When compared with adults, baby Bearded dragons need a more selective diet to get going in life. This is what new owners should know about the diet of baby Bearded dragons.
Baby Bearded dragons are small, fragile, nervous and often tricky eaters. Because of their fast growth rate, a baby Bearded dragon’s diet should consist mainly of high protein items. While this is the case, food still needs to be ‘attractive’ and the correct size.
Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they will consume both insects and plant material. Insects will generally make out the bulk of a baby’s diet, but plant material, in the form of greens and vegetables, should also be offered from an early age.
Baby Bearded dragon insect diet
The bulk of a baby Bearded dragon’s diet should consist of protein-rich insects. Various commercially available insects can be fed to baby Bearded dragons. Not all insects have equal amounts of protein. Some, e.g. mealworms, Superworms and Wax worms are high in fat (and low in protein) and should rather not be fed to baby Bearded dragons. The same goes for wild-caught insects, as they can be poisonous or possess indigestible and dangerous body parts.
Commercial insects that are high in protein, and good for baby Bearded dragons, include crickets, silkworms and Dubia roaches. The occasional mealworm can also be offered to picky eaters, but should rather be limited to snacks. The best is to offer a variety of these insects to make up a more balanced meal.
Live vs. dead insects
Some baby Bearded dragons will accept, or even prefer, dead insects. Insects that are cooled in the fridge for a couple of days and thawed might also be an excellent way to prevent them from growing in cases where small sizes are difficult to obtain. Refrigeration for a couple of hours will also help to slow down insects to make them easier to hunt for very small baby Bearded dragons.
When it comes to a baby Bearded dragon’s diet, size is very important. Generally, the length between the eyes is used as a guideline. The size of the insects and greens offered should not exceed this length. Insects that are too large to eat might frighten baby Bearded dragons, can cause choking and/or might escape during the hunting process. Smaller insects are generally preferred, but too small insects might be ignored by some individuals. Greens should be chopped into smaller pieces to reach the desired sizes.
Baby Bearded dragon greens
In combination with feeder insects, various greens should also be fed to baby Bearded dragons. For a list, also see what greens to feed Bearded dragons for more information. In order to make it more appealing, greens should be finely chopped, and preferably not be too mushy. By varying colours, sizes and consistency, green can be made even more appealing. For baby Bearded dragons, favourites include chopped carrots carrot tops and nasturtium. Greens can be offered spread out in a shallow container. Supplements can also be added to increase the nutritional value (see below).
Baby Bearded dragon supplementation
In order to improve the nutritional value of a baby Bearded dragon’s diet even more, supplements need to be added. Supplements are either in the form of multi-vitamins or calcium/vitamin D combinations. They are either available in a powdered form or as a liquid. Calcium is mainly needed for healthy bone development and is especially important for growing Bearded dragons. For baby Bearded dragons, reptile specific multi-vitamins can be added daily and calcium supplements need to be added two to three times a week. Supplements are added by dusting insects (also see Bearded dragon supplementation through dusting) or dusting/spraying the greens.