Bearded dragons are omnivores meaning they can eat both animals and plants. As they age they become more herbivores than insectivores. In this article, we discuss whether it’s safe to feed them cabbage and how often they should be fed cabbages.
Can bearded dragon eat red and green cabbage?
Bearded dragons can eat red, purple, and green cabbage. However, bearded dragons should have cabbage sparingly due to high levels of goitrogens in cabbage that are toxic to bearded dragons. Goitrogens affect the liver, thyroid glands, and kidneys in bearded dragons when at high levels.
To avoid harming your bearded dragon you should avoid feeding vegetables that have high levels of goitrogens together such as kale, spinach, and wild mustard. These vegetables should be fed sparingly and not all on the same day.
Generally, 80-90 % of the plant materials offered to bearded dragons should be vegetables and flowers while 10-20% should be fruits.
Is Cabbage bad for bearded dragons?
Cabbage is good for bearded dragons when it is fed moderately, like any other cruciferous vegetable. Cabbage has high levels of goitrogens that can cause adverse health issues to tortoises especially when cabbage is fed in excess.
Therefore, to avoid these health complications it is better to feed cabbage to beardies moderately.
Is cabbage healthy for bearded dragons
The following table shows the nutritional value of 100g of cabbage.
Benefits of Cabbage to Bearded Dragon
The bulk part of cabbage is made of water. Keeping your bearded dragon hydrated is very important especially if they are in their shedding phase.
Lack of enough water in the body of a bearded dragon can cause adverse effects on their skin and mucous membrane. We have written an article about the importance of keeping your dragon hydrated right here.
For dragons that do not like drinking from the bowl, giving them food that has water content is a good move, you can sprinkle some water into veggies and fruits before feeding to further improve your bearded dragons’ chances of drinking water.
However, too much water in your bearded dragon diet can cause diarrhoea. Normally, a bearded dragon weighing 300grams should drink about 10 ml of water, both from foods and directing drinking.
Though not in high amount, cabbages also offer some proteins in the diet of bearded dragons.
Proteins are important in the growth and development of bearded dragons especially when they are young.
Bearded dragons need fibre in their diet to aid in digestion especially the young bearded dragons whose diet mainly composed of insects.
Insects are made of chitinious exoskeleton, to fully digest beared dragon need fiber in their diet.
However, avoid vegetables that are full of fibre and water and little or no nutrients to benefit bearded dragons such as ginger.
The fibre and water content should be a secondary factor when deciding which vegetable or fruit to feed your dragon.
Remember, most vegetables have water and fibre, therefore you should skip vegetables that have just water and fibre as the main nutrients.
Concentrate on vegetables that offer more than water and fibre, but also provide vitamins, minerals, and proteins and are low in oxalates plus calcium is higher than phosphorus.
For veggies with higher phosphorus levels than calcium, they can be fed occasionally.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins are so important for maintaining a healthy bearded dragon. Deficiency of one type of vitamin can dangerously affect the health and well being of bearded dragons.
At the same time overfeeding a particular vitamin can also dangerously affect the health of bearded dragons.
Feeding bearded dragons vegetables as a source of vitamins plus dusting them to offer more vitamins rarely causes vitamin poisoning.
We have written a detailed article that explains the importance of different vitamins and minerals in the body of a bearded dragon.
That said, the table above shows the number of vitamins and minerals that cabbage provides to bearded dragons.
Risks of Overfeeding Cabbage to Bearded Dragons
Calcium phosphorus Ratio
Calcium is one of the most important minerals that should be provided in the diet of bearded dragons from both foods they consume and thorough dusting.
Calcium promotes growth and development of healthy bones, and its deficiency can lead to metabolic bone disease.
When offering calcium to bearded dragons you should ensure that there is little or no other minerals that may hinder its absorption in the bearded dragon’s body.
Two minerals hinder calcium absorption phosphorus and oxalates. Oxalates react with calcium to form calcium oxalates while phosphorus reacts with calcium to form calcium phosphates both of which prevent calcium from being absorbed in the bearded dragon body.
The recommended safe ratio of calcium to phosphorus is either 1:1 or 2:1. Veggies with a slightly different ratio can be offered to bearded dragons but only occasionally.
Cabbage falls in this category of veggies that should only be fed occasionally.
Sugar can have harmful side effects if fed to bearded dragons much often, first of feeding bearded dragons too many surgery feeds can destroy their teeth and even more dangerous it can cause obesity.
Domesticated bearded dragons do not have many exercises compared to wild dragons. Therefore, when fed excess sugars they may suffer from obesity.
Cabbage has a substantial amount of sugar in them and when overfed it may contribute to obesity or teeth loss especially if combined with other sugary food.
This simply means that overfeeding these veggies can cause symptoms that are similar to iodine deficiency that affects the functioning of the thyroid glands.
How to feed Cabbage to Bearded Dragon
- Get fresh organic vegetables
- Clean thoroughly (offer it raw)
- Chop it into small pieces
- Put it in a bowl and feed with other veggies or fruits
- Remove any veggie not eaten after 10-15 minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Bearded dragons eat sweetheart cabbage? Bearded dragons can eat sweetheart cabbage, sweetheart cabbage is like green cabbage which bearded dragons can eat occasionally without harm.
Can Bearded dragons eat purple cabbage? Bearded dragons can eat purple cabbage but only as an occasional treat. Purple cabbage will offer the same nutritional benefits as red or green cabbage.
While bearded dragons can eat cabbages, offering cabbages as a staple food can harm bearded dragons. Sugars can lead to teeth loss and obesity, while Goitrogenic Properties can lead to thyroid problems.
However, when offered occasionally, cabbages are safe. If possible look for organically grown cabbages or even better if you can grow some from your garden the better.