Bearded dragons love all sorts of food, including fruits! Bananas are a convenient option for many owners because they are cheap and available year-round. And they can be a tasty choice! However, it’s important not to feed too many bananas to your bearded dragon. They work best as an occasional treat fed a few times a month at most. If you’re interested in bringing bananas into your bearded dragon’s diet, this article will give you everything you need to know.
The Bearded Dragon Food Pyramid
We all know that a healthy diet comes from more than just eating good foods—we have to eat the right amount of each food as well. And just like humans have a “food pyramid” to follow, with some food types that are daily staples and others that are occasional treats, bearded dragons have their own healthy diet to follow. Bananas can be a healthy treat or a source of sugar overload, depending on how much you feed. Let’s look at what’s in the bearded dragon food pyramid.
Bearded dragons are omnivores meaning they eat a wide range of plant and animal matter. The base of the pyramid varies depending on the age of your beardie. Young, growing dragons need more insects and other live food but when they reach adulthood they become more herbivorous, with vegetables making up at least 50-60% of their overall diet. Fruit remains the smallest food group by far at all ages—only 5–10% of your dragon’s diet.
Fruit does have a purpose though—it can add a variety of nutrients and vitamins to help balance out anything that your dragon doesn’t get from the rest of its food. It can also add interest and flavor to a meal. That works best when you’re serving a mixture of nutrient dense fruits and not every day. So bananas should be only a small part of your dragon’s diet at most.
There are some great things to love about bananas! Most importantly, many dragons love them! It’s easy to share something that gets your beardie so excited. But there are also some health benefits to consider:
- Bananas are famously high in potassium. This mineral helps keep kidneys and other systems healthy.
- They’re a great source of Vitamin C! This vitamin protects from disease, boosts the immune system, and has many other health benefits.
- They also are high in antioxidants. These help promote overall health and well-being.
However, there are some reasons why bananas shouldn’t be fed to your bearded dragon on a daily basis. Here are a few reasons why too much banana isn’t good for your bearded dragon:
- They’re high in sugar. Bananas are one of the sweetest fruits, with about 12–16 grams of sugar per 100 grams. Too much sugar can cause tooth decay, obesity, and pickiness in your dragon.
- They have a dangerous calcium/phosphorus ratio. Bearded dragons need more calcium than phosphorus in their diet. Bananas have a large ratio of phosphorus to calcium (3:1) meaning the phosphorus outweighs the calcium. That means if your dragon eats too much banana, it could become calcium deficient.
- Feeding too much fruit to your dragon can make it start to reject other food.
Preparing Bananas for Your Beardie
Bananas should be served to your dragon fresh, never frozen. It’s best if you chop your banana into small pieces with or without the peels on. Use organic bananas or wash well before chopping to make sure that you don’t leave any pesticides on the peels. Pull out any parts of your banana that are browned.
Many owners find it easiest to feed their bearded dragon vegetables and fruit mixed together. That makes it easier to trick picky eaters into eating all their food, not just the sweet stuff.
Conclusion: Putting It Together
So, in short, bananas are a safe occasional treat for your bearded dragon, but they shouldn’t be included as a regular part of their diet. They have some health benefits, like their high vitamins and potassium, but they also have some pretty big drawbacks if you give your dragon too much.
Featured Image: Steve Buissinne from Pixabay