Bearded dragons aren’t only exotic, they are also fun pets to have. If you have one of these reptiles, you know what we mean. One fun aspect of having a Beardie is taking it outside occasionally. There’s a big world to explore and no one said your reptile has to stay in an enclosure.
When adventuring outdoors, it’s common for your Beardie to be inquisitive. Sure, you feed your pet well and ensure all its needs are met. Then suddenly, your Beardie baby snatches up a bite or two of grass and munches down. Instantly your heart races. Can bearded dragons eat grass? Is my pet in danger?
First off, stay calm and think about what’s happening. A bearded dragon’s natural habitat is in the wild of Australia. Surely, there’s grass around, right? So, the answer to the question now eating away in your mind is yes, a bearded dragon can eat grass. However, it shouldn’t be something they do often. Let’s take a look at why grass isn’t the best snack option for your Beardie so you can better understand the situation.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Grass?
Now, let’s get to the point. If your Beardie eats a bit of grass while you’re out exploring, it will be fine. That is if the grass is safe. What do we mean by this? Unfortunately, lots of people put chemicals on their lawns that can be dangerous for pets. If your Beardie is exploring your yard and you know you haven’t used those types of chemicals, things should be fine. However, you shouldn’t simply feed your Beardie grass as part of their diet.
A bearded dragon’s diet consists of insects, leafy greens, fruits, and the occasional small rodent. In the wild, they may snack on a bit of grass when catching live food or if nothing else is available. However, they don’t focus on grass as a main part of their diet. You must also consider that the grass a bearded dragon would encounter in the wilds of Australia isn’t the same as what is found in your backyard.
Potential Dangers of Eating Grass
Let’s take a deep dive into the potential dangers your bearded dragon may face if grass is added to its diet routinely. This will help you better understand why grass should only be an occasional munchie when your Beardie is out and about playing instead of part of their routine diet.
First and foremost is the danger of chemicals that we’ve already mentioned. Lawn treatments and chemical treatments can make your Beardie very ill and, in some cases, cause death. This is why we previously mentioned only allowing your Beardie to explore and play in areas you know are safe. If by chance you and your pet explore an area you aren’t familiar with and they eat a bit of grass, reach out to your veterinarian. They can tell you behaviors you should watch for or signs that your Beardie has been exposed to these harmful chemicals.
Just like with treated lawns, wild bugs can be dangerous to your Beardie. These bugs could have been in areas where pesticides and other chemicals have been used. There is also the potential of wild bugs carrying diseases or other things that aren’t good for your Beardie. Some bugs, like lightning bugs and fireflies, are simply poisonous to your Beardie. Always stay aware of what your pet is eating just in case you need to fill your vet in if something happens.
No Nutritional Value
Yes, bearded dragons eat leafy greens as part of their diet. However, grass isn’t a leafy green. Grass is mostly roughage and isn’t something your Beardie can digest easily. Your Beardie is also not able to convert grass into nutrients. Therefore, eating grass regularly is simply your Beardie taking in empty calories that can cause unnecessary weight gain.
Possibility of Impaction
There are different types of grass around. Some are going to be more difficult than others for your Beardie to digest. Particularly tough grass may cause impaction. When grass or other things get stuck in your Beardie’s tummy it can cause serious pain, bloating, and other problems. Younger dragons are at higher risk of this. If you suspect your Beardie is dealing with impaction, reach out to your veterinarian immediately for assistance.
A Healthy Diet for Your Bearded Dragon
Beardies are omnivores. This means their diets consist of both plant and animal matter. When a Beardie is young, roughly 80% of their diet is insects. As they age, however, that flips. An adult Beardie’s diet consists of 80% plants. Here’s a look at a few veggies, fruits, and insects that are safe for your bearded dragon to enjoy.
- Acorn squash
- Artichoke heart
- Asparagus (raw)
- Bell peppers (raw)
- Bok choy
- Butternut squash
- Cabbage (raw)
- Collard greens
- Cucumbers (peeled)
- Lentils (cooked)
- Mustard greens
- Okra (raw)
- Turnip greens
- Yams (raw)
- Zucchini (raw)
While grass isn’t something that should be added as a staple of your bearded dragon’s diet, it’s okay for them to enjoy it if you’re out exploring and they take a bite. Always be aware of your Beardie’s surroundings, however. Grass that has been treated with chemicals is quite dangerous for your pet. If you haven’t treated your yard and want to take your Beardie on an adventure, feel free. Grass isn’t the most nutritious for them but overall, fresh, untreated grass should be fine occasionally.
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