Bearded dragons are the most popular pet lizard in the UK. They are a brilliant choice for new and experienced keepers alike as their care covers a lot of the ground needed to keep more sensitive species but they are also extremely resilient and have a great character. Part of keeping a bearded dragon happy and healthy is the live food portion of their diet. Though it is common knowledge that dragons love their live food a lot of people don’t understand that not all live foods are as good for your dragon. Here are our top 5 and how often they can be offered.
Brown crickets are the staple of many insectivorous and omnivorous reptile diets. Not only are they very nutritious and easy to digest they are also quite cheap and easy to find. This is the bread and butter live food and should be present in all reptile or exotic pet shops you might visit. We have chosen the brown over black crickets as they tend to be a little less noisy and aggressive. If your dragon is having a hard time hunting them or just isn’t interested black crickets would be a great alternative. The only potential downside would be that they can burrow under food dishes and water bowls so it is best to check before adding more.
Locust are a much more active and colourful prey for your dragon. They are almost as nutritious as crickets but not quite as easy to find and not quite as cost-effective. Normally, these will be bigger than the crickets you normally offer the dragon so normally only put a half dozen in at a time. The bright yellow and black colouration make them very easy to spot and the fact that they leap around a lot makes them very easy to notice. We normally use these if the dragon is having trouble finding its crickets or has been off its food for a little while. As they are less numerous locust can be easier to store and handle so if these work out better for you, by all means, use them as the main live food.
Waxworms are a small pale and silky larvae that we often use as a treat for our dragons. They aren’t very big and are very easy to digest so we will also use them if we have dragons looking a little skinny or struggling to eat their normal diet. They have a really high-fat content which makes them a good recovery food but not a great staple diet. We would normally provide them once every week or two as a treat. You can tweezer feed them to your dragon or just let the dragon go crazy on a worm dish. 6-10 per feeding would be plenty for an adult dragon.
Mealworms are one of the most commonly used live foods and are often recommended by pet stores but we often find that dragons can struggle with them if they are the only live food as they are harder to digest. For this reason, we wouldn’t use them as the main live food in a dragons diet. That being said they are a brilliant addition to a varied diet and when provided once or twice a week they can be a great treat for the dragon.
Cockroaches are harder to come by but they are an excellent addition to the dragon’s diet. In-store we often use medium or large dubia roaches with our dragons when they are available. They are extremely protein-rich and are normally a larger meal. While they are very nutritious we find that the size, ease of digestion and nutrition aren’t quite as good as crickets so we use them as part of a varied diet rather than a main diet. Just a few cockroaches will be a fine meal and we would normally only provide them 1-2 times per week.
As with all live food we would recommend gut loading and dusting them before feeding them to the dragon. For tips on gut loading or suggestions on which supplements would be best for your pet please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01604753823.