How Many Crickets Should a Bearded Dragon Eat? By Age

When it comes to the question, “How many crickets should a bearded dragon eat?”, there is no set magic number, and it changes as they grow. The general rule of thumb is that baby bearded dragons should have 80% protein and 20% vegetables (mostly leafy greens) in their diet. As they get older, about 1 year and up, this starts to flip and they can have less protein and more salad. Below we’ll dive into everything you need to know about feeding crickets to your beardie throughout its life.

How Many Crickets Should a Bearded Dragon Eat?

The number of crickets a bearded dragon should eat depends on its age, size, and individual appetite. As a general guideline:

  1. Juvenile bearded dragons (0-4 months old): They are growing rapidly and require more protein. They can typically eat around 20-60 appropriately sized crickets per day, depending on their size and appetite.
  2. Sub-adult bearded dragons (4-12 months old): They still require a good amount of protein for growth but may not need as much as juveniles. Around 20-40 appropriately sized crickets per day may be suitable.
  3. Adult bearded dragons (12+ months old): They require fewer crickets and more vegetables in their diet. Around 10-20 appropriately sized crickets every other day or a couple of times a week might be sufficient.

Always monitor your bearded dragon’s weight and adjust the amount of food accordingly. It’s essential to provide a varied diet that includes other insects like dubia roaches, mealworms, superworms, and a variety of vegetables and greens. Additionally, remember to dust the feeder insects with calcium and multivitamin supplements to ensure your bearded dragon gets all the necessary nutrients. If you’re unsure about your bearded dragon’s specific dietary needs, it’s best to consult with a reptile veterinarian for personalized advice.

How Many Times Per Day Should You Feed Crickets to a Bearded Dragon?

The frequency of feeding crickets to a bearded dragon also depends on its age:

  1. Juvenile bearded dragons (0-4 months old): They have higher energy requirements due to rapid growth. Offer crickets multiple times a day, typically 2-3 times, to ensure they get enough food and nutrients.
  2. Sub-adult bearded dragons (4-12 months old): They still require regular feeding but may not need to eat as frequently as juveniles. Feeding them once or twice a day should be sufficient.
  3. Adult bearded dragons (12+ months old): They have slower metabolisms and may not need to eat as often. Feeding them every other day or a couple of times a week with a varied diet of insects and vegetables should be adequate.

Always monitor your bearded dragon’s appetite and adjust the feeding schedule accordingly. It’s essential to provide a balanced diet that includes a variety of feeder insects, vegetables, and greens to meet their nutritional needs. Additionally, ensure that any uneaten crickets are removed from the enclosure to prevent them from bothering the bearded dragon or causing health issues.

bearded dragon in an enclosure with a cricket

What Size Crickets Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?

The size of crickets you should feed to your bearded dragon depends on its age and size. Feeding appropriately sized crickets ensures that your bearded dragon can consume them safely without risking choking or other health issues. A good rule of thumb is that any bearded dragon food should not be larger than the width between your dragon’s eyes.

Here are general guidelines for selecting the right size crickets:

  1. Young Bearded Dragons (0-4 months old): Offer small to medium-sized crickets. Crickets should be no larger than the space between the bearded dragon’s eyes (approximately the width of its head). This ensures that the crickets are small enough to be safely consumed.
  2. Sub-adult Bearded Dragons (4-12 months old): As your bearded dragon grows, you can gradually increase the size of the crickets. Offer medium-sized crickets that are slightly larger than the space between their eyes.
  3. Adult Bearded Dragons (12+ months old): Adult bearded dragons can consume larger crickets compared to juveniles and sub-adults. Offer large-sized crickets, but still ensure they are not too large to be safely swallowed.

Remember to always supervise feeding sessions to ensure that your bearded dragon is consuming the crickets safely and efficiently. Additionally, provide a varied diet that includes other feeder insects, such as dubia roaches, mealworms, superworms, and vegetables, to ensure balanced nutrition for your pet. If you’re unsure about the appropriate size of crickets to feed your bearded dragon, consult with a reptile veterinarian for personalized advice.

How to Feed Crickets to a Bearded Dragon

Feeding crickets to a bearded dragon is not hard at all. Here’s how to feed crickets to a bearded dragon:

Place the crickets into your bearded dragon’s enclosure. If you use a cricket keeper with tubes, you can just pull out one tube and drop as many crickets as you want into the enclosure from the tube, then place the tube back in the cricket keeper. You can release them directly into the enclosure or use feeding tongs to offer them individually. Bearded dragons are natural hunters, so allowing them to chase and catch the crickets can stimulate their natural instincts. One of my bearded dragons uses a cute “hunting” technique where he stands perfectly still and waits for a cricket to pass by and then snatches it up, and the other one turns into a maniac, chasing them all over the place until he catches them. It’s actually quite fun to watch!

While feeding crickets to your bearded dragon, it’s essential to supervise the feeding process to ensure your pet eats safely. Remove any uneaten crickets from the enclosure after feeding to prevent them from bothering or harming your bearded dragon.

Feed your bearded dragon an appropriate number of crickets based on its age, size, and appetite. Refer to the guidelines provided above for the recommended feeding frequency for different age groups.

By following these steps, you can ensure your bearded dragon receives a nutritious diet that includes live crickets. Proper feeding practices are essential for maintaining the health and well-being of your pet reptile.

How to Keep Live Crickets for Feeding Bearded Dragons

Keeping live crickets for feeding bearded dragons requires a suitable habitat and proper care to ensure the crickets are healthy and nutritious for your pet. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Selecting a Container: Use a plastic storage container or a glass aquarium as a cricket habitat. Make sure it’s well-ventilated and escape-proof, with small holes for ventilation but not large enough for crickets to escape.
  2. Substrate: Line the bottom of the container with a substrate that’s easy to clean and won’t harm the crickets. Suitable options include paper towels, egg cartons, or commercial cricket substrates.
  3. Hiding Places: Provide hiding places for the crickets to reduce stress and prevent aggression. Use cardboard tubes, egg cartons, or commercial cricket shelters.
  4. Water Source: Crickets need access to water. You can provide moisture by placing a shallow dish filled with water or a water gel product designed for insects. Ensure the water source is shallow to prevent drowning.
  5. Food: Feed the crickets a nutritious diet to ensure they’re healthy for your bearded dragon. Commercial cricket food, fresh vegetables (such as carrots, lettuce, and potatoes), and high-quality dry dog or cat food can be suitable options.
  6. Temperature and Humidity: Maintain the temperature and humidity levels in the cricket habitat. Keep the temperature around 75-85°F (24-29°C) and the humidity around 50-60%. You can use a heat mat or a heat lamp to achieve the desired temperature.
  7. Cleaning: Regularly clean the cricket habitat to prevent the buildup of waste and bacteria. Remove any uneaten food, dead crickets, and feces. Replace the substrate and clean the water dish regularly.
  8. Gut Loading: Gut loading is the process of feeding the crickets nutritious foods before offering them to your bearded dragon. This enhances the nutritional value of the crickets. Provide gut-loading foods such as fresh vegetables, commercial cricket gut-load diets, or fruits for at least 24 hours before feeding them to your pet.

If you don’t want to keep crickets, you can also make more frequent stops at the pet store, but that can become a pain. It’s best to keep a supply of live insects at home for regular feeding.

The Best Staples for a Bearded Dragon’s Diet

A balanced diet is crucial for the health and well-being of a bearded dragon. Here’s a list of the best staples for a bearded dragon’s diet:

  1. Leafy Greens: Offer a variety of dark, leafy greens such as collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, kale, and Swiss chard. These greens are rich in essential nutrients and fiber.
  2. Other Vegetables: Include a variety of vegetables in your bearded dragon’s diet, such as bell peppers, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and broccoli. These vegetables provide additional vitamins and minerals.
  3. Fruits: Offer fruits occasionally as treats, as they are high in natural sugars. Suitable fruits for bearded dragons include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, pears, and bananas. Feed fruits in moderation to prevent excessive sugar intake.
  4. Protein: Provide high-quality protein sources such as insects and occasionally lean meats. Suitable insects include crickets, dubia roaches, mealworms, superworms, black soldier fly larvae, and silkworms. Variety is essential to ensure a balanced diet.
  5. Calcium and Vitamin Supplements: Dust feeder insects and vegetables with calcium powder and a multivitamin supplement specifically formulated for reptiles. This helps prevent nutritional deficiencies and promotes overall health.

Remember to offer a varied diet to provide a wide range of nutrients and prevent nutritional deficiencies. Monitor your bearded dragon’s weight, appetite, and overall health, and adjust its diet as needed. If you’re unsure about the dietary needs of your bearded dragon, consult with a reptile veterinarian for personalized advice.

More Bearded Dragon Feeding Guides:

Can a Bearded Dragon Eat Eggs? Feeding Guide for Dragons

Can Bearded Dragon Eat Banana? Best Feeding Guide

How Many Dandelions Can a Bearded Dragon Eat?

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