Bearded dragons have a reputation for eating a LOT! They can eat you out of house and home as bug-hungry babies. But as they grow older, they need less protein for fueling rapid growth and more nutrient-packed bearded dragon vegetables for maintenance, which means that feeding them gets cheaper. Whew.
Now more than ever, never trust the pet store’s opinion on bearded dragon vegetables, fruits, or feeding in general. As much as we wish otherwise, employees have a lot of animals to keep track of, and Following their advice will more than likely have your dragon eating the reptile equivalent of popcorn and TV dinners.
Just as each bearded dragon has its own personality, it will also have its own favorite and least favorite foods. So if one thing doesn’t work, try something else. It’s all part of the fun!
75-80% of an adult dragon’s diet should be vegetables. If you’re feeding a juvenile, a daily salad will suffice. Since bearded dragons are omnivores like humans, they need a variety. Feeding a variety of veggies gives your dragon a good balance of the nutrients s/he needs to keep bones healthy and immune system going strong. Fortunately, the list of dragon-safe vegetables is a long one.
- Bok choy
- Cactus pads
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Kale (a recent study revealed that it is not high in oxalates after all!)
- Mustard greens
- Oak choy
- Turnip greens
- Swiss chard
Mixers (to be fed occasionally):
- Artichoke heart
- Bell pepper
- Carrot greens
- Cucumber, peeled
- Carrot, grated raw
- Clover (pesticide- and herbicide-free)
- Mint leaves
- Rose petals
- Squash, raw
- Yam, grated raw
Vegetables should be sliced into thin, bite-sized pieces than your beardie can grab with his/her tongue. Wet or slimy vegetables like cucumber and cactus may frustrate your dragon since these don’t stick to tongues very well. You can hand-feed these to him/her, but your dragon may accidentally bite you in the effort to get it.
Some people like to feed their dragons spinach, kale, or lettuce. Lettuce – yes, even romaine – is essentially water in vegetable form, with no value except in giving your beardie diarrhea. If your dragon is severely dehydrated or constipated, lettuce may be a temporary addition to the salad bowl. As for spinach, this contains calcium-binding substances (oxalates) that hurt rather than nourish your dragon. So don’t put those in his/her salad dish, please.
Up to 10% of your beardie’s diet may consist of fruit. Fruits tend to have a higher water content and more sugar than vegetables, so they must be fed sparingly to prevent a laxative effect. They make excellent treats, however. My Nabooru goes wild for canteloupe.
- cactus fruit (aka prickly pear)
Mixers (to be fed occasionally):
For an extensive list of bearded dragon vegetables, fruits, and associated nutrition facts, please visit www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition. It’s generally referred to in the reptile world as the Bearded Dragon Food Bible.
- Introduction to Bearded Dragons
- Bearded Dragon Shopping List
- Terrarium & Heating Requirements
- Substrate Options
- On Decorations and Roommates
- Safe Fruits & Vegetables (YOU ARE HERE)
- Feeder Insects & Supplements
- Handling Tips
- Common Diseases and Other Health Info
- Additional Resources