Determining the right number of how many crickets to feed a bearded dragon is an important part of caring for these popular pet lizards. While the exact amount will vary based on the age, size, and activity level of your individual bearded dragon, there are some general guidelines to follow to make sure your dragon is getting proper nutrition.
Key Factors in Feeding Crickets to Bearded Dragons
When figuring out how many crickets to feed a bearded dragon, there are a few key factors to consider:
Age of the Bearded Dragon
Younger, growing bearded dragons need more food and more frequent feedings than adult dragons. A juvenile bearded dragon should be fed live prey like crickets two to three times per day, while an adult only needs live prey every other day.
Size/Weight of the Bearded Dragon
Larger, heavier dragons will naturally eat more than smaller, lighter ones. The general rule is to feed no more than the length between a dragon’s eyes per feeding, adjusting based on weight.
Active, energetic bearded dragons will burn more calories and need more frequent feedings than lazier ones. Monitor your dragon’s habits and appetite and adjust feedings accordingly.
Some bearded dragons are heartier eaters or more enthusiastic hunters than others. Get to know your individual dragon’s personality.
How Many Crickets for Juvenile Bearded Dragons
For young, growing bearded dragons under 1 year old, here are some general cricket feeding guidelines:
- Hatchlings (under 4 months): Offer 20-30 small crickets per feeding, 2-3 times daily.
- Juveniles (4-8 months): Offer 30-50 appropriately sized crickets per feeding, 2-3 times daily.
- Subadults (8-12 months): Offer 40-60 appropriately sized crickets per feeding, 2 times daily.
Make sure the crickets are no bigger than the space between your dragon’s eyes to prevent impaction. Use gut loading and dusting to enhance nutrition.
Feeding Adult Bearded Dragons
For adult bearded dragons over 1 year old, here are the recommended cricket feeding amounts:
- Small adult dragons (12-18 inches long): 30-40 crickets every other day
- Medium adult dragons (18-24 inches long): 40-50 crickets every other day
- Large adult dragons (24+ inches long): 50-60 crickets every other day
Again, crickets should be no larger than the space between eyes. Only offer as much as your dragon will eat in 10-15 minutes at each feeding.
Other Tips for Feeding Crickets
Here are some other useful tips for successfully feeding crickets to your bearded dragon:
- Always gut load crickets 24-48 hours before feeding by providing high calcium, nutritious food like fruits and vegetables.
- Dust crickets with calcium powder at every other feeding for juveniles, every 2-3 feedings for adults.
- Include a dish of fresh salad greens at every feeding to encourage good digestion.
- Monitor your bearded dragon’s weight and body condition and adjust feedings if needed.
- Occasionally substitute in other feeder insects like dubia roaches, silkworms, hornworms for variety.
How many crickets to feed a bearded dragon depends on the individual lizard’s age, size, and activity level. Follow these guidelines for the average number of properly sized, gut loaded crickets to feed your dragon based on its life stage. Monitor your pet closely and adjust amounts as needed to maintain good health and nutrition. With the right diet, your bearded dragon can thrive.
FAQs About How Many Crickets to Feed a Bearded Dragon
How often should I include crickets in my bearded dragon’s diet?
Crickets can be included in your bearded dragon’s diet as a staple protein source. Offer them 2-3 times a week alongside a variety of other insects and vegetables to ensure a balanced and nutritious diet.
Can crickets be the primary source of food for my bearded dragon?
While crickets provide essential protein, they should not be the primary source of food for your bearded dragon. A varied diet that includes different insects, vegetables, and greens is crucial to meet their nutritional needs effectively.
What are the nutritional considerations when determining cricket quantity for a bearded dragon?
Consider the nutritional content of crickets when determining quantity. Crickets are rich in protein but lower in fat. Balance their diet with other insects and vegetables to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
How do I adjust the number of crickets as my bearded dragon grows?
As your bearded dragon grows, you can gradually increase the number of crickets in their meals to accommodate their larger size and higher calorie requirements. Monitor their weight and adjust portion sizes accordingly.
Are there any signs that my bearded dragon is not receiving enough crickets?
Signs that your bearded dragon may not be receiving enough crickets include weight loss, reduced activity, or a generally weakened appearance. Ensure they are getting a balanced diet and consult a veterinarian if you suspect any nutritional deficiencies.
Are there alternative insect options to crickets for bearded dragon nutrition?
Yes, several alternative insects provide excellent nutrition for bearded dragons, including roaches, silkworms, phoenix worms, and mealworms. Offering a variety of insects in their diet helps ensure a well-rounded nutritional intake. Rotate these insects to provide diversity in their diet.