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Feeding of Bearded Dragon

Feeding time is something that many bearded dragon owners look forward to. Dragons tend to be very enthusiastic when it comes time to feed, and they can turn an ordinary meal into a sort of comedy routine. Juvenile dragons will circle their prey, craning their necks and wiggling their bodies, trying to get just the right angle before lunging. Adult dragons usually go for the mauling approach, charging ahead and bulldozing through any live food in sight. In addition to providing entertainment, feeding can be a great way to interact with your pet, especially if you hand feed.

When deciding what foods to give your bearded dragon, try to take your cue from the foods that wild dragons generally consume. In their natural habitat, bearded dragons will eat leaves, berries, fruits, seeds, invertebrates, mice small birds, lizards, and snakes, if all of these things are available to them. It would be nearly impossible to completely replicate that diet in captivity, but you can come close by feeding as many live animal and vegetable materials as you can. For vegetable matter, try green and red cabbage, kale, collard greens, carrots, arugula, parsley, okra, alfalfa sprouts, peeled grapes, green beans, romaine lettuce, green peas, and hibiscus and dandelion leaves and flowers. For prey, captive dragons are often fed crickets, mealworms, wax worms, fruit flies, roaches, pinkie mice, adult mice, and small lizards. In addition, packaged herp foods can be fed, but be sure to not feed them exclusively, as they usually do not include all of the nutrients your bearded dragon requires.

Gut-loading, a process in which live feeder items are pre-fed to build up their nutritional value, is recommended for bearded dragons. To gut-load, take crickets or mealworms that you intend to feed to your pet in about 2 days and place them in a separate container filled with tropical fish food, dried puppy kibble, instant baby cereal, and/or vegetables. When your dragon consumes these items, they will be loaded with extra nutritional content that will be passed along to your pet.

You should always closely monitor your bearded dragon and his eating habits. By learning how much your dragon eats and when, you will be able to figure out what nutrients he might be lacking and keep him from becoming obese. Keep in mind that bearded dragons at different life stages (hatchling, juvenile, adult, etc.) will have different feeding needs.

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