Crickets are the go-to insect feeder for most dragon owners. They’re highly nutritious, easy to get, simple to gut load, and best of all, bearded dragons love them! The question is, how many should you offer? How many crickets does a bearded dragon need to eat each day?
The answer is a bit complicated. Generally, babies will eat around 25-80 crickets each day and adults will eat around 10. Dragons need a different number of crickets depending on what life stage they’re in. For younger dragons, more of the diet should be insects than fruits and vegetables, but this is the opposite in adults, who need more fruits and veggies than insects. Let’s take a closer look at dragon feeding at each life stage so you know exactly how many crickets you should be offering your dragon at each point of its life.
How Many Crickets to Feed a Baby Bearded Dragon
Baby bearded dragons are those that are under 3 months of age. They need many feedings throughout the day, allowing your dragon to intake as many nutrients as necessary without overfeeding.
Rather than counting out a particular number of crickets, you’ll feed babies by time. This means you’ll let your dragon eat as many crickets as it can for 5-10 minutes, which constitutes as one feeding. Repeat this for five total feedings each day.
To give a basic estimate, bearded dragons at this age should generally eat 25-80 crickets each day. Thankfully, this number will decrease as the dragon ages and more greens are added to the diet.
How Many Crickets to Feed a Juvenile Bearded Dragon
Juveniles are no longer babies, but they’re still less than a year old. At this stage, you’ll still feed your dragons by time, though the feedings should decrease so you’re only offering insects two or three times each day. At this age, about 25% of your dragon’s diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, though juvenile dragons will still consume between 20-60 crickets weekly.
How Many Crickets to Feed a Young Adult Bearded Dragon
Once your dragon reaches a year old, it’s considered a young adult. Its diet should be about half insects and half greens. If crickets are the only insect you’re feeding, you’ll still want to provide two feedings each day for about 5 minutes.
How Many Crickets to Feed an Adult Bearded Dragon
As adults, bearded dragons should be eating more plant material than insects. About 75% of the diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, while the remaining 25% is made up of insects. At this point, you can offer your dragon a specific number of crickets each day. This number will vary based on your dragon’s size, but the average would be about 10 crickets daily.
What Size Crickets to Feed Your Dragons
Feeding your dragon crickets of the wrong size can lead to major health problems. Impaction could result, or other similar health problems that could have your dragon suffering. As a general rule, never feed your dragon a cricket that’s bigger than the space between your dragon’s eyes.
Only Offer Living Crickets
After feeding, you must take care to remove any crickets that weren’t eaten from your dragon’s enclosure. If the crickets die in there, your dragon will still likely eat them, but they will have started to decompose. Eating rotting flesh can pose a major health concern for your dragon. If your dragon does this, it could become seriously ill.
The same is even true of greens left in the cage for too long that can wilt and grow mold or become contaminated with bacteria. Make sure to always clean out leftover food after a feeding, for the sake of your dragon’s health.
Why Are Crickets Important for Bearded Dragons?
Crickets are loaded with protein, which is essential for your dragon’s health. It’s always great exercise for your dragon to chase the crickets down in order to eat them. But keep in mind, crickets aren’t the only great protein source you can offer your dragon. Still, they’re the most popular for several reasons.
First, they’re easily accessible at any pet store. Second, most people don’t fear crickets. Dubia roaches are a great food source for your dragon, but many people refuse to bring roaches into their house. Plus, you can’t roll down to the local big-box pet store chain and pick up a couple of dozen feeder roaches, but you can do that with crickets.
- Related Read: How to Trim a Bearded Dragon’s Nails (with Video Guide)
Bearded dragons need to eat live insects, and throughout their lifetime, they’ll generally be consuming between 20 and 80 each week. That’s a lot of insects, and crickets are by far the favorite. These insects are easy to find, affordably priced, and they offer plenty of nutrition and exercise for your dragon. Just follow the tips we’ve laid out in this article so you know how many to offer your dragon, and crickets can be the perfect feeder insect for any bearded dragon.
- Also See: 10 Best Foods for Bearded Dragons
Featured Image Credit: Murilo Mazzo, Shutterstock