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How Many Crickets to Feed a Baby Bearded Dragon: Nutrition & Care Guide

Visnja Radosavljevic

By Visnja Radosavljevic

feeding baby bearded dragon

Bearded dragons are omnivores, which means they consume plant- and animal-based foods. However, baby bearded dragons need more animal-based foods because these have the high protein amounts that they need for proper development.

A favorite animal-based food for baby bearded dragons is crickets. They are tasty, full of protein, and easy to get/buy. But how many crickets should you feed a baby dragon?

Most baby bearded dragons consume between 25 and 80 crickets a day, though the numbers can vary because not every baby bearded dragon will have the same appetite.

Read on to discover more about the diet of bearded dragons, how many crickets to feed a baby bearded dragon, and how to choose the best crickets.

What a Bearded Dragon Diet Should Look Like

Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning their diet consists of meat- and plant-based products like insects, rodents, berries, fruits, and veggies.1 However, during their baby and juvenile stages, bearded dragons are primarily carnivorous, while they tend to be more herbivorous as they age.

They mainly consume crickets, mealworms, and roaches, though they also like pears, apples, carrots, peas, and other plant-based products.

Depending on your bearded dragon’s age, its diet should typically be 50% animal-based foods (insects, rodents) and 50% plant-based foods (veggies, berries, fruits).

Baby bearded dragons should have one or two meals daily, and their food needs will decrease as they age. Adult bearded dragons need less food and can eat every 24–72 hours, but that can vary based on their appetite.

bearded dragon in terrarium
Image Credit: Stefanie66, Pixabay

How Many Crickets Should You Feed a Bearded Dragon Through The 4 Life Stages

Crickets are among the favorite insects that bearded dragons like to consume. They represent a great source of protein, and they’ll enable your bearded dragon to grow healthy and strong. The number of crickets that your bearded dragon should eat will vary in their different life stages.

1. Baby Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are considered babies until they reach between 3 and 6 months of age. They need one or two meals per day, and they need more animal-based foods than plant-based ones. When feeding crickets to a baby bearded dragon, you should allow them to consume them freely during a feeding session, which typically lasts between 5 and 10 minutes.

During the session, it’s best to provide as many crickets as possible. If the baby bearded dragon is hungry, it will eat; if it’s already feeling full, it will reject the food. It’s best to have a couple of feeding sessions per day.

Most baby bearded dragons consume 25–80 crickets daily among multiple feeding sessions.

2. Juvenile Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are considered juvenile when they reach between 6 and 12 months. As they grow older, bearded dragons need fewer feeding sessions, typically around two to three per day, each lasting between 5 and 10 minutes.

During this period, it’s common for juvenile bearded dragons to consume between 25 and 60 crickets daily.

young bearded dragon
Image Credit: Shinedawn, Shutterstock

3. Young Adult Bearded Dragon

At this stage of a bearded dragon’s life, between 9 and 18 months old, young adult bearded dragons need fewer animal-based foods and may show more interest in plant-based foods. So, as they age, bearded dragons typically consume fewer crickets.

During the young adult stage of bearded dragons, they need around two cricket feedings per day, in 5–10-minute sessions. Most young adult bearded dragons can consume around 20– 30 crickets daily.

4. Adult Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are considered adults once they are older than 18 months. At this stage of their life, their diet changes, and it should be 50% animal-based foods and 50% plant-based foods.

During this stage, it’s best to have one feeding per day and allow them to consume as many crickets as they can during a 10–15-minute session. During that time, adult bearded dragons typically consume around 10 crickets per day.

western bearded dragon
Image Credit: Adam-Brice, Shutterstock

Things You Need to Know When Choosing Crickets to Feed a Baby Bearded Dragon

Before giving crickets to your baby bearded dragon, there are a few things that you should do to ensure that they are safe to consume. Many different cricket species are available, and the most common ones for bearded dragon consumption are:

  • House crickets
  • Tropical house crickets
  • Jamaican crickets
  • Two-spotted crickets

Besides considering the species, you should also consider their size, as you will offer them to your baby bearded dragon while they’re alive.

Here’s a list of other things that you should know to select the best crickets for feeding your baby bearded dragon.

cricket on plant leaf
Image Credit: Piqsels

Offer Living Crickets

When giving crickets to your baby bearded dragon, ensure that you’re offering living ones. This will enable your baby bearded dragon to familiarize itself with its hunting instincts and try to catch the cricket as prey. It will be a fun and engaging activity in which your little beardie will have to hunt down the cricket.

Also, consuming decomposing or dead crickets could make your baby bearded dragon sick or ill. These crickets release chemicals and toxins that could lead to various health issues.

Consider the Size of the Crickets

Before giving crickets to your baby bearded dragon, you should consider their size. The crickets should be smaller than the space between your bearded dragon’s eyes so they can consume them easily. Consuming larger crickets could potentially harm your beardie, causing digestion, feeding, or impaction problems.

List of typical cricket sizes available in pet stores:
  • Pinhead crickets — Very small, around 0.04 inches in size (suitable for baby bearded dragons and juveniles)
  • Small crickets — Slightly larger than pinhead crickets; around ⅛ of an inch long (suitable for young adult bearded dragons)
  • Medium crickets Medium sized, between ½ and ⅝ of an inch long
  • Large crickets — Largest variety, between 1 and 1.5 inches long
Image Credit: BubbleJuice, Pixabay

Buy Crickets From Your Local Pet Store

When getting crickets for your baby bearded dragon, always buy them from reputable places, such as your local pet store, and don’t get wild crickets. The latter may contain pesticides and various deadly parasites.

Consider Breeding Your Own Crickets

If you don’t want to spend time and money purchasing crickets for your baby bearded dragon at the local pet store, you can consider breeding your own. This way, you’ll have a constant, fresh supply of insects for your little beardie.

Why Is Eating Crickets Important for Baby Bearded Dragons?

Bearded dragons are natural hunters with the instinct to hunt down and consume their prey, which typically includes all kinds of moving insects. Providing live crickets to baby bearded dragons will enable them to enhance their senses, keep them in good shape, and allow them to have fun.

Crickets are also an excellent source of protein, and they will keep your baby bearded dragon full while promoting its development.

bearded dragon in the wild
Image Credit: Piqsels

Final Thoughts

Baby bearded dragons need a high-protein diet, which is why crickets are excellent food options for them. It’s best to offer live crickets to your baby bearded dragon through multiple feeding sessions throughout the day.

Most baby bearded dragons consume between 25 and 80 crickets per day, which is why you should be well-prepared and have enough crickets to provide until your little beardie is full.

Featured Image Credit: Evgeniia Zakharishcheva, Shutterstock

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