Bugs On The Menu: Are Crickets Good For Bearded Dragons?

If you have a bearded dragon as a pet, you might be wondering what kinds of bugs it likes to eat. Well, did you know that bearded dragons like to eat crickets? Yes, those little hopping bugs that you sometimes see in your backyard. But are crickets good for bearded dragons? Let’s find out in this article!

Nutritional Benefits of Crickets for Bearded Dragons

Protein Content

Crickets are an excellent source of protein for bearded dragons. Protein is essential for the growth and development of muscles, organs, and tissues. Bearded dragons need a high-protein diet, especially during their early stages of life. Crickets provide a rich source of quality protein that helps support the overall health and vitality of your bearded dragon.

Healthy Fats

In addition to protein, crickets also contain healthy fats that are essential for bearded dragons’ well-being. These fats provide a source of energy and help support vital functions in their body. They are necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and help maintain healthy skin and scales. Including crickets in your bearded dragon’s diet ensures they receive the right balance of nutrients for optimum health.

Vitamins and Minerals

Crickets are packed with vitamins and minerals that are crucial for the proper functioning of a bearded dragon’s body. These include calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and vitamin A, among others. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, phosphorus aids in energy metabolism, vitamin B12 supports a healthy nervous system, and vitamin A is vital for good eyesight. By adding crickets to your bearded dragon’s diet, you are providing them with a wide array of essential nutrients for their overall well-being.

Feeding Crickets to Bearded Dragons

Proper Size of Crickets

When feeding crickets to your bearded dragon, it is important to consider the size of the insects. Bearded dragons should be fed appropriately sized crickets to prevent choking or digestive issues. As a general rule, the crickets should be no larger than the space between your bearded dragon’s eyes. This ensures that the crickets are easier to digest and reduces the risk of any complications.

Gut Loading Crickets

Gut loading is the practice of feeding the crickets a nutritious diet before offering them to your bearded dragon. This ensures that the crickets themselves are a source of essential nutrients. By feeding the crickets a well-balanced diet, you are enhancing their nutritional value for your pet. Some good gut-loading foods for crickets include dark leafy greens, carrots, and sweet potatoes. This practice ensures that your bearded dragon receives the maximum nutritional benefit from the crickets they consume.

Supplementing Crickets’ Diet

To further enhance the nutritional value of crickets, you can also dust them with a reptile-specific vitamin and mineral supplement. These supplements are formulated to provide the additional vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in your bearded dragon’s diet. Dusting the crickets before feeding them to your pet ensures they receive all the necessary nutrients, even if the crickets themselves may be lacking in some areas.

Risks and Considerations of Feeding Crickets

Allergies and Reactions

Some bearded dragons may have allergies or reactions to crickets. It is important to monitor your pet closely after introducing them to crickets for the first time. Look out for signs of allergic reactions such as rashes, swelling, difficulty breathing, or excessive scratching. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and decide on the best course of action for your bearded dragon’s health.

Digestive Issues

While crickets are generally considered safe for bearded dragons, they can sometimes cause digestive issues. This can be due to various factors such as overfeeding, feeding inappropriate-sized crickets, or poor gut-loading practices. It is important to observe your bearded dragon’s eating habits and bowel movements to ensure they are digesting the crickets properly. If you notice any changes in your appetite, energy levels, or bowel movements, it is advisable to seek veterinary advice.

Quality and Source of Crickets

The quality and source of the crickets you feed your bearded dragon are crucial factors to consider. It is important to purchase crickets from trusted suppliers or breeders who provide healthy, well-nourished insects. Crickets that are wild-caught or sourced from unknown places may carry parasites, diseases, or pesticides that can be harmful to your pet. Ensuring the crickets are of high quality helps minimize the risks associated with feeding them to your bearded dragon.

Alternatives to Crickets


Mealworms are another popular food option for bearded dragons. They are rich in protein and fats, making them a good alternative to crickets. However, it is important to note that mealworms have a higher fat content compared to crickets. Therefore, they should be fed in moderation and not used as the sole food source for your bearded dragon. Variety in the diet is key to ensuring your pet receives a balanced and nutritious meal.

Dubia Roaches

Dubia roaches are a nutritious alternative to crickets. They have a similar nutritional profile and are considered safe for bearded dragons. Dubia roaches are also easier to digest due to their softer exoskeleton compared to crickets. However, they may not be as readily available as crickets in some areas. If you have access to dubia roaches, they can be a great addition to your bearded dragon’s diet.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black soldier fly larvae, also known as phoenix worms or calci-worms, are highly nutritious and a good alternative to crickets. They are high in protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients. Black soldier fly larvae are highly digestible and have a soft texture, making them suitable for bearded dragons of all ages. They are also an environmentally friendly option as they are sustainably produced and have a low carbon footprint.

Benefits of Varying the Diet

Minimizing Nutrient Deficiencies

By including a variety of food options in your bearded dragon’s diet, you can help minimize the risk of nutrient deficiencies. Each type of insect or food item offers a different nutritional profile, ensuring your pet receives a wide range of essential nutrients. This helps support their overall health and reduces the chances of any deficiencies that can lead to various health issues.

Avoiding Monotonous Diets

Feeding the same food constantly can lead to boredom and a decreased appetite in bearded dragons. Offering a varied diet keeps mealtime interesting and stimulating for your pet. It also helps prevent them from becoming picky eaters. By rotating different food options, including crickets, you can ensure that your bearded dragon remains excited about their meals and maintains a healthy appetite.

Stimulation of Natural Hunting Behavior

Bearded dragons are natural hunters, and varying their diet with different insects can stimulate their natural hunting behavior. This provides mental and physical enrichment, keeping your pet entertained and engaged. By allowing them to chase and capture their prey, you are replicating their instincts and providing them with a more fulfilling feeding experience.

How to Introduce Crickets to Bearded Dragons

Starting Slowly

When introducing crickets to your bearded dragon’s diet, it is important to start slowly. Begin by offering a small number of crickets and observe how your pet reacts to them. Some bearded dragons may take to crickets immediately, while others may be hesitant at first. Offer a few crickets and gradually increase the quantity over time as your pet becomes more comfortable with them.

Observing Eating Habits

Pay close attention to your bearded dragon’s eating habits when introducing crickets. Observe whether they show interest in the crickets, actively chase after them, and consume them. If your pet is not showing interest or seems disinterested, you can try offering different varieties of crickets or alternate food options. It may take some trial and error to find what works best for your bearded dragon.

Monitoring Health

As you introduce crickets to your bearded dragon’s diet, it is important to monitor their overall health. Observe any changes in their behavior, appetite, or physical appearance. If you notice any unusual symptoms or if your pet’s health deteriorates, it is important to seek veterinary advice. Regular check-ups with a reptile veterinarian can also help ensure your bearded dragon remains in good health.

Caring for Crickets

Proper Housing and Environment

If you choose to raise your crickets to feed your bearded dragon, it is important to provide them with proper housing and environment. A well-ventilated container with sufficient space is needed to ensure the crickets have enough room to move around and thrive. Maintain appropriate temperature and humidity levels for optimal cricket health. Providing hiding spots and suitable substrates also contributes to a comfortable and stress-free environment for your crickets.

Feeding and Hydration

Crickets require a nutritious diet to thrive and provide optimal nutrition for your bearded dragon. Feed the crickets a variety of fresh greens, vegetables, and commercial cricket diets to ensure they are healthy and well-nourished. Additionally, provide a source of water in the form of a water gel or fresh fruits and vegetables. Proper hydration is essential for the well-being of the crickets and ensures they are a nutritious food source for your pet.

Maintenance and Hygiene

Regular maintenance and hygiene are essential for keeping your cricket colony healthy and disease-free. Clean the cricket enclosure regularly, removing any uneaten food, waste, and dead crickets. Proper hygiene helps prevent the spread of bacteria, parasites, and diseases within the cricket colony. By maintaining a clean and sanitary cricket colony, you are ensuring that the crickets you feed to your bearded dragon are of the highest quality.

Cricket Purchase and Storage Tips

Choosing Healthy Crickets

When purchasing crickets for your bearded dragon, it is important to choose healthy insects. Select crickets that are lively, active, and show no signs of illness or injury. Avoid crickets that appear sluggish, have deformities, or are already dead. By selecting healthy crickets, you are providing your pet with the best quality food source.

Storage and Shelf Life

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the quality and health of your crickets. Keep the crickets in a well-ventilated container with appropriate temperature and humidity levels. Avoid overcrowding as it can lead to stress and increased mortality rates. The shelf life of crickets varies, but it is generally recommended to use them within one to two weeks of purchase to ensure their freshness and nutritional value.

Preventing Escapes

Crickets are notorious for their ability to escape from their enclosures. To prevent escapes, ensure your cricket container has secure lids that are escape-proof. Regularly inspect the enclosures for any holes, gaps, or loose-fitting lids. It is also important to keep the container away from openings or areas where the crickets can easily escape, such as air vents or open windows.

Frequency and Quantity of Cricket Feeding

Determining Feeding Schedule

The frequency of cricket feeding depends on the age, size, and health of your bearded dragon. Younger bearded dragons require more frequent feedings, while adult dragons may require fewer meals. As a general guideline, offer crickets to juvenile bearded dragons daily, while adult dragons can be fed every other day or two to three times a week. Observe your pet’s weight, activity levels, and overall condition to determine the appropriate feeding schedule.

Portion Control

When feeding crickets to your bearded dragon, it is important to practice portion control. Avoid overfeeding as it can lead to obesity and health problems. Offer an appropriate number of crickets based on the size and age of your pet. As bearded dragons grow, the size and quantity of crickets can be adjusted accordingly. Providing the right portion ensures your bearded dragon receives the nutrients they need without excess weight gain.

Avoiding Overfeeding

Overfeeding crickets can pose risks to your bearded dragon’s health. Consumption of excessive amounts of crickets can lead to digestive issues, obesity, and nutrient imbalances. It is important to be mindful of the quantity of crickets offered and to monitor your pet’s eating habits and weight. If you notice your bearded dragon consistently overeating or developing weight-related issues, consult with a veterinarian for guidance on modifying their diet and portion sizes.


Crickets are a nutritious and beneficial food option for bearded dragons. They provide essential protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals necessary for your pet’s overall well-being. By properly introducing and incorporating crickets into your bearded dragon’s diet, you can ensure they receive a well-rounded and balanced meal. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and considerations associated with feeding crickets, such as allergies and digestive issues. By monitoring your pet’s health and providing a varied diet, you can optimize their nutrition and stimulate their natural hunting behavior. Regular veterinary check-ups and proper care for crickets are essential to maintain the health and quality of the food source. By following these guidelines and considering alternatives to crickets, you can provide your bearded dragon with a diverse and nutritious diet that promotes their overall health and happiness.