How many crickets can a bearded dragon eat in one sitting?

Quick Answer

The number of crickets a bearded dragon can eat in one sitting depends on the age and size of the dragon. On average, an adult bearded dragon can eat between 30-50 crickets per sitting. Juvenile dragons have smaller appetites and can typically eat 10-25 crickets per meal. It’s important not to overfeed bearded dragons as obesity can cause health issues.

How Much Should Bearded Dragons Eat?

Bearded dragons are omnivores and should be fed a varied diet including insects and vegetables. Their main food source should be insects as juveniles and a mix of insects and veggies as adults. Here are some general feeding guidelines:

Juvenile Bearded Dragons

– 2-3 feedings per day
– 10-25 small crickets or dubia roaches per feeding
– Chopped, calcium-dusted vegetables once per day

Adult Bearded Dragons

– 1-2 feedings per day
– 30-50 appropriately sized crickets or dubia roaches per feeding
– Chopped vegetables daily including leafy greens, squash, bell peppers

The number of insects per feeding can vary based on appetite and the size of the insects. It’s important not to overload bearded dragons with food as obesity is a common issue. Signs of overfeeding include a very swollen stomach and lethargy.

Crickets Per Sitting Based on Bearded Dragon Size

The number of crickets a bearded dragon can eat per meal depends largely on their size and age. Here are some general guidelines:

Baby Bearded Dragons

– 2-4 months old
– 5-10 cm length
– 10-15 small crickets per sitting

Baby dragons have tiny stomachs and need to eat smaller, more frequent meals. Provide staple insects like pinhead crickets no bigger than the space between the dragon’s eyes.

Juvenile Bearded Dragons

– 4-12 months old
– 10-20 cm length
– 15-25 medium crickets per sitting

Offer appropriately sized feeder insects no bigger than the space between the eyes and part of the bearded dragon’s head. Juveniles have growing appetites.

Young Adult Bearded Dragons

– 12-18 months old
– 18-24 cm length
– 25-35 medium/large crickets

Their appetite continues to grow. Feed medium to large-sized crickets, dubia roaches, and other staple feeders.

Adult Bearded Dragons

– Older than 18 months
– 24 cm length or longer
– 30-50 large crickets per sitting

Adult dragons have reached their full size and have large appetites. Feed adult-sized feeder insects. Monitor weight and adjust diet to prevent obesity.

Factors That Influence Appetite

While the above estimates provide general guidelines, every bearded dragon will have a unique appetite influenced by the following factors:


Younger, growing dragons need to eat more frequently than mature adults. Babies may eat up to 3 times per day, juveniles 2 times per day, and adults just once per day.


Larger dragons tend to eat more per sitting. Monitor your dragon’s weight and body condition versus strictly adhering to the cage size guidelines.


A dragon’s appetite can decrease significantly if they are ill, stressed, or have health issues like impaction. Seek vet care for appetite changes.


Bearded dragons eat less when they are too cold. Ensure their habitat stays between 95-110°F.

Time of Year

Bearded dragon appetites may decrease during the winter brumation period even if their habitat conditions are perfect.

Individual Personality

Like people, some bearded dragon’s are simply bigger eaters while others have more modest appetites. Get to know your dragon’s routine.

Signs Your Bearded Dragon is Still Hungry

It’s important not to underfeed growing bearded dragons who need extra nutrition. Here are signs your dragon may need more food at each sitting:

– Aggressively chasing prey and seeking more food
– Scratching or clawing at enclosure walls
– Constantly gaping mouth at owners
– Displaying hunting behaviors like stalking or head bobbing when food is around
– Eating very quickly
– Loss of tail fat or muscle tone in limbs and head

Juvenile dragons may display more food-seeking behavior as they gorge to fuel rapid growth. Seek vet advice if an adult dragon acts aggressively hungry despite adequate meals.

Is it Possible to Overfeed a Bearded Dragon?

Yes, bearded dragons can become obese from overfeeding. Excess fat can cause life-threatening issues including:

Fatty Liver Disease

Excess fat buildup in the liver prevents this vital organ from functioning properly. Symptoms include swelling around the abdomen, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Fatty liver disease can be fatal if untreated.

Difficulty Breathing

Excess fat around the abdomen can make it physically difficult for a bearded dragon to breathe properly since they do not have a diaphragm. Signs include keeping the mouth open and breathing heavily.

Heart Problems

Obesity stresses the heart which must work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Heart failure can occur which is often fatal.

Difficulty Moving

Too much weight can prevent a bearded dragon from being active and climbing. Inactivity leads to more weight gain. Muscle loss and bone weakness also occurs.

To prevent overfeeding:

– Follow portion guidelines based on age and size
– Feed veggies daily
– Provide a large enclosure to encourage exercise
– Monitor weight and body condition
– Adjust diet if dragon becomes overweight

How Often to Feed Bearded Dragons

In addition to portion sizes, bearded dragon owners must follow appropriate feeding frequency schedules to prevent overfeeding.

Baby Bearded Dragons

– 2-3 small feedings per day
– 10 minute feeding windows
– Gut load insects
– Lightly dust with calcium at 1 feeding

Juvenile Bearded Dragons

– 2 feedings per day
– 10-15 minutes of feeding time
– Calcium dusted insects at 1 feeding

Adult Bearded Dragons

– 1-2 feedings per day
– 10-20 minutes to consume food at a healthy pace
– Calcium supplements 2-3 times weekly

Only leave live insects in the enclosure unsupervised for short time periods to ensure they are eaten quickly. Uneaten crickets can bite dragons while they sleep.

Ideal Insect Size for Bearded Dragons

Picking feeder insects of appropriate size is key to providing proper dragon nutrition. Insects that are too large can cause choking or impaction. Here are ideal insect sizes:

Baby Bearded Dragons

– 1 week old crickets
– 1/8th inch dubia roaches
– Pinhead mealworms
– Fruit fly colonies

Juvenile Bearded Dragons

– 1/2 inch crickets
– 3 week old dubia roaches
– Small mealworms

Adult Bearded Dragons

– 3/4 to 1 inch crickets
– Adult dubia roaches
– Regular to large mealworms
– Hornworms
– Silkworms

Always select insect feeders that are not wider than the space between the bearded dragon’s eyes. This prevents impaction from eating prey that is too large.

Best Insect Feeders for Bearded Dragons

While most bearded dragons enjoy chasing down live prey, not all feeder insects are equally nutritious. Here are the top insect feeders:


A staple due to convenience and affordability. Ensure proper gut loading and size.

Dubia Roaches

Excellent protein and fat. Cannot climb smooth surfaces or fly.


Full of protein and calcium. Softer bodies are easy to digest.


High in calcium and moisture. Provide variety and excitement.


Decent protein source but high in fat. Feed in moderation.


Very high in fat. Offer 1-2x monthly as treats only.

Rotate insect feeders to ensure a balanced diet. Gut load all insects with high calcium, low phosphorus diets prior to feeding for optimal nutrition.

Insect Key Nutrients Size
Crickets Protein Small, Medium, Large
Roaches Protein, Fat Small, Medium, Large
Silkworms Protein, Calcium Small, Medium
Hornworms Calcium, Moisture Small, Medium, Large
Mealworms Protein, Fat Small, Medium
Waxworms Fat Small

Vegetables for Bearded Dragons

While insects should make up a large portion of their diet, vegetables are still an important part of balanced bearded dragon nutrition.

Best Veggies to Feed Bearded Dragons

  • Collard Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Turnip Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Squash
  • Bell Peppers

Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and moisture. Squash and peppers add variety.

Vegetables to Avoid

  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower

These veggies are either too high in oxalates which bind to calcium or too starchy for proper digestion.

Chop greens and veggies into pieces for easy eating. Juveniles eat 1-2 tablespoons daily while adults eat 1/2-1 cup chopped veggies per day.

Bearded Dragon Feeding Schedule by Age

To stay organized and ensure proper nutrition, create a feeding schedule for your bearded dragon based on age. Here are sample schedules:

Baby Bearded Dragon Schedule

  • 7 AM – 10 small crickets
  • 12 PM – Chopped mustard greens (1 tbsp)
  • 3 PM – 10 small crickets

Juvenile Bearded Dragon Schedule

  • 8 AM – 20 medium crickets
  • 12 PM – Mixed chopped greens (1/4 cup)
  • 5 PM – 20 medium crickets

Adult Bearded Dragon Schedule

  • 9 AM – 40 large crickets + chopped squash
  • 5 PM – Mixed greens

Adjust feeding times and amounts based on your dragon’s growth, appetite, and weight.


On average, most healthy adult bearded dragons can safely eat 30-50 medium/large sized crickets per sitting. However, pay close attention to your individual dragon’s appetite, growth rate, and activity level to fine-tune feedings. With a varied insect diet, vegetable supplementation, and proper feeding schedules, bearded dragons can thrive on a balanced nutrition plan. Monitor your dragon closely and seek exotic vet advice if their appetite or growth seems abnormal. With proper care and feeding, bearded dragons can live long, healthy lives.

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