The common phrase “you are what you eat” also applies to your bearded dragon. What you feed your pet determines how healthy they are.
That’s why it’s crucial to gather all the relevant information about any fruit, vegetable, or insect before feeding it to your bearded dragon. Just because adult beardies eat 80%-plant meals doesn’t mean they can eat any plant that comes their way.
With that in mind, let’s talk about carrots. Can bearded dragons eat carrots? Is it beneficial to our reptile friends?
This post answers these questions and more. Keep reading to get the answers you’re looking for.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrots?
Bearded dragons can eat carrots, but not as often as humans. Carrots fall under their vegetable meal option, so it is not a staple food.
They enjoy the same benefits we do from eating carrots. For example, carrots help sharpen your bearded dragon’s vision the same way they do for humans.
Besides, it’s one of the readily available vegetables, which makes it convenient. I mean, your home will rarely be out of carrots, and if that happens, you can easily get them the next time you’re in a grocery store.
Another thing, it’s not expensive, so every dragon parent can afford it. You can even choose to grow carrots if you have a garden and let your pet enjoy fresh, crunchy carrots straight from the garden.
Can Baby and Juvenile Beardies Eat Carrots?
Bearded dragons have fascinating dietary needs. They are carnivorous at a young age and switch to a plant-based diet as they grow.
Baby dragons should eat 80% insects and 20% plants. On the other hand, adult beardies should eat 20% insects and 80% plants.
With this variance, you should be careful of what you feed your bearded dragon, particularly baby and juvenile beardies. But don’t worry, carrots are safe for baby and juvenile bearded dragons.
However, strict health guidelines are observed when feeding carrots to these young beardies. Carrots are safer for adult beardies than babies and juvenile bearded dragons. Therefore, you need to regulate the quantity of carrots you feed your growing bearded dragons.
To be on the safe side, feed the baby dragons once a week and ensure they eat more insects to balance their dietary needs. While the vegetable is filled with nutrients that help with eyesight and immunity, too much can compromise these benefits, as young beardies need more protein-based foods.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat All Kinds of Carrots?
Humans eat raw, cooked, and frozen carrots. There are also white, yellow, and purple carrots, apart from the usual orange ones.
So when I say bearded dragons can eat carrots, can they eat all kinds of carrots? Baby, large, raw, or cooked? Better still, can they eat other parts of a carrot plant, like carrot tops?
Read on to find out.
Baby vs large carrots
You’re advised to feed large carrots and not baby carrots. This is because baby carrots may carry harmful preservatives that cause health problems if ingested. But if you can find organic ones and clean them thoroughly, you can feed them to your pet.
Raw vs cooked carrots
One benefit of carrots for bearded dragons is the dietary fiber that helps with digestion. As you probably know, heat interferes with the fiber structure and nutrient content. Therefore, while beardies can safely eat cooked carrots, raw carrots are healthier as all the nutrient and fiber content is intact.
As already mentioned, carrots come in a variety of colors. Apart from the usual orange, there are white, yellow, and purple carrots. However, regardless of the color, all carrots contain the same nutritional content. That said, bearded dragons can eat any type of carrot (all colors) as color doesn’t change the nutrient content.
You can feed frozen carrots to your bearded dragon, but only after defrosting. The only disadvantage is that thawing these carrots may increase their moisture content, and excess water content may lead to digestive problems.
Beardie owners who grow carrots may be tempted to feed carrot tops to their pets. However, unlike the edible carrot part, carrot tops don’t contain the safest nutrients for your pet. They contain higher amounts of oxalates, which inhibit calcium absorption in bearded dragons. If you must, feed your pet once a month to ensure your pet is on the safe side.
You can choose to do away with the tops, but they also offer other nutritional benefits to your pet. For example, they contain vitamins C, A, and B6, which are essential for your pet.
How Many Carrots Can I Give My Bearded Dragon?
Every bearded dragon parent should understand that carrots are not a natural food for their pets. They don’t have access to vegetables in the wild.
Therefore, though it’s a safe vegetable option, your pet can’t have it every day. Once or twice a week is fine. But how much depends on your pet’s age and familiarity with vegetables.
What I mean is you can’t feed the same amount of carrots to a baby dragon as you would an adult. Besides, a pet having it for the first time should have smaller amounts until they’re used to the new food item.
Adult beardies can have half a handful of chopped carrots, while babies can have a few pieces depending on the size of your slices. If it’s a large carrot, cut a quarter of it, chop it, and feed this portion to your young pet.
Do the same for adult beardies who are having carrots for the first time. Let them adjust slowly until they can have half a handful once or twice a week.
Nutrition Benefits of Carrots for Bearded Dragons
Raw carrots are high in fiber and promote a healthy digestive system in bearded dragons. In addition, carrots are rich in vitamins that help boost your bearded dragon’s immunity.
The beta-carotene content helps with their scaly skin and combines with vitamin A to improve eye health. This means beardies who have carrots in their diet have improved eyesight.
Since it’s a healthy vegetable, it controls weight gain and lowers cholesterol in beardies, which may result in health complications. Again, carrots contain a balanced amount of calcium and phosphorus, which means the phosphorus won’t block calcium absorption.
This calcium content helps with bone development and protects your pet from MBD, a deadly bone disease in pet dragons.
Potential Health Risk of Carrots for Bearded Dragons
Most of these health risks result from ignorance or lack of information. For example, since carrots contain a good amount of vitamin A, you’re not supposed to feed them alongside concentrated vitamin A supplements.
If your beardie is taking vitamin A supplements, consult your vet to know the concentration to avoid causing vitamin A toxicity, which leads to serious health problems.
Beardies with vitamin A toxicity will experience weight loss, dehydration, inappetence, and lethargy.
Feeding too many carrots alongside other calcium, phosphorus, and oxalate-rich foods may lead to excess calcium in the body, resulting in kidney stones. High oxalates and phosphorus may also block calcium absorption.
Carrots also have tannins that can combine with proteins and inhibit their absorption. They may also interfere with iron and vitamin B6 absorption by interrupting enzymes in the digestive tract.
Though there are risks associated with carrots, these risks can easily be avoided by feeding the right amount of carrots and consulting your vet in case your pet is taking supplements.
How to Feed Carrots to your Beardie
To safely feed carrots to your bearded dragon:
- Begin by washing the carrot thoroughly in clean running water to eliminate dirt and other chemicals.
- Proceed to grate the carrot with a medium-sized cheese grater, as it will not only make your work easier but also cut it into manageable sizes.
- Ensure the carrots are in long strands, about 1.5 inches, so your pet can easily swallow without choking.
- Put in a clean feeding bowl and let your pet enjoy it.
Carrots may not be a natural food source for bearded dragons in the wild, but they are safe for beardies to enjoy. And not just that, they have tons of essential nutrients that your pet needs for optimal health.
However, it should never be a staple food and should be fed as a treat. Again, always clean first to remove any chemical contamination before feeding it to your pet.