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Bearded dragon

Finicky bearded dragons can be a problem for exotic pet owners. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be an issue once you understand the usual reasons why your lizard is not eating properly. That’s what you’ll learn in this quick troubleshooting guide.

Find out the common reason why beardies develop a food preference. Learn what to do if your lizard won’t eat crickets. And get tips about the right way to feed crickets to your exotic pet.

Beardie only eats crickets

Many new bearded dragon owners bring home their exotic pet and try to follow the feeding instructions they received at the pet store only to find that their beardie refuses to eat anything but crickets. What’s the deal? Doesn’t it need to eat its vegetables?

Green lettuce

Yes, as an omnivore, a bearded dragon does need to eat more than just crickets. However, if that’s all your pet will eat, continue feeding crickets, as well as offering fruits and vegetables every day.

What is likely happening is that your new pet is simply stressed from the move from store to your home.

Beardie won’t eat crickets

The most common reason that a bearded dragon or other lizard will stop eating crickets is simply because they have gotten tired of crickets. If you’ve been feeding your pet crickets for a long time, and it’s always accepted them before suddenly rejecting them, then this may be your issue.

Try offering a different type of insect for a while, such as mealworms or wax worms. Sometimes, a break from their monotonous cricket diet is all it takes to them eating crickets again. You can also try mixing a feeding with a combination of crickets and a second feeder insect.

If your beardie absolutely will not take crickets, no matter how long the break, then you may just have to accept that your exotic pet doesn’t care for crickets. They each have their own tastes.

It’s completely find if your lizard won’t eat crickets. You have other options. What really matters is that your beardie is getting a variety of nutrients in its diet.

Why you shouldn’t leave uneaten insects

You may be tempted to leave your bearded dragon unsupervised during a feeding and just let whatever live insects remain uneaten hang out in your pet’s tank. That’s a bad idea. Uneaten insects will quickly because attackers when your pet loses interest in gulping them down.

Cricket on rug

Live insects can nibble off parts of your beardie and cause infections. Instead, watch for hiding insects and remove extras from the tank after your lizard loses interest, or when you are done supervising the feeding.

A note on dead insects

What if a dead insect remains in the tank? Those should be removed too.

If you receive a shipment of insects or purchase feeder insects from an exotic pet store, be sure to remove any dead insects before feeding your lizard. Not only do dead insects quickly dehydrate and lose nutrients, they also harbor bacteria that can make your reptile sick.

Bearded dragons are one of the most popular lizard pets, and they’re great for families with kids. Check out our beardies at The Tye-Dyed Iguana.