Bearded dragons eat a variety of vegetables and greens in the wild as well as in captivity. But it is important to remember that not all vegetables are safe for bearded dragons.
That said, there vegetables and greens that should not be given to beardies. The reason for this is that many vegetables contain substances that are not good for beardies.
So, can bearded dragons eat Brussel sprouts?
Bearded dragons can eat Brussel sprouts in a small amount as an occasional treat. This is because Brussel sprouts contain disproportionate calcium-to-phosphorus ratio and high water content.
When choosing foods for bearded dragons, the ratio for calcium to phosphorus should always be considered. The ideal ratio is 2:1 in favor of calcium. The disproportionate proportion of calcium and phosphorus could potentially cause health issues in bearded dragons.
To provide understanding as to why Brussel sprouts should not be fed to bearded dragons on a regular basis, I made a table below that contains the nutritional contents of this veggie. Let’s take a look at it.
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Table of Contents
Nutritional Facts of Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts do contain many nutrients. But in the table below, I only included a few that are important for bearded dragons.
Nutritional content per 100g
|Vitamin A equiv.||38||μg|
As you can see, Brussel sprouts contain many constituents that may or may not good for bearded dragons. Let us talk about each of those.
Brussel sprouts contain a good level of energy source. Energy-rich foods are good especially if you are physically active. For a captive bearded dragon, he/she does not need a lot of energy because of the lack of activities.
Physical activities are very important to burn calories. If calories are stored and not used, it will have a negative effect. So you need to be careful when choosing food for your bearded dragons.
Carbohydrates are another source of energy. However, as mentioned, if bearded dragons are in captivity, they might not need carbohydrate-rich food. Again, the lack of physical activities will only store carbo in the body without spending it.
Unused carbohydrates will be converted into fat. This means that bearded dragons will become fat when eating high carb foods.
Sugar is not good for bearded dragons. It could only cause several health issues especially when consumed in large amounts. The sugar content in Brussel sprouts may not be too high for beardies. But still, this veggie has sugar content.
Bearded dragons need protein especially the young ones. Their diet should compose of about 80% protein-rich foods such as insects and 20% of greens. The amount of protein in Brussel sprouts though is not high enough to make it a protein-source food for beardies. Choose healthier greens instead.
Aside from protein, Brussel sprouts also contain a considerable amount of vitamin A. beardies need this vitamin to help them grow healthily. However, this does not mean that beardies can eat Brussel sprouts regularly. In the next section, I will tell you why despite the beneficial nutrients, this veggie should be disregarded when choosing staple food for bearded dragon.
The vitamin C content in Brussel sprouts is actually higher than the vitamin A. As you know, vitamin C is important to help bearded dragons build a stronger immune system. Beardies can get this benefit by consuming Brussel sprouts.
But is this enough to make Brussel sprout a good food for bearded dragons? Unfortunately, no. The reasons are the following.
By looking at the table, you can see that calcium is present in Brussel sprouts. As you know, calcium is important in building healthy and strong bones in bearded dragons. The only problem however is the amount. As you can see, it is lower than the phosphorus level. I will tell you why this is not good. But let me introduce the phosphorus first.
As mentioned, the phosphorus content in Brussel sprouts is higher than calcium. Remember that the ideal ratio is 2:1 in favor of calcium. In this case, the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is disproportionate.
If bearded dragons eat many of this food, they might develop many potential health issues. The higher amount of phosphorus may restrain calcium absorption in the long run. This explains why Brussel sprouts are often ruled out as regular food for bearded dragons.
Aside from the disproportionate ratio for calcium to phosphorus, Brussel sprouts also contain a high level of water. As we all know, watery foods are not healthy for bearded dragons for they can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea.
The combination of imbalance calcium and phosphorus content plus high water content makes me avoid Brussel sprouts to feed my bearded dragons.
But if you really want to try it for your reptiles, you can do it in moderation. A small amount as a treat will not negatively affect your beardie’s health.
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How to Prepare Brussel Sprouts for Bearded Dragons?
In case you want to feed your beardies Brussel sprouts, I included some quick tips here that you can consider when preparing Brussel sprouts for reptiles.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that the sprouts are clean. Then chop the sprouts into smaller pieces to help your bearded dragon consume it without choking.
Although some bearded dragon owners just feed the entire Brussel sprouts, I always go on the safer route. It is better to chop the sprouts into a little bit smaller pieces.
But remember that it should only be a small amount. As mentioned, Brussel sprouts are not healthy foods for beardies. So do not allow your bearded dragon overeats Brussel sprouts.
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Alternative Foods for Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons can eat a variety of vegetables and greens not just Brussel sprouts. In fact, there are many healthier options as far as choosing veggies for beardies goes.
Some of the great options are turnip greens, mustard greens, clover, or kale. These foods are safe and can be part of the bearded dragon’s staple food.
However, when preparing these greens, always remember to make sure that they are clean. So make sure that you washed them thoroughly before feeding.
You can also add live insects in the beardies’ diet. The good options are crickets and dubia roaches. However, when choosing insects, make sure that you don’t offer insects you captured in the wild.
Remember that insects in the wild may have harmful chemicals in them that could potentially cause health issues in bearded dragons. The best way I can recommend is to buy insects from pet stores. I buy my dubia roaches from Amazon (check my recommended dubia roaches on Amazon).
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The bearded dragon’s diet must compose of live insects and greens and vegetables. As mentioned, young beardies should have about 80% of insects in their diet and 20% greens.
For adult bearded dragons, however, their insect consumption is about 20% and 80% greens.
As you can see, young beardies eat more protein-rich foods than greens. This is because they need more protein for their speedy growth.
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Final Thoughts on Can Bearded Dragons Eat Brussel Sprouts
Bearded dragons can eat Brussel sprouts in small amounts as an occasional treat. The main reason for this is that Brussel sprouts contain a disproportionate ratio for calcium to phosphorus and high water content.
As you might already know, calcium and phosphorus content are some of the most important things you need to consider when choosing healthy foods for bearded dragons.
The ideal ratio is 2:1 or close to it. But as we can see in the table above, Brussel sprouts have high phosphorus and low in calcium. It is completely disproportionate.
Also, the water content adds to the problem making Brussel sprouts often ruled out as bearded dragons’ regular food.
However, this does not mean that Brussel sprouts are poisonous to bearded dragons. They can still eat these veggies occasionally in a small amount.
But please do remember that there are healthier food options for beardies that you might want to consider too.
I hope this helps. Thank you for reading.