As a reptile used to dry, arid conditions, bearded dragons have adjusted to eat specific foods. But are cucumbers okay for them to snack on? Yes, bearded dragons can have cucumbers, so long as they are prepared a certain way every couple of weeks.
Bearded dragons, affectionately called “beardies”, are a favorite reptile for many. There are eight types of bearded dragons on the planet today, the most common one being the inland bearded dragon. No matter your bearded dragon species, their diets are the same. In general, you will want to aim at feeding them 50% carnivorous foods and 50% omnivorous foods, according to VCA Hospitals.
Let’s dive into why cucumbers are okay for beardies to eat.
Valuable Nutrients Found in Cucumbers
Cucumbers, which are actually classified as a fruit, are mostly water. However, they also contain other essential nutrients, including:
All of these nutrients aid in keeping your bearded dragon healthy. Cucumbers can be especially good for your bearded dragon if they are experiencing stomach issues. The fiber keeps them from being constipated and its low-acid nature is easy on the tummy.
How to Prepare Cucumbers for Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons can eat some cucumbers once in a while, but they need to be prepared the right way.
First of all, wash the cucumbers thoroughly. This gets all the potentially harmful stuff from getting on the flesh, like bacteria or pesticides.
Next, peel the cucumber. Bearded dragons are unable to chew the peel, so it will cause uncomfortable blockages if your beardie eats the peel whole.
Finally, scoop out the seeds with a spoon (choking hazard) and cut up the flesh into small pieces.
Serve the cucumber by itself or with other foods. He should gobble it right up!
How Often Can a Beardie Eat Cucumbers?
A beardie can eat cucumber every other week. They should not be a staple food. Since cucumbers are technically a fruit, fruits should only take up around 10% or less of your beardie’s diet. If he is fed cucumbers too often, he might experience some negative side-effects.
Unless your bearded dragon is experiencing diarrhea, these reptiles are slightly dehydrated in their natural state. The fact is that they just don’t need that much water. Other, less hydrating and more nutritious vegetables should take up more room in their diet than cucumbers. Also, too many cucumbers could cause diarrhea in bearded dragons.
Not Enough Calcium
The calcium/phosphorus balance in cucumbers is not the right for bearded dragons to properly absorb the calcium offered in cucumbers. If they do not get enough calcium, bearded dragons can develop bone disease, which results in paralysis and could potentially kill them. So, too many cucumbers mean not enough calcium that your beardie could be getting from other sources.
What Vegetables Can a Bearded Dragon Eat?
Your bearded dragon’s omnivorous side of his diet should consist of mostly vegetables. But what vegetables are best?
Aim for mostly green, leafy vegetables, as these are the most nutrient-rich vegetables. Anything red, yellow, or orange is fine, too. The list of vegetables that bearded dragons can eat is long, most things are okay, except for a couple foods that will be listed below. Serve him raw or cooked vegetables, although raw is better because it’s more nutrient-dense than cooked.
One thing you need to watch out for is feeding your beardie too much swiss chard, spinach or beet greens. If your bearded dragon’s diet is too heavy on these veggies, it could cause nutrient deficiencies, as they have properties that bind calcium and other minerals. Therefore, they are not recommended for feeding, only in very small amounts.
Are Any Foods Poisonous for Bearded Dragons?
Yes, there are a few foods that are not recommended and could be deadly to a bearded dragon.
Stick to a variety of other foods and your beardie will be happy and healthy.
When it comes to feeding your bearded dragon, you don’t have to worry too much about what he eats, so long as you are offering him a variety of food. This will ensure that he is getting all the nutrition he needs.
Don’t forget to wash your hands after handling or feeding your beardie. Bacteria or parasites that don’t harm them could be harmful to humans.
Featured Image: Markus Winkler, Unsplash