Chances are, whether you’re an experienced bearded dragon owner or looking to adopt a beardie for the first time, you’re at least somewhat comfortable with the notion of handling insects.
You see, insects play a major role in a bearded dragon’s diet throughout their entire life. And few insects are as poplar amongst bearded dragon owners as the classic and basic cricket.
Crickets are among popular protein options for fueling your dragon because they provide a decent amount of it, can be easily digested, are perfect for dusting with calcium and vitamin powders, and are all around relatively cheaper than many of their insect counterparts.
But the question arises… how many crickets to feed a bearded dragon?
How many crickets you feed a bearded dragon is largely dependent on the age of said dragon. Other factors like current health can come in to play and whether or not a female dragon is gravid.
For healthy, adult bearded dragons you’re going to want to offer them around 10 crickets a day or 20 every other day, during a single feeding. If your dragon is under 3 months old, offer them crickets up to 5 times a day, and allow them to eat as many as they like in a 5 to 10 minute session. From 3 to 12 months, go down to 2 to 3 feedings per day. A healthy juvenile can consume anywhere from 20 to upwards of 60 crickets a week!
As omnivores, bearded dragons need both a consistent source of protein and greens to stay healthy and thrive. If you’ve got a phobia of (Dubia) roaches, then crickets are really your only consistent and practical protein option.
Although there can be links to parasites with crickets, they tend to be for the most part a pretty safe and nutritious option for your bearded dragon… especially if you’re gut loading them and dusting with calcium and vitamins appropriately.
There are other cons with crickets, like their chirping and the fact that they can be dirty and difficult to keep alive… but it’s just part of the game in having a bearded dragon.
The number of crickets your bearded dragon should eat as a juvenile is largely related to how young they actually are. Extremely young dragons require being fed protein as many as FIVE times per day and are generally encouraged to eat as much as they like within a certain allotted time frame.
On the other hand, older babies should start to be fed less protein in exchange for more greens to prepare them for their adult diet. Read on to discover just how many crickets your dragon should eat at various stages of their youth!
*It is important to note that NO dragon – old or young – should be given crickets that are larger than the space between their eyes. Feeding your dragon crickets that are too large can lead to impaction and other suffering and is very inhumane. So, please be aware of the size you’re giving them.
Dragons under 3 months really benefit from being encouraged to eat as much protein as they want to ensure they grow up strong and healthy. If your dragon fits within this age range, offer him or her as many crickets as they want within a 5 to 10-minute time frame no less than 3 times a day, but ideally 5 times. Trust me, once your little guy or gal is full they will stop eating the crickets.
Unlike the family dog, dragons won’t eat until their stomach bursts, so don’t worry too much about overeating at this age, especially if you’re keeping the feedings to just 5 to 10 minutes. At this age, dragons can easily consume anywhere from 25 to 80 small crickets a day!
Once your dragon hits three months, reduce your feedings from five times a day down to three times a day. Once more, allow him or her to eat to their hearts desire within a 5 to 10-minute time frame. At this age, expect your dragon to consume anywhere from 25 to 50 crickets a day.
Once your dragon is over 8 months old, go down to two feedings per day and allow them to continue to eat as many as they like. Your dragon may continue growing all the way up until the 18-month mark and as such, should still have a pretty protein heavy diet.
However, with this being said, it wouldn’t hurt to slowly wean back on some of the protein in place more greens once your dragon is around 14 months or so. This can help ease them into their adult diet.
Initial weaning may look like giving them only 5 minutes as opposed to 10 to eat all that they can or introducing a set number of crickets per feeding.
At this age, you will likely want to start incorporating some more greens into your dragon’s diet as well. Remember, adult dragons will eat a diet of roughly 80% greens to 20% protein, so just nicely ease your dragon into this.
Although your dragon may appear to have stopped growing before the 18-month mark, they are not a true adult nor sexually mature until the time. Once they have reached this mark, their diet needs to consist of 80% greens and 20% protein.
If you’re solely feeding them crickets, they should be consuming about 30 to 70 a week, depending on the size. You can also at this point introduce superworms as well and limit cricket intake.
I’m Stacey, the owner of this website and lifelong reptile lover, caretaker, and educator. Here you will find everything from information on how to care for reptiles, to even how to give your reptiles the best fighting chances against a range of common reptile diseases and illnesses, and everything in between!