Can Bearded Dragons Eat Live Fish




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Bearded dragons are amazing animals known for their wacky looks and interesting behaviors. People often ask: can they eat live fish? Let’s find out!

Variety is essential when it comes to the diet of bearded dragons. They usually eat a combo of fruits, veggies, insects, and sometimes small rodents. But, live fish must be approached with caution.

Bearded dragons may be tempted to chase and catch fish, yet eating them regularly can cause health issues. Fish may carry parasites or germs that can harm a bearded dragon’s digestive system. Moreover, specific types of fish have thiaminase enzymes which stop a reptile from absorbing vitamin B1. This deficiency can cause brain problems if a dragon’s diet is filled with fish.

Wild bearded dragons have been seen eating small fish in their natural habitats. But, this is rare and only occurs when food is few or as a chance behavior, not as a regular food choice.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Live Fish?

Bearded dragons can eat live fish – but with caution. They love a treat of live fish for protein and variety. But, pick the right size and age. Like guppies or minnows. No big ones. They could choke. Also, remove any sharp fins/spines before feeding. Plus, wash and gut-load with nutritious food.

Live fish can bring parasites or bacteria that are bad for lizards. So, buy from reputable sources, not wild ones.

Benefits of Feeding Bearded Dragons Live Fish

Live fish can bring lots of benefits to a bearded dragon’s diet! Firstly, they can get their hunting instincts going, so they stay physically active and mentally stimulated. Secondly, they provide protein and important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. And lastly, it’s like their natural mealtime in the wild, which is more enjoyable for them.

Plus, live fish have a special nutritional advantage. They contain lots of moisture, which helps keep bearded dragons hydrated since they live in deserts. Also, some fish like small goldfish or minnows offer calcium and vitamin D3 if eaten whole, with bones and organs included.

As an owner, it’s important to make sure your pet’s diet is balanced with live fish occasionally. Just remember to stay away from large predators and fish with lots of mercury or toxins.

Live fish are an exciting way to make your pet’s diet healthier. By adding this natural hunt, they get exercise and mental stimulation while staying well. Ask your vet how often and how much live fish you should feed your bearded dragon for the best results.

Risks and Considerations

Risks and Considerations when it comes to feeding live fish to bearded dragons:

Risk factors:

  • Pathogen transfer – Live fish can transmit harmful pathogens to bearded dragons.
  • Digestive problems – Ingesting live fish may cause digestive issues.
  • Choking hazard – Smaller bearded dragons may choke on live fish.
  • Nutritional imbalance – Relying solely on live fish as a food source can result in nutritional imbalance.

It is essential to note that live fish should not be the sole basis of their diet. An occasional treat is okay, but their primary diet should consist of a variety of insects and vegetables.

Monitor your dragon closely when feeding, to observe any signs of distress or health issues.

Consult with a reptile veterinarian or expert for specific advice tailored to your pet’s needs.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum states that bearded dragons require a balanced diet mainly of insects and leafy greens.

Alternatives to Live Fish

Alternatives to live fish for your bearded dragon can provide nutrients and flavors. Here’s a table of some of the best ones:

Alternative Benefits Nutritional Value
Crickets Protein source High calcium, phosphorus
Mealworms Rich proteins, fats Low carbs
Dubia Roaches Balanced nutrition High fiber, amino acids
Silkworms Moisture-rich Essential fatty acids

Take note: each alternative has special characteristics. Supply a variety to give a well-rounded diet. Dust them with calcium and vitamin supplements for optimal health.

When selecting alternatives, pick those that suit your bearded dragon’s specific dietary needs. Ask a vet or reptile specialist for more help on giving your pet the best diet.

Provide your bearded dragon with diverse food choices. This will give them nutritious options and keep them happy and healthy. Your dragon will appreciate it!

Preparing Live Fish for Feeding

Live fish can be a great snack for your bearded dragon. Here’s how to make sure they’re safe and healthy when feeding them:

  1. Pick the right size. Fish that are too small won’t have enough nutrition, and ones that are too big can be a choking hazard.
  2. Quarantine the fish. This will stop diseases or parasites from getting into your pet’s enclosure.
  3. Give them a good home. Provide clean water, hiding spots, and correct temperatures.
  4. Set up a separate dish. Put the fish in the dish and take out any leftovers after feeding.
  5. Keep watching. Make sure your dragon can eat the fish without any problems.

Not all dragons can or want to eat live fish. Ask a vet if it’s suitable for your dragon’s diet.

Bonus Fact: The Journal of Herpetology says live fish can help keep your reptile healthy.

Feeding Live Fish to Your Bearded Dragon

Check these factors for when feeding your Bearded Dragon live fish:

  1. Size of the fish – should be appropriate for their size and age.
  2. Type of fish – Low mercury levels, like tilapia or cod, are recommended.
  3. Catching the fish – Avoid chemically treated or wild-caught fish, as they may have harmful substances.
  4. Feeding frequency – Offer live fish as a treat occasionally, rather than a regular meal.

Also, it is a must to supervise your Bearded Dragon while they eat. This is to make sure they are safe and don’t get hurt. Uneaten fish should also be taken out quickly to ensure the enclosure is clean.

For extra variety in your Bearded Dragon’s diet, give them other proteins like insects, vegetables, and fruits. Consulting with a reptile vet can help to make sure they get the right balance of nutrition.


Bearded dragons can eat live fish, but it shouldn’t be a regular part of their diet. Fish can provide certain nutrients, but there are risks such as parasites and bacteria. It is important to ensure that the fish is safe for consumption and prepared properly before feeding it to your beardie.

Live fish can also be dangerous. If not handled properly, fish with spines or larger size can cause injury. Therefore, it is better to offer small, boneless fish as a treat rather than a staple food.

Pro Tip: Before you feed any live fish to your bearded dragon, make sure it is from a trustworthy source. Clean it properly to minimize the risk of parasites or bacterial infections.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can bearded dragons eat live fish?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat live fish, but it is not recommended as a regular part of their diet. Fish should be offered occasionally as a treat or a source of hydration.

2. What types of live fish are safe for bearded dragons?

Small, gut-loaded feeder fish like guppies, minnows, or small goldfish can be given to bearded dragons. It is important to ensure that the fish are not larger than the space between the bearded dragon’s eyes to prevent choking.

3. How often can I feed my bearded dragon live fish?

Live fish should not be a staple in a bearded dragon’s diet. It is recommended to offer live fish as a treat once a week or every two weeks to avoid any nutritional imbalances.

4. Are there any risks associated with feeding bearded dragons live fish?

There are potential risks when feeding bearded dragons live fish. The fish may carry parasites or bacteria that can be harmful to the dragon. It is crucial to obtain the fish from a reputable source and ensure they are healthy and parasite-free.

5. How should I prepare live fish before feeding them to my bearded dragon?

Prior to feeding, it is recommended to quarantine the fish in a separate tank for a few days to observe their health. Additionally, you should gut-load the fish with nutritious food for at least 24 hours before offering them to the bearded dragon.

6. What are alternative food options for bearded dragons if I don’t want to give them live fish?

There are several other suitable food options for bearded dragons, such as dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and commercially-prepared bearded dragon pellets. These options provide a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional requirements.

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