It seems like reptile diets always manage to become controversial topics! Bearded dragon diets are pretty straight forwards, but there are some food choices that are questionable. Certain flowers and bugs raise eyebrows, and some foods can actually be poisonous for bearded dragons. But, what about honey?
Can bearded dragons eat honey?
Bearded dragons can eat honey, but it doesn’t mean that they should. While honey packs some powerful nutritional benefits, it also contains too much sugar for a bearded dragon in its natural state. If you do feed your bearded dragon honey, you’ll want to water it down.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of honey. We’ll also talk about why you probably shouldn’t give your bearded dragon honey unless it’s prepared in a particular way. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about beardies and honey!
Where Do Bearded Dragons Come From?
An important part of understanding the normal diet of your pet is understanding their natural history. Natural history tells us a little bit about where an animal originated, what they did there, and how they survived.
Bearded dragons in the wild are found in the desert regions of Australia. These lizards thrive in hot, dry climates. Beardies are considered to be semi-arboreal and can often be found climbing up trees and logs, while still spending much of their time on the ground.
So, what does this have to do with bearded dragons and honey? Well, what a beardie eats in the wild can help us get a better idea of what their captive diet should look like!
What Do They Eat In The Wild?
Because bearded dragons are natural desert dwellers, their diet often consists of what they can even find in that climate.
Tough leafy greens from desert plants, bugs, and the occasional fruit are what make up the majority of a bearded dragon’s wild diet. What we feed a bearded dragon our home is going to look different but it’s something to consider when you’re thinking about feeding your beardie something new.
If we think about honey, would a bearded dragon ever eat honey in the wild? Probably not! They have no way of getting a bee hive down from a tree like a bear does. And, if a hive did fall to the ground, it would most likely attract too many other animals for the bearded dragon to be able to get any honey. But, this doesn’t mean that your pet beardie can’t enjoy a drizzle of honey on their meals.
Let’s dive a little deeper into honey and what nutritional benefits it can provide for your pet reptile.
What Are Some Of The Nutritional Benefits Of Honey?
There are reasons why you would want to feed your bearded dragon honey! Honey is a very nutrient-dense food, naturally. Just as we humans benefit from consuming honey, your beardie will also feel some positive effects!
Raw honey contains compounds called phytonutrients in it. Phytonutrients are found in some plants are have been shown to be beneficial for human health. They’re responsible for many of honey’s health benefits including boosting the immune system. Your beardie probably isn’t at risk of getting a cold or the flu from seeing other beardies. But, beardies can get sick, and anything you can do to boost their immunity is never a bad idea.
Source of Carbohydrates
Despite what you might hear from fad diets throughout your lifetime, carbohydrates are essential for life! Both humans and reptiles need carbohydrates to function and live.
Carbohydrates are the most direct source of glucose. The body uses glucose to function physically. As an omnivore, your beardie needs a good amount of carbohydrates (and glucose). Honey is packed full of healthy carbohydrates. Feeding your bearded dragon honey might help them to feel more energized throughout the day.
One of the coolest properties of honey is that it is antibacterial!
Did you know that honey is one of the oldest documented antibacterials around?
Honey is known to be effective against a wide range of bacteria. Honey can be used topically, on injuries, or can be consumed. Both ways will give antibacterial benefits. Consuming honey can help you to fight off bacterial infections. If your bearded dragon does contract an illness like an upper respiratory infection, honey might be something to consider in helping your pet to feel better faster!
Source of Vitamins and Minerals
At this point, it won’t surprise you that honey is a great natural source of vitamins and minerals.
Raw honey actually contains vitamins A, B, C, D, and E! Honey also contains copper, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. One of the biggest issues for bearded dragons in captivity is metabolic bone disease. Metabolic bone disease (MBD) is caused by a lack of nutrients and minerals. Calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D are vitamins and minerals that your bearded dragon needs daily. If you don’t supplement these in your bearded dragon’s diet, you might start to see MBD symptoms.
Raw honey might be a great way to naturally supplements your reptile’s meals!
Do you feel like your pet gets constipated? Honey might help move the process along.
Honey contains certain enzymes that aid digestion. Not only can honey soothe a stomach ache, but it can also help a constipated pet. Remember this benefit will usually only come along with raw, unprocessed honey.
After reading about all of these benefits, you’re probably wondering what the catch is! Unlike humans, bearded dragons just can’t process large amounts of pure honey. We’ll discuss why that is next!
Why Isn’t Honey 100% Safe For Bearded Dragons?
The biggest problem with feeding your bearded dragon honey is the amount of sugar that it contains.
Honey contains way too much sugar for a reptile to easily process. Even though raw honey is good for digestion in general, it might actually cause stomach upset in reptiles. Honey still has all the other good properties we mentioned, but beardies just can’t process the amount of sugar in it. Excess sugar can make your beardie sick and lethargic and can lead to further health problems down the road.
How To Feed Your Bearded Dragon Honey.
So, what is the safe way to feed your bearded dragon honey?
We always recommend consulting your exotic pet veterinarian before feeding your reptile any new foods. although honey might be safe in small quantities, your bearded dragon could be a special case or have sensitivities you don’t know about. If you do decide to give your beardie honey, the best way to feed it is in a diluted form.
Honey for beardies should be diluted with warm water before feeding. This way, you’ll be able to keep all of the nutritional benefits of the honey without the excess amounts of sugar! But, if you’re worried about feeding your pet too much sugar, there are other, better ways to provide your bearded dragon with a balanced diet!
What Does A Normal Bearded Dragon Diet Look Like?
So, what does a balanced meal look like for a bearded dragon?
Bearded dragons are omnivores, and need a wide variety of foods in their diets! Unlike snakes that only eat animal protein, bearded dragons eat animals, insects, and plants. Your bearded dragon’s diet should be about 80% plants and 20% bugs.
For the plants on your bearded dragon’s plate, you’ll want to stick with mostly vegetables. You can feed your bearded dragon fruit and edible flowers as well, but veggies should make up the bulk of the plants. Your beardie probably loves bugs, but keep in mind you shouldn’t give an adult bearded dragon too many bugs!
Bugs bought from a pet supply store are preferable to bugs caught in the wild. Pet supply store bugs are clean and parasite free. You can feed your bearded live or dead bugs. Crickets, cicadas, and mealworms are some of the bugs you’ll find your bearded dragon loves. For a list of other bug protein items to feed your pet, read our article here.
If you’re more of a visual learner, this video should give you a great idea of what to feed your bearded dragon on a day-to-day basis.
As we stated above, your bearded dragon can eat honey, but it doesn’t mean that they should! While honey comes with tons of nutritional benefits, it can also make your beardie sick. Honey is antibacterial, full of carbohydrates, and helps with digestion. But, for bearded dragons, honey is too high in sugar and can actually cause long-term illness and stomach issues.
The best way to feed honey is to dilute it before feeding it to your pet. And remember, always consult your vet before you change your reptile’s diet!