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Home > Reptiles > Can Bearded Dragons Eat Basil? Nutritional Facts & Info

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Basil? Nutritional Facts & Info

PetKeen_Can Bearded Dragons Eat_basil

Bearded dragons love to snack on all kinds of bugs, fruits, and vegetables. Herbs should be a part of your bearded dragon’s diet, as they offer an array of nutrients not available in other foods. That said, some herbs are not good to give your beardie. So, is basil okay to eat? The answer is yes, bearded dragons can eat basil.

Beardies need a variety of foods to survive and thrive. The requirement of vegetation changes according to a beardie’s age and other factors (such as their reproduction status).

Generally speaking, bearded dragons of all ages need varying amounts of vegetation in their diet. Giving basil to your beardie will help balance out their diet to include some good stuff.

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Nutritional Information of Basil

Basil can be a wonderful addition to your beardie’s diet.

Nutrients found in basil (per 100 grams) include:
  • 92 grams water
  • 3 grams protein
  • 177 milligrams calcium
  • 56 milligrams phosphorus

Like most herbs, the bulk of basil is water. However, it is still beneficial for bearded dragons because of its great calcium content and excellent calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.

Image Credit: monicore, Pixabay

How to Prepare Basil for Bearded Dragons

Giving basil to your bearded dragon is quite simple.

Feed your beardie fresh, uncooked basil in the following ways:
  • First, purchase fresh, preferably organic basil from the store, or clip leaves from your own garden.
  • Next, wash the basil to get off any unwanted residue.
  • Then, cut the basil into small pieces, ideally as small as your beardie’s eye. After that, mix the basil in with other veggies.
  • Alternatively, you can let your beardie munch on small pieces of whole basil leaves. They will love it!

How Often Can a Beardie Eat Basil?

Basil is great for all its nutritious value, but beardies should only eat basil in limited amounts, and it’s best served with other herbs and vegetation rather than a standalone. Like so many herbs, it is mostly water and offers little in terms of protein, and it has no vitamin D (which is important for bearded dragons). That said, there’s no harm in offering basil to your bearded dragon once or twice a week, mixed with their other greens. You should discuss your bearded dragon’s diet with your veterinarian to formulate a meal plan that works best for your pet.

Calcium Concerns

The calcium/phosphorus balance in foods is important to consider when feeding your beardie. Adult bearded dragons being fed for maintenance need a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of 1.5:1 or 2:1 in their diet.

In basil, the calcium/phosphorus ratio is 3:1, making it unsafe for adult bearded dragons to eat in large quantities. However, it is a good source of calcium for bearded dragons that are laying eggs, as their calcium requirements are much higher than those that aren’t.

bearded dragon side view
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

What About Dried Basil?

Dried basil is readily available all year round in your pantry, so it seems like nutritious and convenient food to give to your beardie, right? Not quite.

Although the same volume of dried basil is more nutritious than fresh, it’s best to stay away from dried basil. The concentrated amount of fiber, calcium, and sugar will be too much for your beardie’s system. All herbs (including basil) are best when offered fresh to your pet, not dried.

What Other Herbs Can a Bearded Dragon Eat?

Herbs not only contain essential nutrients for your bearded dragon, but they are also delicious!

Here are a few other fresh herbs that your beardie can eat:

Like basil, these herbs are best served sparingly. Also, do not feed your beardie the dried version of these herbs.

Image Credit: Kai Reschke, Pixabay

What Foods Are Not Good for Bearded Dragons?

There are a few foods that are not great for a beardie to consume. Some of these foods might be okay to eat on accident once, but when consumed in excess, they could be deadly to a bearded dragon.

Do not feed your beardie these things:
  • Fireflies
  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Rhubarb
  • Eggplant (the fruit itself is safe but not recommended; the seeds aren’t safe)

A great idea is to pick up a book about bearded dragons so you have a do’s and don’ts list readily available whenever you have a quick question about whether a beardie can eat a certain food or not. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

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Wrapping Up

Now you know the ins and outs of why basil is a great addition to your bearded dragon’s diet in small quantities.

Reminder: When handling or feeding your beardie, make sure you wash your hands when you are done. Bacteria or parasites that could be harmful to humans reside happily on bearded dragons.

Featured Image: Jill Wellington, Pixabay

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