If you’re looking for something tasty to add to your bearded dragon’s diet, then perhaps your eye has fallen on the watermelon that you just picked up. But can bearded dragons even eat watermelon safely? If so, how much is okay to give them? In brief, bearded dragons can eat a small amount of watermelon, very occasionally. This isn’t a fruit to add to their regular diet, but a small amount every now and again is just fine.
What’s good about watermelon?
Watermelon, as the name suggests, contains a large amount of water. This means it can be a good choice for a hot summer’s day when you want to help your bearded dragon stay well hydrated.
Watermelon contains vitamin C and beta carotene, both of which help your bearded dragon’s immune system, vision, and growth.
It also contains magnesium and potassium. Magnesium is essential for reducing inflammation and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Potassium helps regulate your bearded dragon’s blood pressure.
Most bearded dragons also love the taste of watermelon, due to the fact that it contains sugar. This means you can use watermelon to tempt your bearded dragon to eat if they’ve lost their appetite for any reason.
What’s bad about watermelon?
The sugar in watermelons might make them taste great to your beardie, but it also means they can easily consume too much sugar if they eat watermelon too often. Too much sugar can lead to your bearded dragon becoming overweight.
Sugar can also cause dental plaque and tooth decay. Because a bearded dragon’s teeth are connected directly to their jaw, any dental issues can end up causing inflammation and pain across the entire jaw.
While it does contain beneficial vitamins and minerals, watermelon is not nutritionally dense. While your bearded dragon might like the taste, watermelon doesn’t provide them with many benefits in terms of nutrition.
Watermelon also contains phosphorous and calcium. The percentage of phosphorous is higher than that of calcium. The phosphorous molecules bind to the calcium and prevent it from being correctly absorbed into your bearded dragon’s bloodstream. Over time, this can lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD).
MBD can eventually lead to your bearded dragon’s skeletal system becoming weak or deformed. It can also cause paralysis and even death if left untreated.
Whether you choose to feed your bearded dragon watermelon or not, you should always feed them a calcium supplement.
How to feed watermelon to your bearded dragon
If possible, choose organic watermelons that haven’t been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides.
Slice into pieces, and remove the rind and seeds. We also recommend removing the thinner white rind.
Chop the watermelon into pieces, around the size of a teaspoon or smaller. Start feeding your bearded dragon only a small amount of watermelon, about ¼ of a teaspoon. After they’ve eaten it, watch their behavior carefully over the next 24-48 hours to check that they don’t have an adverse reaction.
If they develop diarrhea or lethargy or lose their appetite for their other food, you probably should not feed them watermelon again.
If they seem to enjoy it, you can continue feeding it as an occasional supplementary treat.
Make sure to check your bearded dragon’s cage every day, and remove any fresh fruits and vegetables that they haven’t yet eaten.
What’s the best, seedless or seeded watermelon?
Either is fine, but if your watermelon does have seeds, you’ll need to remove them before feeding it to your bearded dragon. If swallowed, the seeds can become stuck in your beardie’s intestines, causing an impaction or blockage.
Can bearded dragons eat watermelon rind?
No. The tough rind of a watermelon can be difficult for your bearded dragon to chew. If they do manage to bite off a piece, they may swallow it whole. This can potentially cause a blockage in their gastrointestinal tract.
How much watermelon can a bearded dragon have?
Bearded dragons can have a small piece of watermelon, around the size of a teaspoon, once a month.
Bearded dragons usually love the taste of watermelon, but it should only ever be fed to them as an occasional treat. It’s high in sugar and can also disrupt the delicate phosphorous-to-calcium ratio in your beardie’s system. This can lead to metabolic bone disease if watermelon is fed to them too often.
Make sure to remove all the rind and seeds before feeding small pieces to your bearded dragon. A few small pieces once a month is all that you should be feeding them. Watch for signs that watermelon may not agree with your bearded dragon’s digestive system, and stop feeding it to them if they develop diarrhea or lethargy.
If you’re unsure, ask the advice of your vet, and always provide other healthier fruits and vegetables first. If your bearded dragon loves watermelon, tell us more in the comments below!
Featured Image: Ulrike Leone, Pixabay