Are you curious which insects are the best to feed your bearded dragon?
Why are insects an essential part of bearded dragons’ diets?
Understanding proper feeding and health requirements is an important part of pet ownership for people.
Bearded dragon keepers must provide a complete and balanced diet so their beardies can live a long and happy life.
Table of Contents
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Locusts?
Insects should make up a daily part of a bearded dragon’s diet. A favorite meal among beardies, locusts are rich in protein and serve as a great everyday staple food.
Locusts are best served to adult bearded dragons, but smaller insects may be appropriate for babies or juveniles.
To make sure the insects aren’t too large for your beardie to digest correctly, check the total length of the insect.
It shouldn’t exceed the distance between your bearded dragon’s eyes.
Never feed wild insects to bearded dragons, nor insects meant for fishing bait.
Always purchase feeder insects from reputable shops and pet stores.
United States federal regulations make it illegal to import or store locusts, so American keepers must find other feeder insects.
Thankfully, there are plenty of other choices, such as crickets, cockroaches, and dubia roaches.
Nutritional Value Of Locusts
Locusts are a great source of protein, iron, and water.
Gut loading and dusting locusts before feeding them to bearded dragons will help prevent calcium deficiency.
Protein And Iron
Protein and iron are two essential elements of nutrition found in animal products like insects.
They both help with the growth and development of muscles and tissues, making them especially important for baby bearded dragons.
Locusts are a great water source for bearded dragons, mainly when they are well hydrated and gut-loaded before feeding.
Many bearded dragons don’t drink water but will soak in their water bowl.
Soaking does help with hydration, but most of a bearded dragon’s water intake comes from their food.
Calcium And Vitamin D3
Calcium and vitamin D3 are two more essential minerals for bearded dragons, but they are not naturally found (in large amounts, at least) in locusts.
Before feeding, dust and gut load locusts to supply bearded dragons with these necessary minerals.
Calcium is necessary to keep bones and teeth healthy and prevent debilitating conditions like calcium deficiency and Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
And vitamin D3 allows bearded dragons to absorb calcium so their body can use it.
Serving Locusts To Bearded Dragons
Taking specific steps will ensure your bearded dragon gets the most out of each meal.
- Keep insects alive and well hydrated.
- Maintain proper temperatures in your beardie’s enclosure.
- Gut-load insects prior to feeding.
- Dust insects with vitamin and mineral supplements.
Also, avoid feeding your beardie too many insects.
This will encourage them to eat their vegetables, which are an equally essential part of their diet.
Only feed bearded dragons live insects.
Live insects will be more appetizing and engaging for your beardie.
Remove any dead insects from the enclosure as soon as possible.
Proper Cage Temperature
Correct temperatures help bearded dragons digest their food correctly.
Locusts have a relatively hard exoskeleton, so there is an increased risk of impaction compared to softer-bodied insects like crickets.
Gut Loading Locusts
“Gut loading” refers to the practice of feeding insects lots of nutrient-rich foods right before your bearded dragon eats them.
Take these steps to gut load locusts properly:
- Keep feeder insects relatively hungry, in one plastic container with only water, no food (use bug gel or water beads; insects will likely drown in an open water bowl).
- No more than 24 hours before you feed your bearded dragon, transfer the locusts you’re using to a second “gut-loading container.”
- Allow the locusts to feed for about two hours on high-nutrient foods.
Using a second container for gut loading will allow you to keep your primary insect space cleaner.
No food present means fewer rotting vegetables and less poo.
Cover the floor of your gut-loading container with foods high in nutrients, like:
- Fresh vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes
- Lizard pellets (moistened)
- Dry puppy food (moistened)
- Tropical fish food
It’s also not a bad idea to dust these foods with a calcium supplement before the insects eat them.
This will allow you to sprinkle less supplement on the insects themselves, which will make them a tastier temptation for your beardie at feeding time.
Depending on individual nutrition requirements, sprinkle calcium powder on the insects.
Let your bearded dragon eat as many bugs as they can for 15 minutes.
Then, remove any excess locusts from the cage and keep them for a later time.
Babies require two or three feedings each day.
As they get older, they will eat fewer insects and more vegetables.
Adult bearded dragons only require one insect feeding every one or two days.
Along with these insect feedings, keep fresh vegetables in the tank at all times.
What Other Insects Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Other insects which are proper food items for beardies include:
- Dubia roaches
- Phoenix worms
Mealworms and superworms are also usable, but only for adult bearded dragons.
What’s Balanced Bearded Dragon Diet
Bearded dragons required a varied diet of insects and vegetables.
|Baby (0 to 5 months)||80%||20%|
|Juvenile (5 to 17 months)||50%||50%|
The balance between these two food groups changes depending on the age of the dragon.
Yes, bearded dragons can (and should) eat locusts! Crickets, cockroaches, and dubia roaches are equally good choices for staple foods if locusts are not available.
Just make sure you purchase feeder insects from shops and suppliers instead of using wild insects or fishing bait.
Insects are an essential part of a bearded dragon’s diet, providing protein, iron, and moisture.
Along with offering a selection of fresh vegetables, gut-loaded and dusted feeder insects will provide your beardie with all of the vitamins and minerals it needs to be strong and healthy.