Bearded dragons are among the most popular reptile pets. In captivity, bearded dragons thrive on a varied diet containing the right balance of vegetable matter and animal protein. Insects are a good source of animal protein, but you have to be careful which insects you feed, where you source them, and how often you feed them.
Can bearded dragons eat grasshoppers? Yes, most grasshoppers are safe for bearded dragons, but there are some precautions to take to protect your dragon when offering them.
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded dragons are native to Australia in desert environments where food is sparse, their natural diet is varied and includes both animal and plant foods. When they’re young, bearded dragons are more carnivorous. The adults are more herbivorous.
Bearded dragons can eat crickets as well as mealworms, dubia roaches, and crickets. Fatty worms like superworms and waxworms can be fed on occasion. Even as adults, bearded dragons need insects in their diet to get enough protein.
Should Bearded Dragons Eat Grasshoppers?
Along with mealworms and crickets, grasshoppers are a nutritious and enjoyable insect for bearded dragons to hunt and eat. They’re a good source of protein, but don’t contain the right calcium to phosphorus ratio and so should be dusted with calcium before being offered to your beardie. This helps to prevent health problems like metabolic bone disease.
Still, grasshoppers shouldn’t be an everyday food for your dragon. On average you can feed grasshoppers once (maybe twice a week for a robust dragon) with a variety of other insects and leafy greens. Young dragons may be able to eat grasshoppers more often but be sure to consult with your vet about what’s appropriate for your individual animal.
Can Bearded Dragons Have Wild Grasshoppers?
It’s never a good idea to capture wild insects from your yard or garden and give them to your bearded dragon—grasshoppers or otherwise. These insects can be exposed to all types of contaminants that can harm your dragon, including insecticides and pesticides.
Some insects may even ingest insects or plants that are toxic to your dragon, inadvertently poisoning them when they eat a “safe” food.
Grasshoppers and other feeder insects are inexpensive and widely available, so there’s no need to source them from the wild. Reputable feeder supply companies provide clean, safe insects that are captive-bred and born to ensure they haven’t come in contact with anything that can harm your beardie.
If you have a lot of insectivorous reptiles or want to take a more hands-on approach, you can try raising your own feeder insects for your collection. It’s a lot of work, however, and you won’t have as much variety from your own supply, so you’ll need to supplement with other feeder insects.
Like crickets, grasshoppers are a safe insect that gives your bearded dragon a little predatory chase and lots of nutrition. While you shouldn’t feed grasshoppers to your bearded dragon every day, they can be a healthy addition to a well-rounded diet once or twice a week. Just be mindful of sourcing grasshoppers from reputable suppliers. Wild grasshoppers can be contaminated with insecticides or other contaminants that can put your beardie’s health at risk.