Are you wondering which vegetables are safe for bearded dragons? We have done a lot of research into the right and safe vegetables to feed bearded dragons.
Can bearded dragons eat cauliflower?
Bearded dragons can eat cauliflower moderately. Bearded dragons should have between 6-13 grams of cauliflower per month. It should not be a staple food since it has goitrogens toxic to bearded dragons in high levels. Goitrogens affect thyroid glands, the liver, and kidneys at high levels in bearded dragons.
The seceret to a balanced diet is offering a variety of food items. Vegetables high in goitrogens such as cauliflower, Wild Mustard, kale, spinach, and cabbage should be fed moderately.
Goitrogens inhibit the absorption of iodine, in high levels goitrogens will cause kidney stones, liver damage, and goiter.
Low iodine in the bearded dragon will affect shedding, and cause a slow growth rate. Experts advise against feeding vegetables that are high in goitrogens at the same time to avoid the overall concentration of goitrogens.
Can bearded dragons eat cooked cauliflower?
Bearded dragons should eat raw cauliflower, cooked cauliflower has lost a lot of nutrients because of the high heat involved in cooking.
Bearded dragons should also not eat canned cauliflower, most of the canned vegetables have salt and preservatives which are harmful to bearded dragons. Only feed your bearded dragons vegetables that are fresh and if possible organically grown.
Is cauliflower healthy for bearded dragons?
Cauliflower is healthy for bearded dragons when fed moderately as part of a balanced diet. Like most vegetables, cauliflower is a good source of vitamin A that is needed by bearded dragons for proper growth and development.
The table below shows the nutrient content of cauliflower source[USDA]
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
Benefits of feeding Cauliflower to Bearded Dragon
Most of the nutritional value of cauliflower is made up of water. Keeping your bearded dragon hydrated is very important for maintaining a healthy pet.
We wrote a detailed article that talks about the signs of dehydration in the bearded dragon and the importance of keeping your dragon hydrated. Check the article here.
Generally, for a bearded dragon weighing about 300g they should drink about 10ml of water.
Cauliflower will help hydrate your dragon while offering other nutrients just do not make it a daily food.
Young bearded dragons need a lot of insects in their diet. Insects are made of a chitinous exoskeleton that can be a bit to digest without the right amount of fiber.
Fiber makes it easy for digestion and even helps avoid constipation, which can lead to impaction.
Though not much as compared to animal protein, cauliflower also offers a small portion of protein.
Protein is crucial towards the growth and development of all reptiles including bearded dragon.
And its deficiency can affect the development of young bearded dragons. For young bearded dragons, they might not be able to chew through cauliflowers. Feeding them a softer cauliflower can come a long way to help them chew it.
Vitamin and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are very crucial through out the life of bearded dragons.
Some of the vitamins present in cauliflower include vitamin K, B-6, and C. Vitamin K is normally synthesized from the bearded dragon intestinal flora.
Therefore, feeding bearded dragon with food that has vitamin K will go a long way to boost the levels.
Vitamin K deficiency can follow an antibiotic treatment or when bearded dragons eat insects that have arfarin, strychnine, or other coumadin derivatives.
This makes it very important not to feed your bearded dragon insects caught in the wild as they may have these poisons.
Bearded dragons can also get Vitamin K, from fresh yogurt. Vitamin C is the other vitamin found in cauliflower, again it is produced from the bearded dragon’s kidneys and gut.
It is very important to ensure that your dragon gets all the essential vitamins as their deficiency could be fatal and even lead to death.
Besides offering foods rich in vitamins you should also make sure you dust the food with multivitamins especially for young bearded dragons and for dragons that have had antibiotics.
Is cauliflower toxic to bearded dragons?
Cauliflower can be very toxic to bearded dragons when fed excessively or as a staple food. The high levels of goitrogens will affect the absorption of iodine slowing growth rate and affecting shedding.
Therefore, juvenile bearded dragons should have cauliflower sparingly to avoid stilt growth and shedding problems.
Other issues of feeding cauliflower excessively to bearded dragons are discussed below.
Calcium to phosphorus ratio
Calcium like vitamins is also very important towards the growth and development of bearded dragon, especially young bearded dragons.
Lack of enough calcium in the diet of bearded dragons can lead to fatal disease such as metabolic bone disease.
Calcium can be obtained from both food and supplementation through dusting of bearded dragon food.
Young bearded dragon will need more calcium compared to the adult dragons.
However, you should watch out for food that has a high amount of oxalates and phosphorus. These minerals will reduce calcium absorption in bearded dragons.
When calcium reacts with oxalates it forms calcium oxalates and calcium phosphate when it reacts with phosphorus.
Consequently, food with these minerals especially oxalates should be fed sparingly or avoided altogether such as avocado.
The recommended ratio of calcium and phosphorus is either 1:1 or 2:1.
The Ca: P of cauliflower is
|22 divide by 44
The calcium phosphorus ratio of calcium is actually opposite of the recommended ratio.
Only feed cauliflower sparingly to avoid harming your pet.
Though in low amounts cauliflower has tannin. Tannin prevents the absorption of proteins in bearded dragons. It also inhibits enzymes that help in the absorption of iron and vitamin B12.
As mentioned before, goitrogens are very harmful to all lizards including bearded dragons, goitrogens inhibit the absorption of iodine.
Iodine is needed for growth and development, reproduction, and skin shedding. Therefore, with low iodine levels, these processes will be highly affected.
Goitrogen high vegetables should be avoided for all baby lizards including bearded dragons to avoid stilt growth and shedding problems.
This should not be a problem since juvenile or baby bearded dragons are carnivorous and tend to prefer an insect diet to vegetables or herbivory diet.
How to feed cauliflower to bearded dragon
- Buy fresh cauliflowers
- You should feed between 6-13 grams of cauliflower
- You can add other veggies or fruit and dust them with supplement
- Remove any uneaten food within 10-15 minutes
Can bearded dragons eat cauliflower leaves? Bearded dragons can eat cauliflower leaves and greens, cauliflower leaves contain a lot of iron. However, these leaves can a bit tough for your dragon to munch unless the leaves or greens are young.
While both cauliflower flower and leaves are loaded with nutrients beneficial to a bearded dragon. It is crucial to understand that they have a higher calcium-phosphorus ratio as compared to the recommended ratio.
When offered occasionally, cauliflower will not harm your bearded dragon as compared to being offered daily. This means that cauliflower can not serve as a staple food for bearded dragons.
Mix it with other veggies and veggies, you may add some brightly colored food such as carrots or melons. Bearded dragons are sensitive to color and smell.