How many bugs should a bearded dragon eat a day?

Bearded dragons are omnivorous lizards that thrive on a varied diet consisting of both plant and animal matter. As juveniles, bearded dragons need a higher proportion of animal protein in their diet from feeder insects. As they grow into adulthood, their nutritional needs change and they require more vegetables and leafy greens.

When it comes to bugs, the number that a bearded dragon should eat per day depends on the age and size of the lizard. Hatchlings and juveniles under 4 months old have faster metabolisms and need more frequent feedings of nutritious bugs to fuel growth and development.

How many bugs for baby bearded dragons

For the first 1-4 months, baby dragons should eat as many appropriately sized bugs as they want at each feeding, which is recommended 2-3 times per day. This provides adequate nutrition and allows for their rapid growth rate at this life stage. Feeder insects like small crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and phoenix worms are ideal.

Since bearded dragons are voracious eaters as babies, provide as much as they can consume in a 10-15 minute period 2-3 times per day. Offer a variety of bugs to ensure a balanced diet. As a general rule, breeding experts recommend providing at least 30-50 small insects per feeding.

Important factors for babies

When determining how many bugs to feed babies per day, some important factors to consider include:

  • Age of the dragon
  • Weight and body condition
  • Appetite and growth rate
  • Size of the feeder insects

Very young dragons may need 50+ tiny insects 3 times daily, while those nearing 4 months may only need 30 larger bugs 2 times per day. Observe appetite and adjust amounts accordingly. Their abdomen should not appear bulging after eating.

Juvenile bearded dragon diet

Once a bearded dragon reaches 4 months to around 18 months old, they are considered juveniles. Their insect and nutritional needs decrease slightly compared to babies.

At this stage, aim to feed juveniles 1-2 times per day, providing as many bugs as they will eat in a 10-15 period. Most will consume 20-30 appropriately sized bugs at each feeding.

Crickets, dubia roaches, black soldier fly larvae, and worms are excellent feeder options. Gut load them with nutritious foods to increase the nutrients they provide.

Juvenile feeding tips

Follow these tips when feeding juvenile dragons:

  • Offer smaller feedings 1-2 times daily
  • Provide veggies daily as juveniles start needing more plant matter
  • Use bugs that are not longer than the space between the dragon’s eyes
  • Gut load feeders with nutritious greens, veggies, and supplements
  • Dust bugs lightly with calcium powder 2-3 times weekly

On average, most juvenile dragons around 4-18 months old will eat 30-50 small feeder insects daily, along with increasing amounts of chopped greens and veggies.

Adult bearded dragon diet

By 18 months old, bearded dragons are considered full grown adults. At this stage their growth has slowed dramatically and bugs become less critical for meeting their nutritional requirements.

Offer adult dragons bugs every other day. They generally eat 10-20 feeder insects per feeding. Crickets, worms, roaches, larvae and other staple feeders are good choices.

Feeding considerations for adults

Here are some things to keep in mind when feeding adult bearded dragons:

  • Feed bugs every other day or 2-3 times weekly
  • Offer chopped greens daily as they become the dietary staple
  • Use bug sizes appropriate for the dragon’s head size
  • Gut load feeders for added nutritional value
  • Lightly dust prey with calcium and vitamins 1-2 times weekly

Most adult dragons will eat around 20 bugs every other day, averaging 10-15 bugs per day. Adjust amounts based on appetite and body condition.

Daily recommended amounts by age

Here is a summary of the average daily recommended number of feeder insects for bearded dragons by age:

Bearded Dragon Age Number of Bugs Per Day
0-4 months 30-50 bugs 2-3 times daily
4-18 months 30-50 bugs 1-2 times daily
18+ months (adult) 10-20 bugs every other day

Remember that every dragon has unique nutritional requirements. These daily bug recommendations should serve only as a general guide. Adjust amounts to meet the appetite and health of each individual reptile.

Choosing appropriate feeder insects

While the number of bugs to feed per day varies by age, it is also important to select appropriate insect feeders. The following are excellent nutritious staples:

  • Crickets – A staple feeder, gut load with greens. Select sizes appropriately.
  • Dubia roaches – Excellent source of protein, breed your own colony.
  • Mealworms – High in fat, so feed just a few per feeding.
  • Superworms – Similar nutrition profile as mealworms.
  • Black soldier fly larvae – Nutritious bugs, can be ordered online.
  • Phoenix worms – Small soft-bodied larvae, excellent for babies.

Variety is important! Rotate different feeders and always gut load them before feeding for added nutrition.

Signs your bearded dragon needs more bugs

While the guidelines provided can help determine appropriate amounts to feed, it’s equally important to listen to your individual lizard’s needs. Watch for these signs that indicate your bearded dragon may need more bugs in their diet:

  • Moving slowly or less active
  • Disinterest in greens or vegetables
  • Thin tail or sunken sides
  • Eats bugs very quickly
  • Change in growth or weight

If your dragon displays any changes in appetite, behavior or appearance, re-evaluate the amount of bugs you are providing. Increase quantities if needed to get them eating, moving and growing properly again.


Determining the ideal amount of bugs to feed a bearded dragon depends on age, appetite and health. Use these guidelines tailored to each life stage as a starting point:

  • Babies under 4 months: Offer 30-50 small bugs 2-3 times daily
  • Juveniles 4-18 months: Provide 30-50 bugs 1-2 times daily
  • Adults 18+ months: Feed 10-20 bugs every other day

Additionally, select high quality insect feeders, watch for signs of hunger, and adjust amounts to match your dragon’s nutritional needs. With the proper amount of bugs and greens, your bearded dragon will thrive.

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