fbpx

Can Bearded Dragons Have Apples? Do They Like it?

Can bearded dragons have apples?

Beardies are cold-blooded reptiles who evolved in a hostile desert environment, and this impacts their diet and nutritional requirements. 

They are natural omnivores who need a variety of leafy greens, a bit of fruit, and healthy insects.

So can a little bit of apple supplement their diet?

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?

fresh red apples: can bearded dragons eat apples?

Yes, you can let your bearded dragon eat apples.

From granny to green apples, the fruit poses is mostly a safe choice for beardies, provided it is fed in moderation.

In fact,  apples make for an excellent addition to the bearded dragon diet in small quantities.

That is because the natural adult bearded dragon diet consists largely of wild insects. Those insects serve as a fantastic protein source and fulfill the majority of a dragon’s nutritional requirements.

But not all. Supplements and various dietary additions usually become an integral part of a captive dragon’s diet. 

You may have seen a bearded dragon eating raspberries, peaches, or figs. The good news is that apples make the list of safe bearded dragon favorite fruit.

Alongside regular bearded dragon food, these fruits help fill in the gaps in your bearded dragon’s nutritional needs.

About 80% of the adult bearded dragon’s diet should consist of leafy green vegetables and 20% should be from safe feeder insects.

Of that 80% plant material, only about 10 – 20% should be fruit. Many of the plants that dragons eat are high in fiber but low in calories.

That is, for the most part, a good thing. Bearded dragons don’t need very much sugar. 

READ MORE: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Raspberries?

How to Feed Apples to My Bearded Dragon

The first important point to note is that bearded dragons should not eat apple skin or apple peels. These are not only a choking hazard and difficult to chew, but they may also contain pesticides and toxins.

Apples should be peeled and cut up into manageable, bite-sized chunks. Beardies don’t commonly eat fruits like apples in their natural environment and are ill-equipped to tackle a whole apple.

DIce about half an apple, making sure you only use the flesh and not parts of the core or stem. Only feed apple once a week a most, and remove any your beardie does not eat.

Bearded dragons can not digest seeds. Therefore, you should ensure that there are no seeds present in the pieces you give them. You should cut the fruit into a thin sliver and offer it in bite-sized pieces. 

Keep an eye on your beardie to ensure that it isn’t struggling to swallow the apple pieces. 

Where you may base your dragon’s diet around its individual appetite, you can’t feed a bearded dragon more apples just because it enjoys it.

To ensure that you don’t overfeed their fruits, you should keep a written feeding schedule for your beardy, clearly marking the planned apple ‘treat’ days.

Moderate feeding portions are just as important for keeping your dragon in optimal health.  

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Green Apples?

3 fresh green apples: can bearded dragons eat green apples?

To answer the question, ‘can bearded dragons eat green apples?’ it’s a yes. Bearded dragons can eat green apples.

Green apples contain more fiber, protein, potassium, and iron, but not in quantities significant enough to cause any harm. 

However, they are still high in sugar and should only be fed about once a week.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Applesauce?

applesauce in a mason jar

Sort of. Applesauce is a great remedy for constipation in bearded dragons, although it should be fed carefully, and never too much.

Constipation can cause a loss of appetite in reptiles, which can lead to more serious complications.

If your vet approves, you can give your dragon applesauce whenever they show signs of digestive distress.

But there are a couple of things to look out for. First, the applesauce you give your dragon can’t contain any corn syrup or sugar.

Second, it cannot contain any preservatives, as bearded dragons are hypersensitive to many compounds used to preserve fruit produce.

The safest bet is to make your own, but if you can’t, you can opt for quality baby food products. Always check the label and research any unfamiliar ingredients and their effects on bearded dragons first.

If the applesauce doesn’t work for constipation, you can try a drop of olive oil on their nose, warm water bathe, and gentle downward tummy massage.

Look at the beardie enjoying some apples on this video:

Health Risks of Feeding Apple to Bearded Dragons

Let’s start with the risks of feeding apples to your beardie, since it’s a short list.

1. High in Sugar

Apples are high in sugar. The high sugar content can interfere with digestive health, contribute to obesity and destroy your dragon’s dental health.

This is why safe fruits should only be fed as a topper and not a staple food. 

2. Bad calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.

Apples have a bad calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.  Their typical ratio is 0.5:1, whereas the ideal ratio is 1.5:1 to 2:1. Too much phosphorus can bind with calcium and stop it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.

This can lead to a calcium deficiency and ultimately to Metabolic Bone Disease for your dragon. It can also cause kidney stones and renal problems. 

Benefits of Apples for Bearded Dragons

Now let’s go over the benefits.

Low in oxalates

Apples are relatively low in oxalic acid, making them a safer choice for beardies. Like phosphorus, oxalates can bind with calcium and cause Metabolic Bone Disease as well as kidney stones. 

Source of Vitamin C

You may be thinking, ‘wait for a second, don’t reptiles produce their own vitamin C?’ Of course, they do, but it’s not quite that simple.

While the microflora in most reptiles’ kidneys produces vitamin C, it is not enough to sustain optimal health.

To maintain a balance of nutrients like vitamin C, bearded dragons need to rely on a two-pronged approach. In addition to the vitamin C which they produce, beardies fill their nutrient requirements through their diet.

Vitamin C is critically important for most multicellular organisms.

It is a powerful antioxidant that helps combat free radicals and avoid oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a serious condition in which even DNA can be damaged or torn apart.

Plentiful Source of Potassium

Potassium is an essential electrolyte that facilitates and regulates the healthy function of the nervous system and its interaction with muscle function. Potassium also aids in the uptake of iron. 

The cumulative role of potassium in muscle function means that a deficiency can cause serious motor function dysfunction. Potassium is also crucial for heart health, promoting a regular heart rate. 

A Good Source of Iron 

Iron is essential for the production of blood.

The majority of mineral iron is used to produce hemoglobin and muscle cells called myoglobin. Iron is also crucial for the transfer of oxygen from your dragon’s lungs to its bloodstream. 

While occasional apple treats can help bolster your beardy’s iron reserves, iron-rich greens, such as kale leaves and mixed salad leaves, should feature on the menu on an occasional basis.

In addition, bearded dragons can consume a small amount of broccoli every four to six weeks for an extra iron boost.

How Much Apple Can We Give to Bearded Dragons at a Time?

an apple cut in half

You can give a beardy between a quarter and a half an apple once a week, depending on the size.

Alternatively, you can opt to feed it a couple of thin slices every few days.

However, because bearded dragons are not adapted to eat fruits like apples in the wild, their digestive system would struggle with even a small daily serving.

Purchase our new e-book for a complete feeding guide and to learn the best food for bearded dragons:

Bearded Dragons Feeding Guide
  • Hartley, Alina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 132 Pages - 07/14/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

FAQs

Why are apples good for bearded dragons?

Apples are a good source of vitamins and minerals. In bite-size pieces and served in conjunction with lots of greens and protein-rich insect meals, apples are a fantastic source of essential nutrients like vitamin A, C, and K, as well as electrolytes and iron. In addition, apples are made up largely of water, which can help keep your dragon hydrated.

What type of apples can bearded dragons eat?

Any variety of apples should be fine. Green apples are higher in nutrients. You should not feed your beardy apples daily, instead of providing them as a treat a couple of times per week at most. The type of apple you decide you feed your bearded dragon may depend on their preferences, which can differ from dragon to dragon. 

Can you feed bearded dragons apples?

freshly cut red apples

Yes. Apples are a fantastic supplement of beneficial nutrients. Fed in appropriate portions, apples offer bearded dragons measurable health benefits. However, you should always peel the apple skin, as it presents a choking hazard and is difficult for bearded dragons to digest. Only adult dragons can safely eat apples. 

Conclusion

Fruit does not form a huge part of the bearded dragon’s natural diet. While that means that they are not a suitable staple food, it doesn’t preclude the occasional fruity treat.

Apples pack extra nutrients that make them excellent treats. Even dragon-friendly fruits should only be fed to your dragon in moderation, and you need to keep an eye on them for any adverse reactions.

References

  • “CAB Direct.” 2021. Cabdirect.org. 2021. https://www.cabdirect.org/?target=%2fcabdirect%2fabstract%2f20113067756.
  • Douglas, Kristina E., Korinn E. Saker, Stephen A. Smith, John L. Robertson, and Steven D. Holladay. 1999. “A Preliminary Feeding Study in Bearded Dragon Lizards, Pogona Vitticeps.” Bulletin of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians 9 (3): 42–46. https://doi.org/10.5818/1076-3139.9.3.42.
  • Laing, C.J., and D.R. Fraser. 1999. “The Vitamin D System in Iguanian Lizards.” Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 123 (4): 373–79. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0305-0491(99)00081-4.
  • Stahl, Scott J. 1999. “General Husbandry and Captive Propagation of Bearded Dragons, Pogona Vitticeps.” Bulletin of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians 9 (4): 12–17. https://doi.org/10.5818/1076-3139.9.4.12.
  • Wright, Kevin. 2008. “Two Common Disorders of Captive Bearded Dragons (Pogona Vitticeps): Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism and Constipation.” Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine 17 (4): 267–72. https://doi.org/10.1053/j.jepm.2008.07.004.
close-up shot of an adult yellow bearded dragon

Can bearded dragons eat apples? What are your thoughts about it? Please share below!

Tamsin
Tamsin

Hi, I’m Tamsin. I’m a serious animal lover and dog behaviorist and trainer. In fact, I live on a farm with nine rescues! So, I love writing about and creating awareness around the health and wellness of all animals.

Leave a Comment

SUBSCRIBE OUR NEWSLETTER

NEVER MISS A NEWS OR DISCOUNT