A hungry Bearded dragon will almost eat any food that is offered to them. Being omnivorous, various food options are available. In both the invertebrate and greens groups of food, there are some items that should not be fed.
What Foods Should Be Avoided for Bearded Dragons?
When feeding your bearded dragon, it is important to avoid certain types of food that can be harmful or even deadly for them. These include:
1. Avocados: Avocados contain a toxin called persin which can be fatal for bearded dragons if ingested in large amounts.
2. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes contain high levels of acidity which can be damaging to a bearded dragon’s digestive system.
3. Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine, a toxic substance that can cause serious health problems in reptiles.
4. Insects with hard exoskeletons: Insects with hard exoskeletons such as beetles and cockroaches can damage a bearded dragon’s digestive tract if ingested.
5. Raw meat: Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria that can make a bearded dragon sick.
6. Dairy products: Dairy products such as milk and cheese are not easily digested by reptiles and can cause digestive issues.
7. Processed foods: Processed foods such as chips, cookies, and candy should be avoided as they lack nutritional value and can be harmful to a bearded dragon’s health.
Insects that should not be fed to Bearded dragons
When it comes to feeding invertebrates, the options should rather be limited to commercially available insects and the occasional pinkie mouse. Wild-caught insects can either be poisonous, or poisoned, have hard/dangerous exoskeletons, and often carries parasites. Fresh flying ants can be fed with caution. Fireflies, centipedes, butterflies, bees, houseflies, ants and wild maggots, and insects that excrete nasty-smelling scents should especially be avoided.
Commercial insects that contain high amounts of fat and low relative calcium levels should be fed with caution. Insects with high levels of fat include mealworms, Superworms, butterworms, and waxworms.
The Risks of Feeding Insects to Bearded Dragons
Insects can be a great source of protein for bearded dragons, but it is important to ensure that they are fed the right type of insects. Insects with hard exoskeletons, such as crickets and mealworms, should be avoided as these can cause digestive problems in bearded dragons.
Additionally, wild-caught insects may contain parasites or toxins that can be harmful to your Bearded Dragons.
The Dangers of Feeding Wild-Caught Insects to Bearded Dragons
Wild-caught insects can be dangerous to bearded dragons as they may contain parasites or toxins that can be harmful to your pet.
Additionally, wild-caught insects are often not as nutritious as commercially bred insects and may not provide the necessary nutrients for your bearded dragon’s growth and development.
It is important to avoid feeding wild-caught insects to your bearded dragon, as this can lead to health problems.
Greens that should not be fed to Bearded dragons
The problem often lies with feeding greens (plant-related food groups) to Bearded dragons. We love to experiment a bit with fruits, vegetables, flowers, and leafy plants. This group can have items that are either unhealthy, poisonous, or even lethal. Some greens can be fed in limited quantities with other greens, while others should rather be avoided. For a list of safe greens also see what greens to feed Bearded dragons.
With only a very few exceptions, it is generally assumed that if a plant (the leaves, fruit, and/or the roots) is not fit for human consumption, it should not be fed to Bearded dragons in any form. This includes all plants that are known to be poisonous.
Parts of plants that grow in your garden should almost always be avoided. Even if a garden plant is known to be safe for humans, caution must be taken with Bearded dragons. Greens that are fit for human consumption, but definitely not for Bearded dragons are Avocados, Beetroot tops, Elderberry, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Juniper, Onions (and garlic), and Rhubarb. This list also contains greens that can be safely consumed by other animals but not by Bearded dragons. These include Acorns, Lettuce, and Spinach.
Acorns, or oak nuts, are the nuts of oak trees. These nuts can be consumed raw or processed by humans and are consumed as an important part of their diet by some animals. Because of their dangerous tannin content, they should not be fed in any form (even crushed) to Bearded dragons.
Avocados (also known as Avocado pears) are the fruit of the Avocado tree. It is a common and healthy fruit that can be consumed by humans, but not by all species. Avocado contains a protein called persin, which is known to cause heat-related deaths in birds. The general consensus is not to feed it to Bearded dragons.
Beetroot tops are the leafy parts of beetroot vegetables. Beetroot is very nutritious and popularly consumed by humans. It contains good levels of magnesium and vitamin A. Beetroot tops, on the other hand, contains a chemical that inhibits calcium absorption in Bearded dragons and should be fed in moderation.
Elderberry is a popular plant used for medicinal purposes. Humans can consume the leaves and berries in small quantities and under certain conditions. Under uncontrolled circumstances, Elderberry is considered poisonous and should not be fed to Bearded dragons in any form or quantity.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit root is used in alternative medicine and is edible (only after drying and cooking) Fresh roots contain high concentrations of calcium oxalate and are considered to be dangerous. Jack-in-the-Pulpit should not be fed to Bearded dragons at all.
All Juniper trees produce berries. For humans, the berries of only the Common juniper tree are used for their flavoring abilities. The rest of the species have berries that are either bitter and/or poisonous. Juniper berries, from any Juniper tree, should not be fed to Bearded dragons.
Lettuce is a leaf vegetable very popular for its use in salads for human consumption. As food for Bearded dragons, lettuce is mostly water and not nutritious at all. It can be fed in small quantities together with other leafy greens, but should not be relied on as a staple.
Spinach is another food to avoid. It is considered healthy for human consumption and contains relatively high amounts of iron and calcium. In Bearded dragons, however, spinach acts as a calcium binder and can reduce the amount of this important mineral available for their physiological needs.
Onions & garlic
Onions, also known as the common onion or bulb onion, and garlic are vegetables commonly consumed by humans for their taste enhancement properties. In some species (such as dogs and cats) these vegetables are considered toxic in certain quantities and cause the breakdown of red blood cells. On top of this, onions and garlic are considered to be too acidic to be fed to Bearded dragons and should rather be avoided in any form and/or quantity.
Rhubarb is a leafy vegetable plant with a thick stem. The stems are commonly eaten by humans. Although the stem is readily consumed by humans, the leaves contain Anthraquinone glycosides and Oxalic acid which makes it poisonous. For this reason, the entire Rhubarb plant should rather not be fed to Bearded dragons.
The Dangers of Feeding Unsuitable Foods to Bearded Dragons
The dangers of feeding unsuitable foods to bearded dragons can be serious and even life-threatening. Foods that are not suitable for bearded dragons can contain toxins, bacteria, or other substances that can cause digestive issues, organ damage, or even death.
It is important to research the types of food that are safe for your pet before feeding them anything.
Additionally, it is important to avoid giving them any processed foods, dairy products, raw meat, or insects with hard exoskeletons as these can all be harmful to their health.
Nutritional Requirements for a Healthy Bearded Dragon Diet
A healthy bearded dragon diet should include a variety of foods that provide the necessary nutrients for their growth and development. These include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Protein sources such as insects, eggs, and lean meats should make up the majority of their diet. Fruits and vegetables should also be included to provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, a small amount of calcium-rich foods such as leafy greens, squash, and sweet potatoes should be included to ensure proper bone growth.
It is important to avoid feeding bearded dragons any foods that are not suitable for their diet. These include avocados, citrus fruits, chocolate, and insects with hard exoskeletons.
How to Identify Unsafe Foods for Bearded Dragons
Identifying unsafe foods for bearded dragons can be tricky, as some foods may appear safe but can actually be harmful. It is important to research the types of food that are suitable for your pet before feeding them anything.
In general, it is best to avoid giving bearded dragons any processed foods, dairy products, raw meat, or insects with hard exoskeletons. Avocados, citrus fruits, and chocolate should also be avoided as these can all be toxic to bearded dragons.
The Benefits of a Balanced Bearded Dragon Diet
A balanced diet is essential for the health and wellbeing of bearded dragons. A healthy diet should include a variety of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need for growth and development.
Eating a variety of foods also helps to prevent boredom and encourages natural behaviors such as hunting and foraging.
In addition to providing essential nutrients, a balanced diet can also help to reduce the risk of health problems such as obesity and metabolic bone disease.
How to Avoid Overfeeding Your Bearded Dragon
Overfeeding your bearded dragon can lead to obesity and other health problems, so it is important to ensure that they are not being given too much food. To avoid overfeeding, you should only feed your bearded dragon the amount of food recommended by a veterinarian or reptile specialist.
It is also important to monitor your bearded dragon’s weight and adjust its diet accordingly. If they start to gain weight, you should reduce the amount of food they are given.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Juvenile Bearded Dragons
It is important to be aware of the foods that should not be fed to juvenile bearded dragons. As they are still growing and developing, it is essential to provide them with a balanced diet that contains all the necessary nutrients for their growth and development.
Processed foods, dairy products, raw meat, avocados, citrus fruits, chocolate, insects with hard exoskeletons, and wild-caught insects should all be avoided.
What foods should I avoid feeding my bearded dragon?
You should avoid feeding your bearded dragon processed foods, dairy products, raw meat, avocados, citrus fruits, chocolate, insects with hard exoskeletons, and wild-caught insects.
Are there any risks associated with feeding insects to my bearded dragon?
Yes, there are risks associated with feeding insects to your bearded dragon. Insects with hard exoskeletons such as crickets and mealworms can cause digestive problems in bearded dragons. Additionally, wild-caught insects may contain parasites or toxins that can be harmful to your pet.
What types of food are safe for juvenile bearded dragons?
It is important to provide juvenile bearded dragons with a balanced diet that contains all the necessary nutrients for their growth and development. You should avoid feeding them processed foods, dairy products, raw meat, avocados, citrus fruits, chocolate, insects with hard exoskeletons, and wild-caught insects.
Is it safe to feed my bearded dragon wild-caught insects?
No, it is not safe to feed your bearded dragon wild-caught insects as they may contain parasites or toxins that can be harmful to your pet. Additionally, wild-caught insects are often not as nutritious as commercially bred insects and may not provide the necessary nutrients for your bearded dragon.
Apart from these food items mentioned in this article, there might be many more that is safe to consume for humans and other animals. When in doubt, rather stick to food items that have been reported as safe to feed to Bearded dragons. For a list of safe foods for Bearded dragons, also see the what and how to feed your pet Bearded dragon and what greens to feed Bearded dragons.
If you know of any food items that should be on this list, please let us know in the comments section below.