Bearded dragons are omnivorous and can eat almost anything. But no, bearded dragons should not eat beetles. They are not suitable for them as food. And while, yes, they can technically eat a beetle. There are more negative side effects than value to your bearded dragon eating beetles. Let´s check it out! For the complete list please click here.
Why is it Bad for the Bearded Dragon to Eat Beetles?
Beetles are rich in chitin, which is an indigestible fiber. They may be eaten by animals with long digestive tracts, but these reptiles have short bowels, almost without any length. Chitin is basically indigestible because animals simply cannot produce enzymes that break this substance down into smaller parts beneficial for the organism. Also, it serves as a ballast nutrient and has no value regarding nutrition at all. It fills up the and intestines of the animal and blocks food transport.
Beetles are also low in protein and fat and do not provide any additional nutrients, so it is a complete waste of time to feed your dragon with them. This can even cause malnutrition or some other problems related to healthy feeding. It has been estimated that a bearded dragon weighing 200g needs up to 300g of food per day. This of course varies depending on the size, age and activity level of the reptile. Beetles only provide excess calories without any nutrients whatsoever.
Beetles can be dangerous to eat by themselves or even in combination with other foods because they may contain pesticides. Now, you might wonder why would lizards feed on insects containing pesticides, but you have to realize that they are not able to tell if a certain type of insect is contaminated or not.
One beetle may contain poisonous substances while another one doesn´t or both of them are safe for food. There is absolutely no way for the reptile to know which one contains poisons and which one does not.
We can conclude that even though bearded dragons are omnivorous, you should not feed them beetles because these insects are indigestible for this species. They basically have no value regarding nutrition and may cause problems in the digestive tract.
Which Insects Bearded Dragons Can Eat?
- Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dead Crickets
- Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dubia Roaches
- Can Bearded Dragons Eat Earthworms
What can Bearded Dragons Eat Instead of Beetles?
Bearded dragons are omnivorous, so they can eat almost anything that is not poisonous or toxic for their systems. They can eat all sorts of insects, tubers, fruits and vegetables. However, in the wild bearded dragons only eat insects. If you decide to feed your pet with something different, make sure it is nutritiously rich and safe for the health.
Insects that are good for bearded dragons include: silkworms, phoenix worms, silkworms, hornworms and super worms.
Super worms are especially high in fat and should be given to your pet only once a week. They can also eat other insect larvae like waxworms or mealworms. These insects must not be bigger than 1/3 of the size of the mouth opening of the bearded dragon (between 1 cm – 3 cm).
When Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?
The optimal feeding time is in the evening, but you can also provide your pet with food at noon.
Yet, if you decide to feed your bearded dragon with something different than insects, make sure the food is safe and actually provides nutritional value. Give your pet only natural foods that are rich in nutrients and low-fat.
Here are some examples of food suitable for bearded dragons:
- Papaya, mango or pineapple, which are rich in vitamin C. You can cut them into pieces and feed your pet with them;
- Carrots, which are good sources of vitamin A;
- Apples without the seeds (apple seeds contain amygdalin);
- Oranges without the seeds and peel (orange seeds contain amygdalin);
- Broccoli, which is rich in vitamin C and K;
- Cucumber, zucchini or courgette, which are low-fat foods.
Remember that overfeeding your bearded dragon can be as harmful as underfeeding it! Also, some insects may contain parasites that can lead to health problems. If you are not sure what insects are safe for your pet, do some research on our page or talk to a local beardie expert.