How to Feed a Baby Bearded Dragon

Written by lisa fritscher
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Bearded dragons are relatively easy to care for, but like any baby animal, baby bearded dragons require a bit of extra protection. Feeding a baby bearded dragon is not difficult, but it is important to develop a feeding routine so both you and the animal know what to expect.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 15-gallon aquarium
  • #2 crickets
  • Gut-load powder
  • Oranges, cut up
  • Calcium powder
  • Soft paint brush
  • Multivitamin powder
  • Warming lights
  • Fresh greens, cut up
  • Water mister bottle
  • Small mealworms

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Choose a properly-sized aquarium. One or two baby bearded dragons fit comfortably into a 15-gallon aquarium. Crickets are a bearded dragon’s primary food source, and a larger cage makes it difficult for young bearded dragons to find them.

  2. 2

    Purchase #2 crickets (under 3/8 inch) from a reputable supplier. Pet stores that specialise in reptiles generally sell crickets. Online suppliers are often less expensive, but read reviews from other bearded dragon owners to ensure the quality is high.

  3. 3

    Feed the crickets gut-load powder, sold at reptile supply shops. Provide fresh cut-up oranges every day. Gut-load powder improves the crickets’ nutritional value, while oranges provide moisture and additional nutrients.

  4. 4

    Dust the crickets with calcium powder before each feeding using a soft paint brush. Once a week, dust the crickets with a multivitamin powder. Both powders are available at any reptile shop.

  5. 5

    Turn on the baby bearded dragons' warming lights two hours before you feed them. Baby bearded dragons need very warm temperatures to properly digest their food.

  6. 6

    Introduce five crickets at a time in five-minute intervals to the aquarium. Keep feeding as long as the dragons show interest. Many baby bearded dragons eat 15 to 20 crickets per feeding, but this number varies widely. When the dragons stop eating, remove any remaining crickets from the cage. Feed baby bearded dragons at least twice per day. Time the last feeding to approximately two hours before the daytime warming lights are turned off.

  7. 7

    Provide fresh greens daily. Safe choices include turnip greens, collard greens, kale, chicory, escarole and green bell peppers. Rotate food choices at least once per week. Avoid lettuce, which may cause diarrhoea; and spinach, which may keep calcium from being properly absorbed. Rhubarb and avocado are dangerous to lizards. Cut all vegetables into bite-size pieces, and remove leftovers each night.

  8. 8

    Spray the inside of the baby bearded dragon cage with a water mister bottle at least once per day. Bearded dragons in the wild lick dew from plants, so the cage should be kept damp but not overly wet. Some bearded dragons learn to drink from a water dish, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Tips and warnings

  • Small mealworms can be offered as an occasional treat. As the baby grows, introduce wax worms, cockroaches and pinky mice. Never feed a bearded dragon any food that is larger than the width of its mouth.
  • Baby bearded dragons can easily become stressed and refuse to eat. If your dragon accepts moisture but not food, partially cover the aquarium with paper and allow two days for adjustment. Call a reptile veterinarian or your bearded dragon supplier if the dragon refuses moisture for a day or food for two days.
  • Never feed wild-caught insects, which may have been exposed to disease or pesticides. Fireflies can be fatal to bearded dragons. Always purchase food-grade prey items from a trusted source.

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