Veggies make up a high percentage of adult bearded dragons’ diets. While some veggies are safe for beardies, some can be very dangerous. I did some digging to find out whether arugulas are safe. Below I share my findings.
Can bearded dragons eat arugula?
Bearded dragons can eat arugula. Arugula or rocket salad is a good source of calcium for bearded dragons. However, bearded dragons should have arugula sparingly as they contain goitrogens that are toxic to dragons. Goitrogens affect the thyroid glands, the liver, and the kidney in bearded dragons at high levels.
A bearded dragon diet should consist of insects, worms, and plant materials such as vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, weeds, and flowers. For young bearded dragons, insects should make up a higher percentage of your dragon’s diet while the rest is made of plant materials.
When feeding arugula to bearded dragons feed the baby or young arugulas since they are tender, peppery, and have a mild flavor that bearded dragons enjoy compared to mature leaves of arugula.
However, adult bearded dragons should eat more plant materials than insects. You can also include some bearded dragons commercially made pellets in your dragons’ daily diet such as these pellets from Amazon.
What leafy greens are good for bearded dragons?
Leafy greens that are good and safe for bearded dragons include turnip greens, mustard greens, escarole, collard greens, parsley, beet greens, alfalfa hay, bok choy, broccoli, clover, watercress, cilantro, red or green cabbage, green beans, kohlrabi, kale, bell peppers, and dandelion.
Can Bearded dragons eat arugula daily?
While arugula or rocket and safe for bearded dragons as a source of calcium. Beaded dragons should not eat arugula daily since it has goitrogens which in high levels affect the thyroid, the liver, and the kidneys. Therefore, bearded dragons should eat arugula sparingly as part of a balanced diet and not daily.
Is Arugula Healthy to Bearded Dragons
Benefits of Feeding Arugula to bearded dragons
Calcium phosphorus ratio
Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the growth and development of bearded dragons.
For young bearded dragons, calcium loaded diet will prevent them from suffering from metabolic bone disease.
However, there are two factors that should always be considered when offering bearded dragons veggies and fruits to provide calcium.
These are oxalate and phosphorus levels, these two minerals can prevent calcium from being absorbed into the body of bearded dragons.
Calcium reacts with oxalates to form calcium oxalates and calcium phosphates when it reacts with phosphorus.
These two compounds prevent the absorption of calcium, as a result, the recommended calcium and phosphorus ratio is either 1:1 or 2:1.
Veggies or fruits with a higher ratio than that in favor of phosphorus can still be fed but only occasionally.
On the other hand fruits such as avocado and greens such as spinach should be avoided altogether as they have a high amount of oxalates.
Arugulas have a very high concentration of calcium as compared to phosphorus. This means that you can feed arugula as a staple food for baby bearded dragons.
For bearded dragons that struggle to drink water from the bowl, feeding them with food that has a high water content will help keep them hydrated.
We have written a detailed article about the importance of making sure your bearded dragon is hydrated, read it here.
As a rule of thumb, a bearded dragon weighing 300 grams should have about 10 ml of water per day.
This amount includes water they drink directly and water they get from the foods they eat.
For omnivorous reptiles, fiber is important to aid in digestion, especially so for adult bearded dragons that are mostly feeding on a herbivory diet.
Fiber will aid in breaking down the chitinous exoskeleton of the insects. Fiber also helps in improving the gut flora of bearded dragons.
Though not much arugula offers some proteins to bearded dragons. Protein is very important to the growth and development of bearded dragons.
Offering arugula to bearded dragons will ensure they get these valuable nutrients and more so young bearded dragons.
Vitamins and other minerals
Vitamins are important for keeping a bearded dragon healthy and maintaining the optimal functioning of the bearded dragon.
The deficiency of these vitamins can lead to an adverse health condition. The table above shows some of the vitamins and minerals that arugula provides to bearded dragons.
However, despite the fact that bearded dragons need vitamins in their diet, too many vitamins can cause adverse health conditions.
Some vitamins such as Vitamin A are better offered as their precursor beta carotene.
Excess beta carotene will be disposed of as compared to excess Vitamin A that will be stored in the liver. Excess vitamin A can cause vitamin A toxicity.
Possible side effects of arugula
Anything has its benefits and risks right? even arugula has a share of its good and bad.
Though not much arugula contains some amount of sugar, if it is fed with other foods that have a high sugar content cumulatively it would cause teeth problems to bearded dragons.
Whereas you can feed arugula as a staple food meaning every day, you can also alternate it with other food such as squash. and when feeding arugula feeds it with less sugary veggies.
Like most leafy greens, arugula has goitrogens. Goitrogens can be very toxic to all lizards including bearded dragons when at high levels.
Small levels of goitrogens can be excreted from the body of bearded dragons without causing any issues. However, as they increase they will interfere with the functions of the thyroid gland, the liver, and the Kidney.
As a result, experts advise against feeding most cruciferous vegetables together at one given time to avoid increasing the levels of goitrogens in bearded dragons. This can be achieved by providing different vegetables, flowers, weeds, and leafy greens to your bearded dragon.
How to feed Arugula to Bearded Dragon
- You can either grow your own arugula or buy fresh arugulas
- Young Arugulas are far much better as they are tender
- Wash the leaves thoroughly
- Cut them into smaller pieces
- You can add Carrots or melons to motivate dragons to feed
- Put the mixture in a bowl and dust or mist
- Remove any uneaten veggies within 10-15 minutes
Is Rocket OK for bearded dragons? Bearded dragons can eat arugula or rocket even as a staple diet when they are young. The rocket contains a high amount of calcium that is beneficial to bearded dragons’ growth and development.
Can Bearded dragons eat spinach and arugula? Bearded dragons can eat both arugula and spinach together. However, like most vegetables, arugula and spinach contain goitrogens and oxalic acids that affect the thyroid gland, the liver, and kidneys and impair the absorption of calcium when at high levels, they should be fed sparingly to bearded dragons.
Arugula can serve as an important source of calcium for baby and juvenile bearded dragons. The calcium to phosphorus ratio of arugula is high enough to not require supplementation when you are fed arugula.
You can combine arugula with other veggies to break the monotony and add a variety of veggies.
Young arugulas are tender and will be easy for the bearded dragon to eat, due to the sour taste of arugulas you can top it with a fruit such as a melon or carrot, or apple.