Bearded dragons enjoy eating greens, some greens may harm bearded dragons if offered in large amount. I did some digging to see whether cilantro or coriander is safe for beardies and the benefits it provides.
Can bearded dragons eat cilantro? Bearded dragons can eat both cilantro leaves and stems. Feeding bearded dragons 100g of cilantro will provide them with fiber, vitamins, calcium, and water. You can also dust cilantro with calcium or multivitamin before feeding to your dragon. In a balanced diet, cilantro can be a staple food.
Cilantro in Bearded Dragons Diet
What is cilantro or coriander
Generally cilantro and coriander refers to the same plant. But different people in different part of the world use those terms differently.
In the United States, Cilantro refers to the leaves and stems while coriander refers to the seeds. The nutritional value between the leaves, stem and seeds differ a lot.
In this article we will be dealing with cilantro refering to the leaves.
Nutritional value of Cilantro
The table below shows the nutritional value of 100g serving of cilantro.
Benefits of Feeding Cilantro to Bearded dragons
Below we will discuss the benefits of feeding cilantro to bearded dragons about 100g of servings.
Water is very important to maintain the health of a bearded dragon. In the wild bearded dragon can go for several days before they come into contact with water.
Hence, they mostly get their water from the foods they eat. A dehydrated dragon is un unhealthy pet. We wrote a detailed article that explains how to look for signs of dehydration. It goes further to explain why hydration is important you can check it out by clicking here.
For the sake of this artice let just state the signs of a dehydrated dragon.
- Sunken eyes
- wrinkled skin
- saliva tackiness, double strands forming when the mouth opens.
- Decreased skin elasticity, the skin tents when gently pinched.
- lack of appetite
- doughy abdomen
Therefore giving your dragon food that has water content is crucial to its survival. Especially for bearded dragons that do not like or have not yet been trained to drink from the bowl.
However, you should not exceed about 10ml per day of water for an adult bearded dragon weighing about 300 grams.
For baby and juvenile bearded dragons, you can calculate the amount of water by using 10 ml per 300 grams of weight.
You can mix cilantro with other veggies or fruits then spritz them with water to further keep your dragon hydrated.
When bearded dragons are young they eat a higher percentage of insect diet such as crickets, roaches, hornworms just to mention a few.
Some of these insects exoskeleton is hard and requires enough fiber to digest.
Lack of fiber in a bearded dragon diet can lead to constipation and impaction.
While in the wild bearded dragons exercise enough, domesticated dragons do not get enough time to exercise. A good way to make sure your dragon exercises is take it for a swim.
Cilantro contains about 2g of fiber per 100g servings. Combined with other fiber rich foods such as figs can improve your dragons fiber intake and help prevent from constipation and impaction.
Bearded dragon need proteins in their diet, with baby and juvenile dragons needing more protein than their oldies.
While insect diet provides most of the proteins needed, some veggies such as kale can provide protein as an added protein.
However, cilantro should or other veggies should not replace insects as a source of protein. 100 grams of ciantro servings contains only 2 grams of proteins.
Like all reptiles bearded dragons needs various vitamins in their diet to maintain a healthy body.
More so baby and juvenile bearded dragons needs lots of vitamins in their diets. This is due to the fact that their diet consist of insects meaning they have lots of proteins in their diets.
Cilantro will provide your bearded dragon with the following vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Beta carotene
Vitamin A is stored in the liver of the bearded dragon and proteins can easily deplete the stored vitamin A.
At the same time, though rare if fed the right diet bearded dragons can also suffer from vitamin A toxicity.
Adult bearded dragons are at more risk compared to young dragons. As mentioned above, proteins depletes vitamin A levels, and given young dragons diet consist of protein rich insects such as earthworms.
This keeps their vitamin A levels at par, but for Adult bearded dragons, their insect percentage is lower compared to their veggies’. Most veggies have loads of vitamin A such as carrots.
To avoid vitamin A toxicity it is usually recommended you offer food high in betacarotene as a bearded dragon body can convert beta-carotene into vitamin A in amounts that it requires and dispose of the excess.
Another vitamin that is high in cilantro is Vitamin C, deficiency of vitamin C in bearded dragons can be very fatal especially if they are in the shedding phase.
Saved the best for last. For proper development of bearded dragons calcium is very important. Calcium helps in the development of bones.
Calcium deficiency can lead to metabolic bone disease. The last thing you want in your dragon pet is metabolic bone disease.
However, just as it is important to feed bearded dragons calcium both in its food and through supplementation best administered through dusting.
Excessive feeding of calcium accompanied by excess vitamin D can lead to calcification whereby calcium is over absorbed into the bearded dragon body.
Additionally, feeding food that has high oxalates levels such as avocado and high phosphorus levels such as spinach can reduce the amount of calcium for the body of the bearded dragon to absorb.
Oxalates redces calcium by forming calcium axolates when it comes into contact with calcium whie phosphorus forms calcium phosphates when it react with calcium.
The recommended ration of calcium to phosphorus is either 2:1 or 1:1. Fortunately cilantro Calcium phosphorus ration is within the recommended range.
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This means that it is safe to feed cilantro to your bearded dragon. Safe enough to act as a staple food. Especially when combined with other veggies.
How to feed Cilantro to bearded dragons
Follow the following stesp when feeding cilantro to bearded dragons
- Buy fresh cilantro/ home grown are better
- Clean them thoroughly
- You can spritz them with water
- Dust them with supplements
- Put them in the dragon bowl along with other veggies/fruits
- Offer to your bearded dragon for about 10-15 minutes
- Remove the excess and clean the bowl
Frequently Asked Questions
How often can bearded dragons eat cilantro? Cilantro can be fed to bearded dragons as often as twice a week combined with other veggies such as collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, broccoli, turnip greens. Cilantro has some of the nutrients that bearded dragons need such as calcium, vitamins, and water.
Can bearded dragons eat cilantro every day? While Cilantro is safe for a bearded dragon, you should supplement them with other veggies such as collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, broccoli, turnip greens instead of offering cilantro every day.
Cilantro makes it in the list of vegetables that can be offered safely to bearded dragons with causing harm. They are safe enough to be included in your bearded dragons’ weekly veggies. When combined with other veggies and insects cilantro can help keep your bearded dragon healthy and happy.