If you’ve ever given much thought as to what bearded dragons eat, we’re willing to bet that the sweet potato wasn’t one of the first foods to come to mind. Believe it or not, though, these lizards can definitely eat them, and most dragons really seem to enjoy them.
That doesn’t mean you can just dump a bunch of sweet potatoes into your dragon’s cage and call it a day. There are rules governing just how much these lizards can eat, so read on if you want to learn how to feed your dragon the right way.
Are Sweet Potatoes Safe for Bearded Dragons?
Sweet potatoes are totally safe for bearded dragons to eat in that they’re non-toxic. However, you still want to only offer them in moderation, as eating too many sweet potatoes could have an ill effect on your lizard’s health.
These veggies are full of vitamin A, which is good for your dragon — up to a point. If they eat too much, though, they can suffer from vitamin A toxicity, which can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. Fortunately, it’s extremely difficult to trigger vitamin A toxicity through food alone, so you’d likely have to feed your dragon more sweet potatoes than they’re willing to eat to cause it.
Of bigger concern is the fact that sweet potatoes have a poor phosphorous-to-calcium ratio. This is problematic because phosphorous can prevent calcium from being absorbed, and calcium deficiencies can lead to metabolic bone disease. This can lead to deformities and even death, so make sure your bearded gets plenty of calcium.
Ultimately, sweet potatoes are a good treat for your lizard, but they should never form the backbone of their diet. Only serve them occasionally, such as once or twice a week.
Are There Any Health Benefits to Giving My Bearded Dragon Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, which is essential for eye health, bone density, proper growth and reproduction, and more. Giving your bearded plenty of vitamin A (up to a point) is always a good idea.
Beyond that, sweet potatoes are full of vitamins B and C, as well as iron. They’re also loaded with fiber, so if your bearded dragon is backed up, a little sweet potato might be just what the doctor ordered to get things moving again.
Offering the occasional sweet potato is likely good for your dragon’s mental health as well. They like variety in their diet, and giving them a treat every now and then will keep them happy and stress-free.
How Should I Serve Sweet Potatoes to My Bearded Dragon?
You might be tempted to cook those sweet potatoes before serving them to your little friend, but don’t bother — bearded dragons actually prefer to eat them raw.
Before you toss sweet potato pieces into the tank, though, be sure to wash them thoroughly. You don’t want to accidentally give your dragon a large dose of pesticides or other harmful chemicals. In fact, opt for organic sweet potatoes if you can.
Once the potatoes are washed, peel the skin off, and then use the peeler to remove long, thin strips of potato. These are much easier for your pet to munch on than big chunks or cubes, and they’ll appreciate the effort.
You can just serve the sweet potatoes on their own, but many dragons prefer to eat them as part of a salad, so you may want to mix in leafy green vegetables, like kale, beforehand.
Yes, bearded dragons can eat sweet potatoes, and many lizards really enjoy them. They make an excellent topper for a salad, and they’re a healthy, once-a-week treat.
However, don’t go overboard, as too many sweet potatoes could cause vitamin A toxicity or interfere with your dragon’s ability to absorb calcium. They shouldn’t be served with every meal; limit them to a few times a month.
As long as you take care in how you serve them, your bearded dragon will thank you every time they see those sweet potatoes headed toward their tank. At least, we think that they’re thanking you — with bearded dragons, it’s kind of hard to tell.
Featured Image: sykoo71, Pixabay