Reptiles & Amphibians

Feeding Bearded Dragons Leafy Green Vegetables

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Adult bearded dragons need a variety of dark, leafy greens to eat on a daily basis. In addition to some crickets and other insects, these greens provide the vitamins and minerals they need to stay strong and healthy.

What Dark, Leafy Greens You Can Feed Your Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons should eat a variety of different dark, leafy green vegetables. Different greens have different vitamin and calcium contents. By mixing up what you give your lizard, you can make sure you are feedinghim a balanced diet.

The majority of the greens that you offer should have a higher calcium to phosphorous ratio, to prevent and correct metabolic bone disease. Other greens include:

Endive (escarole) (has a 1.9:1 calcium to phos. ratio)RadicchioChicory (has a 2.1:1 calcium to phos. ratio)Spring Mix (romaine, oak leaf lettuce, endive, chicory)Carrot Tops

Greens that contain low amounts ofoxalates andbind calcium should be offered in small amounts and not excluded entirely from the diet:

Mustard Greens (contains 7.7 mg of oxalates per 100 g of greens)Watercress (contains 10 mg of oxalates per 100 g of greens, has a 2:1 calcium to phos. ratio)Kale (contains 13 mg of oxalates per 100 g of greens, has a 2.4:1 calcium to phos. ratio)Dandelion Greens (contains 24.6 mg of oxalates per100 g of greens, has a 2.8:1 calcium to phos. ratio)Escarole (contains 31 mg of oxalates per 100 g of greens)

Greens that contain high amounts of oxalates and bind calcium should only be offered on a rare occasion and in very small amounts (if at all). Some people recommend avoiding them all together:

Swiss Chard (contains 645 mg of oxalates per 100 g of greens, has a 1.1:1 calcium to phos. ratio)Spinach (contains 600-750 mg of oxalates per 100 g of greens, has a 2:1 calcium to phos. ratio)Beet Greens (contains 610 mg of oxalates per 100 g of greens, has a 3:1 calcium to phos. ratio)Parsley (contains 100 mg of oxalates per 100 g of greens, has a 2.4:1 calcium to phos. ratio)Collard Greens (contains 74 mg of oxalates per100 g of greens, has a 14.5:1 calcium to phos. ratio)

Romaine, iceberg, red, and green lettuces should only be offered in small amounts (yes, spring mix contains some of these). They are primarily made of water and if large amounts of these lettuces are eaten your bearded dragonwill most likely have diarrhea. On the other hand, if your beardieis dehydrated or doesn't have access to water for some reason it is great to feed these lettuces.

What to Do If Your Bearded Dragon Won't Eat These Greens

Many bearded dragonsdevelop preferences for certain greens and become picky when it comes time to eat. They may only want what isn't good for them, but that doesn't mean that's what they should live off of. When dealing with a finicky eater, continue to offer a variety of greens mixed up as a salad. If your beardienormally eats insects with no problems, try adding them to the salad to get his attention. If that doesn't work, you can also try adding small amounts of red fruits such as red raspberries or strawberries as "sprinkles" on top of the salad. The red color often draws his attention to his salad and may entice him to eat.

Some people have had luck withadding in some colored bearded dragon pelleted foodfrom the pet store.

What Else Your Bearded Dragon Should Eat

In addition to a variety of greens, your bearded dragon should get plenty of gut-loaded crickets and other insects, some fruits, and vegetables such as squash andbell peppers.

Bearded dragon pellets are not recommended as a staple food but are okay to offer alongside the greensand other foods that are more natural than pellets.

Adding a dusting of calcium powder to your dragon's salad a few times a week is also a good idea to make sure he is getting adequate amounts of the important mineral.

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