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Can bearded dragons eat dead crickets?

Live crickets are a staple food for bearded dragons. Many reptiles enjoy eating live crickets and several owners tend to place orders for their pets.  But what happens when you receive an order of dead crickets when you wanted live ones? The first question that comes to mind is – can bearded dragons eat dead crickets?

Bearded dragons can eat dead crickets, but ONLY insects that go through extensive preservation. Many pet owners like to have convenient options when feeding their pets. Some preserved crickets usually have extra ingredients to complement for lost nutrients and make feeding your dragon easy.

In this article, we’ll be looking at why you need to feed live crickets to your bearded dragon. Also, more information on other types of cricket your bearded dragon can and can’t consume are looked at.

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Why Live Crickets are Great for Bearded Dragons

There are many reasons why live crickets are great for bearded dragons. Here’s a look at some of the main reasons why:

  • Live crickets contain a massive dose of protein that helps bearded dragons develop
  • Bearded dragons find it easy to digest crickets
  • Crickets initiate an ideal feeding response for dragons when they are alive
  • Mild and soft texture of crickets makes them easy meals to munch
  • Gut loading live crickets with nutrients before feeding your dragon is very easy
  • Different sizes are available to make it easy for feeding baby, juvenile, and adult dragons
  • Crickets harvested alive have a high amount of iron for bearded dragons’ development

But with several reptile pet owners receiving dead cricket orders, can bearded dragons eat dead crickets keeps cropping up. The next section shows why dead crickets are not a great fit for your bearded dragon.

Why Live Crickets May Not Be Great for Bearded Dragons (and You)

If you have a batch of live crickets on your hands, here’s why they may not be great feeder insects:


The source of live (or dead) crickets has to receive extensive vetting before you feed them to your dragon. Some crickets could transfer parasites like pinworms to bearded dragons. If you don’t notice that your bearded dragon is under attack early, the consequences could be fatal.


If you feed a young bearded dragon big-size crickets, your reptiles could suffer impaction. The small digestive tract of your bearded dragons may not be ideal for dissolving crickets in record time.

When you’re selecting a set of crickets to feed your bearded dragon, make sure the feeder insect is much smaller. Crickets should measure within the space of your bearded dragon’s eyes and no wider.


Bearded dragons could choke on crickets during a meal. It is important for owners to monitor their reptiles whenever they feed on crickets. Coughing is one of the most common signs of a choking bearded dragon. Ensure you feed your dragons smaller crickets to avoid running the risk of choking.

Biting hazard

Some crickets could bite your bearded dragon, particularly if its smaller or has too many in its tank.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Canned Crickets?

Bearded dragons can eat canned crickets. Some canned crickets come with added ingredients to complement your dragon’s nutritional needs.

Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Dead Crickets?

Baby bearded dragons should not be fed dead crickets. Baby bearded dragons need more nutrients to develop to the juvenile stage. Dead crickets lose the ability to retain nutrients bearded dragons need.

Steps to Keep Live Crickets Until Mealtime

Make sure you regulate your cricket tank to room temperature (between 70°F ~ 90°F) round-the-clock. When the cricket tank remains in this temperature range, it becomes easy to get your bearded dragons healthy, live bugs.

It is important to keep your crickets from freezing or excess heat. If these bugs experience too much cold, they may die or begin eating each other. However, crickets exposed to excess heat tend to have a shorter lifespan than bugs within a temperature-controlled environment.

Besides keeping your crickets at this temperature, you have to reduce lighting as much as possible. Crickets thrive in dark environments better than in areas with open light, that’s why they love to move at night.


Can I feed a bearded dragon dead crickets?

You should not feed dead crickets to your bearded dragons. If you choose to feed your dragon dead crickets, your pet could get very ill. Parasites and bacteria could attack your bearded dragon from within when it consumes dead crickets. Request for a fresh package from your feeder insect provider if your order turns up being dead crickets.

Can bearded dragons survive without crickets?

Bearded dragons can survive without eating crickets if they get the right nutrients from other feeder insects. These dragons can get nutrition to survive from several beetle larvae, like mealworms for example. You can easily place an order for feeder insects to your doorstep as several dragon feed farmers are now available.

How long can a bearded dragon go without eating crickets?

An adult bearded dragon can go without eating food like crickets for about 8 ~ 9 weeks. These reptiles can live for that long without taking in any food. Bearded dragons can use their fat stores to stay alive through this time. However, juvenile and baby dragons will almost certainly die within a month without eating food.

Final Thoughts: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dead Crickets?

Can bearded dragons eat dead crickets? It depends.

Ensure the crickets you plan to feed your dragon has the nutrients it needs to develop and stay healthy. Proper nutrition is a must for your bearded dragon, regardless of its age. You don’t want to have a sickly dragon on your hands because of poor or inadequate nutrition.

It’s worth noting that bearded dragons need more than crickets to get all the nutrients needed to develop. Make sure you provide your reptiles the correct nutrition needed every time.