Vegetables & Fruits
It is a common misconception that bearded dragons need a diet of only feeder bugs, this is 100% inaccurate. Dragons that are only fed bugs are at a high risk for obesity, which will shorten their lifespan. Also it is really hard on a dragon's liver to digest lots of proteins over and over without any greens to help digestion. They can develop liver cancer as well. Dragons are opportunistic feeders, in fact they are very lazy when it comes to getting food especially once they are adults. Part of having healthy and happy dragon is offering them a variety of fruits and vegetables daily along with their feeder bugs. The 4 greens listed below are the best types to offer your dragon.
Dragons can see in color so offering a variety of fruits and veggies is best. It will peak their interest to investigate their bowl seeing various colors. Dragons under 1 year old should have a small salad daily and 8-12 bugs a day 7 days a week. If your dragon is 1 year old or older he/she should get a salad every day, and 5-10 feeders a day 6 days a week. It is ok to give them a day off eating feeders. The reason is they are less active then when were as babies so they are slower to digest their foods. To compare it to humans think about if all you ate were steaks 7 days a week and did nothing but sit on the couch and watch TV, not a very healthy lifestyle. The fruits below are great for dragons.
Save Your Money and Your Greens
Buy your greens/fruits/veggies every week at the grocery store or local farmer's market. Wash them, then chop, shred or dice them ahead of time and put them in airtight tubs in the refrigerator so they last longer and it makes them easy to grab at the start of every day. For leafy base greens chop them and put them into either airtight containers or seal-able bags with paper towels in between to ensure they don't get soggy.
Right Size Your Fruits & Veggies
When chopping up your veggies and fruits always make sure that nothing you give your dragon is bigger than the space between their eyes. Baby dragons especially think they can eat any size food, and can choke as a result.
My trick to get picky dragons to eat greens/veggies/fruits is to give them their 'salad' in the morning and then in the late afternoon feed the live foods, crickets/worms etc. They will be hungry all day or they will eat their salad. Eventually they will cave and eat it. Doing this for a while will train them to where they will see the salad and dive right in because they will know that no other food is coming until much later. Keep in mind a dragon NEEDS this balanced diet. Also if your dragon doesn't eat greens you might be making them nervous, stop watching them when you feed them. In the wild a dragon will run away rather than eat if it feels threatened.
Check out the nutrition chart we use from www.BeautifulDragons.com
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