Bearded dragons are one of the most popular pet reptiles. These lizards are docile, affectionate, and easy to care for. One of the things that makes bearded dragons easy to care for is their diet.
Unlike many other reptiles, the bearded dragon’s diet is one that we can understand as humans. Bearded dragon diets are made up of animal and insect proteins, fruits, and vegetables. While it might be a little strange to imagine a bearded dragon eating veggies, it’s an important part of their diet.
So, what vegetables can bearded dragons eat?
Bearded dragons can eat a variety of vegetables like leafy greens, squash, broccoli, sweet potato, and more. Vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals that keep your bearded dragon happy and healthy. While most vegetables are suitable for a bearded dragon there are some you should avoid, among them spinach, avocados, rhubarb, onions, leeks, and garlic.
In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into which vegetables bearded dragons can eat. We’ll also discuss how many veggies should a bearded dragon eat. Finally, we’ll talk about which vegetables you should avoid giving to your pet beardie.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Vegetables?
Bearded dragons absolutely can and should eat vegetables.
The reason why bearded dragons need vegetables to survive is because they are omnivores. That means that their natural diet contains plants, animals, and insects. In the wild, bearded dragons might eat flowers, plant leaves, fallen fruits, worms, and even small lizards. Plants are an important source of nutrients for bearded dragons.
Vegetables contain plenty of nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C. Vegetables can also provide calcium for your pet reptile, which is super important for their health. Some veggies may be too acidic or high in oxalate to feed to your pet but many contain beneficial antioxidants as well.
In captivity, their diets look a little different.
What Makes A Vegetable Good For A Bearded Dragon?
Bearded dragons have slightly different nutritional requirements than we humans do.
The best vegetables to feed to your bearded dragon are veggies with high nutritional content. You’ll want to look for vegetables that have plenty of calcium, and not too much phosphorus. This is because phosphorus can actually get in the way of calcium absorption. Low calcium levels lead to many common medical issues for captive beardies like metabolic bone disease, lethargy, twitching, and illness.
Oxalates and goitrogens are more compounds that can block calcium absorption, so these should be avoided when possible.
What Vegetables Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
So, what vegetables can bearded dragons eat?
Below, we’ll provide a quick list of all the vegetables that are safe for your bearded dragon to consume. Then, we’ll go into detail about what makes each vegetable good for your pet and how often you can dish it out.
- Collard Greens
- Beet Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Cactus Pad
- Dandelion leaves
- Swiss chard
- Bok choy
- Sweet potato
- Bell pepper
1. Collard Greens
Collard greens are a great staple vegetable for bearded dragons. These greens are rich in a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. If we’re thinking about the calcium-phosphorus ratio, collard greens are number one. They have around a 13 to 1 ratio and will support your pet’s ability to absorb calcium.
Collard greens are inexpensive, easy to store, and even easy to grow in your own backyard.
2. Beet Greens
Beet greens are another great choice of greens to feed your bearded dragon. Beet greens have an awesome calcium-phosphorus ratio. Like collard greens, they’re accessible almost year-round. Unfortunately, beet greens do have high oxalate levels and need to be fed with other more balanced vegetables.
3. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens have a slightly peppery taste that some bearded dragons seem to love. Mustard greens can be store-bought or forged in the wild as mustard grows rampant in many parts of the United States. Mustard greens have a healthy calcium-phosphorus ratio and can be considered a staple vegetable for bearded dragons.
4. Cactus Pad
Cactus is another great staple vegetable for bearded dragons. It might surprise you to learn that both reptiles and people can eat cactus pads. As long as they’re prepared properly with the spines removed, you should have no issues feeding these to your pet.
5. Dandelion Leaves
Dandelion leaves are another great wild vegetable that you can feed to a bearded dragon. Dandelion leaves have a good calcium-phosphorus ratio but also have a moderate level of oxalates. Make sure to make these in with other staple vegetables to keep your bearded dragon’s diet balanced. Always make sure that your wild foraged greens and vegetables don’t have any pesticides on them.
If not for the levels of goitrogens and kale, it would be a staple vegetable in a bearded dragon’s diet. While bearded dragons can’t eat kale it shouldn’t be offered every day because goitrogenic vegetables can disrupt the normal functions of the thyroid.
Clover is a great nonoffensive vegetable that bearded dragons can eat. Usually, you’ll forage clover from a garden or somewhere in the wild. If this is the case remember that nothing you feed your pet should have pesticides on it.
Cabbage has a perfect 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus. Although this may sound like the perfect staple veggie, cabbage is also goitrogenic. So feel free to use cabbage in your bearded dragon’s diet but don’t rely on it as a daily staple.
9. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is an underrated superfood that bearded dragons can eat. This vegetable is cost-efficient, full of vitamins and antioxidants, and of course, has a good calcium-phosphorus ratio. Swiss chard is something that you can feed it to your bearded dragon daily.
Broccoli is another safe vegetable for bearded dragons to eat. However, broccoli is not a staple vegetable and should only be offered to your bitter dragon occasionally and in small amounts. That’s because broccoli has an incorrect calcium-phosphorus ratio and is high in oxalates.
Fresh cilantro can make a great vegetable garnish on top of your bearded dragon’s meals. If you find that your bearded dragon isn’t eating their vegetables, try adding a little bit of cilantro on top. You might find out that they’re a huge fan. Besides being delicious, cilantro is full of vitamins and makes a great addition to other staple vegetables.
12. Bok Choy
Crunchy bok choy is known as a favorite vegetable for some bearded dragons. Whether it’s the taste or the texture these little lizards seem to love it. That being said bok choy shouldn’t be fed every day as it is goitrogenic. However, you can still offer it as a treat every few days or just a garnish to your bearded dragon’s regular meal.
Squash is one of the few vegetables that bearded dragons can eat cooked or raw. You can try feeding a squash raw to your bearded dragon but you might find that they have trouble chewing even the smallest pieces.
If you wanna keep your bearded dragon stay at raw, you can try shutting squash so that it looks like cheese on top of their meals. Otherwise, this is one vegetable you can feed to your pet after it’s been cooked.
14. Sweet Poatao
In addition to squash sweet potato is another vegetable that bearded dragons can eat cooked or raw. Sweet potatoes have got high vitamin continents and a high calorie count. Well they’re not necessarily a staple vegetable, they’re a great food item to add to your bearded dragon’s meal every few days.
Like squashes, carrots can be difficult for bearded dragons to chew. They don’t have the strongest jaws and crunchy vegetables can pose a real problem. The best way to offer your bearded dragon carrots is to shred them finely and ass them to the top of a meal. They’re not a staple veggie but offer a large variety of health benefits.
Zucchini is safe for bearded dragons to eat and soft enough that it won’t cause them any chewing problems. Zucchinis are rich in vitamin A, folate, and potassium which can all be beneficial nutrients for your pet reptile.
Okra is a tasty vegetable that is high in vitamin and antioxidant content. Okra is also a great source of fiber and can help your bearded dragon if they’re having any trouble defecating.
Peas and pea sprouts are acceptable vegetables that bearded dragons can eat. These plants contain high levels of phosphorus and should only be fed out occasionally. Some bearded dragons love peas and these bite-sized veggies can be used as treats and for bonding.
While bearded dragons can eat cucumbers, there’s not really any great benefit to it. Cucumbers are one veggie that is made up of mainly water. So they’ll help your bearded dragon rehydrate but may be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. Try to offer cucumbers sparingly.
20. Bell Pepper
It might surprise you to find out that bell peppers are totally safe to feed bearded dragons. Bell pepper is a tasty vegetable that can be added to a bearded dragon’s meal to add flavor and vitamins, Unfortunately, bell peppers don’t contain enough essential minerals like calcium to be a staple for these reptiles.
The last vegetable that you can try to offer to your beardie is basil. Basil leaves smell great and can make an appetizing garnish on top of a regular plate. If you’re making pesto this week, don’t be shy to let your beardie try this herb.
What Veggies Can Bearded Dragons Not Eat?
Now that we have a long list of all the vegetables you can give to your bearded dragon, which ones should you avoid?
Onions, leeks, and garlic are all vegetables that should never be offered to a bearded dragon. Not only are these foods lacking in important vitamins and minerals, but their high acidity levels can cause stomach upset in reptiles, especially when fed raw.
Eggplants are another plant to avoid offering to your beardie because of their high acidity levels. Mushrooms are questionable but should be skipped because of their poor calcium-phosphorus ratio and acidity levels.
Spinach, avocados, and rhubarb should also be avoided. Spinach is full of oxalic acid and can reduce your beardy’s calcium supply over time, causing a condition called metabolic bone disease (MBD). Similarly, avocados and rhubarb also contain oxalic acid and can be overall poisonous to bearded dragons.
Lastly, iceberg lettuce is one you’ll want to leave off of your bearded dragon’s plate. It doesn’t contain enough vitamins and minerals to keep your pet healthy in captivity. If they eat iceberg lettuce, they’ll basically be filling up on water.
How Many Vegetables Should A Bearded Dragon Eat?
Every meal a bearded dragon consumes in captivity should contain vegetables.
For adult bearded dragons, 80% of their plate should be made up of plants while the other 20% should be made up of insects. Of the 80% portion of plants, about 80% of that should be vegetables, with the other 20% being fruits.
So, it’s not really about how many vegetables a bearded dragon should eat, but rather how much of their meal is made up of vegetables. Spoiler alert, it’s a lot!
To help clear up those confusing rations, here’s a quick run down on bearded dragon diets.
Should Veggies Be Cooked Or Raw?
When feeding your bearded dragon, you should always try to match their wild diet as closely as possible.
This means that both fruits and veggies should be fed raw. Cooked or dehydrated foods have different water and nutrient contents and can cause deficiencies in your pet. In fact, some of the great minerals that raw veggies contain like iron, calcium, and magnesium are actually lost during cooking.
Raw vegetables contain more nutrients and should always be offered to your beardie as opposed to cooked veggies.
What Veggies Can Beardies Eat Daily?
The best staple vegetable for bearded dragons are ones with a good calcium-phosphorus ratio that are also low in oxalates and goitrogens. Vegetables that bearded dragons can eat daily are collard greens, dandelion greens, cactus, mustard greens, and beet greens. Many of the other vegetables on the list above can also be offered daily as a garnish to make a salad plate a little more exciting.
What Are The Best Veggies For Beardies?
The best vegetables for a bearded dragon will be the staple vegetables mentioned above. However, variety is key in making sure your pet gets all the nutrients that they need. Try adding in new veggies every week to see what they like and to fill in any nutritional gaps. Most vegetables are good for bearded dragons in some capacity.
Bearded dragons can eat so many vegetables. Vegetables will make up the majority of your bearded dragon’s meals, so it’s important to pick the right ones. Some veggies can be fed daily while others should only be used as treats or toppers.
Hopefully, this list has helped you find a few staple veggies that your scaly friend loves to eat and others that you can use as treats throughout the day!