Docile, curious, and social, Bearded Dragons make good pets and have become popular in the United States over the last few years. Bearded Dragons, affectionately known as “Beardies,” are relatively tame, excellent reptilian pets for beginners. One thing many ask about these interesting animals, primarily due to the name similarity, is whether they can eat dragon fruit. You’ll be glad to know that Beardies can indeed eat dragon fruit, and they will likely enjoy it as an occasional snack!
What Nutritional Benefit Does Dragon Fruit Provide Bearded Dragons?
Like many other fruits, Dragon fruit contains important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. One of the best is Vitamin C, which helps maintain your Beardie’s immune system and destroys free radicals. Dragon Fruit also contains other nutrients, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin)
What Makes Dragon Fruit Especially Good for Bearded Dragons?
Several factors make dragon fruit a great snack for Bearded Dragons. The first is that dragon fruit is easy to eat because it’s soft and tender, as opposed to some other fruits they eat that can be tough or fibrous. Another is that dragon fruit is high in moisture, so by giving it as a snack, you’ll help your Beardie stay hydrated and healthy. Also, the risk of exposing your Bearded Dragon to pesticides and insecticides is lower because you peel off the outer layer and throw it away.
How Often Should You Feed Dragon Fruit to Your Bearded Dragon?
Although there are few risks associated with feeding dragon fruit to a Bearded Dragon, it’s not something you should feed to them every day. The main reason why is that dragon fruit is too high in sugar and can lead to health issues if not given to your Beardie in moderation.
Fruit in general should make up no more than 10% of your beardie’s overall diet. If your pet enjoys dragon fruits then you can offer a small piece every few weeks and rotate it with other safe fruits.
How Should Dragon Fruit Be Prepared When Given to a Bearded Dragon?
It’s relatively easy to prepare dragon fruit for your Bearded Dragon. Below are the basic steps you should take to ensure the fruit is ready to be eaten by your Beardie.
- Choose a ripe dragon fruit. If you’re worried about pesticides and herbicides, go organic. However, you’ll be peeling the fruit, so selecting organic fruit isn’t as important.
- Clean the dragon fruit well.
- Cut off the top and bottom of the fruit.
- Cut the peel from top to bottom on both sides.
- Peel off the peel to get to the fruit’s flesh.
- Give your Bearded Dragon one or two small pieces of dragon fruit a few times a month.
It’s important to note that since you’ll be giving so little of the dragon fruit to your Bearded Dragon, there will be a lot left over. Therefore, if you don’t like dragon fruit, it might be better not to purchase one because a lot will go to waste. A fruit you both enjoy will be a better choice.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat the Seeds of the Dragon Fruit?
Your Bearded Dragon can eat the seeds but in moderation. The seeds are healthy and small enough that even the smallest of Beardies can easily eat them without choking. Unlike apple seeds or orange seeds, dragon fruit seeds don’t contain any chemicals or natural compounds that pose a risk to your pet if they only eat a small amount once in a while.
Dragon fruit seeds also contain fatty acids that are beneficial for your Beardie in moderation. Fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 support your pet’s brain and heart health, reduce inflammation, and help keep their eyes and joints in good condition.
Does Dragon Fruit have any Health Risks for Bearded Dragons?
The health risks of eating dragon fruit in moderation are low for a Bearded Dragon. As with many foods that they don’t eat in the wild, however, if you feed too much dragon fruit to your Beardie, it can cause health issues.
For example, the dragon fruit’s edible seeds contain high levels of linoleic and linolenic acid. If your pet eats too many dragon fruit seeds, it can cause digestive problems.
Another issue is that the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in dragon fruit isn’t healthy and can cause calcium deficiency in your Beardie if they eat a lot of the fruit. That’s because dragon fruits contain more phosphorus than calcium which inhibits the absorption of calcium in their digestive tract.
If regularly fed a diet with higher levels of phosphorus and lower levels of calcium over an extended period, your Beardie could end up with metabolic bone disease (MBD), which can cause significant problems for your pet. They include a soft, swollen jaw that makes it difficult to eat, fragile bones, limb paralysis, and stunted growth.
Lastly, dragon fruit is high in fructose and glucose, like most fruits. Since Bearded Dragons can’t digest fructose well, it can lead to upset stomach and diarrhea. If fed in excess it can cause weight gain and eventually obesity as well.
Which Other Fruits Can You Feed Your Bearded Dragon?
Besides dragon fruit, there are several other fruits that you can feed to your Beardie. All should be given in moderation as they contain high levels of fruit sugar. They include:
Dragon fruit and Bearded Dragons share several things in common, including the fact that both look like they come from another planet. As far as eating them, however, your Beardie can eat dragon fruit in moderation, and it offers a few health benefits.
Most Bearded Dragons will love dragon fruit and gladly eat it when offered, however it should only be an occasional treat. It’s important to feed your beardie a varied and balanced diet. The majority of the plant material should be nutrient rich vegetables, with only a small amount of fruit. So there may be some dragon fruit left over, be sure to eat some so it doesn’t go to waste!
You may also be interested to know:
- Can Bearded Dragons Eat Caterpillars? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQ
- Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spiders? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQ