your dragon’s health.
One of the juicier fruits safe for baby and adult bearded dragons is mangoes. But owners must look at mangoes as a snack rather than a dietary staple.
As a snack, mangoes provide high levels of various nutrients, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
If you decide to feed a beardie mangoes, peel it and cut its fleshy part into small slices. It should soon become a favorite of your bearded dragon.
Can beardies eat watermelon? Watermelon is safe for bearded dragons, but they come with one downside.
These fruits provide almost no nutritional value and contain mostly water.
As a result, dragons who are fed watermelon too much can become over-hydrated. Overhydration can lead to several issues in the digestive system.
It’ll likely lead to runny poop and reduce electrolyte levels. These issues make watermelon better suited as a rare food item and dehydration treatment.
Bearded dragons tend to find pears as an ideal treat for their taste buds. Thankfully, these fruits are considered safe for them when they’re prepared correctly.
It’s a simple matter of removing the stem, skin, and core. From there, the pear’s flesh needs chopping into small slices, and it becomes a tasty treat.
But like some of these other fruits, pears are high in sugars and oxalates. Due to this, you mustn’t give in to your dragon’s hankering for pears frequently.
These fruits should instead be used in small doses accompanying their usual salad. They can then offer beneficial nutrients like potassium and vitamin C without any side effects.
But raspberries are one of the easiest fruits to feed an adult bearded dragon. These fruits mush up nicely in their mouths for a comfortable eating process.
More importantly, most dragons end up loving raspberries. Owners will need to make sure they don’t become too attached, though, as it could stop a beardie from eating other things.
I’d recommend adding a sliced-up raspberry to their salads once in a while. In fact, it might entice them to realize there’s something interesting inside their food bowl.
Dates are a sweeter fruit that comes from date palm trees. Humans and beardies can eat these fruits to help procure nutrients, such as copper, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
But it’s also essential to note that dates are 60% sugar and calcium deficient. So beardies should only eat them in tiny portions and without seeds.
Otherwise, it’d be wise to avoid these sweet fruits altogether.
Related: Best Vegetables for Bearded Dragons
Fruits Bearded Dragons Should Not Eat
Of course, not all fruits are appropriate for bearded dragon consumption. You should never consider the following options a part of your beardie’s life or diet:
Avocados are never suitable for bearded dragon consumption due to high levels of oxalates. It makes them potentially toxic to your little buddy.
In fact, the oxalate level is so high that it can lead to health issues even with small portions. It may kill them to make matters even worse.
Stay away from avocados at all costs when trying to find a delicious treat for your beardie. There’s plenty of non-life-threatening options available that they’ll love.
Olives aren’t as dangerous for beardies as avocados, but they do present some issues. These fruits have high salt and fat content make them a bad fit.
It’s not something an owner should purposely feed a baby or adult bearded dragon. But if they do manage to get their hands on one or two, there’s no reason to worry.
Acidic or Citrus Fruits
Any acidic or citrus fruits are bad ideas when feeding bearded dragons: oranges, tomatoes, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines, and pineapples.
Owners should avoid them entirely as their acidity can be very high. As a result, the bearded dragon’s digestive tract and the system will likely become upset.
It can lead to runny stools and digestive issues. Thus, it ends up being a better idea to keep them away entirely.
RELATED: Can bearded dragons eat mandarin oranges?
For a complete feeding guide, purchase our new e-book!
Bearded Dragons Feeding Guide
- Hartley, Alina (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 132 Pages - 07/14/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
Risk Factors Of Feeding Bearded Dragons Too Much Fruit
Fruit intake for bearded dragons isn’t always a good idea. If you provide them with too much, certain issues can start presenting themselves.
The most obvious one is obesity due to most fruits having high sugar contents. They’ll also make your dragon lethargic if one fruit is the main staple food in their diet.
High sugar levels can do severe damage to a beardie’s teeth and cause decay, as well. This issue could make eating painful for them.
As I mentioned earlier, high oxalate content is a common trait in fruits. It’s an issue because oxalic acid binds with calcium and prevents calcium absorption.
This binding prevents it from being passed as a waste product in your beardie’s waste. Baby, juvenile, and adult beardies all need a lot of calcium to thrive, which this process doesn’t allow.
Calcium ensures their bones and muscles remain strong while keeping their metabolisms working. It’s a crucial aspect of keeping your dragon healthy and happy.
Lastly, most of the fruit’s minerals will be wasted when they bind with oxalic acid. It leads to calcium deficiency and causes brittle bones, metabolic bone disease, and other health issues.
Fruits are known for their high water contents, which is beneficial for beardie’s hydration. But too much water can cause issues like runny poop and upset stomachs.
It’s very similar to the effect acidic fruits and citrus fruits have on a dragon’s stomach.
Bearded Dragon Fruits FAQs
Yes, baby bearded dragons can eat fruit, but there’s one caveat. It should “comprise the smallest portion of your beardie’s diet.” Baby beardies have significantly higher protein needs than adults.
Bearded dragons can eat dried fruit as long as they’re considered safe. But it’s worth noting that dried fruit tends to have higher levels of “sugar and have low moisture.”
It’s perfectly fine to give bearded dragons strawberries. After all, “they aren’t toxic to beardies and won’t cause any immediate problems.”
Our discussions should’ve answered most of the questions about fruits and bearded dragons. But if you have any more, leave a post in our comment section. Thanks for reading!
- “Bearded Dragon Impaction: All Signs & Treatment.” 2021. Reptile Direct. August 7, 2021. //www.reptiledirect.com/bearded-dragon-impaction/.
- “Can Bearded Dragons Eat Freeze Dried Crickets? – Neeness.” 2021. Neeness. February 18, 2021. //neeness.com/can-bearded-dragons-eat-freeze-dried-crickets/.
- Cosgrove, Nicole. 2021. “Can Bearded Dragons Eat Blackberries? What You Need to Know!” Pet Keen. February 19, 2021. //petkeen.com/can-bearded-dragons-eat-blackberries/.
- Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD. 2018. “10 Impressive Health Benefits of Apples.” Healthline. Healthline Media. December 17, 2018. //www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-apples.
- “Patton Veterinary Hospital.” 2016. Pattonvethospital.com. 2016. //pattonvethospital.com/blog/246281-are-cranberries-healthy-for-pets.
- Shoemaker, SaVanna. 2020. “All You Need to Know about Figs.” Healthline. Healthline Media. June 3, 2020. //www.healthline.com/nutrition/figs-benefits.
What fruits for bearded dragons do your beardie love the most? Please share below!