Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?
The answer to that question is yes, bearded dragons can eat apples.
However, apples, as we’ll learn, should only be given as an occasional treat; they aren’t appropriate as a dietary staple.
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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Fruit and Vegetables?
Bearded dragons can eat a variety of fruits and vegetables along with their insect diets. Your bearded dragon’s diet will change however, depending on its age.
Bearded dragons go through two or three “phases” of dietary needs.
- While babies, bearded dragons should be fed a diet consisting of mostly protein rich foods such as insects. Some fruits and vegetables can be given but their diet will be made up of roughly 75% insects.
- Juvenile bearded dragons are optimally fed diets consisting of a ratio of 50% insect and 50% plant matter, fruit and vegetables.
- Adult beardies do best with diets of 25% insects/animal protein and 75% plant matter, vegetables and fruit.
only a small percentage, 10-20% of your bearded dragon’s total allotment for plant, fruit and vegetable matter, should be fruit
For example an adult bearded dragon’s diet might consist of;
- 25% insect matter
- 75% (30% plant matter, 30% vegetables, 15% fruit)
Growing bearded dragons can better utilize a more protein rich diet than can adults.
Adults fed with a large percentage of animal proteins and insects can often become obese.
What Kinds of Fruit Can a Bearded Dragon Eat?
There are numerous types of fruit that you can occasionally add to your bearded dragon’s diet.
Fruits help add vitamin c and other beneficial nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Some of these options are;
Just keep in mind that fruit is high in sugar and some fruits are very acidic which can cause digestive problems. Remember, fruits are occasional treats or snacks!
Fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes can be far too acidic for your bearded dragon and can lead to a number of gastrointestinal problems.
Fruits with skins like apples and pears are best peeled to eliminate the possibility of digestion issues and consumption of pesticides that are often used on these fruits.
What Kinds of Plants and Vegetables Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Plant matter and vegetables will make up a large portion of your bearded dragon’s diet. (with an exception being baby beardies)
There are many plants and vegetables that are great additions to your beardie’s diet. These include such items as;
- Collard, dandelion, mustard, turnip greens
- Bell pepper
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
Foods Your Bearded Dragon Must NOT Eat!
There are some foods, both insects and plant based, that bearded dragons should never eat.
These forbidden foods include;
- Fireflies (lightning bugs), bees, wasps, spiders, venomous insects
- Avocados (contain oxalic acid which can be fatal to beardies)
- Fish and seafood
- Beef and chicken
- Rhubarb (toxic to bearded dragons)
- Lettuce (not necessarily harmful, although it can lead to digestive issue) it just doesn’t have any nutritional value
- Onions and garlic
- Spinach and beet greens (high in a calcium-binding chemical that can lead to (MBD) or Metabolic Bone Disease
What Insects Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Insects play a large part in a bearded dragon’s diet; especially in young beardies.
The ratio of insects given to adults will be much less than in young bearded dragons. Either way, insects still make up an important part of a healthy beardie’s diet.
Some great insect options include;
- Dubia roaches
- Locust (if available)
- Mealworms (occasionally)
Crickets or Dubia Roaches for Your Beardie?
Two of the most popular insects fed to bearded dragons are crickets and dubia roaches.
Both of these insects are healthy ways to give your bearded dragon the protein it needs but they each have pros and cons to relying on them as feeders.
- Crickets don’t hide as readily as dubias do
- Crickets are readily available nearly everywhere
- Soft shell compared to roaches
- Crickets are great jumpers and they can escape
- Crickets smell bad
- They are noisy, constantly chirping
- Not as “clean” as roaches, can carry parasites
- Difficult to breed
- They are quiet
- Cannot jump or fly, they can’t escape
- Longer lived than crickets
- Easy to breed
- Do NOT smell
- Their hard shell can make dusting with calcium and vitamins difficult
- Roaches readily bury themselves and try to hide
- Dubia roaches can be more expensive and harder to find
- They are ROACHES! (for some any kind of roach is just too creepy)
Crickets and dubia roaches can make a fine protein source for your bearded dragon; using either of them is perfectly fine.
You may however, find that your bearded dragon prefers one over the other or you might have an easier time sourcing either of them.
The “best” choice will depend on your unique situation and circumstance.
If you prefer crickets check out these trusted sources
If you prefer Dubia Roaches check out these trusted sources
Bearded Dragons Need Calcium, Vitamins and Minerals!
All insects fed to your bearded dragon should be dusted with vitamins and calcium supplements (more frequently as babies, less so as adults)
How to Feed Your Bearded Dragon
Now that we’ve gone over the fruits, vegetables and insects you SHOULD feed to your bearded dragon; let’s talk about how much and how often.
Baby Bearded Dragon Feeding Schedule
Baby dragons are growing dragons!!
..from 0 to 3-4months of age, your baby dragon will need lots of protein for its growth and development. This protein will come mostly from feeder insects.
(75% insect to 25% plant, vegetable and fruit ratio)
Baby bearded dragons should, on average, be fed as many (appropriately-sized) crickets as they will eat in 5 to 10 minutes, removing excess crickets when the time is up.
You will repeat this “5 to 10 minute feast” 4 to 5 times a day! …making sure that 75% of your baby’s diet is insects
Feeder insects should be no larger than the size of the space between your dragon’s eyes! This applies to beardies of any age
Add vegetable, plant matter, and fruit (occasional) to make up the 25% needed for a balanced diet.
After 30 minutes, remember to remove any uneaten leftovers.
Calcium and Vitamin D3 Supplementation
Growing baby dragons need extra nutrients, calcium and vitamin D.
We can provide this supplementation by making sure that one of their insect meals are dusted with a calcium/vitamin D supplement 5 days a week.
The remaining 2 days a week, one of their insect meals should be dusted with a high quality multivitamin.
(Vitamin D3 supplementation may be optional if your bearded dragon gets a significant amount of UVB radiation from either its light source or a mercury vapor bulb.)
Juvenile Bearded Dragon Feeding Schedule
Juvenile bearded dragons, those between 5 months and 1 ½ years old, will need some adjustments from their “baby diet.”
A juvenile bearded dragon’s diet should consist of 50% insects and 50% (combined) plants, vegetables, and fruit.
Juveniles are fed as many crickets that they can eat in 5 to 10 minutes two to three times a day. As they get older (around 12 months) they can be fed this amount twice daily.
Now is the time to start experimenting with different leafy greens and vegetables which will make up the bulk of the 50% allocated towards your beardies diet. (occasionally you can add fruit but keep to a minimum)
You should keep up with the calcium/vitamin D3 and multivitamin supplementation as described for beardie babies until your dragon is about 12 months of age.
At that time, you can adjust their calcium/vitamin D3 to only 3 times a week and their multivitamin to once a week.
Adult Bearded Dragon Feeding Schedule
An adult bearded dragon is an individual that is 18 months of age or older.
At this age your bearded dragon is full grown. Going forward your bearded dragon will remain on the following diet for the rest of its life.
Your bearded dragon still needs a quality source of protein and as such, feeder insects will still play an important role in its diet.
However, unlike baby and juvenile bearded dragons, adult bearded dragons will acquire most of its nutrition (75-80%) from plants, vegetables and fruit. Insects will make up 20-25% of its diet.
Adult bearded dragons will need to eat fresh plant and vegetable matter every day! Again, fruit is considered a “FAO Schwarz New Seasons Wooden Dollhouse”special treat” and not a staple of your beardie’s diet.
Calcium/D# supplementation can be reduced to 2 to 3 times a week and multivitamin supplements can be given once a week.
Bearded dragons do not graze or eat leisurely; what they eat in a given amount of time is what they want. You must remember to remove any uneaten food after 30 minutes or so.
Your adult bearded dragon can be fed twice a day by splitting up its rations into two portions and feeding half in the morning and the other half in the evening.
If your schedule only allows one feeding per day, you might want to give your dragon an extra 15 mins or so before you remove the uneaten food.
We do this to eliminate the possibility of bacteria developing on eaten food and to keep our bearded dragons enclosure as clean as possible.
The Bearded Dragon's Diet; From (A)pple to (Z)ucchini!
Can bearded dragons eat apples? Yes, they can but as we’ve seen apples really shouldn’t be a staple of a beardie’s diet, nor should any fruit.
Bearded dragons are somewhat challenging in that their nutritional requirements and needs will change as they grow and age. Feeding a baby bearded dragon is very different from feeding an adult.
However, if you strive to provide your beardie with the best nutrition (for its age) and give it the supplementation it needs, I can guarantee that you’ll have an incredibly happy, healthy, and thriving pet!