What Meats Can Bearded Dragons Eat? A Comprehensive Guide

Bearded dragons are fascinating creatures that make great pets. One of the most important aspects of caring for your bearded dragon is providing them with a healthy and well-balanced diet. While many people may assume that these reptiles only eat insects and vegetables, the truth is that bearded dragons can also enjoy a variety of meats.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the meats that bearded dragons can eat:

-Chicken: Being a good source of protein, chicken is a great addition to your bearded dragon’s diet. Make sure to remove any skin, fat, or bones before feeding it to your reptile.

-Beef: Similar to chicken, beef is an excellent source of protein. However, it should only be given to your bearded dragon occasionally.

-Fish: Fish offers a variety of different nutrients that can benefit your bearded dragon’s health. However, it is recommended that you stick to freshwater fish like tilapia or trout, as saltwater fish may contain high levels of mercury.

Overview of a Bearded Dragon’s Diet

Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning that they eat both plant and animal material. Their diet typically consists of three main components: insects, vegetables, and fruits. It is essential to provide a balanced diet to ensure that your pet receives all the necessary nutrients that they need to stay healthy.


  • Bearded dragons are primarily insectivores, and insects make up a significant part of their diet. Some of the insects that they can eat include crickets, mealworms, waxworms, silkworms, and roaches.
  • It is vital to ensure that the insects are appropriately sized for your bearded dragon. Feeder insects should not be larger than the space between your bearded dragon’s eyes.
  • You should also gut load the insects before feeding them to your pet. Gut loading refers to feeding the insects a high-quality diet to ensure that they are full of nutrients that your bearded dragon needs.

Vegetables and Greens

Vegetables and greens are also an essential part of a bearded dragon’s diet. Some vegetables that you can feed your bearded dragon include carrots, bell peppers, squash, and green beans. Leafy greens like collard greens, mustard greens, and dandelion greens are also great options.

It’s important to provide a variety of vegetables and greens to ensure your pet receives all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Avoid feeding your bearded dragon iceberg lettuce as it has little nutritional value.


While fruits should only make up a small part of your bearded dragon’s diet, they can be a great source of vitamins and minerals. Some fruits that you can feed your pet include apples, bananas, and strawberries. However, bearded dragons tend to prefer vegetables over fruits, so don’t overdo it on the fruit treats.


A bearded dragon’s diet should be varied and balanced to ensure that they receive all the necessary nutrients. Feeder insects, vegetables, and greens, and fruits should all be a part of their diet, and you should strive to provide a variety of each. By providing a balanced diet, you can help your bearded dragon live a long and healthy life.

Feeder Insects Vegetables and Greens Fruits
Crickets Carrots Apples
Mealworms Bell Peppers Bananas
Waxworms Squash Strawberries
Silkworms Green Beans
Roaches Leafy Greens

Please note that this table is not an exhaustive list of all the insects, vegetables, and fruits that bearded dragons can eat. Always do your research before introducing new foods into your pet’s diet.

Benefits of incorporating meat into a bearded dragon’s diet

Bearded dragons are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. However, many people tend to focus on feeding their bearded dragons a primarily plant-based diet. While a diet of primarily fruits and vegetables can certainly provide adequate nutrition for your bearded dragon, it’s important to also incorporate some animal protein into its diet. Here are some of the benefits of incorporating meat into a bearded dragon’s diet:

  • Protein: Meat is a great source of protein, which is essential for your bearded dragon’s growth and overall health. Protein helps build and repair tissues, and it also plays a role in maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat.
  • Calcium: Many types of meat are also a good source of calcium, which is another essential nutrient for bearded dragons. Calcium helps maintain strong bones and teeth, and it’s important for muscle and nerve function.
  • Variety: Eating the same fruits and vegetables every day can get boring for your bearded dragon. Incorporating some meat into its diet can provide some much-needed variety and help keep mealtime interesting.

If you do decide to incorporate meat into your bearded dragon’s diet, it’s important to choose the right types of meat and feed them in moderation. Stick to lean meats like chicken and turkey, and avoid fatty meats like beef and pork. You should also make sure the meat is cooked thoroughly to avoid any risk of bacterial infection.

Here’s a helpful chart of some meats that are safe for bearded dragons to eat:

Meat Nutritional Benefits
Chicken Good source of protein and calcium
Turkey Good source of protein and calcium
Beef heart High in protein and taurine
Mealworms Good source of protein and fat
Superworms Good source of protein and fat

Remember, while meat can be a healthy addition to your bearded dragon’s diet, it should never make up more than 25% of its total food intake. Always consult with a veterinarian before making any major changes to your bearded dragon’s diet.

Types of Meat Suitable for Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons are omnivorous creatures and require a balanced diet consisting of both vegetable matter and protein. While insects make up the bulk of their protein requirements, bearded dragons can also consume a variety of meats. Here are some types of meat that are suitable for bearded dragons:

List of Suitable Meats for Bearded Dragons

  • Chicken – low in fat and a good source of protein
  • Turkey – another good source of lean protein
  • Rabbit – high in protein and low in fat

The Importance of Proper Preparation

It’s important to note that the meat should be cooked and cut into small, bite-sized pieces to ensure that your bearded dragon can safely consume it. Any meat that is fed to your bearded dragon should be free of bones, as bones can cause impaction or other serious digestive issues in bearded dragons. Also, meat should be offered only as a treat and not as a staple part of their diet.

When feeding your bearded dragons meat, it’s essential to ensure that there are no seasonings added to the meat as spices can cause digestive issues for your pet. Remember to always wash your hands before handling any meat or food item that your bearded dragon will consume to prevent contamination.

Table of Nutritional Information for Common Meats

Meat Protein per 100g Fat per 100g Calories per 100g
Chicken 20 g 5 g 138 kcal
Turkey 21 g 6 g 147 kcal
Rabbit 22 g 3 g 129 kcal

The table above outlines the nutritional information for some of the most common meats suitable for bearded dragons. As can be seen from the table, these meats are all high in protein but low in fat which is important for a healthy and balanced diet for your pet.

Nutritional value of crickets for bearded dragons

Crickets are one of the most popular and widely used live feeders for bearded dragons. They are not only readily available, but they also provide an excellent source of nutrition for these reptiles. Here are some important nutritional facts about crickets that make them an ideal food choice for your bearded dragon:

  • High in Protein: Crickets are a rich source of protein, which is essential for the growth and development of bearded dragons. Protein also helps in the repair and maintenance of muscles and tissues.
  • High in Fiber: Crickets are also high in fiber, which aids in digestion and helps in maintaining a healthy gut flora. A healthy gut is essential for the overall health of your bearded dragon.
  • Low in Fat: Crickets have a low-fat content, which makes them an ideal food choice for bearded dragons that are prone to obesity.
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Crickets are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the growth and development of bearded dragons. They contain high levels of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and vitamin A, which are all essential for the health of your pet.

How to feed crickets to your bearded dragon

When feeding your bearded dragon crickets, it is important to ensure that they are getting a balanced diet. Here are some tips on how to feed crickets to your pet:

  • Feed age-appropriate sized crickets: Younger bearded dragons need smaller crickets, while larger, adult bearded dragons can handle larger crickets.
  • Dust crickets with supplements: Dusting crickets with calcium powder and multivitamin supplements will ensure that your bearded dragon is getting all the essential nutrients it needs.
  • Feed only live crickets: Bearded dragons are natural hunters and thrive on the challenge of hunting live prey. Feeding your pet live crickets will provide them with exercise and mental stimulation.

What to look for when buying crickets

When purchasing crickets for your bearded dragon, it is important to look for high-quality and healthy insects. Here are some things to consider when selecting crickets:

  • Size: As mentioned earlier, be sure to choose the right size of crickets for your bearded dragon.
  • Health: Choose crickets that are active, lively, and free from any signs of disease or damage.
  • Nutrition: Ensure that the crickets have been fed a nutritious diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and other sources of vitamins and minerals.

Care tips for keeping crickets

If you plan on keeping crickets to use as feeders for your bearded dragon, it is important to know how to properly care for them. Here are some tips for keeping crickets:

Tip Explanation
Provide adequate space Crickets need enough space to move around and breathe. A container that is too small can cause stress and lead to a shorter lifespan.
Use the right substrate Avoid using soil or sand as a substrate. Instead, use coconut coir or paper towels, which are safe and easy to clean.
Provide food and water Feed crickets a nutritious diet of fruits, vegetables, and cricket feed. Provide a shallow dish of water for them to drink from.
Clean the enclosure regularly Remove any uneaten food or dead crickets from the enclosure daily to keep it clean and reduce the risk of disease.

By taking these care tips into consideration, you can provide your bearded dragon with a healthy and nutritious food source that will help them thrive.

Can bearded dragons eat chicken?

Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. However, not all meats are safe for bearded dragons to consume. One common question amongst bearded dragon owners is whether or not they can eat chicken.

  • Chicken is a good source of protein for bearded dragons, but it should not be their main source of protein.
  • Raw or undercooked chicken can contain harmful bacteria and should not be fed to bearded dragons.
  • Remove all bones and skin from cooked chicken before feeding it to your bearded dragon.

If you decide to feed your bearded dragon chicken, it should be fed in moderation, no more than once a week. It is always important to remember that a bearded dragon’s diet should consist mainly of leafy greens and vegetables.

Below is a table outlining some of the safe and unsafe meats for bearded dragons:

Safe Meats Unsafe Meats
Chicken (cooked, boneless, and skinless) Raw or undercooked meats
Turkey (cooked, boneless, and skinless) Processed meats (such as lunch meat)
Beef (cooked, lean cuts) High-fat meats (such as bacon or sausage)
Fish (cooked, boneless, and skinless) Meats that have been seasoned or contain additives

Feeding Bearded Dragons Mealworms

Mealworms, the larvae of the darkling beetle, are a popular choice for feeding bearded dragons. They are relatively cheap and widely available in pet stores and online. However, it should be noted that they are not a complete and balanced diet for your pet.

  • Mealworms are a good source of protein for bearded dragons, but they are high in fat and low in calcium. Therefore, it is important to balance out their diet with other food items.
  • You can feed mealworms to your bearded dragon as an occasional treat; however, they should not make up the majority of their diet.
  • It is recommended that you gut-load the mealworms before feeding them to your bearded dragon. This means feeding the mealworms nutritious food items, such as vegetables or fruits, so that the nutrients will be passed on to your pet.

When feeding mealworms to your bearded dragon, it is important to take some precautions to ensure their safety and well-being:

Firstly, you should avoid feeding your pet too many mealworms at once. Overconsumption of mealworms can lead to impaction, which is a build-up of undigested food in the digestive tract. This can be fatal for bearded dragons.

Additionally, you should avoid feeding your bearded dragon mealworms that are too large. Mealworms have strong jaws and can potentially harm your pet if they are too big to chew and swallow.

Lastly, it is important to buy mealworms from a reputable source to ensure that they are healthy and disease-free. You should also avoid feeding your bearded dragon any wild-caught insects, as they may be carrying parasites or other harmful substances.

Pros of feeding mealworms to bearded dragons: Cons of feeding mealworms to bearded dragons:
High in protein Low in calcium
Widely available High in fat
Can be gut-loaded for added nutrition Potential choking hazard if too large

In conclusion, mealworms can be an occasional treat for your bearded dragon, but they should not be relied upon as a primary food source. It is important to balance out their diet with other food items and take precautions to ensure their safety and health.

Beef as a Protein Source for Bearded Dragons

When it comes to providing protein to your beloved bearded dragon, beef can be a great option. While dragons are primarily insectivores, they can benefit from also consuming animal protein sources. Beef, specifically, can provide the necessary protein, amino acids, and minerals that these reptiles require in their diet.

  • Protein: Beef contains high-quality protein that is easily digested by bearded dragons and aids in muscle development and maintenance.
  • Amino acids: Beef is a rich source of essential and nonessential amino acids, which play a crucial role in various physiological functions, including tissue repair and growth.
  • Minerals: Beef is also a good source of essential minerals such as iron, zinc, and phosphorus, which are necessary for proper bone growth and overall health.

However, it’s important to note that not all cuts of beef are suitable for bearded dragons. Lean cuts such as ground beef or beef heart are the best options as they are low in fat and connective tissue, which can be difficult for bearded dragons to digest.

When feeding beef to your bearded dragon, it’s crucial to remember that it should always be offered in small amounts and as part of a varied diet that includes insects, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also important to ensure that the beef is fresh, cooked thoroughly, and free from any seasoning or additives.

Pros: Cons:
High-quality protein High in fat, if not properly chosen
Rich in essential and nonessential amino acids Moderate amounts of cholesterol
Good source of essential minerals Risk of bacterial contamination if not cooked properly

Overall, beef can be a beneficial source of protein for bearded dragons if included in their diet in moderation and with careful consideration of the cut and quality. As with any new food introduced to your pet, monitor their reaction and appetite to ensure they tolerate it well.

Can bearded dragons eat fish?

Bearded dragons are omnivorous creatures, which means they eat both plants and animals. While most of the diet should come from vegetables and insects, some owners may wonder if they can also feed fish to their bearded dragons.

  • Yes, bearded dragons can eat some types of fish, but it should not make up a significant portion of their diet.
  • The fish should be cooked and deboned before feeding it to your bearded dragon.
  • Fish that are safe for bearded dragons to eat include tilapia and cod.

However, there are also some types of fish that should be avoided:

  • Fish that contain high levels of mercury, such as tuna
  • Fish that are high in oils, such as salmon
  • Fish that are too large or have sharp bones, such as trout

It’s important to note that while bearded dragons can eat fish, it should not be a regular part of their diet. Fish is not a natural part of their diet in the wild, and too much of it could lead to health issues such as obesity and vitamin deficiencies.

Fish Protein (g) Fat (g) Calories
Tilapia 21 2 96
Cod 20 0.5 89

As always, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or reptile specialist to determine the appropriate diet for your bearded dragon and avoid any potential health issues.

Risks of feeding bearded dragons raw meat

While bearded dragons are omnivores and consume both animal and plant matter in the wild, feeding them raw meat comes with certain risks. Here are some factors to consider before adding raw meat to your bearded dragon’s diet:

  • Bacteria: Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause serious health issues in bearded dragons. These bacteria can also spread to humans through handling or close contact with the reptile.
  • Parasites: Raw meat may contain parasites like tapeworms, which can lead to intestinal blockages and other complications in bearded dragons. These parasites can also affect humans who come into contact with the reptile’s feces.
  • Nutrition: While meat can provide essential nutrients like protein, feeding raw meat to bearded dragons may not be the best way to meet their nutritional needs. Cooked or canned meat may be a safer option as it is less likely to contain harmful bacteria and parasites.

It’s important to note that feeding bearded dragons raw meat is not a necessary part of their diet and they can thrive without it.

If you do choose to include meat in your bearded dragon’s diet, it’s important to take precautions to ensure their safety. Make sure the meat is fresh and comes from a reliable source, and always wash your hands thoroughly after handling it or cleaning your pet’s cage. A balanced diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, and commercial lizard food can also help ensure your bearded dragon gets the nutrition they need without the risks associated with raw meat.

If you notice any unusual symptoms in your bearded dragon after feeding them raw meat, such as lethargy or diarrhea, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Plant-based protein sources for bearded dragons

Bearded dragons require a balanced diet that includes both animal- and plant-based proteins. While insects are a primary source of protein for these reptiles, adding plant-based proteins to their diet can provide them with a wider range of nutrients.

  • Collard Greens – These leafy greens are high in protein and calcium, and can be fed to bearded dragons either raw or cooked.
  • Endive – Endive is another leafy green that is high in protein, calcium, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Butternut Squash – This winter squash is a low-fat source of protein for bearded dragons, as well as a good source of fiber, vitamin A, and potassium.

Other plant-based proteins that can be added to a bearded dragon’s diet include kale, dandelion greens, green beans, and pumpkin. It’s important to note, however, that while these vegetables are high in protein, they should not be fed to bearded dragons in large amounts as they can also be high in oxalic acid, which can decrease the absorption of calcium.

To ensure that your bearded dragon is getting the right balance of nutrients, it’s a good idea to offer a variety of plant-based proteins along with a staple diet of insects, such as crickets or mealworms.

Plant-based protein Protein content per 100g
Collard Greens 3.0g
Endive 1.5g
Butternut Squash 1.0g

Adding plant-based proteins to your bearded dragon’s diet can provide them with essential nutrients and help ensure their overall health and well-being.

What Meats Can Bearded Dragons Eat FAQs

1. Can bearded dragons eat chicken?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat cooked chicken in small amounts. Make sure to remove the bones and skin, and do not feed it frequently.

2. Is it okay to feed bearded dragons beef?
Beef is not recommended for bearded dragons as it contains high levels of fats and proteins that may cause digestive and health problems.

3. Can bearded dragons eat fish?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat some types of fish like tilapia, cod, salmon, and tuna. Make sure to remove the bones and cook it thoroughly before feeding.

4. Are pork and bacon safe for bearded dragons?
No, pork and bacon are high in fats and salt that can cause health problems for bearded dragons. Avoid feeding them these types of meats.

5. Can bearded dragons eat insects and worms instead?
Yes, insects like crickets, mealworms, and superworms are the staple food for bearded dragons. They can also eat cockroaches, locusts, and silkworms as a treat.

6. What about fruits and vegetables?
Bearded dragons also need a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables like kale, collard greens, squash, berries, apples, and oranges. Make sure to chop them into small pieces and feed in moderation.

7. How often should I feed my bearded dragon meat?
Meat should only be given as a treat and not as the primary source of food for bearded dragons. Offer it once or twice a week, depending on their age, size, and overall health condition.

Closing Thoughts on What Meats Can Bearded Dragons Eat

Now that you know what meats can and cannot be fed to bearded dragons, it’s important to remember that a balanced diet is key to their health and wellbeing. Insects and worms should be the main source of protein, with occasional treats of fish or chicken. Don’t forget to also offer fresh fruits and vegetables to supply the necessary vitamins and minerals. Thank you for reading, and check back soon for more tips on caring for your bearded dragon!