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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cilantro? What You Need To Know!
Cilantro, or coriander in the UK, is an herby green prevalent in kitchens across the world. Pet owners are often curious about whether they can serve human food to their pets. Cilantro seems to fall into this category because bearded dragons eat many other leafy greens.
The answer is yes, bearded dragons can eat cilantro. It shouldn’t be a staple green, but not for any significant risk factors. Instead, you can feel free to sprinkle it on top of their typical salads to add a flavorful treat.
If you are interested in feeding your dragon cilantro, we cover its nutritional benefits, how to serve it to them, and other calcium-rich alternatives.
Is Cilantro Good for Bearded Dragons?
Cilantro can be added to an already balanced diet. Bearded dragons should consume cilantro in moderation and not as a regular staple of their diet.
The reason for this is not because of health risks. Instead, it does not contain enough vitamins and nutrients to contribute to the dragon’s overall wellbeing and thus fills them up with so-called “empty calories.”
While there are various nutritional benefits of cilantro for a bearded dragon’s diet, they are in small amounts and don’t pack much of a punch.
Nutritional Benefits of Cilantro for Bearded Dragons
The nutritional benefits of cilantro help justify adding a sprinkling of the delicious treat as a salad topper, albeit in a small amount overall.
According to the USDA, 100 grams of cilantro contains:
Cilantro also contains trace amounts of vitamins A, B6, E, and K, but at such low levels, they do not have any marked impact on your dragon’s health.
The best aspect of cilantro in your beardie’s diet is the water that it can give them, since many dragons struggle drinking in a domesticated environment.
The next benefit worth recognizing is the calcium that cilantro contains. Although it isn’t enough to be remarkable, calcium is an essential nutrient for any bearded dragon’s healthy functioning. However, there are other foods you can give your dragon that contain higher amounts of calcium so they can get their daily requirements.
Cilantro also contains beneficial antioxidants to stimulate healing and prevent inflammation. Vitamin K is an essential element in their diet for continued blood cell and tissue maintenance. Although too much potassium is dangerous in a dragon’s diet, it does help regulate blood pressure in small amounts, as in cilantro.
Cilantro has more calcium than phosphorus, which is valuable in a bearded dragon diet because phosphorus can cause metabolic bone disease as they age. It also has a minute amount of sugar, which is another positive because dragons are not accustomed to eating sugar in the wild.
The only real risk to feeding your bearded dragon too much cilantro is the water content. It is high enough without much bulk, so it can cause diarrhea. It also fills them up on a plant that supplies only a minute amount of nutritional benefits.
How to Serve Cilantro to Your Bearded Dragon
Perhaps you have a bit of extra cilantro on hand after cooking, and you might want to serve some to your beardie.
Start by giving your bearded dragon raw cilantro. Cooking it rids it of many of the better benefits or makes those nutrients indigestible for the dragon.
You can serve cilantro to your bearded dragon once or twice a week, as long as you supplement it with plenty of other more calcium-rich greens to bulk out their diet.
Each serving should be between five to eight cilantro leaves. It is best to avoid the chewier and fibrous stems or break them up into bite-sized pieces. The leaves are much easier for them to chew and digest. Take the leaves and chop them into finer pieces, sprinkling them on top of a bowl of other high-quality leafy greens.
Make sure you choose organic cilantro and wash it before you serve your bearded dragon. The smallest amount of chemicals on fruits and veggies can damage a dragon, even if they have been FDA-approved.
High Calcium Greens to Sub In for Bearded Dragons
Since cilantro doesn’t make a calcium-rich addition to your bearded dragon’s diet, it is best to serve it with other foods higher in calcium. Veterinarians and other reptilian experts recommend serving cleaned dandelion greens, chopped collards, grape leaves, watercress, and turnip greens.
If you want to serve your dragon other flavorful herbs, consider basil, sage, lavender, thyme, or even fennel. These can help spice up your beardie’s favorite meals and still add a bit of nutritional benefit.
Featured image credit: Brett_Hondow, Pixabay
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.