One of the most common questions I get on Instagram is, “My bearded dragon won’t eat greens. What am I doing wrong??!” Beardies refuse greens for different reasons, but as long as they’re still eating bugs, it’s easy to fix.
Reason #1: Age
Bearded dragons’ nutritional needs change as they grow. They need a lot of bugs in their first year of life to fuel rapid growth, so don’t be too concerned if they aren’t interested in vegetables yet. Greens can be an acquired taste, so one of the best ways to introduce your beardie is by keeping a bowl of fresh salad (finely chopped) in the terrarium at all times.
- 0-5 months: Bugs 2-3x daily, salad daily.
- 6-12 months: Bugs 1x daily, salad daily.
- 13-18 months: Bugs every other day, salad daily.
- 18-24 months: Bugs 2x weekly, salad daily.
- 24+ months: Bugs 1x weekly, salad daily.
Reason #2: Too Much Food
This is related to Reason #1. If your bearded dragon won’t eat greens, there’s a good chance that you’re feeding him/her too many bugs. Keep to a strict schedule with the bugs, and a dragon that is used to getting fed more often will have no choice but to try the salad.
Bearded dragons have tastebuds just like we do, and so they also have taste preferences. If your bearded dragon won’t eat greens, and you’ve been offering the same thing for a while, mix it up! Try a different kind of greens or add fruit. Red or orange fruits are especially appealing.
Reason #4: Doesn’t Know What Salad Is
This is a common problem with rescue beardies who have only been fed bugs for years, so . Putting small insects in the salad, like mealworms or black soldier fly larvae (aka Phoenix worms or calcium worms) are bound to get your beardie’s attention. Eventually they will miss the bug and grab a leaf by accident. That will help them realize that greens are food.
What kinds of fruits and vegetables should be offered?
Certain fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than others, and can even be poisonous to bearded dragons. The following is a short list of safe options that should be rotated for maximum benefit. All fruits and vegetables should be offered in thin, bite-sized pieces.
- collard greens
- mustard greens
- carrot greens
- bell pepper
For a long list of dragon-safe fruits and veggies, nip over to my bearded dragon care packet.
What is your beardie’s favorite fruit or vegetable?
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