Bearded dragons can eat a variety of vegetables including root crops. But certainly, not all vegetables are safe and healthy for beardies.
So, can bearded dragons eat sweet potato?
Bearded dragons can eat sweet potato but only in small amount and as an occasional treat. Sweet potatoes have high vitamin A content and disproportionate ratio for calcium to phosphorus which are not good for bearded dragons.
As you know, choosing food for beardies involves making sure that the food has the right calcium and phosphorus combination. The ideal ratio is 2:1. Sweet potato has way disproportionate ratio making it not good food for beardies.
To give you clearer picture of what your reptile will get from eating sweet potato, I have included a table below. The table summarizes the nutrients that sweet potato contains.
Table of Contents
Nutritional Facts of Sweet Potatoes
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
|Vitamin A equiv.||709||μg|
Sweet potato contains more nutrients than what is listed in the table. However, I only included the nutrients that are significant for beardies.
These few constituents have possible effects on the overall health of the bearded dragons. Let’s talk about them one by one.
Related Article: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Radishes? (Is It Safe?)
As you can see, sweet potatoes are good source of energy. This makes potatoes a good food for those who are physically active. However, it is important to remember that beardies in captivity are usually not physically active.
Their small environment constrains them from moving freely. In the wild, they used to roam and hunt insects. These things are not available in their artificial habitat.
Consuming high calorie foods is not good if the body does not use it. Physical activities are a way to use it. I suggest that you avoid feeding your beardies too much calorie-rich foods.
Bearded dragons need protein especially the younger ones. About 80% of their diet must be protein. This is the reason why they eat more insects than greens.
Sweet potato does not have enough amount of protein for beardies. This makes potatoes not good as part of bearded dragons’ staple food.
As you can see, vitamin A is super high in sweet potatoes. Bearded dragons need vitamin A but only in right amount. Having too much of this vitamin is actually harmful to bearded dragons.
Beardies can suffer from vitamin A toxicity if they consumed too much vitamin A-rich foods. This is a serious condition in bearded dragons. It commonly happens when reptiles are given vitamin A supplements while eating vitamin A-rich foods.
Supplements are helpful for bearded dragons. No matter how balanced their diet is, they still need supplements. But just be careful not to overfeed them supplements.
Sweet potatoes also contain calcium. Calcium is beneficial for beardies in developing healthy and stronger bones. The lack of calcium may cause health issues. The most common one is metabolic bone disease.
Metabolic bone disease is a health condition in bearded dragons characterized by weak and brittle bones. This could cause many behavioral issues in beardies too. Trust me, you don’t want to see your beardies suffer from this condition.
Sweet potato is also a good source of phosphorus. This mineral plays a vital role in the maintenance and repair of cells and tissues in the body. Bearded dragons surely need phosphorus.
However, the problem with sweet potato is that it has disproportionate calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. As you can see, the phosphorus level is higher than calcium.
Remember that one of the considerations when choosing foods for bearded dragons is the calcium and phosphorus content.
The ideal ratio is 2:1 (calcium to phosphorus). Unfortunately, sweet potato has higher level of phosphorus than calcium making it inappropriate food for beardies.
If you want to feed your beardies sweet potatoes, make sure that it is not more than a treat. Too much of this food is definitely not a good idea for bearded dragons.
Related Article: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Potatoes? Facts You Should Know
How to Prepare Sweet Potatoes for Bearded Dragons?
Sweets potatoes come with different shapes and colors. But there is something common to them – texture. All potatoes are hard and mostly fibrous.
Foods like this are hard for bearded dragons to digest. Remember that beardies are prone to choking and impaction. I have been asked in forums about the correct way of preparing sweet potatoes for bearded dragons.
One of the common questions is what is the best way to feed potato to bearded dragons, cooked or raw. Actually, sweet potatoes belong to a few food categories that can be prepared both raw and cooked.
If you have been reading my posts on this blog, you might also know that I don’t recommend feeding beardies cooked foods. Processed foods lose their natural nutrients making it unhealthy for beardies.
Cooking sweet potato will only serve one purpose – that is to make it soft enough for beardies to eat. But the nutritional value is lesser than its raw counterpart.
If you serve raw sweet potatoes, make sure that it is finely chopped. Bear in mind that beardies are prone to choking.
The best way to do this is to use a grater to make it is soft and fine enough for bearded dragons to eat. There are many ways to prepare potatoes for beardies. Just make sure that the slices are not bigger than the distance between their eyes.
As a rule of thumb, bearded dragons’ foods should not be larger than the space between their eyes. I don’t why but the distance between their eyes are indicative of the size of food they can easily eat without having digestive problems.
Final Thoughts on Can Bearded Dragons Eat Sweet Potato
Bearded dragons can eat sweet potatoes in small amount and on an occasional basis. This is due to its high vitamin A content and disproportionate ratio for calcium to phosphorus.
Foods that don’t have good combination of calcium and phosphorus are not good for bearded dragons.
In terms of preparation, sweet potatoes can be fed to beardies in raw or cooked.
I hope this helps. Thank you for reading.