Since bearded dragons are omnivore animals, they can eat animal and plant-based diets. Vegetables are a source of many essential nutrients that bearded dragons need to thrive and grow. In the wild, bearded dragons eat a variety of vegetables. However, all vegetables are not suitable for your beardie. So when in captivity, you must know what vegetables you can offer to your bearded friend and what you should not.
As far as broccoli is concerned, it’s a nutrient-rich vegetable we humans eat often. However, what about bearded dragons? Is broccoli safe for a bearded dragon, or can bearded dragons eat broccoli? Let’s discuss the matter in detail.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli?
“YES” broccoli is safe for bearded dragons, and they can eat it. Broccoli improves your beardie’s health by providing a variety of necessary nutrients (like minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, etc.). However, it should not be fed regularly or too often. Broccoli should be fed to bearded dragons occasionally and in a small amount only.
How often can bearded dragons eat broccoli?
As a thumb rule, adult bearded dragons should only be fed a limited amount of broccoli once or twice a month. In contrast, broccoli should not be fed to baby bearded dragons at all. Because according to experts, at this age, 80% of their diet must consist of insects, so they don’t need the nutrients present in broccoli; even some nutrients can harm baby beardies. Since only 20% vegetables are required in baby beardie’s diet, safer options (like acorn squash, bell pepper, butternut squash, cactus leaves, collard greens, mustard greens, yellow squash, etc.) should be used.
Benefits of broccoli
Before discussing the health benefits of broccoli for bearded dragons, let’s have a look at the nutritional composition of broccoli.
|Nutrient||Amount (per 100g)|
(According to USDA)
|Dietary Fiber||2.6 g|
|Vitamin C||89.2 mg|
|Vitamin A||31 µg|
|Vitamin K||101.6 µg|
|Vitamin E||0.78 µg|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||1403 µg|
(Calcium to Phosphorus ratio)
- High water contents of broccoli provide necessary hydration to your bearded dragon.
- Manganese plays a crucial role in reducing inflammation and is also required for proper metabolism in the body.
- Vitamin K is required for blood clotting and maintaining bone strength.
- Folate is required for the proper development and maintenance of body tissues and muscles.
- Fiber is critical for maintaining your bearded dragon’s gut health and proper digestion of food.
- Potassium is necessary to maintain the blood pressure within the normal range and avoid kidney issues. It also plays a vital role in muscle metabolism.
- Vitamin A & C are responsible for proper growth, reproduction, vision, and strong immune system, thus ensuring the overall wellbeing of bearded dragons.
- Iron is a vital nutrient required for proper oxygenation of blood.
Why Limited Amount Of Broccoli Should Be Fed To Bearded Dragons?
As mentioned above, despite such a rich nutritional profile, broccoli should not be fed to bearded dragons often and in a large amount. This is actually for two reasons.
1) The table indicates that broccoli has a higher concentration of phosphorus than calcium. While the recommended calcium to phosphorus ratio for diets that are intended to be used regularly or often is 1-2:1 (Ca:P). So if you feed broccoli too often, the higher phosphorus level in the body will reduce the absorption of calcium into the body. So the body will start using calcium deposited in the bones leading to weaker bones and joint pain. If the condition continues, your beardie can develop MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease). It is really a painful condition characterized by twisted bones and joint pain and can lead to death even.
2) Broccoli contains a compound named “oxalic acid .”It has the ability to bind with calcium. So on one side, it reduces calcium absorption into the body leading to weaker bones. On the other hand, having a higher level of oxalic acid in the body can prone your bearded dragon to the kidney stone.
Since broccoli has a tough texture, always offer it to your bearded dragon after chopping it into small pieces that he can eat comfortably.
Broccoli is a nutrient-rich, safe, and healthy vegetable for adult bearded dragons when given in small amounts occasionally. However, feeding broccoli to beardies too often can be harmful. So make sure to follow the instruction when thinking about feeding broccoli to your bearded friend.