If you own a bearded dragon, then naturally you will have some questions on their diet and what makes an appropriate food. But what about strawberries? Are they healthy or even safe to feed and are there any considerations that you as a responsible owner will need to take into account? I spent some time researching the suitability of this common berry and will be sharing all that I managed to find with you here today.
So, can bearded dragons eat strawberries? Bearded dragons can eat strawberries, so long as they are rarely offered and only in moderation. Like strawberries, fruits are nutritionally deficient compared to other treats such as greens; they are also high in sugar. Sugar is very unhealthy for reptiles, mostly if consumed in large quantities.
Bearded dragons are not generally picky eaters, but rather, will eat whatever is available to them. This comes as no surprise given the fact that in the wild they live in areas like deserts, savannas and subtropical woodlands where food can be sparse and hard to come by.
Those that are kept as pets are no exception, but instead, rely solely on their owners to provide them with a suitable and appropriate diet; consisting of all the nutrition they need.
But it can get complicated here. Bearded dragons do not give us many clues to help us understand what is right and wrong to feed. No wonder why we have so many questions on suitable foods for the diet!
For example, beardies are known for having a sweet tooth and enjoying foods that are high in sugar. This is despite the fact that overconsumption of sugar can have negative outcomes for them. Its not as instinctual as you’ll find it is in other reptiles/birds and mammals.
For this reason, you must be considerate of how many strawberries you offer to your beardie. They should never be fed alone or as a complete meal. Instead, bearded dragons should get most of their nutrition from a variety and balance of live food, greens, veggies, flowers, and other, sometimes more appropriate fruits.
Let us now take a closer look at the inclusion of strawberries in your beardies’ diet. We will be looking over the the nutrition they can provide, the risks of overfeeding them, and how to safely serve some up so that the benefits can outweigh the risks.
So, be sure to read to the end so you know exactly how to offer this food with your bearded dragons health in mind!
- 1 Are Strawberries Healthy For Bearded Dragons?
- 2 Are There Any Risks Of Feeding Strawberries To Bearded Dragons?
- 3 How Many Strawberries Can A Bearded Dragon Eat?
- 4 How To Serve Strawberries To Bearded Dragons
- 5 Other Treats To Serve Your Bearded Dragon
- 6 Foods To Avoid Feeding Your Bearded Dragon
- 7 Finally
Are Strawberries Healthy For Bearded Dragons?
Strawberries are not the healthiest treat for bearded dragons due to their high sugar content, not to mention they don’t provide the ideal balance of nutrients for reptiles.
There are undoubtedly healthier options to offer as treats to your bearded dragon than strawberries, with certain insects like crickets and different types of worms being some of the best.
With that said, strawberries are perhaps one of the better fruits to offer, and a couple or a small serving of strawberries on occasion should not do any harm to your beardie.
If we look at the nutritional content of strawberries, we can see that they are worth including from time to time:
Nutritional Content Of Strawberries
|of which sugars||1.32 g|
|Vitamin C||15.9 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.59 mcg|
As you can see, even in a small serving of just 1 extra large strawberry, bearded dragons can obtain decent amounts of Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin K; all of which being required nutrients for optimal health and bodily processes.
However, we must look further at this fruit as there is more to consider than just a quick glance at this nutrient table.
Whenever contemplating what treats are suitable for your beardie, we do need to consider their own specific nutritional needs, and unique physiology.
Macronutrients are equally as important as micronutrients, so inspecting the levels of fat, protein, sodium, and sugars must always be conducted. Too many of these in particular will undoubtedly have an adverse affect if fed to this reptile too often or over too long a period of time.
We must always remember that a bearded dragon’s nutritional requirements are vastly different from us humans and other animals; they need a diet high in calcium but low in phosphorus to prevent painful conditions like a metabolic bone disease.
It helps with sticking to a diet plan and to not feed strawberries liberally to your bearded dragon, no matter how much they relish the taste. You are not doing any favors by indulging them.
However, one advantage of including strawberries in the diet and where they can improve health, is if you use them to encourage your dragon to eat other, more beneficial foods. For particularly fussy beardies or those whom are not eating enough vegetables, you can use strawberries to entice them to eat.
Being sweet, easy to consume and widely available makes them a great option for owners whom notice their dragons appetite is waning.
Are There Any Risks Of Feeding Strawberries To Bearded Dragons?
There are risks of feeding too many strawberries to bearded dragons, just as there are with too many fruits in general.
While feeding a small serving of strawberries on occasion should not cause harm, overfeeding strawberries that are high in sugar and lacking the right balance of vitamins and minerals does come with its risks.
Consider the following factors when feeding this fruit to your bearded dragon:
The Imbalanced Calcium To Phosphorus Ratio
Bearded dragons need a sufficient amount of calcium, in a favorable 2:1 ratio to phosphorus to be in optimal health.
If this is overlooked over a long enough period, your beardie can suffer from Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), which is very painful for reptiles.
MBD occurs when there is an imbalance of calcium/phosphorus in the body – this disease weakens the skeletal structure. In advanced cases, this can result in severe weakness, tremors, and bone fractures.
To prevent MBD, it’s crucial to offer a nutritionally complete diet with the right balance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein sources.
Calcium supplements may be required. Besides feeding a suitable diet, enclosure temperatures must be correct, and bearded dragons need UVA and UVB light exposure.
High Sugar Content
Sugar by itself does not offer any benefits to your beardie aside from an energy boost; and too much sugar can actually be quite harmful.
Fruits like strawberries are high in a natural fruit sugar called fructose. This particular sugar is challenge for these reptiles to process and digest.
In fact, feeding too many sweet fruits (like strawberries), can lead to diarrhea. This can result in dehydration which causes further problems.
Thats in the short term.
In the long term, consuming too many sugary foods like strawberries can make your bearded dragon overweight. Again, more health issues are likely to be experienced as a consequence.
Finally, and as you probably have been told by your parents at some point in your life, sugar can also damage your beardie’s teeth – leading to tooth decay and tooth loss.
While the average bearded dragons is not particularly fussy, they can soon develop preferences for foods and even stop eating more healthier, staples.
It does not help that bearded dragons have small stomachs; they easily fill up. So if you are providing foods like strawberries in too high a quantity; it can prevent your dragon from wanting to or having any room for their more nutrient dense foods.
Beardies simply need the right diet from the moment that are born to ensure their well-being as adults, and every meal counts.
How Many Strawberries Can A Bearded Dragon Eat?
Hopefully, by now, you realize that it isn’t the best idea to feed strawberries daily to your bearded dragon.
As with any fruit, limit the number of strawberries you provide.
Many bearded dragon owners state that they only feed one large strawberry once, every 2-4 weeks, to their bearded dragon. They should never be fed more than once a week.
The portion size should be small, so one strawberry is enough.
As previously mentioned, you can even cut up a strawberry and use it as a salad topper to entice your bearded dragon to try certain vegetables.
How To Serve Strawberries To Bearded Dragons
Before serving strawberries to your bearded dragon, make sure that they are free from pesticides and herbicides.
You can do this by either purchasing organic, or ensuring that you wash the strawberries thoroughly to remove any harmful chemical . Either way, washing is advised as it can help remove any dirt and debris.
Luckily, strawberries are commonly found in stores and supermarkets, they are relatively cheap to purchase and easy to store.
Equally, they are easy to prepare and serve, and for your bearded dragon they are easy to consume.
You can look to offer them whole, or you can ever cut them up into halves/quarters beforehand.
If you choose to serve strawberries in a bowl, you should know that some bowls make it difficult for your beardie to eat.
It would help to get a good quality bowl whereby your pet can reach the bottom half of his food.
You can also hand-feed the fruit to your beardie or use feeding tongs to keep your hands clean.
Some people worry that the strawberry seeds are inedible or harmful in some way to bearded dragons, but rest assured, the seeds are perfectly safe. They are very unlikely to cause any digestive issues.
Also, they are too tiny to get stuck in your bearded dragon’s windpipe so there is no cause for alarm around being a potential choking hazard!
Other Treats To Serve Your Bearded Dragon
The best treats are those that can be fed to your bearded dragons more regularly. Always remember that these reptiles are omnivores, so not only do they require both plant and meat food sources, but they thrive on having both.
Its also important to note that the diet of a bearded dragon should change with age; and treats should be offered accordingly.
Young hatchling and juvenile beardies primarily eat insects, whereas adult beardies should be consuming more greens and veggies.
Despite the amounts to be served differing and being age dependent, insects are great for all stages of life. They provide much-needed protein in your bearded dragon’s diet.
Small invertebrates like pinky mice are also excellent treats and source of protein for your reptile.
You may even want to consider sprinkling calcium supplements over said insects as an added calcium boost.
Vegetables are essential to your bearded dragon’s diet, particularly dark leafy greens. These are an excellent calcium and iron source. Leafy greens include kale, swiss chard, collard greens, cabbage, spinach, and others.
Veggies like carrots, cucumber, squash, and courgettes should make up between 25-50% of your bearded dragon’s diet, depending on their age. Young beardies don’t need as many veggies but will naturally transition in time.
Fruits are undoubtedly a delicious treat, but they should only ever make up about 5% of a bearded dragon’s diet.
Some great examples of fruit, as cited by experts, include bananas, apples, melons, kiwis, papayas, mangos and all types of berries.
As with strawberries, fruit should only be offered in moderation; once a week is the most you should feed fruit to your beardie. Also be sure to mix the fruits up and offer variety.
Bearded dragons are natural hunters, and they enjoy catching live prey. A pellet only diet takes away a considerable part of their identity, which can lead to boredom.
Keeping your beardie occupied and mentally stimulated is essential to keeping them both happy and healthy.
Foods To Avoid Feeding Your Bearded Dragon
Most veggies and fruits are acceptable to offer your beardie as long as they are free from harmful pesticides and herbicides. They should equally be the right size for your beardie to consume.
Once you know what not to feed your reptile, you have more freedom to expose your beardie to different foods.
Be aware that not all insects and vegetables are safe to provide to your bearded dragon. The main ones to avoid feeding are:
- Fireflies, box elder bugs, wasps, and ladybugs – these insects are toxic to reptiles.
It should reassure you that bearded dragons can eat strawberries, including the seeds. In fact, they are one of the better fruits to offer and they are entirely safe as long as you offer them infrequently and in moderation.
Even though some fruits are sweeter than others; it’s best only to provide them on a rare occasion. 5-10% of total energy intake is the considered as being at the top end of what you should be looking to provide.
Beyond this, it’s important that you get the balance of calcium and phosphorus correct, with calcium in more generous supply than phosphorus. This can be hard, especially when we look at the imbalance in foods such as strawberries.
By getting the balance right through their diet and supplementation however, along with providing proper care, optimizing their environment and housing, you should have many happy and healthy years of companionship.
As pet reptiles, bearded dragons are unbeatable; they are charismatic, friendly, and highly idiosyncratic. Aside from being entertaining, beardies are generally easy to care for. You do however, need to research ahead of time and ultimately be mindful along the way.