Understanding how many crickets to feed a bearded dragon is essential if you intend to keep one as a pet. Crickets will be a significant part of their diet, so you need to be familiar with the right amount!
But that’s a little more difficult than you might think.
The number of crickets you should feed your bearded dragon will keep changing over time. Their requirements as babies, juveniles, and adults are all completely different!
Fortunately, we have covered everything in this guide!
How Many Crickets Should You Feed A Baby Bearded Dragon?
Your bearded dragon is considered a baby from birth to 3 months of age or when it’s around 9-10 inches long.
Baby bearded dragons don’t have a developed bite. On top of that, they also lack good hunting skills, so, younger and smaller crickets are preferable for them. Always remember to only feed your bearded dragon insects that are smaller than the distance between their eyes.
Baby bearded dragons, just like babies in any other species, will need to be fed more frequently throughout the day to remain healthy, help increase lifespan, and grow stronger. Read more on the baby bearded dragon diet.
Let your baby dragon consume as many crickets as possible during every feeding session. There should be 5 separate 5 to 10-minute feeding sessions per day. Never force your dragon to eat, and make sure you have plenty of crickets on hand before you start. Just in case they’re hungrier than you anticipated.
If you want to get really fancy, you can use feeding charts to estimate the number of crickets by taking into account their age, size, health, and other factors.
To give you an idea, baby bearded dragons can consume between 25 and 80 crickets in a single day. As these lizards grow, they will require fewer crickets and will gradually transition to a diet richer in greens.
How many crickets should you feed Juveniles?
Bearded dragons are considered juveniles when they are between the ages of 3 and 8 months. During this time, your dragon will continue to grow quickly (but it will probably be slightly slower than its first 3 months of growth).
When your beardie grows into a juvenile, it’s critical to keep feeding them crickets for protein. However, you should limit the number of feeding sessions to three per day.
When your juvenile bearded dragon reaches the age of 9 months, they are considered to be older juveniles (but not adults).
When your beardie reaches this age, cut down the number of feeding sessions to two per day rather than three. You will begin to introduce more greens into the pet’s diet as they approach the age of 14 months.
Each day, this equates to about 25 to 50 crickets. Let them eat as much as they want during each feeding, and keep each session between 5 and 10 minutes long.
This will start the transitional period of increasing the number of greens they eat in comparison to the number of crickets. This will be a gradual adjustment until they have reached a standard adult diet.
Bearded dragons, especially when young, should be allowed to eat as much as they want during each feeding session. When baby bearded dragons reach about 3 to 8 months of age, their 5 feedings per day will be reduced to about 2 to 3 feedings per day.
How Many Crickets Should You Feed An Adult?
Adult bearded dragons should eat around 80% of their diet as greens and only 20% of their diet as proteins such as crickets or roaches. When beardies are young, they should get most of their protein from insects (with the majority of this coming from live crickets). More on bearded dragon diet.
Owners of full-grown adult bearded dragons should feed them 10 crickets per day, or 20 crickets every other day. One feeding session per day, lasting 10 to 15 minutes, should be provided for the crickets.
When deciding what, when, and how long an owner should let their bearded friends eat crickets, there are a few factors to consider. Consider the following important factors:
- The beardie’s age
- Their overall well-being
- Whether or not a female bearded dragon is pregnant
- The source of the crickets
- Whether greens or other proteins, such as Dubia roaches or worms, are also consumed
These reptiles will eventually mature into full-grown adults who will eat significantly less than they did previously. This is because they are nearly finished growing by the time they reach the age of 18 months.
How Large Should The Crickets Be?
Bearded dragons, unlike most pets, will not overeat even if you leave enough food out for the entire day. Surprisingly, the crickets you feed your baby bearded dragon should be smaller than the crickets a fully grown dragon should eat.
Even if a bearded dragon is unlikely to overeat, they will have problems if they consume crickets that are too large for them to eat safely. This is because of the sharp structures that make up the cricket’s body getting stuck inside the beardie, causing painful impaction of the digestive tract and potentially serious internal problems.
A good rule of thumb is to use crickets that are no larger than the distance between the eyes of a bearded dragon. Following this rule makes it simple to keep your pet lizard safe!
How Age Impacts How Many Crickets They Eat
Bearded dragon owners should really have a general idea about how many crickets to feed their little pets as they grow up.
As previously stated, it is best not to limit the number of crickets they eat, especially when they are considered babies. Bearded dragons will not overeat, so forcing them to eat more or less than they appear to want is unnecessary (and potentially dangerous).
The number of cricket feedings per day will gradually decrease as your favorite reptilian friend grows older. Reduce the length of the twice-daily feeding sessions after about 14 months of age. For example, at 13 to 14 months, give your beardie 5 minutes to eat instead of the 10 minutes they were given earlier.
Why Are Crickets Popular With Bearded Dragons?
Crickets are a popular choice among reptiles because of their high protein content, ease of availability, low-fat content, and low cost. Because of this, crickets have become a staple of the diet of many reptiles, including bearded dragons.
The primary goal of live food is to provide the pet with a high amount of protein and a small amount of fat. Crickets contain a significant amount of protein. They are also lower in fat, especially when compared to other worms.
Perhaps the most important reason they continue to be popular is their low, low cost, and easy availability. Crickets can be purchased in bulk from any pet store or online. They also require little care and can live for a long time.
They also need minimal care and can live for a long time. When compared to other live foods, they fall somewhere in the middle in terms of quality.
Other live foods provide more vitamins, more hydration, and more protein, but they are also more expensive.
The Importance Of Feeding Them Living Crickets
People interested in owning a bearded dragon should educate themselves on the importance of using live crickets rather than dead insects.
You should never feed dead crickets or other insects to your bearded dragon. This also means that you should avoid leaving any uneaten crickets in your beardie’s tank after the feeding session is finished.
Depending on how much the insect body has decomposed in the elements, reptiles, including bearded dragons, will naturally want to eat some dead crickets. The problem is that if your beardie eats decomposing crickets, they could become very ill.
Why Crickets Are An Essential Part Of Their Diet
Bearded dragons in the wild spend their days hunting for hopping insects such as crickets. When crickets hop from one spot to another (they aren’t very stealthy), they tend to attract the attention of nearby beardies.
Your bearded dragon, like other predators, will enjoy chasing, stalking, and devouring their cricket prey. Crickets are a great source of enrichment for bearded dragons in captivity, as well as a healthy source of protein. Chasing them around ensures that your reptile gets enough exercise to stay healthy.
Crickets, like some other insects, can carry dangerous parasites that could infect your pet lizard. This is why it’s critical to buy crickets from a reputable and trustworthy seller.
What’s more, insects like Dubia roaches are far less likely to be carrying parasites, are cleaner than crickets, and have more protein in a smaller amount than crickets.
So, why do bearded dragon owners love crickets?
Crickets are a popular choice among bearded dragon owners because they are more readily available and less expensive than other protein-rich foods. Crickets are a safe bet for bearded dragons in general, as long as the owner is aware of the potential for parasite problems.
You can also boost the nutrition your bearded dragon gets from crickets by lightly brushing them with powdered minerals such as calcium and vitamins just before feeding them.
There are a variety of other protein foods available for bearded dragons. These include super worms, which have a high nutritional value. These are good to include if you want to add some variety to their diet.
However, choosing crickets as a primary protein source in their diet will save owners significantly more money in the long run. To make this situation even better, crickets generally contain less fat than other dietary sources of protein for bearded dragons, including the majority of common worms fed to reptiles.
Are There Any Reasons NOT To Feed Crickets?
There are a few reasons why you should carefully consider using crickets as live feeders for your bearded dragon, but they are not deal-breakers.
Crickets are not as nutritious as dubia roaches and are also smaller for your bearded dragon. This means that your dragon will have to consume more crickets to obtain the nutritional value of one dubia roach. Unless you have a very picky bearded dragon or one that’s lost its appetite for some reason, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Crickets, like other live feeder insects, can carry parasites that can harm your bearded dragon. This is why it’s crucial to purchase crickets from a reputable source. For the same reason, never feed your dragon any insect you catch in the wild.
If left in the enclosure for too long, crickets can attack smaller bearded dragons, causing your bearded dragon to become stressed. After each feeding session, make sure to remove all uneaten food from your dragon’s tank.
Crickets can make a lot of noise and emit a foul odor. They can also flee and jump away quickly. Because the noise can bother reptiles, keep your cricket bin away from your pet’s enclosure.
Tips For Cricket Feeding
Make sure you use the correct cricket size for your bearded dragon’s size and age to avoid feeding and digestion issues that could lead to impaction. Read more on bearded dragon impaction. Smaller and younger crickets should be fed to babies and younger dragons.
In general, medium crickets that are 3 to 3 12 weeks old (1/2“ to 5/8“ long) should be the maximum cricket size you feed your adult dragon. These are crickets with soft exoskeletons, which help with digestion. 5-week old crickets have tougher exoskeletons that are more difficult to digest.
You don’t have to be worried about their legs if you use the correct cricket size, but it’s worth checking every now and then to make sure your dragon is secure from impaction dangers.
Changing your feeder insects (with mealworms, super worms, or roaches) is a good way to avoid impaction and ensure you don’t feed your beardie too much of one type. Another option is to provide a clean water bowl and bathe your bearded dragon on a regular basis to keep it hydrated.
Monitor Changes in Behavior or Eating Habits:
Although crickets are considered to be safe feeder insects, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on any changes in your bearded dragon’s behavior or eating habits to rule out any digestive issues. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on their bowel movements. If you leave uneaten food in the enclosure for too long, crickets will bite your bearded dragons, so make sure you clean it out after each feeding session.
To aid in digestion and metabolism, make sure your bearded dragon’s enclosure has the proper heating and lighting requirements.
Clearing Out Uneaten Crickets:
After feeding times, it’s best to remove any uneaten food from your bearded dragon’s enclosure. This keeps your bearded dragon clean and ensures that any uneaten crickets don’t bother or attack your bearded dragon later.
Because the noise these crickets make can stress your beardie, it’s best to get rid of them and keep your cricket bin away from the beardie’s enclosure.
Gut Loading and Dusting:
Crickets can easily be gut-loaded with supplements like vitamin D3, calcium, and other multivitamins, ensuring that your bearded dragon gets all of the nutrients and minerals it needs to stay healthy.
Gut loading is accomplished by feeding these vitamins to your crickets a day before your dragon’s feeding sessions. Because a cricket’s metabolism is quite fast, don’t feed your dragon for more than 24 hours after gut loading. The supplements will have passed through their digestive system after 24 hours, rendering them nutritionally useless to your beardie.
Crickets can also be dusted with calcium supplement powders containing vitamin D3 as an alternative. Put your crickets in a small bag or a clear plastic container, add sufficient calcium powder to lightly dust them, and start shaking the container to coat them. Crickets can be dusted immediately before feeding sessions.
Some Things To Be Aware Of
Crickets can be pretty annoying:
Crickets can sometimes sing all night, so bearded dragon owners should think about where their reptile tank is stored (especially at night). This is something that many new owners overlook!
Make sure you don’t feed them a cricket that’s too large:
Consult a veterinarian if your bearded dragon appears to be in pain, sick, or refuses to eat. If your bearded dragon has been impacted by larger cricket pieces, this can help prevent further harm to your pet (additional feeding will only make things worse). When it comes to dietary advice or illness prevention tips for your bearded dragon, a vet with a bearded dragon experience can be an invaluable resource.
Overall, once you understand what to expect when feeding crickets to your bearded dragon crickets, you and your pet should be able to spend a long time together!
Everything becomes simple once you understand how many crickets to feed a bearded dragon at each stage of their life.
Simply understanding how their needs change as they get older will make you a better beardie owner and enable you to provide better care. This is true not only for cricket feeding but also for everything else!
If you’re a new owner, simply follow the guidelines outlined in this guide. All you have to do is keep things simple, and everything will be fine. If you want to breed your own crickets follow this guide on how to breed crickets for bearded dragons.