Bearded dragons can eat a variety of green leafy vegetables. However, every seasoned beardy owner knows that not all greens are safe for reptile.
In fact, some of the greens and fruits are toxic and could potentially cause health issues in beardies.
This post is a direct response to my reader’s question. She asked whether or not cabbage is safe for bearded dragons.
So, can bearded dragons eat cabbage?
Bearded dragons can eat cabbage on an occasional basis. The reason is that cabbage has a high water content that may cause digestive issues in beardies when ingested in large amounts. Bearded dragons can eat cabbage once or twice a month to keep them healthy.
Cabbage is one of the examples of plants that have high water content. As we all know, watery foods (greens and fruits) are not good for beardies.
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Nutritional Facts about Cabbage
Cabbage contains essential nutrients for the lizard. But as mentioned, the only reason why I don’t recommend it as a staple food for beardies is the water content.
The table below shows some of the essential nutrients that bearded dragons can get from eating cabbage.
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Nutritional value per 100 g
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database
As you can see in the table above, cabbage contains high water content. A vegetable like this is not good for bearded dragons. If feed in large amounts, they may suffer from diarrhea and other digestive issues.
However, cabbage contains a good ratio for calcium to phosphorus. It adheres to the ideal 2:1 ratio. This is a very good ratio of calcium to phosphorus to provide bearded dragons with a healthy diet.
As a rule of thumb, you need to always consider the calcium and phosphorus content of beardie’s foods. If they don’t get enough calcium and phosphorus, they may develop many health problems.
The lack of calcium, for instance, may result in metabolic bone disease. It is a condition in bearded dragons wherein their bones will become weak and brittle. Their whole body will be affected.
When this happens, your reptile will show changes in eating, sleeping, and walking behavior.
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Bearded dragons with the metabolic bone disease usually lose appetite and experience walking difficulties.
Can You Feed Beardies with Cabbage Leaves?
Yes. Bearded dragons can eat cabbage leaves. Cabbage leaves are healthy for bearded dragons.
But before feeding, make sure that the leaves are clean. The best way to do that is to wash the leaves thoroughly. There should be no chemical in the leaves.
The pesticides and other chemicals are harmful to the lizards. Bearded dragons can easily be affected by these chemicals.
When washing the leaves, I suggest that you use running water. This will ensure that all the dirt and potential hazards will be washed out.
Your bearded dragons will be able to enjoy cabbage if it is safe. However, you need to remember that this vegetable is not good for regular feeding. The water content could cause health problems. So feed it on an occasional basis.
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Can You Feed Beardies with Cabbage Stalks?
Well, there is a conflicting opinion with regard to this. Some bearded dragon owners do not feed their beardies with cabbage stalk while others do.
If you ask me, I don’t feed my beardies with cabbage stalk too. The reason being is that this part of the vegetable is woody and hard for beardies to eat.
As you might already know, hard food may cause digestive issues like impaction. Even if you chop it finely, it will be hard to digest making it a viable cause of impaction.
My rule for my beardies is simple. I never feed them food that could potentially harm them. You may want to do the same.
Can You Feed Beardies with Cooked Cabbage?
Cooked foods are healthy for us but not for bearded dragons. Therefore, beardies cannot or should not be given cooked cabbage.
The main reason is that cooked foods usually lose essential vitamins and minerals. The original nutrients will fade during the cooking process.
Another reason why a cooked cabbage is not good for bearded dragons is that bearded dragons are accustomed to the fresh foods in the wild. They are not used to cooked or processed foods.
As a rule of thumb, captive beardies should get fresh foods that resemble their natural diet in the wild.
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Is Cabbage a Good Part of the Bearded Dragons’ Diet?
Cabbage contains no hazardous or toxic substances that can harm your reptile. And it is a good part of the beardies’ diet. The only reason why I don’t recommend cabbage as a staple food is its water content.
The truth is that greens and fruits are an essential part of the beardies’ diet. The percentage in the mixture between greens and insects can be dependent on the age of the reptile.
For instance, baby and juvenile bearded dragons eat more insects than greens. About 80% of their diet is composed of insects and 20% of greens and vegetables.
The adult bearded dragons, on the other hand, eat more greens and fruits than insects or live animals. Their diet is usually composed of 80% greens and 20% insects.
The differences in green and insect consumptions between young and adult beardies are due to their protein needs.
Young bearded dragons need more protein than adult bearded dragons. This is because young bearded dragons need more protein for their speedy growth.
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Adult bearded dragons don’t need as much protein as they used to when they were young. What they need instead are the nutrients that can be gained from consuming greens.
When adding cabbage to the beardies’ salad, make it minimal. Always remember that watery greens are not good for the beardies’ digestive system. For a better result, mix it with other greens.
How Often Can You Feed Cabbage to A Bearded Dragon?
Because cabbage is too watery for bearded dragons, you can offer it to them once or twice a month.
This is to keep them safe from digestive issues. If you have available safe and healthier greens, choose them instead.
But if you really want to try cabbage for your bearded dragons, try to mix it with other greens. Some of the safe additional greens are the collard greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens.
These vegetable are good as staple foods for bearded dragons. There is nothing to worry.
Preparing Cabbage for Bearded Dragons
Preparing cabbage for bearded dragons is easy. It is pretty much like preparing other greens.
Below are just a few things to consider when preparing cabbage for beardies’ salad:
- The first step is to pick a fresh cabbage. Do not feed your beardies with a wilted cabbage. I prefer organic cabbage for my bearded dragons. This is to make sure that no chemical is applied to the food.
- Clean the cabbage correctly. As mentioned, I suggest that you use running water when washing the greens. This is to make sure that all harmful chemicals (if any) are totally removed.
- Chop the cabbage finely. This will help your reptile eat green easily. Remember that bearded dragons are prone to choking if served with big chunks of foods.
- You can also add some other healthy greens. Three to four types of foods can make the salad more colorful and enticing for bearded dragons to eat.
- Serve the salad. It is time for your reptile to enjoy it.
Healthy Staple Foods for Bearded Dragons
Now that you’ve learned that cabbage is not good for bearded dragons in regular feeding, you might wonder what are alternative greens.
Fortunately, there are many varieties of greens that are safe as staple foods for bearded dragons.
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Below are the best staple greens for your bearded dragons:
- Alfalfa (plant)
- Cactus pad/leaf (raw)
- Cactus pear
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Mustard greens
- Phoenix worms
- Squash (Acorn)
- Squash (Winter)
- Squash (Hubbard)
- Squash (Scallop)
- Squash (Spaghetti)
- Squash (Summer)
- Turnip greens
Final Thoughts on Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbage
Cabbage is not toxic to bearded dragons. However, beardies can only eat cabbage on an occasional basis. This is because cabbage has high water content.
If it is feed to bearded dragons regularly, cabbage can cause digestive issues in beardies such as diarrhea.
When feeding cabbage, I recommend mixing it with other safe and healthy greens. I listed above many good greens for bearded dragons.
Cabbage leaves are also good for beardies occasionally. But avoid the stalk because it is hard for beardies to eat. It could only cause impaction to bearded dragons.
I hope this helps. Thanks for reading.