Bearded dragons make excellent pets for both new owners and reptile enthusiasts. They are generally easy to handle, docile, and intelligent creatures. At first glance, feeding them may seem difficult. However, it’s not since they are not picky eaters and enjoy eating various food items.
If you’re just starting on your journey as a bearded dragon owner, or you’re just interested in getting one as a pet, you may be wondering whether bearded dragons can eat fruits and, if they can, what kinds of fruits are safe.
Bearded dragons can eat fruits. They enjoy eating fruits due to their high sugar content. In this article, we’ll discuss what fruits a bearded dragon can eat, what fruits to avoid, and the risks associated with feeding too much fruit.
Is fruit good for bearded dragons?
Fruits are healthy and delicious and can be a great addition to your pet’s diet. An adult bearded dragon’s diet should consist of 20% protein (from insects) and 80% plant matter (fruits and vegetables). Of the plant percentage, fruits should only be around 5% to 10%. They should be provided in smaller portions or occasionally as a treat.
If given in moderation, fruits provide the following benefits:
- They are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals that perform hundreds of roles in your pet’s body.
- They are packed with fiber. Fiber can boost gut health and aid digestion.
- They provide antioxidants that can prevent free radicals from damaging your beardie’s cells.
- They contain high water content, which can help keep beardies hydrated.
- Adding fruit to your pet’s diet can bring out a sweet flavor.
What fruits can a bearded dragon eat?
Keeping in mind that fruits should comprise the smallest portion (not more than 10%) of your beardie’s diet, below is a list of 10 safe fruits you can offer your pet.
There are thousands of varieties of apples throughout the United States. From red apples to yellow and green apples, all of the varieties are safe for your beardie to eat.
In terms of nutrients, apples are a good source of vitamins A and C, which help with vision and growth and boost your pet’s immune system. They are rich in fiber, which helps promote gut health. Furthermore, apples have a high water content (80-85%) to help keep your beardie hydrated.
In addition, apples are packed with antioxidants and minerals such as iron and potassium, which are important nutrients for bearded dragons.
When offering apples, remove the peel as it can cause choking. The skin might also contain pesticides and other chemicals that can harm bearded dragons.
Blueberries are sweet and nutritious for your dragon. They are a good source of fiber, antioxidants (especially their skin), vitamin C, and vitamin K. They also contain manganese, which regulates metabolism and blood clotting.
Blueberries contain approximately 85% water content, which can help your dragon stay hydrated.
Strawberries are not just juicy and sweet fruits for your bearded dragon. Packed with fiber, potassium, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and calcium, strawberries contain great nutritional benefits. They have soft skin and contain small seeds that can’t cause choking.
In addition, strawberries have a low phosphorus-to-calcium ratio compared to other fruits. With a water content of approximately 91%, they can give your dragon a hydration boost.
Your bearded dragon can eat blackberries occasionally. Blackberries contain fiber and antioxidants that can benefit them. They also contain several essential vitamins, including B vitamins, that help improve energy levels, metabolism, and brain health. Vitamins A, C, and K are also present.
On top of containing all these vitamins, blackberries also contain several great minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and potassium. However, they contain high oxalate levels, which can prevent calcium absorption.
Blackberries have an 88% water content, which can keep your pet hydrated.
Like humans, beardies can’t resist the sweet taste of mangos. They provide some amazing nutrients, so they can be offered occasionally.
Mangos can provide vitamins A, C, E, and K, and essential minerals, including magnesium, zinc, and manganese. Additionally, mangos contain antioxidants, fiber, and folate, which all play an essential role in keeping a bearded dragon healthy.
Mango is low in oxalates and contains a balanced calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, which makes it an excellent treat choice.
All colors of grapes (red, purple, and green) are completely safe for bearded dragons to eat occasionally. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants(especially the skin of red grapes), and potassium, and have high water content.
Bearded dragons can eat grapes with or without the skin, but they should never eat the seeds since they can lead to impaction.
Bananas are sweet, healthy, and one of the most affordable fruits you can buy. They contain essential nutrients to keep your pet healthy if offered in moderation.
Bananas contain vitamins A and C, antioxidants, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron, which all play a big role in your pet’s overall health.
Should you give peeled or unpeeled bananas?
Beardies enjoy eating banana peels as well as banana fruit. The peels add extra nutrition but should also be offered in moderation.
As the name suggests, watermelons contain high levels of water (more than 90%). This means that they can offer your pet a hydration boost, especially during the summer season.
Watermelons serve a little dietary purpose. They only contain vitamin C, beta-carotene, magnesium, and potassium.
You should only give the soft, pink flesh without the rind (including the white part) since it can be difficult to chew. Also, seeds can be a choking hazard and may lead to impaction.
Pears are not only delicious but also offer health benefits. They are rich in fiber that helps promote gut health and contain vitamins and minerals, including vitamins K and C, calcium, copper, and potassium, that your pet needs to stay healthy.
When offering pears to your beardie, you don’t need to remove the peel, as that’s where most of the nutrients are.
Raspberries are small, sweet fruits with a tart flavor. Despite being flavorful, these tiny fruits pack a lot of nutrition. They contain a good amount of fiber, carbohydrates, and water content.
In addition, they contain vitamins C, K, and E, manganese, iron, magnesium, and potassium to boost your pet’s health.
Like other berries, you can feed whole raspberries to your bearded dragon. Each raspberry contains 100-120 seeds, so it doesn’t make sense to remove them while your pet can eat them.
What fruits can bearded dragons not eat?
Although many kinds of fruits are safe and healthy to feed your pet, some are harmful, can make your pet sick, or are downright poisonous. Therefore, as a pet owner, you should be aware of these fruits.
The following fruits are toxic to bearded dragons.
Avocados contain persin, which kills fungi and is poisonous to animals. Persin is found in the skin and seeds of avocados, but it’s present in such large quantities that it makes its way into the meat of the fruit.
If your beardie eats avocado, he can experience vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory failure, and death. Avocados can result in death within a few hours of eating them.
Other reasons why avocados are harmful to beardies include the following:
- Avocados contain too much fat, which can cause obesity.
- They contain high levels of oxalates (oxalic acid). Oxalic acid binds to calcium and prevents the beardie’s body from absorbing and using calcium. Calcium is one of the most important nutrients in a beardie’s diet. Calcium deficiency can quickly lead to Metabolic Bone Disease.
Citrus fruit varieties include oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, etc. They are sweet and good-looking. However, they are bad for your bearded dragon. Here’s why.
- Like avocados, they contain a lot of oxalic acids.
- They contain high levels of citric acid, which can upset their digestive tract and cause diarrhea and rapid dehydration.
Risk factors of feeding too much fruit
Most fruits contain high sugar levels. This natural sugar, called fructose, can be hard to process and digest in bearded dragons. If fruits are taken in large quantities, they can cause diarrhea, which can result in dehydration.
This is in the short run.
In the long run, high sugar levels can make a beardie overweight or obese. This condition can cause various health problems, including weakened joints and bones, organ problems, etc.
On top of that, most fruits have an imbalance in the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. The ideal rate is 2:1 for your beardie to be in optimal health. This means that your pet will get twice as much calcium as phosphorous. Bearded dragons need more calcium than phosphorous. Therefore, you should be keen enough because insufficient calcium can cause metabolic bone disease.
A bearded dragon’s dental hygiene is important to its health. Too much fruit can damage their teeth by causing tooth decay, which can be painful and make it hard for them to eat.
Finally, if you provide fruits in large quantities, your beardie can develop picky-eating behavior and even avoid eating other nutrient-dense foods.
Can bearded dragons eat canned fruits?
You may be wondering what will happen if you just can’t find fresh fruits. Maybe certain fruits are out of season, or you just want to stock up on canned fruits to avoid grocery runs every time you need fruits for your pet.
Can bearded dragons eat canned fruits?
Short answer: yes, they can.
However, we don’t recommend canned fruits since they contain high sugar content and are loaded with preservatives. Chemicals used to preserve canned fruits may be harmful to a beardie’s health.
As we mentioned above, fruits should comprise a small portion of your pet’s diet. Therefore, when possible, you should provide fresh, nutritious fruits.
Pro tip: if possible, always buy organic fruits. They’re free of fertilizers, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals.
Bearded dragons can eat many different types of fruits, although they shouldn’t be part of their main diet. Fruits should occasionally be offered as treats- once a week or bi-weekly.
I know the phrase “everything in moderation” is mostly used by people defending unhealthy food options, but when it comes to feeding your bearded dragon fruits, moderation is key. This is because fruits contain high sugar levels that can cause obesity and tooth decay, high oxalic acid, and high water levels, which can sometimes cause a runny stool.
Avocados and citrus fruits should be avoided since they may cause some serious health concerns for your pet.
When offering fruits to your pet, it’s important to ensure that they’re washed and cut into bite-sized pieces. The size should be smaller than the space between their eyes to prevent choking, and they’re generally easy to chew.