Can bearded dragons eat asparagus? This is one of the most important questions you might ask yourself if you are raising a bearded dragon. If you are a new beardie owner, you need to be extra careful when choosing food for your reptile.
As we all know, bearded dragons can eat a variety of vegetables but not all vegetables are safe for them. In fact, some vegetables are harmful to them.
So, can bearded dragons eat asparagus at all?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat asparagus on an occasional basis only. This is because asparagus contains disproportionate calcium to phosphorous ratio, high water content, and moderate amounts of oxalates.
The main requirement of good food for beardies is the right combination of calcium and phosphorous. The ideal ratio is 2:1. Foods that have a disproportionate ratio for these constituents are ruled out as foods for bearded dragons.
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Nutritional Facts of Asparagus
Bearded dragons are prone to many health issues when fed unhealthy foods. So it is very important to make sure that they get the right food that resembles their diet in the wild.
In most cases, healthy human foods are not necessarily healthy for beardies. In fact, many foods we normally eat are harmful to reptiles.
If you are a new bearded dragon owner, choosing the right food is critical. In this post, I have constructed a simple table presented below to help you determine why asparagus should not be part of the staple diet for bearded dragons.
Without further ado, let’s dive in to the following information
Nutritional value of asparagus per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.12||G|
As you can see from the table, asparagus contains several nutrients that are good and harmful for bearded dragons. Let’s talk about each of the nutrients.
As you can see, water is the most constituent found in asparagus. There is no doubt that bearded dragons need water. But too much of it is obviously harmful.
Watery foods can cause digestive issues in bearded dragons such as diarrhea. This is the reason why fruits should be a small part of their diet because most fruits are too watery for them.
A small amount of asparagus though will not hurt bearded dragons. So offer it occasionally to your beardies.
Asparagus is a good source of energy. The calorie level is good for beardies. Bearded dragons in captivity should not be given high-calorie foods. They don’t usually engage in physical activities unlike in the wild. This means that calorie consumption should also be controlled.
Protein is very important especially for baby and juvenile bearded dragons. Their diet should compose of about 80% protein-rich foods such as live insects.
Given the level of protein content in asparagus, I can only recommend feeding it to adult bearded dragons. This is because adult beardies do not need much protein. Their diet should compose 80% greens and only 20% of protein-rich foods.
The fat content of asparagus is low. This is very good for beardies. Bearded dragons should not consume fatty foods, especially in captivity. Foods with high-fat content should not be offered to beardies.
The carbohydrate content of asparagus is also low. This is good. Carbohydrates if not spend in the body will be converted into sugar. Since bearded dragons are not physically active in captivity, in my opinion, they should not eat foods with high carbohydrate content.
Too fibrous foods are not good for beardies. Fortunately, asparagus has a low fiber content. Foods like this are good for beardies. But in general, asparagus should not be part of the regular diet of the bearded dragons.
Asparagus has a low sugar content. This is good for beardies. As you know, sugary or sweet foods are not good for bearded dragons. Sweet foods can potentially cause health issues in beardies.
As you can see from the table, asparagus has a medium calcium content. Calcium is important for beardies but not too much. In my opinion, the amount of calcium in asparagus is fine for beardies.
Phosphorous is high in asparagus. This is not good for bearded dragons. As you can see, the phosphorous level is higher than calcium. This means that the ratio for calcium to phosphorous is disproportionate.
The high phosphorous content could dwindle the level of calcium in the long run. And the low amount of calcium will in turn cause potential health problems in bearded dragons.
One of the most common serious diseases associated with low calcium is a metabolic bone disease. This is a serious condition that causes many health problems in bearded dragons.
Beardies with the metabolic bone disease usually lose their appetite, having difficulty in walking, lethargic, and other behavioral changes.
Another nutrient present in asparagus is vitamin C. Vitamin C is crucial in developing a stronger and healthier immune system. This is also true in bearded dragons.
The vitamin C in asparagus is not high. But there are foods that contain too much vitamin C something that is not good for beardies. Examples of those are citrus. Citrus fruits have high citric acid content that could harm beardies’ overall health.
Do not feed your beardies citrus. It is way acidic for bearded dragons.
Asparagus also contains vitamin A. The amount is not too high. If the food contains too much vitamin A, do not feed it your reptile. This is because too much vitamin A can cause a health problem.
The common result of too much vitamin A consumption is vitamin A toxicity. This is another serious condition in beardies. So my recommendation is that if you already are giving enough amount of vitamin A to your reptile, do not give him/her vitamin A supplement.
If you do, it can only do harm than good to him/her. So be careful.
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Oxalates Content in Asparagus
It is not listed in the table, but the other thing that makes asparagus not a good part of the beardies’ staple diet is its oxalates content.
Oxalates are natural substances present in some fruits and vegetables. It does not do any harm to humans but when consumed by bearded dragons, it is a whole different story.
Oxalates prevent calcium absorption in beardies. When this happens, bearded dragons’ bodies will have a lack of calcium not because they don’t get enough from their food but because of the oxalates that prohibit absorption.
This will result, of course in lack of calcium. When this happens, disease like metabolic bone disease may develop which in turn cause more harm to reptiles.
The oxalates content in asparagus is moderate. This means that in moderation, it will not harm your reptile. So be careful not to feed your reptiles with foods that have high oxalate content.
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How to Prepare Asparagus for Bearded Dragons?
Preparing food for bearded dragons is easy. However, there are just a few things you need to remember. Here are some of them:
1. Make sure that the food is totally clean
Bearded dragons are prone to health problems when ingested foods that have pesticides and other types of chemicals. So the first thing you need to do is to wash the veggies and fruits before making a salad for your reptile.
2. Chop the asparagus small enough to avoid choking
As we all know, bearded dragons are vulnerable to choking when offered large chunks of food. When preparing the salad, chop the veggies, in this case, asparagus into small bite-size pieces.
But how fine is fine? Well, as a rule of thumb, never give your reptile foods that are larger than the distance between their eyes. The size between their eyes corresponds to the right size of food they can take without having a problem.
Bearded dragons are not good chewers. Meaning, they don’t thoroughly chew their foods before swallowing. So it is very important to chop veggies in bite-size pieces.
3. Offer a raw asparagus
Some bearded dragon owners recommend cooked asparagus for beardies. But I don’t. I just want to feed my beardies raw foods that resemble their diet in the wild.
The reason why I say this is that cooked foods lose their nutrients in the process. In asparagus, however, cooking helps reduce the number of oxalates.
But even then, I don’t recommend feeding cooked asparagus to bearded dragons. As long as you mix asparagus with healthier greens and fruits, your reptile will be okay.
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How Often to Feed Bearded Dragons Asparagus?
Well, there is no single answer to this question. Every bearded dragon owner has a different strategy. But I recommend once every 2-4 weeks. Give it in a small amount and your beardies will be fine.
I also recommend that you add other healthier greens or insects to the beardies’ salad. This is to make sure that they get the balanced diet they needed.
Lastly, offer it raw. You can try cooked though if you want. But if you are a beginner, stay with the safer route.
Healthier Foods Alternatives to Asparagus
There are many foods you can choose apart from asparagus. These foods are way healthier than asparagus. Or, you can mix asparagus with a few of the following foods for beardies:
- Swiss chard
- Mustard greens
- Boc Choy
- Dandelion greens
These are just a few of the healthier foods you can choose from. But the list is longer than this. There are more you can offer to your bearded dragons.
To find healthier foods for your reptile, you can check this website.
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Final Thoughts on Can Bearded Dragons Eat Asparagus
Bearded dragons can eat asparagus on an occasional basis. This is due to its poor calcium to phosphorous ratio, high water content, and moderate oxalates.
A small amount of asparagus though will not bring any health issues to bearded dragons. You can offer it once every 2-4 weeks.
When feeding asparagus to bearded dragons, try to add other healthier greens or insects to provide your beardies balanced diet. I hope this helps. Thank you for reading.