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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Turkey? Vet-Approved Dietary Facts

Melody Russell

By Melody Russell

grilled turkey breast on the plate

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Bearded dragons are popular companions due to their docile nature and inquisitive nature. As omnivores, they require a diet consisting of both animal protein and plant matter to prosper. Can turkey be on the menu? And if so, how should it be prepared and introduced to their diet? In this article, we will discuss all aspects of feeding bearded dragons turkey, including potential risks, preparation techniques, portion sizes, and signs of intolerance.

Yes, bearded dragons are able to consume poultry. Turkey can be an excellent source of protein for them, and they truly appreciate eating it. However, despite the fact that turkey can be a nutritious addition to their diet, it is essential to consider potential risks and understand how to serve it properly. Turkey should only be offered as a small, occasional treat however, and the majority of their protein should come from invertebrates like crickets, mealworms and Dubia roaches.

When preparing a menu for species like the bearded dragon, which is not a domesticated pet, it is vital to be offering foods that mimic their natural diet as much as possible. Turkey would definitely not feature in the diet of a small reptile native to Australia, not even their native Brush Turkey!

bearded dragon divider

Risks of Feeding Turkey to Bearded Dragons

There are a few dangers to consider when adding turkey to your bearded dragon’s diet, the risk of Salmonella contamination first and foremost. Raw or improperly cooked turkey may contain hazardous bacteria, which can cause severe illness in your bearded dragon. Salmonella poisoning signs include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and lethargy. Veterinary care is required immediately if any of these signs are observed.

Turkey meat can be quite fatty also, so always remove the skin before offering it to your beardie.

chopped turkey on a wood cutting board with a knife
Image Credit: BW Folsom, Shutterstock

Potential Health Benefits

Turkey may provide various health advantages to bearded dragons, particularly as a source of dietary protein. Turkey is also high in minerals such as selenium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, which help with thyroid hormone synthesis, body functions, and bone health.

Preparing Turkey for Bearded Dragons

When preparing turkey for your bearded dragon, it is essential to eliminate the skin and bones, and try to remove any visible fat. Too much fat is difficult for bearded dragons to digest, can cause an upset stomach, and lead to obesity.

To eliminate any bacteria, thoroughly cook the turkey when preparing it. Once the poultry is prepared, shred or divide it into tiny, readily digestible portions for your pet.

How Much Turkey Should Bearded Dragons Eat?

The amount of turkey your bearded dragon can eat depends on its age, size, and activity level, but as a treat, turkey should not account for more than 5% of their daily food intake. It is something that should only be offered on occasion, perhaps when you are having some for yourself. It is not a food that you would prepare specifically for your bearded dragon.

They are likely to enjoy it, so it can be a great food to use when bonding with your reptilian pal.

woman handling her bearded dragon
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Better Food Alternatives for Bearded Dragons

When it comes to providing bearded dragons with a balanced and nutrient-rich diet, there are a variety of dietary options that can guarantee their optimal health and well-being.

Crickets, dubia roaches, and black soldier fly larvae are high-quality sources of protein that closely resemble their natural diet in the environment. In addition to giving bearded dragons the proteins they need, these invertebrates also give them the vitamins and minerals they require to grow and stay healthy. Additionally, feeding live prey gives them the environmental enrichment they need to be stimulated in their habitat.

Dark leafy greens like collard greens, mustard greens, and kale are ideal options for the veggie portion of the diet, being full of nutrients like calcium and other minerals that are important for their immune system and bone health.

bearded dragon divider

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, bearded dragons can enjoy turkey as part of their diet, but only in very small portions. It’s essential to understand the potential risks of feeding them raw or overly fatty meat and follow proper preparation guidelines. Turkey should be offered as a treat only, which should be no more than 5% of their overall diet. Providing the right balance of plant matter and animal protein is vital to the health and well-being of your bearded dragon, and providing them with live insect prey is a great way to give them nutrition and mental enrichment at the same time.


Featured Image Credit: Alexander Prokopenko, Shutterstock

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