Will Bearded Dragons Eat Mice?
Learn why bearded dragons can eat mice occasionally but consider whether yours actually should before you feed them
Perhaps More Importantly, Should They?
January 7th, 2022
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Bearded dragons will eat small mice if they’re given the chance. But just because they will, doesn’t mean that they should. Except for some very rare circumstances, mice shouldn’t be fed to bearded dragons. We realise this flies in the face of a lot of advice you may have received, but there’s good reasons we have for saying this.
Why Should Bearded Dragon’s Not Eat Mice?
Mice Are Too Large For Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are rather silly eaters, and will try to eat pretty much anything they can catch, even if this is far too big for their own good. This is generally the case with mice. Very new-born mice are suitable for bearded dragons very occasionally. These are known as Pinkie Mice. We’ll go into the specifics in more detail further in the post.
Mice Are Too Rich
Mice, even pinky mice contain too much protein and too much fat for captive adult bearded dragons. Babies require more protein and fat than adult bearded dragons but pinkie mice should absolutely never be fed to baby bearded dragons as they are far too big.
There is one exception to this where we agree that, if your bearded dragon has recently laid eggs then she may require the boost of proteins, fat and especially calcium that the pinkie mouse can provide. Female bearded dragons can lay eggs even if they’ve never been around a male.
A diet that is too rich in fat and protein leads to obesity in bearded dragons. This leads to liver complications such as fatty liver, as well as joint conditions such as gout. Obese bearded dragons die young and live less fulfilling lives than dragon’s of appropriate weight.
Insects Are Better
Insects form most of the bearded dragon’s diet in the wild and, as far as meat goes, they should do for captive dragons. Mice should be a very rare treat, or to provide a calcium, protein and fat boost to a bearded dragon who’s just laid eggs.
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Eat Mice?
If you are insistent on feeding your bearded dragon mice occasionally, one pinkie mouse once a month or less would be our recommendation. Any mice fed to your bearded dragon should be less than 5 days old at most – which are known as pinkie mice. At this age the baby mouse still has very soft bones and lots of calcium reserve to make those bones stronger. This can be good for recently post-gravid bearded dragons (i.e., they’ve just laid eggs).
Some people do claim to feed their bearded dragons ‘fuzzy’ mice. Peach fuzzys or small fuzzys are mice that are between the ages of 5 days and 9 days. We believe these are generally too big for bearded dragons and should be avoided. Their bones are starting to become more difficult to digest too and this can lead to a range of problems such as impaction which can require veterinary surgery to fix.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Pinkie/Baby Mice?
As we’ve seen in the earlier parts of this post, bearded dragons can eat Pinkie mice (0-5days old) very occasionally but shouldn’t eat Fuzzy Mice ( 5-9 days old and 10 – 13 days old) as these are starting to become too big and difficult to digest.
Bearded dragons should only be fed pinkie mice once a month as a very rare treat or if they’ve just laid eggs and need a protein, fat and calcium boost. Feeding pinkie mice too often to bearded dragons will result in an obese dragon with kidney, liver and joint problems.
How Many Mice Can A Bearded Dragon Eat?
Bearded dragons can eat one pinkie mouse (0-5 days old) once a month at most, unless they’ve just laid eggs, in which case they can have more if you feel they need a calcium, protein and fat boost.
If you feed too many pinkie mice to captive bearded dragons they will end up obese since they do not get enough exercise to burn off the excess fat and protein that pinkie mice contain compared to their feeder insects. Obese dragons with too much fat and protein in their diet end up with liver, kidney and joint problems which lead to painful conditions such as fatty liver, kidney issues and gout.
What Size Mice Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Adult bearded dragons can eat pinkie mice, which are newborn mice up to the age of 5 days. They’re called pinkie mice because they haven’t yet started to grow any fur and are therefore only covered with pink skin. Mice older than 5 days old shouldn’t be fed to bearded dragons as they’re starting to become too big and the risk of impaction is greatly increased.
Baby or juvenile bearded dragons should not be fed pinkie mice at all.
Can a Bearded Dragon Eat A Rat?
Bearded dragons may attempt to eat baby rats if you place them near to the bearded dragon but it’s not recommended at all. Rats are too big for bearded dragons and older rats especially may bite and injure your bearded dragon as it’s trying to eat it.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Small Animals?
Bearded dragons should eat insects only, not small animals. Feeding small animals, except perhaps pinkie mice, is inhumane unless they’re killed humanely first and in most cases bearded dragons prefer live insects and food. Most ‘small animals’ would likely be too big in any case.
It is best to keep the diet of your bearded dragon as similar as they would be able to eat in the wild of Australia, as this way you can be sure they’re evolved to deal with it to the best of their ability.
Why Won’t My Bearded Dragon Eat A Mouse?
Because your bearded dragon knows it isn’t suitable for it to eat a mouse. If the mouse is too big then the mouse may injure your bearded dragon as it tries to eat it. If your bearded dragon isn’t keen on eating a mouse we would recommend taking this as a hint and not trying to force the issue.
In any case, only pinkie mice (0-5days old) should be fed to adult bearded dragons and only then, at most once a month. Baby or juveniles should never be fed mice as they’re simply too big.
Bearded dragons shouldn’t eat mice very often, if at all. If a pregnant bearded dragon has just laid eggs then a Pinkie mouse can help replace the lost protein, fat and calcium that egg-laying creates.
If you insist on feeding mice to bearded dragons they should be pinkie mice only (0-5 days old) and fed only to a fully grown adult bearded dragon. At most one pinkie mouse per month as a treat, as any more could easily lead a captive bearded dragon to become obese with kidney, liver and gout problems.
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