Bearded dragons are easy pets as they do not pester owners around mealtimes, and neither do they ask for attention all the time. However, they can be picky eaters. These reptilians are insect eaters but can bearded dragons eat mice? You can find the answer if you understand their nutritional requirements.
These reptilians thrive if they get enough calcium and protein and the omnivore characteristics open up many questions about their diet and the type of meat they can eat. In the wild, these reptilians eat mostly plants, shrubs, and insects. However, if they are petted at home, they rely on the owners to feed them a mix of vegetables, fruits, and insects that suit them. But what about eating animal-based protein from other sources apart from insects?
Bearded dragons can eat mice, but should they be eating mice? This question is more important and we shall dissect it by understanding what these rodents have to offer the bearded dragons, and then you will be able to understand if they are suitable food or not.
THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF MICE
Mice are tiny, but they are rich in protein and fat. These rodents have a high-fat content, and if the bearded dragon is getting any fat from the existing diet, an occasional feast on mice can pose a slight danger of high-fat digestion. A healthy and balanced diet for your pet dragon might not leave space for mice due to the off-balanced proportion of fat. However, in the wilderness, bearded dragons eat mice, and they feel fine because their fat intake is otherwise low.
Bearded dragons have a slow metabolism, which means that they process high-fat foods rather slowly, and it may cause discomfort and some long-term effects. If you feed vegetables, fruits, and insects to your dragon every day, it may gain weight and become obese if they consume more than they require. These reptilians are prone to obesity, and therefore, owners have to take care of their daily intake. In this condition, feeding mice to them will mean giving them fatter and more protein to process!
EFFECTS OF EATING MICE ON BEARDED DRAGONS
The bearded dragon can adversely be affected by the consumption of mice, and we have discussed a few of them here:
The risk of impaction from eating mice is significantly high in bearded dragons. Impaction is the blockage of the digestive tract by a semi-solid mass that can clog, and cause stress, pain, and constipation. Impaction can result in the immobility of the hind legs, and consequently, dragons can get paralyzed also! Eating mice might be a temporary treat, or owners may consider it a great way to make their dragons feel good, but even if you are feeding them pinkies, the risk is present.
2. Fur, Hair, And Other Problems
You must remember that mice are covered with fur, and they have hard nails and stiff tails too! The hardness of the hair and the tail skin can be hard for bearded dragons to digest. Make sure that you don’t increase the risk by feeding adult mice to your dragons at all! While an occasional pinkie might be acceptable, adult mice are always a no-go zone.
HOW MANY PINKIES ARE ACCEPTABLE FOR THE DRAGON
Bearded dragons who eat a balanced diet might not be able to take baby mice regularly. An occasional treatment, spanning over a month or even two months may be acceptable. So pet owners can mark their calendars for a monthly treat of a single pinkie. Also, find out Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cockroaches.
HOW TO FEED MICE TO YOUR BEARDED DRAGON
You can buy frozen pinkies for your bearded dragon, and reheat them when it is time to feed. The defrosted mice will be easy to eat and the dragon will be able to digest them easily too. The best temperature range for the defrosted mice will be between 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is always best to avoid the microwave and leave the frozen pinkie in a bowl of water. Once it has thawed completely, you can feed it to the dragon. Since these reptilians can eat a whole pinkie easily, there is no reason to chop it. If you want to attract the dragon towards the mice, you can hold it with a tong or tweezers and move it a little. The bearded dragons never miss a chance to eat protein from animals. Also, read Can Bearded Dragons Eat Ham.
PREGNANT DRAGONS AND MICE
If your bearded dragon is pregnant, it will require more fat and therefore, the frequency of eating pinkies can be higher for them. You can feed your pet mice twice a month or once in three weeks to keep them happy and high in protein and fats.
Bearded dragons can eat mice but since petted dragons are more well-fed and eat full portions of proteins and fats, the high-fat content of mice might be harmful to them. However, if you keep a check on their intake you can feed them mice once a month. Pregnant bearded dragons require more fat therefore, they can eat more mice. However, the frequency must not be more than a fortnight or three weeks.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How can I feed mice to the bearded dragon?
Instead of selecting adult mice, go for pinkies to serve t your bearded dragons. You do not need to cut them up, as frozen mice can be thawed and served whole. Due to the small size of the pinkies, your dragon can eat them whole.
What should I do if my bearded dragon eats more than recommended amount of mice?
Look for symptoms of impaction and indigestion in your bearded pet. If your pet dragon acts sluggish, doesn’t move, or doesn’t pass any fecal waste, then a visit to the vet is due. However, if the dragon is behaving normally, ensure that you reduce its fat intake to normalize the amount of fat they consume.
Emma is a pet enthusiast, and her way with words makes her an expressive writer. Her interests lie in healthcare and planning nutrition for various pets. She has two girls, and she’s passing her passion to them through occasional volunteer projects in the small neighborhood zoo. Emma joined our team as an enthusiast and has added more years to her experience by researching more about various creatures!