Can bearded dragons eat blackberries?
Going through the reptile’s favorite foods list means researching each item, such as blackberries, individually.
After all, beardies are omnivores and they need a varied diet of vegetables and feeder insects, but not all plants or insects are good choices.
Read on to see where blackberries fall on the good or bad scale.
READ MORE: Best Fruit for Bearded Dragons
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Blackberries?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat blackberries.
The water content in blackberries helps dragons stay hydrated and most dragons love the taste.
Blackberries are non-toxic, don’t contribute to calcium deficiency (as some phosphorus-rich fruits do), and are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber.
However, as with anything you feed your dragon, there are a couple of things to remember.
You need to break blackberries up a bit before offering them to your beardy. Served whole, blackberries are difficult for the bearded dragon to ingest and digest. Large pieces of blackberry are a choking hazard.
An Occasional Treat
As with most fruits, blackberries are not a suitable staple food for bearded dragons.
Rather than serve the fruit on a regular basis, you can give blackberries as a small treat, either weekly or bi-weekly. Eating too many blackberries can cause your bearded dragon serious health issues.
READ MORE: Can Bearded Dragons Have Raspberries?
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Wild Blackberries?
Bearded dragons can definitely eat wild blackberries. There is nothing about wild blackberries that makes them less edible than the farmed variety.
However, they generally contend with less favorable growing conditions, and as such are smaller and lower in nutrient concentration.
That said, wild blackberries could pose some serious health risks for beardies. Wild blackberries may be exposed to chemicals, pests, and any number of unregulated compounds.
There are numerous chemicals and a couple of bugs that can prove extremely lethal to beardies. Sweet fruit also attracts more pests than most other plants, increasing the odds of exposure in wild blackberries.
So, it’s wise to be more cautious of chemicals and pests when it comes to feeding wild blackberries
Benefits of Blackberries for Bearded Dragons
Fruit should form just a small part of your bearded dragon’s diet. They are best served as a special treat. Excess water and high levels of sugar can pose some serious health risks for your beardie.
That said, there are some huge benefits to including fruits like blackberries in your dragon’s diet as an occasional snack.
Antioxidants & Vitamin C
Blackberries are high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Antioxidants play an important role in a balanced diet. The magic is right there in the name. Antioxidants help your dragon’s body combat oxidants.
Antioxidants like vitamin C don’t destroy oxidants, as one might think. Rather, they trick oxidants into binding with them, neutralizing the dangerous molecules, and making them safe for the body to discard.
More than just a great antioxidant, vitamin C plays an important role in various bodily functions, including the production of proteins needing to grow healthy tissue and heal wounds.
While too much fiber can cause diarrhea, your beardie needs fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system. In small, occasional servings, blackberries boost your dragon’s fiber intake.
Like blueberries, a cup of blackberries contains around 0.4 g of oxalic acid or oxalates. This is quite low, meaning that it is safer than many other plants, such as Rhubarb.
Oxalic acid is a mineral binding agent that can cause a calcium deficiency that can become metabolic bone disease.
The ratio of calcium-to-phosphorus in foods is a deciding factor on whether or not they are a healthy snack or a dangerous nutritional taboo.
A healthy Ca:P ratio for beardies is between 1.5 to 2:1. The Ca:P ratio in blackberries is 1.3:1, which puts them in the safe range. This is much better than most fruits that usually have far too much phosphorus.
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How Many Blackberries Can We Feed to Bearded Dragons?
You can safely feed your adult bearded dragon three to five medium-sized blackberries once every two weeks.
There are a number of reasons why they can not be included in your bearded dragon’s daily diet, and should only be offered on an occasional basis.
Eating common fruits containing high levels of sugar can have serious consequences for a bearded dragon. It can cause weight issues, digestive problems, and dental decay, so high-sugar fruits should always be fed in moderation.
They are acidic
Blackberries are a slightly acidic fruit. While they aren’t dangerous like citrus fruits, too many can still become a problem for this reason.
Bearded dragon’s digestive systems are sensitive to acidity, and their digestive tract can be damaged by highly acidic citrus fruits.
Too much water
Blackberries are 88% water. This can be a problem if a dragon eats too many
Many lizards have adaptations that make them well-suited to desert environments but these adaptations make them susceptible to overhydration.
When overhydration occurs, it usually triggers diarrhea. The reptile can then slip into severe dehydration which can be fatal.
Too much fiber
A cup of blackberries has almost 8 grams of fiber. Fiber is important for a healthy digestive system. It helps keep the digestive system regular and stool smooth, combatting constipation.
However, too much fiber can cause diarrhea, which is particularly difficult to treat in bearded dragons.
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Do Blackberries Cause Diarrhea in Bearded Dragons?
Feeding your bearded dragon too many blackberries can lead to diarrhea. Blackberries have a high water and fiber content. While both are important to your bearded dragon’s health, they can cause serious digestive issues if your dragon gets too much of either.
Can Bearded Dragons Have Blackberry Leaves?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat blackberry or bramble leaves. However, they can be quite low in nutrients and don’t make a good staple. They may also be very high in oxalates, and in this case, they should be avoided.
Any leaves that grow on wild plants should be carefully washed in case of parasites or pesticides. Avoid leaves of blackberry plants that grow near roads as they can absorb the toxins from passing cars.
Blackberries are a great special treat. Served occasionally blackberries offer your beardie a number of essential nutrients and a boost to their vitamin C levels and fiber intake.
- “Bearded Dragons: Common Husbandry and Nutrition-Related Problems.” 2014. Veterinary Nursing Journal. 2014. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1111/vnj.12190.
- Bsc, Sc Noonan, and Gp Savage Bsc(hons), PhD, Nz Reg Nu. 1999. “Oxalate Content of Foods and Its Effect on Humans.” Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 8 (1): 64–74. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-6047.1999.00038.x.
- Julie, Beattie, Crozier Alan, and Garry,G. Duthie. 2004. “Potential Health Benefits of Berries.” Current Nutrition & Food Science 1 (1): 71–86. https://www.eurekaselect.com/79477/article.
- Kubiak, Marie. 2020. “Bearded Dragons.” Handbook of Exotic Pet Medicine, August, 219–40. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119389934.ch13.
- Stahl, Scott J. 2003. “Pet Lizard Conditions and Syndromes.” Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine 12 (3): 162–82. https://doi.org/10.1053/saep.2003.00019-7.
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Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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