Below are results of a research I did to find out whether Cantaloupe is safe for bearded dragons and how often they should eat it.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cantaloupe? Bearded dragons can eat cantaloupe but only as an occasional treat. Feeding cantaloupe to bearded dragons provides them with beta-carotene, hydration, and fiber. However, if fed as a staple food cantaloupe can harm bearded dragons as they have high phosphorus compared to calcium.
Whereas cantaloupe can not make a staple food list for bearded dragons. Offering it once in a while can contribute to the overall health of your dragon.
Avoid feeding cantaloupe to bearded dragons that have metabolic bone disease, cantaloupe can easily make the condition worse.
Cantaloupe in Bearded Dragon’s Diet
What are cantaloupes
A cantaloupe is a orange and juicy summer fruit closely related to honeydew melon and watermelon. It also known as rockmelon, sweet melon or spanspek.
Nutritional value of Cantaloupe
The table below the main nutrients found in a 177g serving of cantaloupe
|Nutrient||Amount in 1 cup (177 g)|
|Carbohydrate (g)||14.4, of which 13.9 g are sugar|
|Vitamin C (mg)||65|
|Beta carotene (mcg)||3,240|
|Vitamin A (mcg RAE)||270|
|Folate (mcg DFE)||37.2|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin (mcg)||46|
|Tocopherol, gamma (mg)||0.2|
|Vitamin K (mcg)||4.4|
Benefits of Feeding Cantaloupe to Bearded Dragon
Vitamins are very crucial towards the health of bearded dragons. One of the vitamins needed in bearded dragons is vitamin A although in low amounts.
Overdosing Vitamin A can lead to vitamin A toxicity. That why it is recommended that you provide food rich in beta carotene as the body of the dragon will extract vitamin A from beta carotene and dispose what it does not need.
Feeding Cantaloupe to your bearded dragon will help them get vitamin A they need.
Given Cantaloupe has both beta carotene has both Vitamin A, overfeeding it can lead to Vitamin A toxicity. Feed cantaloupe only as a treat.
Cantaloupe have very high water levels just like many fruits in the melon family.
Keeping your bearded dragon hydrated is very important towards its health especially during brumation or skin shedding.
Dehydration can have adverse health effects which if not treated ealry enough can lead to loss of life.
Here is where it gets a bit tricky. Some dragons can be a bit tricky to offer water. Whatever you do they seem not to want to drink from the bowl. We wrote a full post here explaining how to train your bearded dragon stay hydrated.
Fast forward, One of the best ways to keep your bearded dragon hydrated is to feed it with foods that have high water content. Though it should be fed once in a while, when fed cantaloupe is a great way to hydrate your dragon.
However, making cantaloupe a staple food in your bearded dragon diet can easily lead to diarrhea due to the excess water.
Stick to feeding Cantaloupe only as a treat.
When domesticated bearded dragons are young they need more insect diet so as to satisfy their high protein content requirement.
The insects they consume have a tough exoskeleton which can be hard to digest if they do not get enough or sufficient fiber in their diet. With time this can lead to constipation and later impaction.
Feeding your bearded dragon enough fiber will come a long way towards maintaining its health, fruits such as Cantaloupe or kale are excellent sources of fiber.
Risks of feeding Cantaloupe to bearded dragons
Metabolic bone disease
Metabolic bone disease can be fatal even leading to death. it is caused by low calcium levels in the bearded dragon body.
The good news is that you can offer calcium to bearded dragon through its food and also through supplementation by dusting bearded dragons food or gut loading.
But as far as we can feed bearded dragons calcium-rich foods such as figs, There are foods that can cause more harm than good to bearded dragon calcium requirements if offered every day such as spinach, ginger, and now Cantaloupe.
When calcium mixes with phosphorus , It reacts to form calcium phosphate which is useless to the bearded dragon as it will remove calcium in the body of bearded dragon.
That why it is very important to avoid or reduce the frequency of feeding foods that have high levels of phosphorus compared to calcium to bearded dragons.
The recommended ratio of calcium to phosphorus is 2:1 or 1:1 respectively.
Another mineral to avoid is oxalates, just like phosphorus oxalates will reduce calcium levels in bearded dragon body by forming calcium oxalates.
Cantaloupes have high phosphorus as shown in the bolded figures in the table.
How to feed cantaloupe to bearded dragons
- The first step is buying a fresh cantaloupe
- Wash the cantaloupe thoroughly
- You can peel it and cut it into small pieces
- Put the cantaloupe in a bowl and offer to your dragon
- Remove the uneaten cantaloupe and wash the bowl
How to choose a good cantaloupe
When in the grocery to buy a cantaloupe, look for the ones that heavy, firm, symmetrical without bruising and soft spots.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Bearded dragons have cantaloupe? Bearded dragons can eat cantaloupe but only occasionally. Feeding cantaloupe daily can negatively affect the levels of calcium in the bearded dragon’s body.
While cantaloupe is a great source of vitamin A, beta carotene, fibre and water for your bearded dragon. It is a bad idea to make it a staple food for your bearded dragons. Calcium phosphorus levels in Cantaloupe are not in the recommended Ca:P 2:1 or 1:1 ratios.
If your bearded dragon is suffering from Metabollic bone disease, it would be a good idea to avoid cantaloupe at least until it recovers.