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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Basil? What You Need to Know
Bearded dragons love to snack on all kinds of bugs, fruits, and vegetables. Herbs should be a part of your bearded dragons’ diet, as they offer an array of nutrients not available in other foods. Some herbs are not good to give your beardie, but is basil okay to eat? The answer is yes, these lizards are okay to eat basil.
Beardies need a variety of foods to survive and thrive. You will want to feed them a 50% carnivorous food and 50% omnivorous food diet, according to VCA Hospitals. Giving your beardie some basil will help balance out his diet to include some good stuff.
Valuable Nutrients Found in Basil
Basil is a wonderful addition to your beardie’s diet.
These nutrients combine to offer your bearded dragon a boost in immunity health, better kidney function, and better digestion. Not only that, basil is anti-inflammatory and contains antioxidants for battling common sicknesses and cancer.
How to Prepare Basil for Bearded Dragons
Giving your bearded dragon some basil is very 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, you will want to wash the basil to get off any unwanted residue. Then cut the basil into small pieces, ideally pieces 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, however, beardies can only eat basil in limited amounts. Here are the reasons why.
Too Much Calcium
The calcium/phosphorus balance in foods is important to consider when feeding your beardie. He can only have foods within a 1:1 or 1:2 calcium to phosphorus ratio, otherwise, he might develop bone problems from not absorbing enough calcium.
In basil, the calcium/phosphorus ratio is 3:1, making it unsafe for bearded dragons to eat in large quantities.
Basil houses several acids, including chicoric, rosmarinic, and caftaric acid. Too much acidic food in a bearded dragon’s diet will be harmful to him.
As long as you use basil in his diet sparingly, these concerning areas will not affect your bearded dragon.
What about Dried Basil?
Dried basil is readily available all year round in your pantry. Seems like nutritious and convenient food to give to your beardie, right? Not quite.
Though 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. Stick to fresh basil and he will be fine.
What Other Herbs Can a Bearded Dragon Eat?
Herbs not only contain essential nutrients for your bearded dragon, but they are also delicious!
Like basil, these herbs are high in essential nutrients, but also high in acids. Do not allow your beardie to eat all of these herbs all of the time. They are best served to him sparingly. Also, just like basil, do not feed your beardie the dried version of these herbs.
You could plant some of these herbs in their terrarium, but keep an eye on how much they eat.
What Foods are Not Good for Bearded Dragons?
There are a few foods that are not great for a bearded dragon to consume Some of these foods might be okay to eat on accident once, but consumed in excess and they could be deadly to a bearded dragon.
A great idea is to pick up a book about bearded dragons so that you have a dos and don’ts list readily available to you 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!
Now you know the ins and outs of why basil is, in small quantities, a great addition to your bearded dragon’s diet.
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
Jordin Horn is a freelance writer who has covered many topics, including home improvement, gardening, pets, CBD, and parenting. Over the years, she has moved around so much that there’s been no time to settle down and own a pet. However, as an animal lover, she dotes on and cuddles any pet she happens upon! She grew up with and dearly loved an American Eskimo Spitz named Maggie and a Pomeranian/Beagle mix named Gabby. She calls Colorado home, but has also recently resided in China, Iowa, and Puerto Rico
Jordin does not like to settle for the “easy answer” when it comes to living life with your pet. She loves to research the best methods and products out there and cut through the jargon so you can see plainly what something is or how something is done.