When it comes to understanding the dietary requirements of bearded dragons, it’s essential to realize that their needs change as they progress through different life stages. From being voracious insect eaters in their early days to gradually including more greens as they grow, there's a noticeable shift in their dietary pattern. One of the popular choices for feeding these reptiles is Dubia roaches, which are nutritious and a perfect size for most beardies. Let's delve deeper into the various dietary needs across their life stages:
1. Hatchlings (0-12 weeks) Hatchling bearded dragons are in a rapid growth phase. They rely primarily on live insects for their nutrition. Expect your hatchling to consume between 30-60 tiny insects daily, ideally split into 3 or 4 feedings. Though offering fresh greens is good, don't be alarmed if they seem uninterested.
2. Baby Stage (4-5 months) Morning greens can be introduced to their diet, even though live insects still constitute about 90% of their diet. At this stage, they can handle small-sized Dubia roaches, consuming approximately 15-30 a day.
3. Juvenile Phase (6-9 months) Here, 80% of their diet should still be live insects. However, do increase the fresh greens intake daily. As their growth rate slows down slightly, they might consume around 10-15 medium-sized Dubia roaches or less.
4. Sub-adult (10-18 Months) The dietary balance begins to shift during the sub-adult phase. Greens should now form 40-60% of their diet, with the same percentage dedicated to live insects. A typical sub-adult bearded dragon might eat 10 medium-sized Dubia roaches or opt for 5 large ones. Offering both varieties daily is advisable.
5. Adult Phase (1.5 years and older) By adulthood, bearded dragons show a clear preference for greens, which should form about 80% of their diet. Live insects become an occasional treat. An adult might consume around 5 large Dubia roaches every 2 or 3 days. While there's no need to offer live insects daily at this stage, ensure fresh greens are provided every day.
Some Useful Guidelines:
- Every bearded dragon is unique, and their growth rate may vary. Hence, the Dubia roach size mentioned is just a guideline.
- For choosing the right insect size, measure the distance between your bearded dragon's eyes. The insect's size should not exceed this measurement.
- While Dubia roaches are an excellent staple, rotating other insects in their diet ensures a balanced and healthy nutrition.