Bearded dragons kept as pets need a varied diet to help keep them healthy and fruit is one area where owners sometimes need more information. To understand which fruit is safe for bearded dragons to eat and which fruit isn’t safe, it’s important to find out more about the benefits and the risks involved in feeding them fruit.
Can bearded dragons eat fruit? As a general rule bearded dragons can eat fruit in moderation and good fruit options include grapes, apples, pears, oranges, bananas, pineapple, berries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, mango, melon, tomatoes, cherries, avocado, papaya to kiwi.
Bearded dragons can feed on several types of fruit. These fruits can be an important part in providing numerous essential nutrients, including calcium among others. While bearded dragons can feed on many different types of fruit, it’s worth noting that insects are an integral component of a bearded dragon’s diet.
Fruit can provide essential vitamins and minerals for bearded dragons, and this is important for their health and well-being. Along with providing a source of water, as many different types of fruit have a high-water content, allowing bearded dragons to remain hydrated.
Fruit contains fiber, an essential requirement to help with digestion and avoid the bearded dragon becoming constipated. The fiber along with the water in the fruit, combine with the rest of the eaten fruit, allow the passage through the digestive system more easier.
Vitamins are another important requirement for a bearded dragons dietary needs and many fruits are high in vitamin A and C. Vitamin C is essential to aid a bearded dragons’ bodily functions like their vision, their growth as well as helping them with their reproduction.
Vitamin A is needed by bearded dragons as it contributes to the well-being of their immune system and like vitamin C aids in their reproduction, growth and their vision.Fruits with higher concentration of vitamin A include mango, melons (watermelon, cantaloupe) and papaya. There are other fruits like apricots, tangerines and nectarines, which have lower concentrations of vitamin A.
Antioxidants present in some types of fruit can aid in minimizing inflammation, thereby protecting against the development of allergies and contributing to better all-round cardiovascular health, through reducing the possibility of heart disease.
Essential minerals like potassium in some types of fruit can help with the cardiovascular health by being instrumental in keeping blood pressure within safe tolerances. As potassium allows the electric charges within the bearded dragon to contribute to certain cell functions.
Even though fruit provides many health benefits to bearded dragons, there are some downsides particularly around some types of fruit having high sugar content. This high sugar content comes with increased acidity that can be detrimental to a bearded dragons’ teeth. Leading potentially to enamel erosion and gum damage, which can end up with them losing their teeth.
The acidity in fruit can also affect a bearded dragon’s mouth, by causing burning and affect their esophagus and stomach, as the linings of these may not be receptive to highly acidic fruit. That being said, it is still possible to find fruit safe enough for bearded dragons to eat.
One thing to note with any fruit and indeed any food type you feed to a bearded dragon is the concentration of phosphorous and oxalates, as these can contribute to the damage of their bones, muscles and body tissue. High phosphorous concentrations combined with a low calcium intake can lead to the phosphorous causing calcium leeching from the bearded dragons’ bones.
This can lead to bones becoming brittle and ultimately breaking, leading to an uncomfortable existence for the bearded dragon. Fruit choices like avocado and grapes have a higher concentration of phosphorous to comparable fruit, meaning if you are going to give these to your bearded dragon, care should be taken in the amount given and the frequency of feeding these high phosphorous fruits.
It’s very important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of giving bearded dragons fruit along with the other food types consumed by the bearded dragon. For instance, some insects have high levels of phosphorous and even when given in moderation, the additional phosphorous given through fruit, may be detrimental to the overall health of the bearded dragon.
Oxalates work in a similar manner to phosphorous, combing with the calcium in the bearded dragon’s body, thereby if the bearded dragon does not have a calcium rich diet. Their body ends up losing bone density through the calcium being depleted by the oxalates, which are a type of acid.
Fruit can also increase the risk of diabetes through obesity, as regularly feeding them with fruit can lead to the higher concentrations of sugar being converted to fat more easily and being stored. This in turn can have an acute affect on their overall health, leading to fatty liver and diabetes.
Whilst fruit can provide the top-up vitamins, minerals and fiber a bearded dragon needs, this won’t necessarily equate to them actually getting this from their diet, including any fruit they eat. As they may not eat the fruit as frequently as needed, so in such cases their may need to be some form of vitamin and mineral supplementation.
There are several vegetables and fruits that bearded dragons can eat. Leafy greens such as collard greens, kale, and dandelion greens are vegetables that bearded dragons can eat. Such leafy greens are highly nutritious in calcium, which is essential.
Fruits like grapes, bananas, melon and apples are good choices but this needs to be done in moderation as fruit is high in sugars. Fruit is ideally better served as a treat with vegetables being part of their main diet, as too much fruit poses health issues due to high sugar content. Vegetables provide important nutrients and vitamins for bearded dragons.
|Grapes||High||C, K||Potassium Iron||High||High||Occasional|
|Mango||High||A, C||Potassium |
|Melon||Medium||C, K||Potassium |
|Cherries||Medium||A, C, K||Potassium |
|Avocado||Low||C, B-5, B-6||Iron |
|Papaya||Medium||A, C||Beta Carotene Potassium||Low||Low||Staple|
|Kiwi||High||C, B6||Potassium |
Table 1 above shows various fruit available to bearded dragons and whether the fruit can be fed to them as part of their staple diet, occasionally or should be avoided. Staple fruits must still only be around 10-15% of the bearded dragons total dietary intake, as insects and some vegetables are also required.
Grapes are available in many different types from green ones to the red and purple colored ones, along with seeded and seedless options available. They’re reasonably priced and provide a multitude of benefits when eaten in moderation.
Grapes are a great choice of fruits for feeding your bearded dragon. This is mainly because they are full of nutrients and less sugary. However, to feed your bearded dragon well, it’s important to chop them into smaller portions to prevent them from choking.
As a general rule bearded dragons can eat grapes however this needs to be done in moderation as well as making sure the grapes are served in small enough pieces as to not cause any choking. Grapes have a high-water content thereby aiding hydration but do contain higher amounts of oxalates and phosphorous.
To avoid the choking risk, cut the grapes into very small pieces, some owners may also peel the grapes as the skin could contain pesticide residue. However, this may seem a little pointless as most of the pesticide residue on the grape skin would have been absorbed by the grape over time. Seeds should also be removed, as these maybe difficult for bearded dragons to digest.
The higher concentrations of oxalates and phosphorous need to be considered when feeding grapes and ideally, this should be considered within the context of their overall amounts of these in their whole diet. As this will dictate the amount and frequency bearded dragons can be fed grapes.
Acidic content in grapes is quite low compared to other fruits, thereby protecting their mouths from undue suffering from burning sensations. Bearded dragon digestion isn’t also not impacted by eating grapes, as the low acidic nature will have a minimal effect on their stomachs.
The benefits of eating grapes are primarily from hydration, reduced risk of inflammation along with minerals and vitamins to aid a bearded dragons health. The high-water content is great at providing them with the water needed to remain hydrated, but it should not be their sole avenue at remaining hydrated. As the benefits from of eating grapes to keep a bearded dragon hydrated will seriously be undermined by the higher concentrations of oxalates in grapes.
Grapes contain a lot of fiber which in turn helps with ensuring the sugary content isn’t overly absorbed too quickly as well as providing the bulk needed when combined with water to aid their digestion flow. A majority of the sugar will not be absorbed as it will be combined with the fiber, allowing this to pass through the body. However, this is only beneficial if grapes are eaten in moderation as eating too many grapes will still lead to more sugar being absorbed overall.
The skin of grapes contains antioxidants, which can be beneficial in mopping up the free radicals produced by their bodies. Thereby reducing inflammation and their tendency to be prone to further allergies. For cardiovascular health, antioxidants along with potassium have been widely accepted as being an essential element in keeping the overall heart and blood pressure health within satisfactory limits.
Vitamin C is also abundant in grapes and this vitamin help with bodily repair, as part of the aging process and healing, should the bearded dragon get injured. Vitamin C’s other benefits include helping with the absorption of important minerals like iron to being essential to the well-being of the bearded dragon’s immune system.
The disadvantages of eating too many grapes other than the issues regarding calcium loss, can be overhydration where too much water from the grapes can end up in the bearded dragons body. This ends up diluting their blood, leading to their body expelling more water to try to bring the water content of their blood down to safe levels. Which in turn can lead to dehydration, as their bodies overcompensate and expel too much water.
Apples are a nutritiously dense fruit packed full of goodness from vitamins, minerals to fiber. They also provide a decent amount of carbohydrate, which helps in providing a quick supply of energy for bearded dragons.
Apples are perhaps one of the best types of fruit you can give to a bearded dragon, as they high in fiber, provide energy and have vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients. Their high-water composition provides hydration and combines with the fiber helps with digestion. Both red and green apples provide health benefits with green apples having slightly more nutrients compared to red apples.
Care should be taken when feeding bearded dragons apples by ensuring they have been peeled and cut into small pieces before serving them to your bearded dragon as there is a potential choking risk. The peel can be difficult to chew and increase choking risk. Also, may have pesticide residue so using bonafide organic apples makes a lot of sense. Having a lot of pesticide containing fruit can not only make a bearded dragon ill but can also be fatal.
Apples are a good source of Vitamins particularly A as well as C, which provide a good basis for protecting against infection by helping the bearded dragon’s immune system. To also, benefitting their eyesight, aiding their reproductive capabilities and assisting their growth.
Apples whilst containing high levels of sugar also contain high amounts of fiber that minimize the amount of sugar absorbed during digestion, as long as apples are eaten in moderation. The fiber in apples provides two main benefits, firstly it helps bulk up the food with water as it passes through the bearded dragons digestive system, reducing the risk of them getting constipated when there’s not enough water in their stools to allow the waste to leave their bodies effectively.
Fiber’s other benefit is limiting the absorption of sugar in the apple, so instead of getting an instant absorption of sugar when the apple is eaten, instead the fiber as it has the sugar trapped around it, leads to most of the sugar being expelled as a waste product.
The sugar that does get into the bloodstream from digestion provides a source of carbohydrate which gives the bearded dragon energy. As the sugar is released slowly in apples due to the fiber, the bearded dragon can use the energy more efficiently. Instead of getting a massive sugar rush followed by a energy crash leading to tiredness and overall lethargy, apples can provide a good slow release of energy from its natural sugars.
Juicing apples and serving the juice is not recommended, as this will supply the bearded dragon with a concentrated supply of sugar, as the fiber will have been broken down too in the juicing process. Leaving a sugary juice with not protective fiber, even if the apples is mashed into a pulp, the fiber breaks down too, leaving a sugar rich residue.
Minerals are important in a bearded dragon’s diet and apple’s contain potassium as well as iron, with potassium being good for cardiovascular health especially the regulation of blood pressure and iron helping oxygen bind easily to the red blood cells, aiding respiration.
Fruit in moderation for bearded dragons is a must as it can provide nutrients from minerals to vitamins that can help a bearded dragon remain healthy. Some types of fruit have a high fiber content, with some also having a high composition of water, which in combination help with their digestion and can keep them hydrated too.
The sugar in fruits can be detrimental to their health if fruit is not given in moderation, so care must be taken about how much, how often the fruit is fed and how the fruit is fed (natural vs juiced) to bearded dragons kept as pets. As too much sugar in their diets can lead to health problems associated with obesity like diabetes and tooth decay from the acidic nature of sugar.
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