Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli? A Bearded dragon diet consists of insects, fruits, and vegetables such as carrots, kale, bananas, and leafy greens like spinach or lettuce.
However, there are other options for healthy foods that can be given to the reptile as a treat. But is broccoli one of them? and is it safe to feed it to your bearded dragon?
The short answer is Yes, bearded dragons can eat broccoli as it’s a rich source of essential nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. However, like most vegetables feeding your dragon too much can have the opposite effect.
How Much Broccoli Can A Bearded Dragon Eat?
So, how much broccoli can a bearded dragon eat? As with all new foods, it is best to start small and gradually increase the amount as your dragon gets used to it.
The Recommended Amount Of Broccoli:
- One Or Two Florets At A Time
- Feed Them Once A Month
When it comes to broccoli, you should give them no more than one or two florets at a time depending on the size. If they seem to like it, you can then give them a little bit more next time.
But be sure not to overdo it, as too much broccoli can be harmful. It is safe to feed your bearded dragon broccoli once a month. Remember your bearded dragon can’t eat broccoli every day.
- Can Bearded Dragons Eat Lettuce?
Why Is Too Much Broccoli Harmful To Bearded Dragons?
The problem with feeding your bearded dragon too much broccoli is that it won’t provide them with enough calcium which is a very important factor in their diet especially if they are young and are still growing.
There are basically three reasons why bearded dragons can’t eat too much broccoli. And they are:
Not Enough Calcium
Broccoli is low in calcium which means it doesn’t provide enough to meet your bearded dragon’s dietary requirements. This can lead to them not receiving enough calcium, and then developing what’s called metabolic bone disease (MBD).
Symptoms of MBD can include:
- Loss Of Appetite
- Poor Bone Development
- Weakness Or Paralysis
If you are concerned that your bearded dragon may be developing MBD, it is best to take them to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Too Much Phosphorus
Another problem with feeding your bearded dragon too much broccoli is that it can lead to them having a build-up of phosphorus in their body.
This occurs because certain vegetables “like broccoli” contain more than twice as much phosphorus than calcium which can lead to nutritional or metabolic problems.
There just aren’t enough other dietary ingredients such as vitamin D or other minerals like selenium present to keep their levels balanced.
Contains Oxalic Acid
Broccoli also contains a compound called Oxalic Acid. This compound binds with calcium in the gut and reduces its absorption.
Even if your bearded dragon is getting enough calcium from their diet, the Oxalic Acid present in broccoli can stop them from absorbing it properly.
So, if you’re going to give your bearded dragon broccoli, make sure you only give them a small amount and not too often. A little bit of broccoli once in a while is good for them, but don’t overdo it!
Important: Oxalic acid binds calcium in the body and prevents your bearded dragon from utilizing calcium properly. As a result, your pet can develop metabolic bone disease, characterized by low bone density and weakness!
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli Leaves?
Yes, your bearded dragon can eat broccoli leaves as they are very nutritious and can provide necessary vitamins and minerals. However, with that said, no matter what part of the broccoli you feed them you still need to limit their intake.
So what’s good about feeding them the leaves? Well, research shows that 100 grams of broccoli leaves contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dragon.
Broccoli Leaves Per 100 Grams Contains:
- Fat (0.4g)
- Iron (0.88 mg)
- Potassium (325 mg)
- Calcium (48.00 mg)
- Carbohydrates (5.1g)
- Protein (3g)
- Vitamin A 320%
Although your pet needs a small amount of vitamin A, it is crucial to avoid giving it too many broccoli leaves because it contains 320% vitamin A that can cause vitamin A toxicity.
A bearded dragon can retain vitamin A in its cells for a longer period and when there is too much vitamin A, it can cause toxicity. If you want to control vitamin A levels in your bearded dragon body, you can give him a beta-carotene supplement.
It is a great alternative to vitamin A. On the other hand, it contains a reasonable amount of calcium good for their bones and muscles.
Still, broccoli leaves are a good source of important nutrients for your bearded dragon. But only if you give them a limited amount.
You should mix the leaves with their regular diet and not give them as a stand-alone food. This way your beardie will enjoy them a lot more and get the most out of this nutritious food.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli Stems?
Broccoli stems are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals. Like the leaves, you can feed your bearded dragons with broccoli stems. However, make sure you wash, clean, and chop the stems. Your bearded dragon can easily eat chopped stems.
It is found that broccoli stems provide your bearded dragons with good proteins. Avoid giving too many stems to your bearded dragon because they contain water that can disturb the digestive system of your pet.
The stalk or stem also contains fiber and antioxidants, which keep the cells functioning properly. Your pet needs fiber from different vegetables, which can include broccoli stems to keep its digestive system healthy and functional.
So, it is crucial to give your bearded dragons a variety of fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber. For example, one cup of raw broccoli contains 5-10% fiber.
Fiber is also helpful in keeping the colon cells healthy. It also supports the function of the digestive tract and stomach to easily digest and assimilate food.
Can They Eat Cooked Broccoli?
When it comes to feeding your bearded dragon you should always give them raw veggies. This way they will receive the maximum nutritional benefit which is really important in their diet plan.
Although bearded dragons can eat broccoli that’s been cooked the problem with this is cooked broccoli does lose some of its nutritional value.
According to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, cooked broccoli has reduced levels of Sulforaphane. It is a sulfur-rich compound found in broccoli and has many health benefits.
In general, sulfur is an essential element that plays a key role in the body. For example, it helps in making proteins and improving overall metabolism.
Can Juvenile Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli?
Although adult bearded dragons need fruits and vegetables to balance their homeostatic levels, juvenile bearded dragons need more proteins like insect meat to maintain optimal health.
A baby bearded dragon needs more protein content than the adult one for its optimal growth and development. Again, insects are the biggest source of proteins for juvenile bearded dragons.
Juvenile bearded dragons are hunters. They pursue live insects, hunt them down, and eat them. At the same time, your bearded dragon will avoid eating fruits and vegetables at this stage.
Moreover, if you want to feed them veggies, you should maintain a healthy balance of different veggies alongside broccoli.
Some of the best veggies for juvenile bearded dragons are salad leaves, peppers, collard greens, endive, yellow squash, and mustard greens.
Benefits And Negatives
So, to sum it up, feeding your bearded dragon broccoli is okay as long as you don’t do it every day and make sure they are getting enough calcium from other dietary sources.
But of course there are some benefits and negtives to feeding broccoli to your beardie.
- Contains Antioxidants
- Helps With Blood Pressure
- Strengthens Bones And Muscles
- Keeps Their Circulatory System Healthy
- Fiber Is Essential For The Digestive Function
- Low In Calcium
- Contains High Levels Of Phosphorus
- Cause Metabolic Bone Disease
As alternatives to broccoli, you can feed your bearded dragon lamb’s lettuce, spring greens, and Timothy Hay to get calcium and vitamin D3.
How To Prepare Broccoli For Bearded Dragons?
Keep in mind that broccoli has a firm structure, which means you have to prepare it properly for your bearded dragon to promote easy digestion. Here are the steps to prepare broccoli for your bearded dragon.
1. Wash Under A Tap
Take the head of broccoli and place it under running water from the sink. Make sure you run your fingers through the flowery part to remove any dirt, dust, and other environmental allergens.
Use a towel to pat dry the vegetable.
2. Slice The Floret In Half
Start cutting from the outside and steadily shift to the center of the cluster. Although you can peel the florets, this will take more time. So, don’t do this. Cut the floret in half using a kitchen knife.
You can also use scissors for cutting. To make the pieces smaller, you have to halve the two pieces repeatedly to obtain a suitable size.
3. Cut Into Smaller Pieces
After separating the stalk and leaves cut the floret cluster into smaller pieces so its suitable for your bearded dragon, then you can either put them in the food bowl or feed your beardie with your hands.
Vegetables They Should Avoid
So as mentioned above there are vegetables that your bearded dragon should avoid. Feeding too many vegetables that are high in oxalic or acid can harm your reptile.
Here’s a list of vegetables you should avoid feeding to your reptile that contains high levels of oxalic and acid…
- Beet Tops
The bearded dragon will eat anything you give them especially vegetables and although these vegetables listed above may be good to us humans feeding to your dragon can have the opposite effect and cause serious digestion issues.
So, while broccoli is safe for bearded dragons to eat, it should only be given in moderation. Be sure to mix it up with other fruits and vegetables to make sure they’re getting all the essential nutrients they need.
Just be sure to mix it with other vegetables and live insects. Just remember to wash and limit the amount of broccoli you feed them.
The bottom line is broccoli is very healthy for your bearded dragon just as long as you don’t feed them too much.
It’s also recommended that you feed them fruit and vegetables that are fully organic this way there won’t be any chemicals or pesticides that can be harmful to your bearded dragon.