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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Zucchini? What You Need to Know!
Zucchini is thought of as a vegetable by many people, but it is actually a seed-filled fruit. This watery food is great on salads and makes for a refreshing appetizer. Also known as courgette, this veggie comes from the same family as melons and cucumbers. We humans know that this food is a healthy addition to any meal, but is it a good choice for bearded dragons?
The short answer is yes, bearded dragons can eat zucchini. However, you should understand the pros and cons of doing so before going ahead and cutting some up for your reptile to enjoy. You should also have a clear idea of how often your bearded dragon should be offered zucchini and how much of it they should eat in one sitting. Let’s explore these topics.
Zucchini is a low-calorie food that won’t contribute to your bearded dragon becoming overweight, even in old age. This particular produce does contain nutrients that are crucial to the ongoing health of your reptile, such as vitamins A and C, which work to ensure proper growth and tissue maintenance. The vitamin B6 in zucchini helps support a healthy nervous system.
Zucchini also happens to contain a variety of antioxidants that the immune system relies on to stay in tip-top shape. Most bearded dragons love to munch on zucchini pieces, which makes them a perfect treat that has beneficial nutrients. Zucchini is inexpensive too, so treating your pet to some won’t break the bank.
Unfortunately, there are a few cons to feeding bearded dragons too much zucchini. Because zucchini is low in calcium and high in phosphorous, it can cause metabolic bone disease in your bearded dragon if they eat too much of the produce regularly. Phosphorous binds to calcium, so the calcium cannot be absorbed by the bearded dragon.
In fact, zucchini contains so much phosphorous, it can start to absorb the calcium that is already built up in the animal’s body. If a bearded dragon eats zucchini regularly, an imbalance can occur that results in the development of metabolic bone disease. Therefore, your pet bearded dragon should not eat more than a couple of small pieces of zucchini once a week.
It is also important to note that younger bearded dragons need much more protein and calcium than fully-grown animals, so zucchini can affect them more than it would an adult or elderly reptile. It is a good idea to wait until your bearded dragon is fully grown before deciding whether to start feeding them zucchini as an occasional treat.
Zucchini is also full of water, which will help keep your pet bearded dragon hydrated. But if too much is eaten, your pet could become overhydrated and develop diarrhea. These animals need only a little amount of water to stay healthy. This is another good reason to limit the amount of zucchini that you feed your pet reptile.
Zucchini should always be scrubbed clean before it is served to bearded dragons, to ensure that pesticide residue and other harmful chemicals are removed. The skin should be left on because it contains most of the nutrients that zucchinis have to offer bearded dragons. Cut the zucchini up into small, bite-sized pieces, and remove the seeds because they are choking hazards. Offer just two or three pieces in one sitting.
You can throw the zucchini piece in a bowl with a few pieces of lettuce, a piece of carrot, and a cherry tomato and call it a salad — bearded dragons love salad! Alternatively, you can use the zucchini to get your bearded dragon to come to you and allow you to touch and hold them. This can come in handy if you are trying to tame your pet.
Your bearded dragon might not enjoy eating zucchini overall, and that is fine. There is plenty of other produce to feed your pet that is even healthier for them than zucchini is. Choose from apples, berries, collard greens, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and even earthworms. Your bearded dragon is sure to enjoy a variety of different foods.
The Bottom Line
Yes, bearded dragons can eat zucchini. However, this food is not the best option when it comes to nutritional value and health risks. If you happen to be eating zucchini for dinner, feel free to share a piece or two with your pet. But there is no reason to go out of your way to prepare this produce for them. Do you plan to feed your bearded dragon any zucchini? Let us know why or why not in our comments section.
Featured Image: congerdesign, 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.