How Many Mealworms to Feed a Baby Bearded Dragon
Updated: Jan 30
New pet owners are often nervous about getting it all right, whether that means getting the right wheel for your hamster, the perfect rocks for your fish tank, or a leash strong enough to control your 80-pound Labrador retriever.
One of the most important aspects of ownership is feeding: making sure your beloved pet has the right kind of food and the right amount. While relatively easy to care for, baby bearded dragons do need to follow a specific diet to grow healthy and strong.
If you have a new beardie in your home, read on to learn more about how and what to feed them.
What Do Baby Bearded Dragons Eat?
The diet of a baby bearded dragon is fairly simple: they need a mix of proteins and vegetables. This is based on what they would eat if living in the wild, where they might prey on spiders, worms, and even smaller lizards.
In addition to what they catch and kill, beardies in the wild would also eat various greens, flowers, and fruits.
The diet of your baby bearded dragon should mimic what they might find in the wild, and you will feed them a mixture of 30% vegetables and 70% protein (such as mealworms). As they grow older, they will not need to eat as often, but they will still need a healthy mix of vegetables and proteins.
Some vegetables you can feed your baby beardies include collard greens, carrots, squash, zucchini, beet tops, and romaine lettuce.
You should avoid feeding your bearded baby dragon any dairy products, meat, or onions.
How Much Will My Baby Bearded Dragon Eat Every Day?
When they are young, bearded dragons eat more often, so you should plan to feed yours 2 to 3 times daily.
Even though they are relatively small, a baby bearded dragon can actually consume anywhere from 40 to 90 insects in a day! This amount of protein will help them grow, and you would limit vegetable intake to around 20 to 30% of their daily consumption.
Each feeding will last around 15 minutes, and you should take care to ensure that you are not feeding large pieces of insects, which could cause digestion problems for your beardie.
What Can I Feed My Baby Bearded Dragon Other Than Mealworms?
Mealworms are a nutritious and affordable source of protein for your baby bearded dragon, but it is certainly not the only option available to you for keeping your pet nourished.
Fortunately, there are many cost-effective ways to feed a bearded baby dragon with the protein they need for growth and development. In addition to mealworms, you may also choose to feed your baby bearded dragon a feeder insect like:
Crickets are popular for a bearded dragons diet because they are cheap and easily accessible. They also provide plenty of protein for your pet during each feeding session. Not every beardie owner is a fan of handling roaches, but a dubia roach is an excellent source of protein and easy for your beardie to digest.
Another worm option is the phoenix worm. They are particularly nutritious as they are calcium-rich. However, phoenix worms are more expensive than other insects.
Also, if you want to provide more variety in their vegetable intake beyond those choices we have already named, let your bearded dragon try:
Cucumber (as long as it is peeled)
Raw bell peppers
What if My Baby Bearded Dragon Stops Eating?
There are many normal reasons why bearded dragons may stop eating[link to how long can a bearded dragon go without eating] from time to time, so there is no need to panic when this happens. Bearded dragons can survive for long periods of time without food.
If yours stops eating unexpectedly, first check the environment. Beardies are temperature sensitive, and you may need to adjust the heat lamp to make their tank warmer. And you should also be sure to keep it clean. They may react to something as simple as a new rock, so do not be surprised if they start eating again in a day or two once they have adjusted to change.
Beardies also stop eating just before preparing for brumation (a cold-blooded animal’s version of hibernation).
If sickness has caused your baby bearded dragon to stop eating, you may notice glassy eyes, discoloration, and foaming. These signs suggest you should have your pet checked out by an expert.
Will My Baby Bearded Dragon Drink Water?
It is important not to forget water as you focus on food for your bearded baby dragon!
Just as a small change in their environment can put off bearded dragons, they are also finicky about how they drink their water. A deep bowl could prevent them from drinking enough, so you want to be sure you provide their water in a shallow container.
Baby Bearded Dragons and Digestive Habits: What to Look for When Cleaning
Your bearded dragon’s tank should be kept clean to keep them healthy, and you will want to be sure you remove substrate weekly and replace it. (Newspapers and paper towels are a great, affordable option for substrate).
As you are cleaning, take notice of any abnormal feces, which could be a sign of digestive issues. A bearded dragon’s normal feces will be brown and pellet-like.
What Else Can I Do to Keep My Baby Bearded Dragon Healthy?
A proper diet of proteins and vegetables will go a long way toward keeping your beloved beardie healthy and strong. However, there is one tip you may not be aware of when it comes to healthy digestion: a lukewarm bath.
If you soak your bearded dragon a few times a week in lukewarm water, this will help them defecate, preventing stress from constipation which could cause them not to eat.