Bearded dragons are omnivores. This means that they eat live animals and plants. In terms of plant consumption, they eat a variety of it. However, not all plants or vegetables can be fed to bearded dragons.
Can bearded dragons eat cauliflower?
No. Cauliflower contains not only high water content but also goitrogens. Goitrogens block iodine which is needed for thyroid hormones production. In short, it could cause physical harm to bearded dragons.
However, cauliflower has good calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. But its high water content rules cauliflower out as safe food for bearded dragons.
Some bearded dragon owners do suggest that beardies can eat cauliflower but in minimal amount. It is up to you to decide what is best for your reptile pets.
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What Should Bearded Dragons Eat?
A balanced diet is very important when caring for a bearded dragon. He/she should have proper nutrition for him/her to get what he/she needs.
As mentioned, bearded dragons are omnivores. In the wild, they eat live prey and plants. Adult bearded dragons in the wild eat approximately 90% plants and 10% live animals such as insects.
When growing adult bearded dragons domestically (artificial habitat), they should get a diet similar to what they normally get in the wild.
As you notice, adult beardies’ diet is primarily plants or green leafy vegetables. This is because adult bearded dragons don’t need much protein anymore as they used to.
In contrast, baby and juvenile bearded dragons tend to eat more insects or live small animals than adult bearded dragons. This is because younger bearded dragons need more protein for their speedy growth.
Younger bearded dragons should get at least 80-90% insects and only 10-20% green leafy vegetables from their diet.
In order to emulate their diet in the wild, you can start with the baby bearded dragons. Give them a combination of greens and vegetables every day. But they should also get insects one to two times per day.
As they grow older, insect consumption should decrease. You can give insects to juvenile bearded dragons three to four times a week. This will help bearded dragons in their transition from juvenile to adult in terms of their diet.
Juvenile bearded dragons will get accustomed to eating fewer and fewer insects as they grow older. Adult bearded dragons can be fed insects two to three times a week.
However, those with weight problems (overweight), they should receive even fewer protein sources.
When feeding bearded dragons, it is very important to have a variety of foods incorporated in their salad. This is key to maintain their appetite and excitement to eat.
Not only that but also a variety of foods helps beardies to consume a balanced diet. Don’t give one type of food for days because they will most likely lose appetite.
Mixing three to four types of foods is essential especially for picky bearded dragons. The more vegetables you mix in the salad the more colorful it becomes and more intriguing it is for beardies.
Just be careful to choose greens for a salad. Some leafy vegetables are not actually good for bearded dragons.
Below is the list of greens or vegetables you can regularly feed to your bearded dragons:
- Dandelion greens
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Alfalfa plants
- Prickly pear
Other than the ones listed above, there are other fruits and vegetables you can feed to your bearded dragons. However, you should only give them as treats.
The reason is that some vegetables including listed below could potentially cause digestive problems in bearded dragons when ingested in large amounts.
Here are the examples of fruits and vegetables that could be minimally given to bearded dragons:
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Beet beans
- Corn Kiwi
- Bell peppers
- Cabbage (red)
- Raw Carrots
- Cilantro clover
- Fresh cranberries
- Pea sprouts
- Raw pumpkin
- Raw yams
When making a salad for your beardies, make sure that you chop the fruits and vegetables into small bite-size pieces. This is because bearded dragons don’t generally chew their food.
Another important thing to consider is the size of their mouth. Smaller bearded dragons should be given finely chopped foods for them to eat easily.
The same is true when feeding insects. Smaller bearded dragons (babies) should be given small insects to allow them to eat.
Insects that are not eaten should be removed from the cage. This is to keep your beardies safe. Insects could bite bearded dragons which in turn cause them infections and other health-related issues.
Do Bearded Dragons Need Supplements?
Yes. This is because even a balanced diet could not provide everything that your bearded dragon needs.
However, when giving supplements especially multivitamins, there are few things to remember. And one of the most important ones is toxicity.
That’s right. Excessive multivitamins could cause potential harm to bearded dragons. Vitamin A toxicity happens when you give multivitamins to your beardies while feeding them with vitamin A-rich foods.
So before giving them supplements, make sure that they indeed need extra sources of nutrients.
How to Deal with a Picky Bearded Dragon?
Picky bearded dragons are challenging to feed. But as an owner who truly loves them, you should find ways to make them eat.
The good news is that there are simple ways you can do to trick your bearded dragons. Consider the following:
- Let your beardies get hungry before feeding them
This may sound harsh especially if you really love your beardies. But if you have picky bearded dragons, this strategy works well. If your beardy does not eat the salad, don’t give him/her insects unless he/she eats the salad first.
- Mix three to four kinds of fruits and greens
Mixing a variety of fruits and vegetables will make a salad more colorful. This should entice your bearded dragons to eat their meal. Always remember to chop the fruits and vegetables in bite-size pieces.
Final Thoughts on Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cauliflower
Cauliflower contains goitrogen, a substance that inhibits the production of thyroid hormones. This makes cauliflower not good for bearded dragons.
However, cauliflower contains a good calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.
If you let your beardy tastes cauliflower, make sure that it is in minimal amount. A nibble should be enough.
Always take the safety of your reptile pets into consideration.
I hope this helps you successfully take care of your bearded dragons.