Can my bearded dragon eat grapes, or do they have the potential to do more harm than good?
No doubt, your beardie loves fruit more than a bland bowl of leafy greens.
Grapes are relatively cheap and easy to come by, so it’s only natural to wonder if they’re a suitable treat for your reptile friend.
Keep reading, and I’ll give you all the information you need to feed beardies grapes safely.
Check and purchase this amazing Bearded Dragon Food Guide!
Table of Contents
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Grapes?
If you’re in a rush and looking for the short version, the answer is a conditional yes.
Bearded dragons can eat grapes; there is nothing in them that is toxic to bearded dragons. So there’s no need to panic if your beardie has accidentally gotten hold of one.
As with most fruit, it’s not as simple as yes or no.
Some degree of moderation is required as the high sugar content, and other compounds in these sweet treats can cause beardies serious health complications.
More on that later…
Related: Can Bearded Dragon Eat Bananas?
Are All Grapes Safe?
With so many varieties of grape in the world, are they all safe, or should some be avoided?
Can bearded dragons eat red grapes? Can bearded dragons eat green grapes?
Thankfully, in terms of beardie health, they are all pretty much the same.
Your beardie may prefer one variety over others, so it doesn’t hurt to mix things up and try a few different types over time to find their favorite occasional treat.
We’ll look at the health hazards associated with this fruit in more detail shortly, but it’s worth mentioning now that seedless grapes are preferable as it’ll mean less work for you.
Also, grape skin is harmless, and you can leave it on. You should only have to peel off the skin if it is particularly tough.
Grape Nutritional Value
In the coming section, I’ll be writing about some of the nutrients found in grapes and how they can be harmful to your beardie.
So now seems like a good time to take a quick look at their nutritional value.
Nutrients per 100 g of grape (Varies by variety)
What Happens if a Bearded Dragon Eats Too Many Grapes?
I mentioned some health conditions in my earlier answer to the question, “Can I feed my bearded dragon grapes.”
In this section, I’ll go into more detail about the problem nutrients in this fruit and the health problems it can cause your beardie.
Oxalates / Oxalic Acid
Oxalic acid or oxalates are a compound that binds to calcium in your bearded dragon’s body.
The problem with this is twofold…
Calcium is an essential mineral in a bearded dragon’s diet. If they don’t get enough of it, they can suffer from a common condition called metabolic bone disease (MBD).
A beardie suffering from MBD will have softer, weaker, more fragile bones. This leads to them having difficulty walking and eventually becoming totally immobile.
Your bearded dragon will not be able to absorb calcium from their food if oxalates have bound to it, meaning they have to get additional calcium from elsewhere to meet their daily requirement.
2. Kidney Stones
As if losing out on calcium wasn’t enough, oxalates cause further problems. When the two compounds bind together, they crystalize and can form kidney stones.
Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
Veterinary Dr. Margaret Wissman explains that bearded dragons need to consume these nutrients in a ratio of 1.5 to 2:1. This is because phosphorus binds to calcium, hindering calcium absorption.
Grapes contain two times more phosphorus than calcium. In small amounts, this is ok.
However, if your beardie’s diet is too rich in foods like this, they can become calcium deficient.
Veterinary Dr. Richard Axelson informs us that metabolic bone disease (MBD) is a common health condition seen in bearded dragons.
One of the primary causes of MBD is calcium deficiency.
If you’d like to read more about MBD, check out my article on feeding bearded dragons strawberries.
High Sugar Content
With 15.48 g of sugar per 100 g, this fruit is high in sugar. Excessive sugar will raise a beardie’s blood sugar levels and can also cause digestive problems such as diarrhea.
While we’re on the subject, too much water can also contribute to loose stools. It is easy to assume food isn’t really a source of water, but grapes are 80% water.
In both of the above cases, diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which can be very dangerous in extreme cases.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Have Grapes?
Veterinary Dr. Edele Grey recommends feeding no more than 1 or 2 grapes a month to your bearded dragon.
She suggests buying organic seedless varieties to reduce the risk of pesticides and grape seeds causing your beardie problems.
Fruit with tough skin should also be avoided or peeled if they are your only option.
Finally, she recommends chopping the grape into small pieces that are no bigger than your beardie’s mouth to avoid choking.
How To Prepare Grapes for Your Bearded Dragon
- Buy organic seedless grapes with soft skins. This avoids many of the potential problems you could face with other varieties that are full of seeds and covered in pesticides.
- Rinse it. Even if you have organic grapes, it’s still worth giving them a quick rinse under fresh water to remove any traces of dirt or other nasties.
- Chop it up. Chop your grape into pieces that are no bigger than your beardie’s mouth. While you’re doing this, check for and remove any seeds. Even seedless varieties often contain a few.
- Serve it up. A single grape chopped up isn’t very exciting. It can be great to include with your beardies staple green leaves, though, as it makes them seem a little bit more exciting. For picky eaters, you can try rubbing the fruit over the leaves to make them more enticing.
How Much Fruit Should Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded dragons are omnivores; they eat a combination of foods from the plant- and animal-based sources.
Plant-based sources should form anywhere from 30 to 70% of a beardies diet.
The amount increases with age as younger beardies need a more animal-based diet than adult bearded dragons.
Only 10 to 20% of the plant-based portion of a bearded dragon’s diet should be fruit. The rest should come from vegetable sources.
You can start to see why vets recommend beardie owners give such small amounts of fruit.
Learn more about bearded dragon diet expenses and find complete lists on what else to feed them (and what NOT to feed them) in our brand-new book!
Are Grapes Toxic To Bearded Dragons?
No, grapes are not toxic to bearded dragons. If your beardie has eaten one by mistake, you have no cause for concern. They can cause health problems like metabolic bone disease and kidney stones if consumed frequently. Moderation is key!
Do You Have To Peel Grapes For Your Bearded Dragon?
You don’t have to peel grapes for bearded dragons. However, vets recommend washing and chopping them up into chunks, each piece no larger than the animal’s mouth. If the skin is particularly tough, then you should peel it off.
Let’s Wrap it Up…
Can my bearded dragon eat grapes? You asked, and we answered.
If you read this article from top to bottom, you will have learned that all grape varieties are safe for beardies to eat.
They can be given with the skin on, but you should remove seeds to avoid blockages in the digestive system.
Vets recommend you only feed grapes as an occasional treat. This means no more than one or two grapes once a month.
The oxalates, sugar, and water content of grapes are the reasons your bearded dragon should only eat them in moderation.
Too much of any one of these nutrients can cause health issues in bearded dragons, including metabolic bone disease and bladder stones.
It’s great that you have taken the time to research how safe grapes are for your bearded dragon. If you’re still unsure or have further questions, speak to a reptile vet.
They can give you advice based on the specific needs of your pet.
Thanks for reading!
- Ramirez, D 2020, Can Bearded Dragons Eat Grapes? This Is What Vets Have To Say, Feeding My Pet, viewed 21 June 2021, <https://www.feedingmypet.com/can-bearded-dragons-eat-grapes/>.
- Grapes, Raw 2020, U.S. Department of Agriculture, viewed 21 June 2021, <https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1102665/nutrients>.
- Brennan, D (MD) 2020, 8 Foods High in Oxalates and Why You Should Avoid It, Web MD, viewed 21 June 2021, <https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-oxalates>.
- Axelson, R (DVM) n.d., Bearded Dragons – Diseases, VCA Animal Hospital, viewed 21 June 2021, <https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-diseases>.
- Wissman, M (DVM) 2011, Bearded Dragon Supplements, Retiles Magazine, viewed 21 June 2021, <https://www.reptilesmagazine.com/bearded-dragon-supplements/>.
- Axelson, R (DVM) n.d, Bearded Dragons – Feeding, VCA Animal Hospital, viewed 21 June 2021, <https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-feeding>.
Can my bearded dragon eat grapes? Have you tried feeding grapes to your beardie? Share your experiences in the comment section below!
Barry Stingmore is a British content writer living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats and has a passion for writing about animals big and small.
Barry loves finding answers to your animal-related questions, the more research involved the better! You can rely on him to find the facts.