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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Sugar Snap Peas? What You Need to Know!
Sugar snap peas, also known as “Mangetout,” are delicious snacks in salads or all on their own, and they are packed with nutrition too! If you love to munch on these delicious, sweet treats occasionally, you may be wondering if they are safe to feed to your Bearded Dragon. Bearded Dragons love crunchy greens, and sugar snap peas may seem like a great addition to their diet.
Can Bearded Dragons eat sugar snap peas? Are sugar snap peas safe to give to your reptile? Yes, they are, but only in small amounts and not that often. While there are many nutritional benefits to be gained from sugar snap peas, there are concerns too.
In this article, we’ll look at the potential benefits and the concerns of feeding sugar snap peas to your Dragon. Let’s get started!
Sugar snap peas 101
Also commonly known as mangetout (although this term refers to both sugar snap peas and snow peas), sugar snap peas are edible pod peas with thick, rounded walls. They are climbing plants that are a member of the legume family and are a cross between snow peas and garden peas. They are sweet vegetables that can be eaten raw or lightly cooked (overcooking them will cause them to fall apart) and are common additions to salads and stir-fry.
They are highly adaptable plants that can tolerate higher temperatures than many other pea varieties and can grow up to 6 feet tall on a trellis or similar support structure.
Potential benefits of feeding sugar snap peas to your Dragon
Sugar snap peas contain a high amount of dietary fiber, which is a great addition to your Dragon’s digestive health, and they are low in fat and make a great low-calorie snack. They are high in vitamin C, which is great for the immune health of your Dragon, and they have vitamin A for healthy vision and vitamin K for healthy blood and tissue.
Sugar snap peas are also fairly high in calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, and they have high water content to assist in your Dragon’s hydration.
How to prepare sugar snap peas
Sugar snap peas should always be given raw, as this will keep all their nutritional value intact, and your Dragon will prefer the crunchy texture. Canned snap peas are generally fine, although you should make sure that there are no added preservatives, flavors, or sugar, as these can all be harmful to your Dragon. Some Dragons will enjoy crunching the entire pod with the sweet peas inside, while others will enjoy the peas on their own. Try and give small amounts of each to your reptile to assess which they prefer.
Health concerns to be aware of
For younger Dragons, you’ll want to slice the snap peas into small, manageable pieces, as there is a potential choking hazard with whole pods. Slightly steaming them is a good idea, just to soften them up and prevent them from getting lodged in your Dragon’s throat.
The main concern with sugar snap peas is their calcium to phosphorus ratio. Bearded Dragons need to consume more calcium than phosphorus in their staple diet. But in phosphorus binds with calcium, making the calcium unavailable for your Dragon to properly absorb. This can result in weak bone structure and even bone disease in the long term, and sugar snap peas have more phosphorus than calcium. This makes them unsuitable as a part of your reptile’s staple diet.
Even if you decide against feeding snap peas to your Dragon, we highly recommend giving a daily calcium supplement to your Bearded Dragon for their overall health.
The ideal diet for Bearded Dragons
Bearded Dragons are omnivorous, which means they eat a wide variety of plants and insects in their natural habitat. The ideal diet for Dragons in captivity should replicate the foods that they would naturally eat in the wild as closely as possible. This consists of roughly 50% plants, including vegetables and fruits, and 50% animal protein from live insects.
Bearded Dragons can also eat fruits like apples, pears, grapes, figs, and papaya, but these should be kept to a minimum.
While it is safe to give your Bearded Dragon small amounts of sugar snap peas, this should be done as a rare treat only. The calcium-phosphorus ratio is too much of a risk in large amounts, and Dragons can get all the nutrients that snap peas provide from other, safer sources. In the end, it’s up to you, your Dragon’s caregiver, but in our opinion, sugar snap peas should be kept to a minimum.
Featured Image Credit: PxHere
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.