How often should I feed my Bearded Dragon Crickets? Read on to discover how to keep your dragon healthy and satisfied.
You should feed your bearded dragon at least once daily. The amount of crickets and the frequency of feedings depends on the age of your reptile and the size of the crickets. As a general rule, offer as many crickets as it can hunt in fifteen minutes.
This article will tell you why crickets are great staple feeders and how to gut load your insects. Then, you will learn what size crickets to feed to your bearded dragon and the frequency of feeding sessions. Next, you will learn how many crickets to feed in a session and how to keep your crickets healthy in captivity.
Table of Contents
Crickets as Staple Feeders
Crickets are a great staple feeder for your dragon and can be fed daily. They are high in protein as well as calcium and can be found at most pet stores. It is important to gut load your crickets before feeding them to your Bearded Dragon.
Gut loading is when you feed your crickets a healthy diet before your reptile eats them. This allows the crickets to be more nutritionally dense and pass those nutrients to your dragon. Dark leafy greens, apples, carrots, and other veggie scraps can be used for gut loading.
It is important to gut load no more than twenty-four hours before feeding them to your reptile. That is how long it takes food to enter and exit the digestive tract of the cricket. It is also common in the reptile industry to lightly dust your crickets in a vitamin supplement right before feeding.
Calcium dusting should be used daily to help with the absorption of UVB rays. Multivitamin dusting can occur a few days a week, but should not be done daily. To prevent contamination of the powder, it is advised that the crickets are dusted in a secondary container, such as Tupperware.
The crickets must be alive when fed to your reptile. Freeze-dried or canned crickets can be used in a pinch, but live crickets are more stimulating for your reptile and have a higher nutrient density. Beardies love to hunt live prey and it is important to allow their captive environment to mimic nature whenever possible.
It is worth noting that Bearded Dragons should never be fed crickets that are caught outside. Wild-caught crickets can have parasites or pesticide exposure that can be transferred to your pet upon consumption.
At the end of the feeding session, all the crickets must be eaten or removed. Crickets have been known to bite reptiles and infections can develop from the wounds. Because crickets are nocturnal, they hide during the day and then resurface hungry at night. Reptile keepers must have a separate enclosure for their crickets. This will help ensure the safety and health of your dragon.
What Size Crickets Should I Feed my Bearded Dragon?
A good rule of thumb is to never feed a reptile anything bigger than the space between their eyes. Anything larger than that can be a potential choking hazard or cause impaction in the digestive tract. Crickets usually come in two sizes at the pet store, small or large. Choose the appropriately sized cricket based on the size of your reptile.
How Often Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?
Bearded Dragons should be offered food daily. Do not become alarmed if your dragon does not eat for a few days, this is common. Sometimes, a beardie will refrain from eating the days following a big meal or when they are shedding. If your reptile is brumating, do not wake him up for daily feedings. Brumation is an important natural behavior that should not be disturbed frequently. During this time, reptiles are conserving their energy and do not need to be fed daily.
Feeding frequency depends on the reptile and you will become more in tune with the feeding schedule as time goes on. It is important to offer food live daily, even if your beardie refuses. Offer your beardie as many crickets as he can hunt, one by one, in a fifteen-minute session. When your dragon is a juvenile, younger than 18 months, it will likely need to be fed multiple times a day, up to five feeding sessions daily. Your Bearded Dragon should eat small crickets during this time. When your Bearded Dragon is older than 18 months, they may slow their eating habits to once or twice daily and transition to large crickets. Large males may eat more crickets than smaller females. A beardie may eat anywhere from five to twenty crickets per day. Monitor your dragon for signs of obesity, which can be common in this breed. If you find that your reptile is obese, cut back on feedings.
How to Keep Crickets Healthy and Alive
When you buy crickets, it is important to refrain from buying too many crickets at once Crickets are not considered hardy; they have a lifespan of around five weeks.
Large crickets are older than their smaller counterparts and are likely to die sooner. Therefore, if you are unable to frequent the pet store regularly, it is suggested that you buy smaller crickets in the hopes of keeping them alive for longer periods. Providing food, water, stable temperatures, and proper ventilation will help keep the crickets healthy.
Extreme heat or cold can kill an entire batch of crickets, so refrain from keeping them outside. Crickets need food and water to survive but may drown in water dishes. Damp sponges can be placed inside the critter container as a safe water source.
When crickets die, their decomposing bodies release ammonia. This gas can build up in poorly ventilated containers and cause the rest of the cricket colony to die off rapidly. It is important to remove any dead crickets or fecal matter to ensure the longevity of your small colony.
Crickets are a nutritious staple feeder that can be fed to your reptile daily. It is important to gut load and vitamin dust the crickets so your dragon can have a balanced diet. All live crickets should be kept in a separate container when your beardie is not actively hunting them. Crickets should never be larger than the space between your dragon’s eyes.
Feeding sessions should last around fifteen minutes and food should be offered daily. It is common for younger bearded dragons to eat more frequently than adults. As your reptile matures, you will become more aware of his feeding habits. Continue to offer food at least once daily to your beardie, even if they refuse food for a few days.
To keep crickets healthy and alive, provide proper food, water, and ventilation. Remove any fecal matter or dead crickets from their enclosure. Never feed your reptile wild-caught insects due to the risk of parasites. By providing a nutritious diet and proper ventilation, you can ensure that your Bearded Dragon is being fed healthy crickets.
Hi! My name is Janelle and I am a reptile keeper from the United States. I’ve been raising reptiles for ten years. I love creating custom vivariums. I currently keep a Jeweled Lacerta, Sprout.