How many crickets to feed a baby bearded dragon? A question that brings back fond memories of my beardie tracking down his first crickets.
But I also remember how nerve-racking it was to be a first-time owner. It made me think about how I could help other owners better provide for their baby dragons.
So I decided to create a guide discussing everything about baby dragons and crickets. Read on, and you’ll learn everything needed to provide for your beardie.
Also Read: Are Hornworms Good for Bearded Dragons?
Table of Contents
- Baby bearded dragons will require between 25 to 80 crickets daily. But they must be spread out over five 5-10 minute feeding sessions.
- Owners should feed their dragons crickets one by one via their hands or tongs. It’ll prevent overeating and other health issues.
- Crickets are an excellent source of protein and are readily available for owners. That’s why they’re so commonly used as a dietary staple for baby beardies.
How Many Crickets Do Baby Bearded Dragons Need to Eat?
Baby bearded dragons (under three months old) will have to eat an ungodly number of crickets. They’ll need to consume between 25 and 80 each day.
But this range is average as it can change drastically based on your dragon. After all, bearded dragon owners can’t feed 25-80 crickets during a single cricket feeding.
Instead, spreading their feedings into five sessions per day is vital. I’d suggest making each 5 to 10 minutes while letting your beardie eat as many crickets as possible.
I’m sure a few readers have more questions about the feeding procedure. I’ll walk you through the proper feeding method in a later section.
But in the meantime, I thought it was crucial to note that this amount of crickets will change. Your beardie won’t need as many insects to eat as they get older:
- Juvenile dragons (3 to 12 months of age ): 2-3 times of 5-10 minutes daily, usually comes to 25-60 crickets per day.
- Young adult dragons (12 to 18 months of age): 2 times of 5 minutes daily, often between 20-30 crickets per day.
- Adult dragons: 1 time of 10-15 minutes daily, around ten crickets per day, depending on your beardie’s appetite.
What Size Cricket Should I Feed My Baby Bearded Dragon?
You now have a handle on the cricket feeding frequency for bearded dragons. But there’s a bit more to learn as these bearded dragon crickets come in different sizes.
As a result, it becomes necessary to determine the correct cricket size. The general rule is not to use a cricket bigger than the space between your beardie’s eyes.
In most cases, this measurement results in using pinhead crickets. I’ve found these types of crickets are steller for baby beardies.
But I’d still measure between your little beardie’s eyes before using pinhead crickets. After all, feeding them a wrong-sized one can lead to digestion issues and impaction (1).
So please, be careful when choosing the correct cricket size and stick to the guideline. It’s a simple way to ensure your dragon avoids suffering or pain.
What Is The Proper Method To Feed Your Baby Beardies Crickets?
Precision is essential to the baby beardie feeding process. The last thing you want to do is throw a massive amount of feeder crickets into the enclosure (2).
For instance, baby beardies aren’t developed as hunters. So the uneaten crickets will run off and bury themselves in the tank’s substrate before they’re eaten.
It also presents an issue of overeating, as baby beardies are known for being excitable. As a result, it can lead to them becoming obese.
You’d be much better off placing feeder crickets into the enclosure one by one. It’s a much easier way to control the whole process.
Furthermore, it’ll help cultivate his hunting instincts. He’ll soon learn how to hunt the cricket prey without being overwhelmed by extra crickets in his enclosure.
Some people feel comfortable doing it with their hands. I’m not one of them, as crickets freak me out, so I used tongs to feed my dragon when he was a baby.
Both methods are more than acceptable. You can then keep doing it for a 5 to 10-minute period and see how many your dragon eats.
Once your beardie reaches juvenile age, hand feeding isn’t as necessary. Juvenile and adult bearded dragons will have the hunting chops to catch a couple of crickets at a time.
But some bearded dragon owners stick with hand feeding with juvenile and adult beardies. It’ll become a choice to make as your beardie ages.
Why Does a Baby Bearded Dragon Need Crickets in Their Diet?
All this talk about crickets brings up one logical question. Why are crickets so often found in a baby bearded dragon’s diet?
Well, it boils down to crickets being “rich in proteins” (3). They provide a baby beardie with the nutrients necessary to produce healthy growth.
Crickets also provide ideal exercise for your little pet lizard. It gives them a worthwhile opponent to conquer while developing their hunting skills.
Plus, crickets are readily obtainable for owners, with them being available at most pet stores. So it makes sense why they’re commonly featured in bearded dragon diets.
What Are Suitable Cricket Alternatives?
But crickets aren’t the only suitable protein source for baby bearded dragons. Here are two other best insects for baby bearded dragons that may better meet your preferences:
- Dubia roaches
- Phoenix worms
In particular, I’d recommend dubia roaches for several reasons. It starts with them being more efficient in providing nutrients than crickets.
I couldn’t believe how one dubia roach offers the same amount of protein as two crickets. As you can imagine, it makes feeding baby dragons less time-consuming.
Another benefit is that dubia roaches are much easier to contain within an enclosure. They’re simpler to catch for your dragon while reducing escapes.
If you don’t believe me, watch this beardie devour some dubia roaches in this video.
But these roaches need to be no wider than the space between your dragon’s eyes. Unfortunately, they’re also much more challenging to find than crickets.
Other Baby Bearded Dragon Diet Requirements
Crickets or another protein source won’t be the only thing your pet lizard needs. These little critters need a small supply of vegetables, as well.
Owners should provide baby dragons with a diet ratio of 80% insects and 20% veggies. If you’re looking for a few recommendations for vegetables, consider these options:
- Leafy greens (such as mustard Greens, dandelion greens, and collard greens)
- Sweet Potatoes
Anyone who wants more help cultivating a proper bearded dragon diet should check out “10 Best Bearded Dragon Foods (Review & Feeding Guide)”.
Can You Overfeed a Baby Bearded Dragon?
You can overfeed a baby bearded dragon by releasing too many crickets at once or setting up too many feeding times. So it’s best to give them one cricket at a time for 5-10 minutes during each feeding session (five times per day).
How many crickets to feed a baby bearded dragon? It depends on how much your dragon can eat during their five feedings of 5-10 minutes daily.
But remember, your pet beardie should be given one cricket at a time. It’s crucial to ensure they develop their hunting skills and remain free of any health issues.
So, how many crickets do you feed a bearded dragon? Let us know in the comments section!
- 1. How to Identify Impaction in Your Bearded Dragon | Petco [Internet]. www.petco.com. [cited 2022 Oct 12]. Available from: https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/health-wellness/bearded-dragon-impaction.html
- 2. Feeder Crickets [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 12]. Available from: https://cricketcare.org/feeder-crickets/
- 3. Raiti P. Husbandry, Diseases, and Veterinary Care of the Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps). Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery [Internet]. 2012;22:117–31. Available from: https://meridian.allenpress.com/jhms/article/22/3-4/117/137217/Husbandry-Diseases-and-Veterinary-Care-of-the
- 4. Magara HJO, Niassy S, Ayieko MA, Mukundamago M, Egonyu JP, Tanga CM, et al. Edible Crickets (Orthoptera) Around the World: Distribution, Nutritional Value, and Other Benefits—A Review. Frontiers in Nutrition [Internet]. 2021;7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7835793/
My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! As far as my animals, I have a Pit-bull, a Beagle-lab mix, a Chihuahua, and one old cat. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed.
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