Adult bearded dragon diet should contain veggies as the main diet while a young bearded dragon diet should contain about 20% veggies. While some veggies are super beneficial some can be dangerous especially when you do not know how to feed your dragon. Below is a research I did to find out how to feed zucchini.
Can bearded dragon eat Zucchini? Bearded dragons can eat zucchini, but only occasionally. Feeding bearded dragon zucchini will provide them with water, protein, minerals, and vitamin. However, given the poor calcium-phosphorus ratio feeding zucchini as a staple food will mess with bearded dragon calcium absorption and may cause metabolic bone disease.
Between 80-90 % of the plant material fed to bearded dragons should be flowers and vegetables while 10-20% should be fruits.
Zucchini in Bearded Dragons Diet
Zucchini is also known as Courgette, it is a summer squash that is closely related to cucumbers, melons, and spaghetti squash.
It is loaded with tons of benefits for the human body, let find out how it benefits the human body.
Nutritional Value of Zucchini
The table below shows the nutritional value of about 100g of zucchini.
|Total lipid (fat)||0.32||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||3.11||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
Benefits of feeding Zucchini to Bearded Dragon
Water is very important for the health of a bearded dragon. Some bearded dragons however do not like drinking from the water bowl as a result the only other way of keeping them hydrated is misting their food or feeding them food with high water content.
As a rule of thumb a bearded dragon weighing about 300 grams should drink about 10 ml of water a day. This includes water they drink directly from the bowl plus misting and from food.
Feeding zucchini to a dragon that do not like drinking from the bowl can be a great way to keep it hydrated.
Though in very small amounts zucchini contains fiber. Fiber aids in the digestion of food that bearded dragons consume and can help prevent constipation and impaction.
Given that babies and juvenile bearded dragons consume a lot of insects as their main diet. Fiber is very important to help digest the insect’s chitinous exoskeleton as explained here.
However, bearded dragons do not need lots of fiber in their diet.
Low sugar content
Zucchini has a low sugar content per 100g. High sugar in the diet of bearded dragons is not recommended as it can cause teeth loss and obesity.
Compared to their wild relative’s bearded dragons in captivity do not exercise as much, hence they will not be able to burn high sugar content in their diet.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins are very important towards the well being of bearded dragons. While there are several commercial multivitamins that can be used as supplements.
Veggies can serve as good source of vitamins, especially some vitamins such as Vitamin A which when offered in plenty can lead to vitamin A toxicity.
Offering beta caratone instead of vitamin A is good way since the excess beta carotene will be removed from the body unlike excess vitamin A which is stored in the liver.
From the table above you can see that zucchini offers the following vitamins, Vitamin A, E, C, K, beta carotene plus thiamin.
Other nutrients present in zucchini though in low maounts includes proteins.
Risks of feeding Zucchini to Bearded Dragons
Calcium phosphorus ratio
Calcium is one of the most important minerals towards the growth and development of the bearded dragons. Baby Bearded dragons need calcium to form strong bones.
However, there are two minerals that hinder the absorption of calcium in the body of bearded dragons, oxalate and phosphorus.
When oxalate reacts with calcium it forms calcium oxalates, and calcium phosphates when it react with phosphorus, consequently preventing the body of bearded dragons from absorbing calcium.
As a result, poor calcium absorption can lead to metabolic disease which is usually fatal if not treated.
The recommended ratio of calcium to phosphorus is either 1:1 or 2:1. However, foods that have a ratio higher than the recommended one can be fed to bearded dragons but only as a treat.
However, the ration of calcium to phosphorus of zucchini is the opposite of the recommended, standing at Ca:P -1:2.4.
Nonetheless, veggies with more phosphorus can be fed occasionally as a treat without causing adverse health benefits.
How to feed zucchini to Bearded Dragon
- Always use fresh organic Zucchini
- Peel the zucchini
- Cut it into small pieces
- Put it in your dragon’s bowl and mix it with other veggies
- You can also dust the mix or mist it
- Remove any uneaten veggies within 10-15 minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Bearded dragons eat green or yellow zucchini? Yes, bearded dragons can also eat both green and yellow zucchini. Just do not feed bearded dragons zucchini on daily basis or as a staple food.
Can bearded dragons eat zucchini skin? You should remove zucchini skin by peeling it before feeding your bearded dragon zucchini.
Can bearded dragons eat zucchini leaves and flowers? Bearded dragons cannot eat zucchini flowers and leaves. Bearded dragons should only be fed the zucchini fruit.
Can baby bearded dragons eat zucchini? Baby bearded dragons can eat zucchini but only as a treat and on occasional basis. Feeding too much zucchini and too often can cause metabolic bone disease in baby bearded dragons.
While zucchini is safe to be fed to bearded dragons, care must be observed when feeding. You must adhere to the safety rules of feeding veggies that have high phosphorus to calcium ratio occasionally. Otherwise, you might end up making your bearded dragon sick.
If you have other veggies available such as kale, cabbage, cauliflower, plus fruits strive to feed zucchini about once a month and rotate the other veggies to ensure you do not harm your dragon. Fruits can also serve as a good treat for bearded dragon especially figs which have high calcium to phosphorus ratio.