It is true, bearded dragons are reptiles that can be fed with crickets. However, you should never feed your bearded dragon dead crickets. You should also clear out any crickets that have died inside your beardie’s tank. As a good rule of thumb, never feed your dragon any dead insects. Once an insect has begun decomposition and your bearded dragon eats it, he/she could become sick.
Crickets are insects that can be eaten by the bearded dragon, but not all types of crickets are safe for it to eat.
It is also best to acquire them from reliable sources to make sure that you will get fresh and clean ones so as not to harm your pet’s health. Some aquarium shops have live crickets which you can breed yourself if you want a constant supply for your pet bearded dragon. But first, check whether or not this kind of cricket is ok for a dragon to eat.
Some crickets have been known to carry parasites, so it is vital that you know your insect’s source. Check out the insect list for bearded dragons
Nutritional Value of Crickets
*There is no nutritional value for dead crickets. Listed below are a few helpful bits on live crickets.
1. Crickets have a high nutritional value
Crickets contain a large amount of copper, selenium and vitamin B12 which are beneficial in the growth and metabolism of bearded dragons. They also have a fair amount of calcium to help your dragon’s bones grow strong. The best part about feeding your pet with crickets is that they don’t have any fat at all so there won’t be extra calories when adding them to its diet.
2. Crickets provide good energy for the bearded dragon
Bearded dragons need much energy when roaming around in order to catch their prey or when defending themselves from other dragons by puffing out their beard (It sounds funny, but it is true). Crickets are insects that generate a great amount of energy to help your pet dragon thrive. Crickets are the bearded dragon’s favorite snacks, so make sure you have plenty of them around.
3. Crickets can be gut-loaded for extra nutritional benefits
Ever heard about the term “gut-loading” when it comes to insects? This means that you stuff the crickets with nutritious foods before feeding them to your beardie. They could be fed with collard greens, carrots, oatmeal or fruits before being offered to your pet dragon as a treat. You may also purchase commercial diets meant for gut-loading crickets at local pet shops or online reptile stores. It is best if they are organic and do not contain any harmful pesticides which could affect your lizard’s gut.
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Advantages of Feeding My Bearded Dragon Crickets
*None of the advantages involve feeding a dragon dead crickets.
Crickets are a great source of protein and energy for bearded dragons which is why they love them so much. They can be fed with gut-loaded insects, commercial diets or just plain insects to add some variety to their daily diet. Crickets do not have any fat at all so you don’t have to worry about overweight lizards from eating too many crickets over time.
Another reason why bearded dragons enjoy eating crickets is that they are easy prey for them to catch and kill, especially if your pet dragon has been well trained by its owner on how to hunt them down. A bearded dragon only needs a few good chomps of their powerful jaws before munching on a cricket.
Disadvantages of Feeding My Bearded Dragon Crickets
Boredom. Bearded dragons usually eat all they can when given live crickets but they may just stop eating them after several feedings if they get bored with their taste. You can give your bearded dragon some variety by offering him/her different insects, vegetables or fruits in order to prevent boredom when eating his/her favorite treats.
If you are breeding your own crickets at home, make sure that you treat them properly before putting them in the tank of your pet lizard. They should be kept clean since bacterial infections spread quickly among these bugs especially when put together in large numbers. Some species of bacteria could lead to fatal illnesses for your beloved pet bearded dragon so always do your best to keep them clean and free from any bacteria.
Cricket Breeding and Care
If you plan to breed your own supply of crickets, it is important that you house them in an enclosure specifically made for this purpose so they do not escape. Remember that these insects are carriers of parasites, so you must take good care of them.
Crickets should be kept in wire cages and they also need fresh food and water regularly. The substrate you use must be non-insect friendly like soil which contains harmful chemicals that could irritate the insects. You can use wood chips or paper towels instead.
Commercial diets are available for crickets to help you easily raise them without any fuss. Crickets will need supplemental calcium to help them molt their shells, but dust it on with fine-grained sand and not directly unto their food.
Live crickets are phenomenal food for your bearded dragon. Dead crickets should be avoided at all costs. Once decomposition begins in an insect, the higher the likelihood that that insect could make your dragon sick. Stick to live crickets for your bearded dragon and I promise you’ll have no complaints.