Healthy adult bearded dragons should have a diet that consists of mostly vegetables and insects. So, does that mean that beardies can never have any fruit?
Bearded dragons can eat certain fruits in moderation. However, fruits should never make up a large portion of their diet because they can be life-threatening.
What about our potassium-rich go-to fruit? Can bearded dragons eat bananas? Yes. Bearded dragons can eat the occasional banana slice.
But there are a lot of things you need to know before you serve fruits to your beardie. So, here’s an information-packed piece with all the nutritional benefits and health risks posed by bananas.
Let’s get started.
Can bearded dragons eat bananas?
Bearded dragons can eat bananas. They have many health benefits for beardies when served in moderation.
You and I can eat bananas regularly. They’re a great treat to throw in some cereal or blend up in a smoothie. You may be tempted to throw your bearded dragon some to snack on with you.
Resist the urge.
Bearded dragons can have bananas, but only one to two times a month. We’ll get into all the details about how to serve bananas to beardies and exactly how much they can have in one serving later in this article.
Health benefits of bananas
Bananas have many health benefits for beardies, just as they do for humans. However, only when eaten in moderation. So, what specific benefits do they have for bearded dragons?
Vitamins A & C
We all know that Vitamin C is great for the immune system of humans. And most of us know that Vitamin C can be found in oranges. But, it’s also present in many other fruits, such as bananas.
Vitamin A has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are important in maintaining a healthy immune system and combating diseases. Vitamin A is also vital in aiding vision and growth.
Most of us know that bananas contain a healthy dose of potassium. But, what exactly does potassium do?
Potassium aids in muscle function. It also helps to regulate blood pressure. When eaten in moderation, it can certainly benefit your bearded dragon’s health.
In addition to having Vitamin A (which has antioxidant properties), bananas also contain actual antioxidants.
Antioxidants can boost immune health and also help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Calcium, iron, magnesium
These important minerals help to strengthen bones and tissues.
We’re going to get into the importance of calcium in your bearded dragon’s diet. If a bearded dragon’s diet lacks sufficient calcium, it can put it at risk of a serious illness (Metabolic Bone Disease).
Why can’t beardies eat bananas all the time?
After hearing about all these health benefits, you may be thinking, “the more, the better.” However, moderation is imperative when it comes to beardies and fruits.
High in sugar
Bananas, like fruits in general, are high in sugar. While natural sugar is still much better than processed, too much sugar can lead to health issues such as obesity in beardies.
Beardies can also become addicted to sweet treats (i.e. fruits). If they grow too accustomed to eating fruits, then they may boycott other parts of their diet, which would be a huge problem as fruits should only be an occasional treat.
3:1 Phosphorous to Calcium ratio
Bananas have a much higher ratio of phosphorous to calcium. Remember when I mentioned the importance of calcium in beardies’ diets? Well, if bearded dragons don’t receive enough calcium, it can lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD).
It’s all about the ratio. Calcium is vital in maintaining bone health. If the phosphorous-to-calcium ratio is too high, the phosphorous will bind with the calcium. When that happens, beardies are unable to absorb the calcium and it starts a calcium deficiency.
If this is a common occurrence in a bearded dragon’s diet, it will lead to Metabolic Bone Disease. This can cause paralysis and even death in beardies.
As a bearded dragon owner, it’s important to be aware of this when deciding what to feed your pet bearded dragon. You want to choose foods that have a 1:1 or 2:1 phosphorous ratio.
Some bearded dragon owners even decide to put calcium powder in their pet’s food to ensure that they are getting a healthy dose of calcium.
The risk of throwing off the phosphorus-to-calcium balance, potentially leading to MBD, is an important reason why bananas can only be served to bearded dragons in moderation.
How to serve your beardies bananas
We now know that bananas can pose a threat to the health of your bearded dragon when not eaten in moderation. But, if served only once or twice a month, bananas are a perfect, healthy fruit treat for beardies. So, how exactly should you serve bananas to your bearded dragon?
Cut into pieces
Bearded dragons shouldn’t have an entire banana in one serving. You should only serve them half a banana at most. Whether you give your bearded dragon half a banana or just a few slices will depend on its size.
Cut the banana into thin slices. They should be small enough to not pose a choking risk to your pet.
With or without a peel
You can serve the banana slices to your bearded dragon with or without the peel. Beardies will likely enjoy eating the banana peel, and it does add some more nutritional value.
However, if you decide to serve the banana with a peel, it should be an organic banana or it should be thoroughly washed. Fruits and vegetables that aren’t organic may contain toxic pesticides.
Place in the feeding bowl
It will be more comfortable for your bearded dragon to eat the banana slices in their normal feeding bowl (which should be a shallow bowl).
If your bearded dragon isn’t eating all its greens normally, you may even want to try combining them with bananas to ensure that they get the nutrients they need in their regular diet. However, remember that this shouldn’t be done regularly.
Clean up uneaten pieces
Your bearded dragon will likely gobble down all the banana slices that you’ve placed in its bowl. However, on the off chance that your pet isn’t a banana fan, you’ll want to clean up the uneaten bananas shortly after you see that they’ve been left uneaten.
If the fruit is left rotting in its bowl, it will create bacteria that could make your bearded dragon sick.
Can bearded dragons eat frozen bananas?
Maybe you always have frozen bananas in your freezer that you throw into your smoothies. It makes sense that it would be a convenient and practical choice to serve them to your bearded dragon as well. What’s the saying? Kill two birds with one stone.
Don’t be tempted by convenience. Bearded dragons cannot eat frozen bananas. They pose a serious choking risk.
Beardies also can’t eat dried bananas. They are too high in sugar and are too much of a health risk.
When choosing bananas for your bearded dragon, stay traditional. Choose a healthy banana, one that you might choose for yourself. The banana should be neither too ripe because it will have a higher sugar content nor too green because that could upset your bearded dragon’s stomach.
You should be looking for the Goldie Locks of bananas– somewhere in the middle is the “just right” choice.
Say yes to bananas (occasionally)
In conclusion, beardies can enjoy the very occasional banana treat. Once or twice a month is sufficient.
Remember that overfeeding a bearded dragon can have some serious health side effects. Limit your bearded dragon’s intake of bananas to keep them at their healthiest.
And when it comes to choosing a banana, try to go organic and find the perfect yellow choice. Slice it up and watch your bearded dragon enjoy its special sweet treat.