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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Brussel Sprouts? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Bearded dragons would eat green vegetables and food in the wild as well as in captivity. Although not all vegetables are considered safe for the beardie, experts state that it is OK to feed a small number of Brussel sprouts to your bearded dragon. However, it should only be an occasional treat because the Brussel sprout does not have a favorable ratio of phosphorous to calcium. Feeding too much of these ingredients can cause health issues in your beardie.

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Are Brussel Sprouts Toxic to Beardies?

Brussel Sprouts are not toxic to beardies. This means that they can eat at least a small amount without it causing them to become ill, or worse. Sprouts are loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals, that are good for your lizard. Unfortunately, though, they also have an undesirable phosphorous to calcium ratio.

The Importance of Phosphorous And Calcium

Bearded dragons need calcium in their diet. Calcium is especially important to ensure the healthy growth and maintenance of bones. But a beardie cannot naturally process calcium. In the wild, it would use vitamin D3 that it naturally synthesizes from UVB rays, and this vitamin then helps the body to properly utilize the calcium that a bearded dragon gets from its opportunistic diet.

No matter how high the quality of your terrarium lighting, your beardie is unlikely to be getting enough vitamin D3. You can dust their food and gut load insects with concentrated calcium powders. These deliver a large volume of calcium, and your beardie takes on a small amount of this calcium. By providing enough supplementation, it is possible to deliver a decent portion of the calcium that your beardie needs.

Phosphorous prevents calcium from getting into your bearded dragon’s blood so they should rarely be fed phosphorous-rich foods and most experts agree that a ratio of 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorous is ideal for a developing beardie, while a ratio of 1.5:1 is suitable for a fully developed beardie. Sprouts have a ratio of 4:1, which is way too much phosphorous. Remember that you must also take into account other foods and treats in your beardie’s diet to determine its overall calcium intake.

Bearded dragon close up
Image Credit: Steve Walker, Flickr

Other Problems with Brussel Sprouts

The undesirable phosphorous level is only one potential pitfall of this small vegetable.

It can strip iodine from your beardie and it is very acidic. The former can lead to hyperthyroidism over time, while the latter can quickly lead to gastrointestinal upset if you feed too many of this powerful green vegetable.

Sprouts are an energy-rich food, in the shape of high calorific content. For a captive beardie that gets limited exercise, calories can lead to weight gain and your beardie can become overweight.

Health Benefits of Sprouts

Although sprouts have an undesirable ratio of phosphorous to calcium and they are acidic, they do contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that are considered beneficial to a bearded dragon.

  • They are a good source of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps maintain good vision and supports the immune system while ensuring major organs continue to function properly. However, too much vitamin A can be dangerous for your beardie and may lead to liver toxicity.
  • Sprouts also contain vitamin C in abundance, and this vitamin supports the immune system so it can prevent your pet lizard from getting ill and keep it in top condition.

How To Prepare Sprouts for Your Beardie

Although sprouts are a small vegetable to us, they are still too large for a beardie to eat in one. You should not feed them whole. Clean the sprout to remove any toxins and chemicals from the outside of the vegetable. Once clean, chop the sprouts up and feed them without cooking and without any additional ingredients.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cooked Brussel Sprouts?

Cooked Brussel sprouts are not necessarily dangerous or bad for your beardie, but if you use oil to cook them, this can be bad. Butter and any seasoning will also be bad for your lizard. And, if you boil them, this greatly increases the amount of water in the sprout, so you will have to monitor the amount of liquid your beardie is taking on. Generally, it is better to serve any vegetable raw to avoid these possible problems.

Alternatives to Brussel Sprouts

Sliced Brussel Sprouts
Image Credit: Didriks, Flickr

It is considered safe to feed Brussel sprouts to bearded dragons, but only in small amounts and only occasionally. Some alternatives are considered healthier and have more favorable ingredients.

Can Beardies Eat Carrots?

Carrots provide a good level of nutritional value for your beardie, but they are also high in vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can cause toxicity, and this is something that you need to monitor across your beardie’s diet to ensure that they are not getting too much. Serve raw, chop them out, and feed occasionally as a treat.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cucumbers?

Experts state that you can feed cucumbers to a bearded dragon every other week. They are 96% water, which means that they are a good source of hydration for an animal that will not drink directly from a water bowl or bottle. Serve raw, chop them up, and only feed them every other week, as recommended.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Zucchini?

Zucchini is relatively high in water and does not have much nutritional benefit, but it can be fed as an occasional treat and to offer a little variety to your bearded dragon’s snacks.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Green Peppers?

Bell peppers are not toxic and do not cause any serious threat to your dragon. Red peppers offer more benefits, but green peppers are also considered a reasonably healthy treat to feed every week or two. Serve them raw and chop them up into bite-size chunks.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli?

Broccoli is not considered dangerous or toxic for bearded dragons. In fact, this is one vegetable that makes a healthy and regular addition to its diet. As with all other vegetables, chop it up into bite-size pieces, and serve it uncooked.

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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Brussel Sprouts?

Bearded dragons would not usually eat brussel sprouts in the wild, but in captivity, they can enjoy a varied diet that includes a host of vegetables. It stands to reason, then, that owners would try to feed them sprouts. While this small and unassuming vegetable does not pose a toxic threat, it should only be fed in moderation and on occasion as a treat, because it contains too much phosphorous and not enough calcium, despite containing other healthy vitamins and minerals.


Featured Image: Free-Photos, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.