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With any pet comes the responsibility of making sure they are fed appropriately. It’s essential to understand what you need to feed your bearded dragon to keep it healthy, and ensure it lives a long happy life.
Bearded dragons are omnivores, which means they can eat both meat and plant substances. This always makes it a little easier, and gives you more options. But you need to take just as much care to ensure they are getting the balance of nutrients and vitamins they need as you would any pet. You are going to need to keep a stock of plants and vegetables, along with some live insects too.
Young bearded dragons have slightly different diets than fully grown adults as you would expect. As they are growing and developing at a steady pace they require more live insects than vegetables. Young bearded dragons can eat as many as 50 crickets or other live insects a day. You should put some in their tank 3 times throughout the day, if you notice they are not finishing them all off then reduce the amount next serving. Leave some fresh vegetables for them to graze on too, it’s important growing dragons get a good balance of nutrition.
When a bearded dragon is fully grown, plants will make up the staple of their diet, they also require plenty of insects too. It’s never recommended that you catch and feed them any insects around your home or garden though as they can carry pesticides, so always buy fresh insects from reputable suppliers.
Some insects that bearded dragons enjoy;
Crickets and roaches probably make for the best food. Crickets are often used as live food because they are active and will jump around the tank. This gives your bearded dragon a reason to get some exercise and do a little work chasing down its food. They provide a good amount of moisture and other nutritious goodness.
Depending on the type of roach, they can be larger meals providing a good nutritious meal. Also, they are not great and climbing, can’t fly or jump, and are easy enough to catch.
It’s common to use a practice known as ‘‘gut loading’’ when keeping insects to feed to your dragon. This means feeding the insects generous amounts of left over fruit and vegetables, they will eat a lot and fatten up on these nutritious foods. In turn, making a much hardier snack for your bearded dragon when they eat the insects.
A question a lot of people always ask is, ‘‘how do I keep insects for feeding my dragon?’’ Owning a pet that eats live food can be difficult to get used to at first. You are going to be keeping insects alive and well in preparation for feeding them to your bearded dragon.
You are going to need to make a space to keep the insects, each type of insect you buy will come with some specific instructions. However, you will need an area that is dry, maintains a steady room temperature and will not be in your way. Taking good care of the insects is very important, your bearded dragon will be a lot happier and healthier eating healthy insects.
Keeping a bearded dragon in captivity means it is not roaming around getting the kind of variety it would in the wild. As a result it’s common for owners to add vitamin supplements into their diet. Here is a summary of the three most important supplements you can easily add into your bearded dragon’s diet.
Providing enough iron into a young bearded dragon while it is growing up is very important. You can buy some supplements to help with this, although you can cover their needs with fresh vegetables. Do some basic research on how much is too much depending on the size of your lizard, and be careful not to give it too much otherwise it can cause health issues.
Another important vitamin for bearded dragons is vitamin A. While you can also be sure your dragon is getting enough vitamin A through a good diet of plants and vegetables, there are some supplements that can help.
Two important vitamins and minerals to keep your bearded dragon healthy. These help with strengthening the bones and the development of heathy offspring in females. They would get a lot of D3 through sunlight out in the wild, so obviously being kept in a tank indoors they are restricted of this. Adjusting their diet to compensate for this can be done with either supplements or foods.
Here is a list of plants and edible foods that are known to be dangerous for bearded dragons to eat. While most of these are rare and it’s unlikely you would attempt to feed them to your pet, it’s worth taking a look over the list just in case;
This is a little trickier than it sounds. Bearded dragons get most of the moisture they need in the wild from plants and rainfall. They aren’t good at drinking water from bowls like a lot of pets, and they might not drink at all if you leave them a bowl of water.
One option is to spray your bearded dragon with a mist bottle a couple of times a day. They only require a small amount of moisture and will get this from licking the moisture. The other option is to place a shallow dish in their tank with water in. Next you will need to actively try and entice the dragon to stand in the dish and get its feet wet. In turn it will drink a little water if it feels like it.
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