A super common question that we get in the reptile feeder industry is “how many bugs should I feed my bearded dragon?” or “what size roaches should I buy?” These are both very valid questions but they are not as simple as they may seem.
There are many factors to consider when trying to figure out the best diet for your bearded dragon. Some things to consider include your dragon’s age, size and body condition. Younger dragons eat many more insects than older dragons do. A juvenile bearded dragon could eat up to 50 insects every day! They need to be offered some kind of insect every single day. They should also be offered fresh greens but they may not start eating them much until they are a bit older. Adult bearded dragons only need to be fed insects two or three times a week. They should be eating fresh greens every day.
The amount of bugs that your dragon eats will depend on the dragon itself. Some eat more and some eat less. We typically recommend feeding a young bearded dragon as many bugs as they will eat in a 10 to 15 minute period. For some, this may be 5 bugs and for others, it may be 50 bugs. For an older dragon, it is important to limit the amount of bugs that they are eating. An over abundance of insects may cause your pet to become obese. Obesity in bearded dragons can lead to organ failure, egg binding and prolapses. If your pet is already obese, you should feed them less bugs until they reach an ideal weight. If your pet is underweight, you may want to feed them more bugs until they gain a little bit. It is still important not to over do it with insects and to still ensure that their primary diet is fresh greens. If your bearded dragon is extremely skinny, we recommend seeking veterinary attention and working with a professional to get weight put on your pet.
In our experience with bearded dragons, their age does not do much in determining what size feeders to buy. Bearded dragons of the same age could be completely different sizes. The best rule of thumb when deciding what size bugs to buy is looking at the space between your pet’s eyes. The feeders that you are offering should be no bigger than the space between their eyes. If you are unsure or are in between sizes, we recommend sizing down. If the feeders are too small, you can feed them and allow them to grow to the correct size for your pet. If the feeders are too big, they may go to waste if you are unable to use them for another pet. It is very important not to feed your dragon feeders that are too large. Feeders that are too large can cause impaction which is a blockage in your pets digestive system. These blockages can cause many issues and may even be fatal to your pet.
You can see here that there are many factors that go into choosing the correct size and quantity of bugs for your pet. The truth of the matter is that nobody knows your pet better than you. It is important to do research before getting any pet to make sure that they are a good fit for you but also to ensure that you can afford the pet that you are interested in. We are happy to help if you still need assistance deciding what size feeders to get.