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Bearded dragons are great to have as pets; they’re lovable and live upwards of 20 years. Although, taking care of them and ensuring they don’t eat toxic food can be pretty daunting, especially for new reptile owners. It begs the question, “Can bearded dragons eat Broccoli?”
Well, yes, bearded dragons can eat Broccoli. Like many other vegetables, Broccoli is an excellent addition to include in your bearded dragons diet. It provides several nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for the health and development of your beardie. Some of the more notable nutrients of Broccoli include protein, fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, C, K, and E.
However, it should be fed to your beardie sparingly, once in a while, and only included in a complete, balanced diet. Although it is full of nutrients that help beardies grow healthy, it contains a high amount of oxalic acid, which can be bad for their kidney and bone health.
The oxalic acid in Broccoli binds with calcium in the reptile’s body leading to an imbalance in the calcium-phosphorus ratio. This effect caused the body to use the calcium present in the bones, leading to bone degeneration, affecting kidney function, and bladder stones.
Oxalic acid prevents the absorption of calcium into the bloodstream, which is the reason why you should minimize the amount of Broccoli and the rate at which you feed your bearded dragon broccoli.
Nutritional Benefits of Broccoli
Like all vegetables, Broccoli has nutritional properties which are beneficial to both humans and reptiles alike. Let’s take a look at Broccoli’s nutritional profile.
|Nutrient||Amount (per 100g)|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||1403µg|
(Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio)
The Benefits of Broccoli Include:
Studies have shown that the normal calcium: potassium ratio healthy for bearded dragons and other reptiles alike is 1:1 or more in favor of calcium. Although, according to Broccoli’s nutritional facts, it has a healthy amount of calcium at 47mg, Broccoli contains more phosphorus than calcium, so it doesn’t fall in the healthy range for eating daily.
Phosphorus prevents calcium absorption into the bloodstream, and calcium is essential for the overall health of beardies, especially their bones. Daily eating of Broccoli depletes the amount of calcium in a beardies body, gradually metabolizing calcium from the bone, eventually leading to metabolic bone disease.
Hence, it is crucial that you provide your bearded dragon with calcium powder to avoid any such issues.
As with humans, to fall sick feels horrible for beardies and is an unpleasant experience for both you and your pet. The metabolic bone disease impairs and even paralyzes its limb and leads to death if left untreated.
Other Veggies That Are Good for Bearded Dragons
Not only is feeding your beardie a single vegetable boring, but it’s also unhealthy. Some nutritional elements are present in low or no quantity in Broccoli but are in high abundance in other vegetables. To provide a healthy, well-balanced diet for your beardie, you will need to use a mixture of veggies and greens.
Know that your beardies might not accept some of this food, and it’s okay if they don’t like them. You don’t need to force-feed them. Some of the healthy veggies to feed your beardie include:
Kale provides your beardie with a healthy dose of vitamins. Although like the Broccoli, you should feed your bearded dragon on an occasional basis.
Sweet Potatoes are safe for bearded dragons. It contains vitamin A in high amounts that with vision, the bones and enhance growth and development. It also has poor calcium: phosphorus ratio and should be fed to your bearded dragon once in a while. And also, too much vitamin A can cause toxicity.
Green Bell Peppers
They provide beardies with many water and vitamins to keep them hydrated and healthy. Be sure to cut the peppers into tiny pieces before feeding them.
Many beardies like acorn squash because it has a lot of carbohydrate content and is sweeter than leafy greens. Acorn squash contains a lot of vitamins. Although it is relatively low in calcium, you can regularly feed it to your beardie since it has low oxalate content. Adding a calcium supplement should also be considered.
Collard greens should be added in high quantity to your beardie’s diet. They have high calcium: phosphorus ratio of 14.5 to 1 and are also rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber and folate.
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When I Want to Serve My Bearded Dragon Broccoli, How Do I Prepare It?
First things first, you need to know that vegetables are better raw than cooked. Cooking will leech the Broccoli of some of its nutrients. Also, beardies prefer their food raw to cooked.
These are the procedures to follow before serving the Broccoli to your beardie:
- Collecting fresh Broccoli, also inspecting and removing every spoiled floret part, and also cut off the flowery part of the floret
- Wash thoroughly to remove every form of insecticides and pesticides or other toxins that might have come about from the handling and or packaging.
- Soak the Broccoli in cold water for a while to effectively remove every form of toxin and insects that might have remained present after initial washing
- Chop the Broccoli, especially the stalk, into tiny pieces to prevent your beardie from accidentally choking
- Mix the chopped pieces of Broccoli with other veggies as part of a salad or mix with other veggies.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Also Eat Broccoli?
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
Adult bearded dragons need to be fed only once a day. If you notice that your beardie doesn’t finish her food, you can reduce the amount of food you’re feeding her. It would be best if you fed adult bearded dragons 80% vegetable salad and 20% insects. Although you can feed them once in two days, you should strive to provide your beardie every day.
On the other hand, baby bearded dragons need to feed multiple times daily, about (5) times a day for those under three (3) months.
Those within 3 to 6 months should be fed 3-4 times daily, while 6-months and above should be fed three (3) times, gradually reducing the number of feeding times to once when they become adults.
Baby beardies need all the nourishment they can get to grow healthy and develop well.
Wrapping Up: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli?
In conclusion, finding out if Broccoli is suitable for your beardie boils down to the love you have for your bearded dragon and not wanting your bearded dragon to eat food toxic to her body system. Although bearded dragons can eat Broccoli, not every bearded dragon likes it, and if your beardie does, you should feed your bearded dragon broccoli on a very occasional basis of once in 2-4 weeks.
Broccoli is not entirely suitable for regularly eating, especially with its oxalic acid content and poor calcium: phosphorus ratio.
Overeating broccoli can cause a lack of calcium and other health disorders like metabolic bone disorder for your beardie, and you don’t want that.
There are a lot of other healthy veggies your beardie can eat, some of which have been mentioned. Just ensure that your bearded dragon eats a rich, balanced diet.
And don’t forget, your beardie loves insects, like live mealworms, waxworms, crickets, and roaches. They are the essential part of your beardie’s diet, a necessity that they shouldn’t miss out on.