Bearded Dragon Won’t Eat Greens? 10 Tips & Tricks to Fix It

Some bearded dragons won’t eat greens and their refusal can be frustrating. This predicament isn’t uncommon. Like humans, they have taste buds. They get used to rich foods often provided and this can make life difficult to get them to eat their greens when they become adults.

When a bearded dragon won’t eat greens its time to get creative. Incorporating variety to more innovative techniques such as adding enticing ingredients to the greens or adopting different feeding strategies. Consistency and patience are key, and oftentimes it’s about finding the right trigger.

As the diet of a bearded dragon directly impacts their overall health, understanding why your bearded dragon won’t eat greens is helpful in modifying their eating habits and preventing nutritional deficiencies and health issues.

Bearded dragon won't eat greens and how to fix it

Key Takeaways

  • Persistence and varied techniques are employed when a bearded dragon won’t eat greens.
  • Ensuring proper UV light and temperature is crucial for the digestion and health of bearded dragons.
  • A balanced diet and regular feeding schedule are vital to prevent health issues in bearded dragons.

Bearded Dragon Won’t Eat Greens: Tips & Tricks

Tip #1: Start Young and Small

A bearded dragon won’t eat greens when too young. Just prior to bearded dragons becoming adults they change to being omnivores, prior to that they are insectivores (Wotherspoon 2007). With this in mind it is quite normal for young bearded dragons to be reluctant to eat greens early on.

Introducing vegetables to bearded dragons early in life can develop their palate for greens. Even juveniles should have access to finely chopped vegetables to get accustomed to the texture and taste.

When introducing vegetation, cut it up finely. This will help prevent picking and choosing between food items since it will be chopped too finely to be able to separate.

Tip #2: Introduce a Range of Vegetables

Adding a variety of vegetables to a bearded dragon’s diet can entice pickier eaters. Trying different options like kale, squash, or endive might spark interest in greens they previously ignored.

Tip #3: Putting Supplements on the Greens! Yuck

When a bearded dragon won’t eat greens ensure calcium and other supplements are not being added. Calcium and vitamin supplements are not very palatable. Dust insects with supplements rather than greens and vegetables. For help on how much calcium you need to feed and ways to provide it see Dr Amna Ahmad’s (DVM) post on calcium and vitamin D3.

Bearded dragon won't eat greens with calcium. Put calcium on feeder insects instead.
If a bearded dragon won’t eat greens with calcium then put the calcium powder on feeder insects.

Tip #4: Animate the Vegetables

Stimulate a bearded dragon’s hunting instinct by making the vegetables move. Adding slow live feeders such as worms to the salad may encourage them to accidentally ingest greens while aiming for their prey.

Movement encourages interest from bearded dragons and can be used to attract attention to vegetation. If using faster moving insects slow them down by putting them in the fridge for a 10 minutes first. Chop the vegetation very finely and place the insects in the mix. Some bearded dragons are clever enough to sort though and simply target the insects.

Tip #5: Ensure Suitable Habitat Conditions

Be sure that the environment for your bearded dragon is optimal. Temperature imbalances or inadequate UV exposure can affect their appetite, potentially reducing their interest in greens.

Tip #6: Provide an Appropriate Feeding Dish

For a bearded dragon that won’t eat greens use a shallow dish for salads. This allows bearded dragons to see the food and access their greens easily, without the challenge of deep or slippery sides.

Wide and very shallow dishes are far better where the food can be seen easily and from a distance.

Flat food dishes are better for a bearded dragon that won't eat its greens.
Charity shops are a great place to find a flat food dishe useful for a bearded dragon that won’t eat its greens.

Tip #7: Elevate their Greens: Hang up the Veggies!

When a bearded dragon won’t eat greens try hanging them up! Some dragons may show more interest in greens that are hanging, mimicking leaves in their natural environment. Attaching greens to the side of the enclosure could trigger a more enthusiastic feeding response.

Securing the greens also allows the bearded dragon to tug on them, cropping off mouthfuls that it can easily cope with. In this method bearded dragons can pick at the leaves, cropping them similar to what they do in the wild. So much more fun for picky bearded dragons to be able to eat the greens more naturally.

Tip #8: Offer Potted Greens

Another trick for a bearded dragon that won’t eat greens is to let them graze naturally. Offering your bearded dragon trays of live growing vegetation will let them choose the greens they want to eat. This is particularly easy with plants such as clover, grass, dandelions, basil and other small edible plants.

Grow a dozen trays of vegetation to allow for rotation to save the plants, let them regenerate and to keep good hygiene. Avoid using chemical fertilizers, they will likely result in high levels of nitrates in the food.

If the opportunity exists, plant a garden so your pet bearded dragon can be taken out to choose its own veggies. The plants should be established enough to prevent them being pulled up by the root and subsequently eaten whole with any soil attached.

Variety still remains the key in the long run and this method of providing food does provide an ideal source of fresh food and environmental enrichment.

For a bearded dragon that won't eat greens try planting greens in the garden.
For a bearded dragon that won’t eat greens try planting greens in the garden.

Tip #9: Begin with Hand Feeding

Hand feeding vegetation can also kick start interest. Try offering vegetation with a worm in a manner that it cannot avoid taking the vegetation along with the worm.

Take care on how the food is held when offering to ensure your bearded dragon does not accidentally bite you. Feeding tongs will provide protection.

Whole leaves can also be offered in this manner. Again using movement such as waving it in front of the bearded dragon to attract attention. The bearded dragon may be tempted to crop at it. Ensure your bearded dragon does not become dependent on hand feeding, this should not be a constant practice.

Tip #10: Decrease Feeding Frequency

When a bearded dragon won’t eat greens it may simply be receiving too much food. Under normal circumstances adult bearded dragons do not need a lot of food and do not need to be fed everyday. For any creature including humans, being fed too much certainly turns us into picky eaters.

Potential Causes for a Lack of Appetite in Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons may sometimes show disinterest in eating vegetables for various reasons. Here are some potential factors to consider when your pet is not consuming its greens:

  • Selective Eating Habits: They might develop a preference for certain foods such as fruits or insects. To encourage a more balanced diet, gradually decrease the amount of these preferred foods. Consistency is key—they’ll eat vegetables when they’re hungry enough.
  • Unfamiliar Food Items: They might not recognize certain foods as edible, especially commercial diets.
  • Persistence Pays Off: If a bearded dragon is healthy and at an age where vegetation should be part of its diet, it’s important not to yield to their fussiness. They’re known to withstand periods without food. However, do not withold food during active periods or when they have specific energy demands such as egg-laying or growing.
  • Dental Health: A bearded dragon not eating could be a sign of dental disease. If you suspect a dental issue, a veterinary check-up is advisable.
  • Pre-Brumation Behavior: Bearded dragons often eat less or stop eating entirely as they enter brumation, a hibernation-like state. This phase is characterized by a general slowdown in activity and can affect their eating habits.

Attractive Garnishes: Some owners use a special dressing to make salads more appealing. However, these often contain sugars which can contribute to dental problems.

Using Salad Dressings When a Bearded Dragon Won’t Eat Greens

When a bearded dragon won’t eat greens its easy to turn to salad dressings. Salad dressing may attract a bearded dragon to eat its greens but it introduces other issues.

Homemade salad dressings often feature fresh, simple ingredients, and it’s not uncommon for people to incorporate fruits into their recipes to add natural sweetness and flavor. However, when it comes to feeding animals like bearded dragons, fruit is typically not recommended due to its high sugar content, which can be harmful to their health including issues such as obesity and dental disease.

Commercial reptile salad dressings, on the other hand, are manufactured products that can contain a wide array of ingredients. Commercial salad dressings for bearded dragons include various additives to enhance flavor, extend shelf life, and improve texture. The additives listed, such as sucrose, citric acid, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, lycopene, and canthaxanthin, each serve specific purposes:

  1. Sucrose: A common sweetener derived from sugar cane or sugar beets. In pet foods, it’s generally advisable to avoid added sugars, as they can lead to obesity, dental disease and other health issues.
  2. Citric Acid: Used as a preservative and to add a sour taste, citric acid is generally considered safe but citric acid can disrupt the digestive system of bearded dragons, potentially leading to gastrointestinal distress.
  3. Potassium Sorbate: A preservative that inhibits the growth of mold, yeast, and fungi. While recognized as safe for human consumption, its effects on pets are less clear.

The inclusion of calcium lactate and vitamin D3 is significant. For bearded dragons, or any pet reptile, maintaining the correct balance of calcium and vitamin D3 is essential to prevent metabolic bone disease and other health issues. If the reptile salad dressing is used, reconsider the amount of supplemental calcium and vitamin D3 provided separately.

Over-supplementation can be just as harmful as deficiency, leading to issues such as hypercalcemia, which can cause kidney problems, calcification of soft tissues, and other health issues. For specific recommendations for your reptile on supplementation levels, consult your vet.

Nurturing Healthy Dietary Habits in Bearded Dragons

When a bearded dragon won’t eat greens, patience truly is a virtue. Bearded dragons can exhibit a certain level of stubbornness which may test the patience of even the most dedicated owners.

Consistency Is Key
Maintaining a consistent offer of greens and vegetables to your bearded dragon is crucial. Offering a variety at different life stages—from juveniles to adults—ensures they get the full range of nutrients needed for their growth and health success.

  • For Juveniles & Babies: Introduce a mixture of safe greens early on to encourage acceptance.
  • For Adult Bearded Dragons: Continue presenting a diverse selection of vegetables alongside their usual diet.


Why won’t my bearded dragon eat greens?

Bearded dragons may refuse vegetables for various reasons. Stress, such as a change in their environment, can affect their appetite. Inadequate temperatures in their habitat may also discourage digestion and subsequent eating. Offering the same type of greens repeatedly could lead to a lack of interest, and a health issue might also be a cause for their refusal.

What to do if bearded dragon won’t eat greens?

If your bearded dragon won’t eat greens try varying their diet, changing the look of the food, try different techniques of offering food, check the heating and lighting, look for dental disease and animate the food with live insects.

How long can bearded dragons go without greens?

Adult bearded dragons are the ones that need greens. Adult bearded dragons can go without greens however the replacement foods such as fruit and insects will likely lead to a very short life span. Obesity is a massive issue for bearded dragons.
A balanced diet including vegetables is crucial for:
Nutrition: Provides essential vitamins and minerals.
Hydration: Greens contribute to their water intake.
Digestive health: Fiber in greens aids digestion.


Gimmel, A., Kempf, H., Öfner, S., Müller, D., & Liesegang, A. (2017). Cholelithiasis in adult bearded dragons: retrospective study of nine adult bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps ) with cholelithiasis between 2013 and 2015 in southern GermanyJournal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition101, 122–126.