You read this heading, and you think it is a metaphor for some life-altering situation?!! Or that it has some other meaning!!…
Yes, it is a very important question to ask but only for a pet parent with a bearded dragon!!…
Are you looking to get one of these adorable and fascinating creatures as a pet? Have you done enough research about their diet? You do realize that you should be comfortable with the idea of handling insects! If you scream every time you spot any insect and run to save yourself, then do think carefully before choosing this reptile as a pet!
You see, insects are a major part of a bearded dragon’s diet. Moreover, crickets are the most liked and most nutritious of all the insects. They are the best protein sources, digested easily, and cheaper than many other insects. The question here is how much to feed? How many crickets can you feed to a bearded dragon? The answer will depend on a number of factors like current health, age, or if the female is gravid. Of all the factors, age is the most important, and we will tell you more about it.
- Very young bearded dragon needs feeding up to 5 times a day! They need a lot of protein, and they can eat as much as they like.
- As they grow, the number of feeds goes down, and the amount of protein is also less. More greens in the diet prepare them for the adult diet.
1 to 3 months old
Allow them to as much as they want. Keep the feeding time to between 5 and 10 minutes for about 3 to 5 meal times. Your pet will be able to consume between 30 and 70 small crickets in a day!
3 to 8 months old
Now you can reduce the mealtimes from five to about three. It will vary from dragon to dragon, but you should keep to the time frame of 5 to 10 minutes and allow it to eat as much as it wants. Your pet will probably eat between 25 and 50 crickets in a day.
9 to 17 months old
After your bearded dragon is about 8 months old, you can make the meal times twice in a day. Slowly wean it off proteins only diet and start to add greens. You can reduce the time of feeding from 10 minutes to 5 or 6 minutes and also bring down the number of crickets.
At this point, they stop growing more or less, and the diet should be a reflection of that. Ideally, the diet should be 80% greens and only 20% protein. To reach this ratio, you will need time, and each bearded dragon will come to this point in different ways. If you are only feeding them crickets, the number can vary from 30 to 60 in a week.
For a healthy adult, bearded dragon proteins are not as important as the salads or greens. You can offer them about 10 crickets every day or 20 crickets every other day. This could be in a single feeding or spread out over the meal times.
Are you wondering why does it have to be crickets?! These are the main reasons
- They are very cheap and easily available.
- They have very high iron content.
- Contains a high amount of protein and calcium
Things you should be careful about
- They can be noisy and smelly and a nuisance if stored in the house
- Crickets need fresh food and space to move about
- They can bite your pet if left in the tank
- The size of the cricket should not be larger than the space between their eyes. Feeding your pet crickets that are too large can lead to multiple problems.
- Feed the crickets 24 hours before they become food to the bearded dragon otherwise, they could be nutritionally worthless.
- Don’t catch crickets from outside to feed your pet. They could be carrying deadly parasites and pass them on to your pet.
- Buy your crickets from good quality and reputable pet or insect stores.
- Avoid any insect which glows like fireflies or lightning bugs. They could be poisonous.
Apart from crickets, fruits and vegetables are crucial for the development of your pet. They get water, vitamins, and minerals through this source. You can give raw vegetables and fruits unless they are too hard. Then it is safer to cook them before feeding. Squash, collard greens, bell peppers, and seedless watermelons are the best. Do you like having the same food every day? Surely not!!… Similarly, you should mix up the food and offer a lot of variety to your pet.
Just like humans, obesity is a problem for bearded dragons as well, and most of the time it is due to overfeeding!!…so take care and don’t treat food as a token of reward or love. Feed less fatty food and ensure that you offer balanced meals. Remember to leave the lights on for at least two hours after the last meal of the day for good digestion.
Unlike pets like dogs, cats, and many other common animals, bearded dragons are still not that common. Finding a good vet and food supplier is important for the right kind of care of your pet.
There is a reason why bearded dragons are so popular as pets. Their perfect temperament, easy to manage lifestyle, long life span, etc. makes them a perfect addition. Moreover, the uniqueness factor attracts a number of people. Whatever your reason, once you get a beardie, taking good care of it, is your duty. For a bearded dragon, the right temperature and the right nutrition both are very important. Just giving it a beautiful environment won’t be enough. Making sure that it gets the best nutrition is equally important, and it falls to you as the pet parent to fulfill this requirement. It will result in a long companionship, which will bring you a lot of joy.