How to feed a baby bearded dragon crickets

Live Insect Feeding 101: How to Give Feeders to Your Bearded Dragon

There are primarily three ways you can feed live insects to your bearded dragon. Ultimately, you can choose the method that works best for you and your particular reptile.  

Top 3 Ways to Feed Live Insects

One by One  

Although it may seem inconvenient, a great way to feed live insects to your beardie is by placing them one by one into the tank using tweezers or a little pair of tongs. This method is especially helpful when feeding baby beardies, who may not be fast enough to chase and attack multiple live prey before they run off and hide in the tank’s fixtures or bury themselves in substrate. Not to mention a baby may get overeager when presented with many insects at once, which can lead to overeating. This is problematic because babies can easily become obese. 

Pro Tip: Don’t feed the live insects by hand. Otherwise your eager, hungry dragon may take a bite out of you by mistake! 

Free for All

Dropping all the bugs in the tank is a good option for adult dragons or older juvies. It is most effective in terrariums that are lined with a special reptile carpet or another alternative to substrate, since live prey (especially worms) may bury themselves before they are caught, thus putting your dragon at risk of eating the dangerous stuff along with the good stuff. If you do choose this method, all you have to do is collect the number of insects you’d like to feed using either a plastic cup or the egg carton pieces in your breeding home, give them a quick dusting with calcium powder, and shake them off into the cage.

Feeding Dish 

Another option is to place a few insects at a time into a feeding dish filled with veggies, creating a protein-infused salad for your pet. Bearded dragons are generally known for their voracious appetite and quick eating, so this is a great way to regulate their intake without placing the insects in one by one. This technique is especially effective with juvie dragons who are still getting the hang of hunting.

Live Insect Feeder Tips

Regardless of the feeding method you choose, here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind to give your beardie the best mealtime experience:

  • Feeding Schedule. At any age your dragon will thrive on a regular feeding schedule. Every dragon has different health needs, so you and your vet can determine what works best for your beardie.
  • Dusting Live Insects. Before feeding your dragon live insects, dust them with a light coat of calcium powder or vitamin D3. Talk to your vet about how often you should be dusting, as it differs for each individual dragon based on factors like age, size, health, eating habits, etc. Make sure you don’t put too much powder on the insects or your dragon may end up suffering from overdose. 
  • Ten to Fifteen Minute Rule. In general a live insect feeding should last no longer than ten to fifteen minutes. (Of course, verify this with your pet’s vet.) Most dragons tend to gobble up what’s in front of them, so if you feed past ten to fifteen minutes you could increase their chance of obesity. If your dragon stops showing interest or signs of hunger before the timed interval is up, it’s okay to stop feeding them at that point.
  • Baby Dragons. Baby dragons (birth to four months old) typically need live insect feedings three to four times daily. Usually the tweezers or food dish technique are best for babies so you don’t overwhelm them. It’s vital to regulate the size of the insects you are feeding your baby dragon. If the bugs are too big, your baby could die trying to eat them. A good rule of thumb for any dragon is to make sure the size of the bug is no bigger than the space between your dragon’s eyes. 
  • Juvie Dragons. Juvenile bearded dragons (five to eighteen months) can be fed live insects up to three times a day. You know your pet best and can determine if she is hungry for bugs once, twice, or three times in a given day. One particular concern with juvies occurs when they are fed crickets. If you put too many crickets in the cage at once, the juvie dragon becomes easily overwhelmed as the hopping bugs scatter all over the terrarium, possibly hiding or jumping on your dragon. If you are feeding crickets and don’t want to use the tweezer method, you can place a sealed bag of crickets in the fridge for five minutes prior to feeding, which significantly slows them down.
  • Adult Dragons. Adult bearded dragons typically need a live insect feeding once a day or once every other day. It’s up to you and your beardie’s vet to determine the best feeding schedule for your reptile friend. 
  • Obesity Risk. Never overfeed your dragon. Since your beardie is domesticated and not out roaming the wild in his natural habitat, he is always at risk of obesity. But you can prevent that with proper feedings, a nutritive diet, and healthy portion sizes. 

Potential Feeder Problems 

Any time you feed live insects to your dragon, it’s important to remember these common issues and how to avoid them.



Insects crawl away.

Use the feeding dish or tweezer method until your dragon can hunt more quickly.

Prey hides in various fixtures throughout the terrarium. (Possibly they hide so long that they die before being eaten.)

Be  observant during feeding times. Remove any insects that your dragon is not eating. Possibly change your feeding approach until your beardie is more comfortable with many prey at once.

Insects (especially worms) bury themselves in substrate.

Avoid using substrate altogether, or use the tweezer method or food dish method.

Roaming prey crawls on your dragon.

Use the tweezer method.

One final note: remember to have fun! Whichever live insect feeding method you choose, take the opportunity to bond with your scaly friend. Mealtime is more exciting for them when you can enjoy it too.

Have any questions or concerns? We are here to help! Please email us at [email protected].

How Many Crickets To Feed A Bearded Dragon (Baby-Adult)

Knowing how many crickets to feed a bearded dragon is incredibly important if you plan on owning one as a pet. Crickets will be a major part of their diet, so you need to be familiar with the right quantity!

But it’s a little trickier than you might think.

The number of crickets you should feed your bearded dragon will change over time. Their needs as a baby, juvenile, and adult are all different!

Luckily, we’ve covered everything in this guide.

Table of Contents
  1. How Many Crickets Should You Feed A Baby Bearded Dragon?
  2. How Many Crickets Should You Feed An Adult?
    1. How Large Should The Crickets Be?
  3. What About Juveniles?
  4. How Age Impacts How Many Crickets They Eat
  5. The Importance Of Feeding Them Living Crickets
  6. Why Crickets Are Such An Important Part Of Their Diet
  7. Some Things To Be Aware Of
  8. Wrapping Up

How Many Crickets Should You Feed A Baby Bearded Dragon?

From birth until 3 months of age, your bearded dragon is considered a baby. Just like babies in other species, baby bearded dragons will need more frequent feedings throughout the day in order to maintain their health, maximize their lifespan, and grow big and strong.

It’s important to allow your baby dragon to take in as many crickets as it can during each feeding session.

There should be 5 separate feeding sessions per day that last about 5 to 10 minutes. Never force your dragon to eat, and do have enough crickets on hand before you begin.

If you want to get really fancy you can estimate the number of crickets by referencing feeding charts that factor in age, size, health, and so forth.

To provide a general range, baby bearded dragons may eat between 25 and 80 crickets in just one day. As these lizards continue to grow, they’ll need fewer crickets and will begin to transition to more greens in their diet later.

How Many Crickets Should You Feed An Adult?

If you’re a bearded dragon owner, you’ll need to know how many crickets to feed your little reptile friend! With crickets being such an important part of their diet (more on that later), it’s one of the most important foods to understand.

Adult bearded dragons should eat a diet of 80% greens and 20% proteins. And when they’re younger, these lizards should get most of their protein from insects (with most of this coming from live crickets).

Bearded dragon owners should offer full-grown adult bearded dragons roughly 10 crickets per day, or 20 crickets every other day. The crickets should be offered in one feeding session per day that lasts between 10 and 15 minutes.

There are some criteria to consider when determining what, when, and how long an owner should let their bearded friends chow down on crunchy crickets. These important factors to consider include:

  • The age of the beardie
  • Their overall health
  • Whether a female bearded dragon is gravid or not
  • The source of the live crickets
  • Whether greens or other proteins like Dubia roaches or worms are being consumed as well

Bearded dragons should be allowed to eat as much as they desire during each feeding session especially when very young. Gradually, the 5 times a day feedings of baby bearded dragons will be cut back some to about 2 to 3 feedings per day as the beardies become juveniles roughly at 3 to 8 months of age.

Eventually, these reptiles will develop into full-grown adults that will eat significantly less than before. That’s because they’re pretty much done growing once they hit about 18 months of age.

Expert Tip: Some bearded dragon experts feed their pets crickets every other day or every third day after the dragons become adults. This is where things become more situational based on your understanding of their appetite.

How Large Should The Crickets Be?

Unlike a dog, bearded dragons will not overeat even if you leave out enough food to last the entire day. Interestingly enough, the cricket’s size that you feed your baby bearded friend should be smaller than the crickets that a fully grown dragon should be eating.

This makes feeding them quite easy!

Expert Tip: Even though a bearded dragon is unlikely to overeat, they’ll still have trouble is they ingest crickets that are too large for them to safely eat. This is because the sharp structures that make of the body of the cricket can become stuck inside the beardie, causing painful impaction of the digestive tract that may result in serious internal problems.

A good rule of thumb is to only use crickets that are no bigger than the space measurement between a bearded dragon’s eyes. Following this rule makes it easy to keep your pet lizard out of harm’s way!

What About Juveniles?

When bearded dragons are between 3 months and 8 months of age, they are usually considered a juvenile. During this time, your dragon will continue to grow in a rapid fashion (although it will be a bit slower than their first 3 months of growth).

When your beardie becomes a juvenile, it’s important to continue feeding them crickets for protein. However, you’ll want to drop the number of feeding sessions down to 3 times a day.

Expert Tip: This equates to around 25 to 50 crickets each day. Continue to allow them to eat as much as they want during each feeding, and keep each feeding session roughly 5 to 10 minutes long.

After your juvenile bearded dragon reaches about 9 months of age, they are considered to be older juveniles (but not yet adults). Some pet owners jokingly refer to their dragons as teenagers at this age!

When your beardie reaches this age range, drop the cricket feeding times down to 2 times a day rather than 3. As they approach the age of 14 months, you’ll begin to introduce more greens into the pet’s diet.

This will begin the transitional period of increasing the number of greens compared to how many crickets they eat. You’ll continue this until they have reached a standard adult diet. Remember that adult bearded dragons should eat 80% of their diet as greens and only 20% of their diet should be proteins like crickets or roaches.

How Age Impacts How Many Crickets They Eat

Owners of bearded dragons should have a basic idea of how many crickets to feed their little pets as they grow older.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to not limit how many crickets they eat especially when they’re considered babies (in their first three months of life). Bearded dragons will not overeat, so it is not necessary (and can actually be dangerous) to try to force them to eat more or less than they seem to want.

As your favorite reptilian friend becomes older, the number of cricket feedings per day will gradually decrease. After about 14 months of age, shorten the twice-daily feeding sessions in time. For example, at 13 to 14 months, give your bearded just 5 minutes to eat rather than the 10 minutes they were given earlier.

The Importance Of Feeding Them Living Crickets

Individuals wanting to own a bearded dragon should take the time to understand the need for live crickets rather than dead insects.

In short, never feed your bearded dragon dead crickets or other dead insects. This also means it’s important to avoid leaving any uneaten portions of the crickets inside of your beardie’s tank when the feeding session is complete.

Reptiles, including bearded dragons, will naturally want to eat some dead crickets depending on how much the insect body has decomposed in the elements. The problem is your beardie could become very ill if they eat crickets that have begun decomposing.

The easy way to avoid this is by never leaving dead crickets inside your bearded dragon’s habitat. That will prevent this serious issue from occurring in the first place.

Also, remove any uneaten greens, as they too will begin to wilt and become contaminated with bacteria or mold that can harm your pet’s health and make the dragon sick and unhappy. Treat this as an extension of your normal spot-cleaning duties as an owner!

Why Crickets Are Such An Important Part Of Their Diet

In the wild, bearded dragons spend their day hunting for hopping insects like crickets. Crickets tend to capture the interest of nearby beardies when they hop from one spot to another (they aren’t very stealthy).

Like other predators, your bearded dragon will enjoy chasing, stalking, and chowing down on their cricket prey. Crickets are not only a healthy source of protein, but they’re also a great source of enrichment for bearded dragons in captivity. Chasing them around gives your reptile enough exercise to remain in good health.

Expert Tip: Crickets, like some other insects, have the potential to carry harmful parasites that could infect your pet lizard. This is why it’s so important to purchase your crickets from a reliable and trustworthy seller.

What’s interesting is that insects like Dubia roaches are actually less likely to carry parasites, are cleaner than crickets, and contain more protein in a smaller portion.

So why the love for crickets?

The answer is simple: bearded dragon owners often prefer crickets as they are more readily available and tend to be less expensive than other types of protein-heavy food options. In general, crickets are a safe bet for bearded dragons as long as the owner is aware of the slight risks for parasite related issues.

You can also increase how much nutrition your bearded dragon gets when they eat crickets by gently dusting these insects with powdered minerals like calcium and vitamins before feeding time.

There are a number of other protein food choices for bearded dragons as well. These include certain super worms that offer quite a lot of nutritional value. These can be good to include if you want to bring a little extra variety into their diet.

But at the end of the day owners will save significantly more money by choosing crickets as a primary protein source in their diet. To make things even better, crickets typically contain a lower amount of fat than other dietary protein sources for bearded dragons including most common worms fed to reptiles.

Some Things To Be Aware Of

Crickets sometimes sing all night, so bearded dragon owners may want to consider where the reptile tank is located (especially at night). This is something that many new owners don’t consider! 

Always consult with a vet if your bearded dragon seems to be uncomfortable, sick, or is refusing to eat. This can prevent further harm from coming to your pet if your bearded dragon has become impacted by larger cricket pieces (additional feeding will only make things worse). A vet with bearded dragon experience can be invaluable resources when needing dietary advice or illness prevention tips regarding your dragon.

All in all, once you know what to expect when it comes to feeding crickets to your bearded dragon crickets, both you and your pet should enjoy each other’s company for quite a long time!.

Wrapping Up

Once you know how many crickets to feed a bearded dragon at each stage of their life, everything becomes quite easy.

Simply understanding how their needs shift as they age will make you a more informed owner, and allow you to provide better care to your beardie. This not only goes for cricket feeding, but for everything else too!

If you’re a newer owner simply stick with the recommendations we listed in this guide. All you have to do is keep things simple, and you’ll do just fine.

Keeping and Feeding Bearded Dragons

  1. Keeping Bearded Dragons
  2. Feeding Bearded Dragons

The Bearded Dragon is a stunningly beautiful reptile that is great for keeping in a city apartment, good contact with people and can become a real pet.

In the wild, these lizards live in the deserts of Australia. Almost all agamas that can now be bought are bred in captivity. The average life span of bearded dragons in captivity is 10-15 years.

Keeping a bearded dragon

Before you bring your dragon home, prepare a place for it. Of course, like any reptile, dragons are cold-blooded animals, so they should be kept in a terrarium. For agamas, it is better to purchase a horizontal glass terrarium, the optimal size is 180 cm wide, 50 deep and 50 high. The terrarium must be closed with a lid so that the lizard does not escape.

Since bearded dragons are hermits, they need a humidity level of 30-40%. The temperature in the terrarium should be at the level of 26-29gr. C, temperature under the heating lamp 36-38gr. C. For this, you can use incandescent lamps or ceramic lamps, you need to hang them at a distance of 45 cm from the place of heating, so that the agama cannot get burned. To monitor the temperature, you need to attach a thermometer to the wall of the terrarium, and you can also use a thermostat.

An ultraviolet lamp must be lit along with the heating lamp throughout the day. Reptiles require UV A and B spectrum lamps. These lamps are available from terrarium and aquarium stores. Day mode: 14 hours - daylight hours, 10 hours - night time.

Sand and pebbles at least 10 mm in diameter are most often used as soil. Sand is poured in a layer of 10 cm, so that, if desired, the lizard can burrow into the ground. There are also ready-made terrarium mats that are sold in pet stores (not rubber mats).

The terrarium should be equipped with branches (no bark), rocks (from the pet store) and a shelter where the dragon can hide if desired. It is better not to put artificial and live plants in the terrarium, as the agama will eat them.

To improve life processes (prevention of diseases, help with molting), the agama can be bathed in a small bath, so that the head is always on top, with a water temperature of 29-32 gr. C. This procedure should be done 1-2 times a week.

General cleaning in the terrarium is enough to carry out once a month (wash the entire terrarium, equipment, change or clean the soil). Food and faeces should be removed as soon as they appear.

Bearded dragon feeding

In the terrarium, you can put a container with water to maintain the optimal level of humidity, a drinker, but not all lizards drink from it. You can spray the agama once a day, and she will lick the droplets from her body, or give moistened greens.

Bearded dragons are omnivorous lizards. In nature, they eat everything from leaves and stems to small mice and chicks. Therefore, at home, it is quite easy for them to choose the right diet.

For plant food, leafy vegetables (Chinese cabbage, lettuce, spinach), vegetables (carrots, green beans, peas, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant), fruits (pitted apples, bananas, grapes in small quantities) are suitable for them. , juicy green food (dandelion, clover, wheat leaves, germinated oats).

Mealworm, zoophobus, crickets, cockroaches and newborn mice are suitable for animal food. All these "products" can be bought at the pet store. For feeding worms, you need a bowl with high edges so that they cannot crawl out and burrow into the ground. It is better to feed crickets and cockroaches in a separate small terrarium or a plastic jig, a basin is not suitable for this, as crickets can jump out. You can also feed insects with tweezers. You just need to do it carefully so that the agama does not bite on the tweezers themselves, otherwise it can break its face.

Ready-made food for lizards and vitamin-mineral complexes for reptiles can be added to these feeds as top dressing. In Russia, such drugs as Reptilife (Agrovetzashchita), Reptolife (Tetra), Wordley (Calcium and Multivitamin) are common.

Young bearded dragons (up to 5 months old) should be fed 3 times a day so that animal food makes up more than half, and vegetable food less. "Teenagers" can be fed once a day, adult agamas (after 18 months) should be fed every other day so that they have less than half of animal food, and more vegetable food.

Can bearded dragons live without crickets?


It's no secret that bearded dragons love insects. Insects make up the majority of their diet in the wild and should make up approximately 75% of the diet of an adult bearded dragon in captivity (fruits and vegetables make up the other 25%).

Can bearded dragons live without crickets?

Crickets are a popular protein option for bearded dragons. They are relatively inexpensive, do not hide immediately when placed in a dragon cage, and are easily digested by dragons due to their softer exoskeleton. But what if you hate those fun little bugs and want to get rid of them completely?

Can bearded dragons live without crickets? Yes, bearded dragons can live without crickets in their diet. You just need to make sure you meet all of their nutritional needs.

After all, crickets are noisy, smelly and great escapers. Read on to find out how you can successfully replace them in your dragon's diet.

Proper feeding of the bearded dragon

Bearded dragons are omnivores. This means that they naturally consume both meat (in the form of insects) for protein, and plants (or fruits and vegetables). To stay healthy, they need a varied diet.

Baby bearded dragons need to be fed no more than three times a day and their diet consists mainly of insects. Young bearded men usually need to be fed once a day. Adults can be fed every day or every other day, depending on their appetite and individual needs.

If your bearded dragon is not eating enough, you should consider giving him more food next time. Also, be sure to remove any uneaten insects from your bearded dragon cage at the end of the day.

Bearded dragons also need calcium, especially in infancy when their skeletal system is still developing. As a general rule, veterinarians generally recommend lightly dusting calcium powder not containing vitamin D3 2-3 times per week.

In addition, you should sprinkle their food 2-3 ​​times a week with calcium powder that contains vitamin D3 (4-6 times a week in total).

Young dragons need calcium supplementation a little less often, about 3-4 times a week.

Calcium powders adhere best to moist foods such as fruits and vegetables. You should offer these crushed portions of vegetables and fruits to your dragon before the rest of the meal so that he eats them all.

Bearded dragons need vitamin A, which they get mainly from the vegetables you add to their diet. They also need iron, especially at a young age. And don't you know, crickets are a great source of iron. ..

Bearded dragons can also get plenty of iron from leafy green vegetables and iron supplements from your veterinarian. You have options!

Lastly, make sure your dragon is always provided with a bowl of fresh water and is bathed regularly (which gives it a chance to drink as well as additional health benefits). Even though they are desert dwellers by nature, bearded dragons should have ample opportunities to drink water.

Important things to know when feeding your Bearded Dragon

As you might have guessed, the age of the is an important factor when it comes to the diet of the Bearded Dragon. Young bearded dragons have a larger appetite and require more protein and insect fat for their growing bodies. Adult dragons generally have a smaller appetite and may consume more vegetables than insects.

The presence of insects is also an important factor. Bearded dragons will happily eat just about any bug you give them, so it's perfectly fine to stock them with whatever you can best afford financially.

This may or may not include crickets. Remember that you should never feed your bearded dragon any insects you catch in the wild or in your backyard.

The safety of is a common problem, especially with young, voracious dragons. These babies tend to swallow loose substrate, especially sand and gravel, along with their food. It is not recommended to use sand as a substrate for bearded dragons for a number of reasons, and this is one of them.

To prevent swallowing the substrate, you can use a bowl or feed the dragon by hand (fingers or tweezers).

You also need to carefully monitor the amount of food you feed your agama. Do not give pieces of food larger than the distance between the eyes. Feeding a dragon too much food can cause a host of health problems, including intestinal obstruction.

Also, don't overfeed your dragon. Overfeeding includes both feeding it too often and feeding it a lot of high-fat insects (such as fat worms).

WHAT can I feed my bearded dragon?

You have a whole range of insects that you can give to the bearded dragon besides crickets.

Bearded dragons should be given small, easily digestible prey. Meal worms are a great option.

Adult bearded dragons can eat mealworm, zoophobus, crickets, cockroaches and newborn mice. All these "products" can be bought at the pet store. For feeding worms, you need a bowl with high edges so that they cannot crawl out and burrow into the ground. It is better to feed crickets and cockroaches in a separate small terrarium or a plastic jig, a basin is not suitable for this, as crickets can jump out.

Numerous vegetable varieties are quite acceptable for agamas. Such as carrots, pumpkins (without peel and seeds), zucchini, arugula salad. However, several varieties of lettuce and herbs are high in acid. Such as spinach and parsley, these varieties should not be consumed frequently and only in small quantities. High acid content can cause calcium deficiency and kidney disease.

Tomatoes and cucumbers as the culprit of loose stools in bearded dragons!!!
Feeding tomatoes and cucumbers can cause diarrhea in dragons from high water content. Prolonged eating of these vegetables leads to disruption of the intestinal flora, so that parasites and bacteria can spread easily and quickly. If this happens, it must be taken into account that the animal always has fresh water to restore fluid loss. Next, blackberry leaves, dandelion, scalded with boiling water nettles are useful for intestinal diseases. Also dried herbs and leaves, since fiber plays an important role in the treatment, only it can counteract diarrhea. These dry foods must be mixed with fresh food. If the diarrhea continues, a doctor is required to prevent "dehydration" of the bearded dragon.

What not to feed a bearded dragon

There are some insects and plants that you should never feed a bearded dragon.

Fireflies or any other insect or worm that "glows" should never be given to a dragon. The chemical that makes these insects glow is highly toxic to dragons.

Never feed insects that you catch in the wild to your bearded dragon. The nutritional value of wild insects is unknown, and they can be a source of pesticides and other harmful substances that can pose a serious threat to the dragon's health.

Also, don't feed your bearded dragon a lot of spinach, broccoli or parsley. These vegetables are high in goitrogens, which can negatively affect your dragon's thyroid function.

We must refuse a constant diet of fruit, as the fruit sugar and possible acid can negatively affect the well-being of the agama. Citrus fruits are forbidden as food, as well as from canned fruits and vegetables, they contain a large dose of sugar!

There are also plants that are completely toxic to bearded dragons and should be avoided at all costs. These include: avocado, boxwood, elderberry, iris, juniper, poison ivy, poinsettia, tulips, ranunculus, ivy, mistletoe, poison oak, rhododendron, poppy, water hemlock, wild daffodil, hydrangea, oak, poison.

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