Can bearded dragons eat carrots?
Scrumptious, crunchy, and nutritious, these orange veggies seem like a natural option for a healthy adult dragon, right?
But are they actually healthy or are there hidden risks when feeding carrots that bearded dragon owners should be aware of?
Keep reading to find out!
READ MORE: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes?
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrots?
Bearded dragons can definitely eat carrots relatively frequently, but never on a daily basis.
Carrots are loaded with fiber and vitamin A which can help with a healthier immune system, lower cholesterol, promote good vision and help with the overall health of the dragon.
Nevertheless, too much carrot can be harmful to the pet dragon, so it is better fed as a garnish, rather than a staple food.
It is also very important to keep in mind that baby bearded dragons are more carnivorous and as they grow, they switch to a more vegetarian-based food selection.
So, carrots are the best option for the older and more mature bearded dragons.
However, keep in mind, no matter the age, these pets are omnivores that need a wide range of vegetables and insect protein.
Check out these cute beardies eating carrots:
READ MORE: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach?
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrots?
Bearded dragons should only be fed carrots once or twice a week at most.
While carrots are highly nutritious, their high content of vitamin A can build up in the bearded dragon’s system, causing health issues.
This is especially true if the beardie is already getting a vitamin supplement that contains vitamin A.
Overall, it is better to feed high calcium vegetables that are not also high in vitamin A as staple foods.
They can also enjoy small amounts of fruit such as blueberries, and the adult bearded dragon should get about 20% of its daily nutritional intake from insect meat.
Before owners decide to add carrots to the bearded dragon diet, they should consider the implications of doing so.
Weighing the pros and cons of adding this veggie will help them best decide whether to add carrots to the bearded dragon’s diet or not.
Health Benefits of Carrots for Bearded Dragons
- Carrots are high in dietary fiber and this can promote a healthy digestive system and weight for the bearded dragon. It also lowers cholesterol. Too much fiber, however, can cause digestive upset.
- Carrots contain vitamin A and beta-carotene which is good for the bearded dragons’ eye health, immune system, and skin.
- Carrots are low in sugar so they have less chance of damaging teeth.
Health Risks of Carrots for Bearded Dragons
- Carrots are high in vitamin A and feeding too much of this can lead to vitamin A toxicity, which can cause issues such as loss of appetite, decreased energy, dehydration, and weight loss.
- Carrots are relatively high in oxalates or oxalic acid, with .5 grams per 100 grams. Oxalates bind with minerals in the body such as calcium and prevent it from being absorbed, causing a calcium deficiency or hypercalcemia. This also means there is a big chance that they can deplete the existent supply of calcium for bearded dragons which can lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD).
- Carrots have a low calcium to phosphorus ratio of only 0.6:1. Like oxalates, phosphorus binds with calcium and blocks its absorption, causing a range of health issues from MBD to kidney stones.
- They contain high levels of tannins. Unfortunately, tannins bind with proteins and prevent them from being absorbed. They also interfere with enzymes in the digestive tract and can make it difficult for your bearded dragon to absorb iron and vitamin B6.
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What Kinds of Carrots Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Can bearded dragons eat different kinds of carrots?
The type of carrot does not matter that much to bearded dragons. Any color is an option, whether it’s red, purple, orange, or white.
All carrots have a similar nutritional profile, with similar levels of vitamin A, oxalates, and calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.
Baby carrots may have more preservatives, so large carrots are the better choice.
Either way, bearded dragon owners should try to buy organic and make sure to wash the carrots before feeding, to avoid any pesticides or poisons.
Can bearded dragons eat carrots raw?
When carrots are raw, they maintain all the nutrients that they have and can help maximize the health benefits of bearded dragons.
So feeding carrots raw and fresh is the best option for your dragon.
Raw carrots can be grated into small pieces or they can be cut into smaller pieces for the pet dragons to enjoy.
But keep in mind, with the maintenance of nutrients, there is also the maintenance of high levels of vitamin A, high levels of oxalates, and high levels of tannins.
So while raw carrots are technically healthier, they also contain more compounds that cause harm. Therefore, it is essential to feed carrots sparingly.
Can bearded dragons eat cooked carrots?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat cooked carrots but it is worth keeping in mind that when carrots are cooked, it takes away from the nutrients that the veggie can provide.
Cooking carrots makes them less valuable to the bearded dragon’s diet compared to when they are raw.
This can then become a low-nutrient filler that doesn’t add anything to your pet’s diet.
Be careful of boiling carrots, as this can cause them to absorb a lot of water and cause your dragon an upset tummy.
Can bearded dragons eat carrot tops?
Carrot tops are known to be a healthier option for bearded dragons than the carrot body itself. Even better, bearded dragons enjoy them tremendously.
Carrot tops are rich in nutrients that can benefit the development of the bearded dragon.
However, carrot tops contain moderate amounts of oxalates that can interfere with calcium absorption and cause MBD as well as kidney stones.
Therefore, keep to only feeding carrot tops as a treat about once every month.
Can bearded dragons eat frozen carrots?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat frozen carrots after they have been defrosted. Some argue that frozen carrots have better-preserved nutrients and are healthier than those that have been standing on the shelves for a while.
However, thawing carrots can have a high moisture content, and too much water can result in digestive issues.
How many carrots can bearded dragons eat?
A bearded dragon can eat a sprinkling or about half a handful of carrots as an occasional treat. They should only get carrots once or twice a week or three times a month and this is because carrots themselves are not a natural food for them, as this is not something they will come across in the wilds of Australia.
How do you cut carrots for bearded dragons?
The best way to prepare carrots is with a cheese grater. This way, you can shred them into fine pieces which the bearded dragon can consume with ease. You can also always use a knife to dice them into tiny, bite-sized bits, but remember that carrots are quite hard and can be a choking hazard.
Can baby or juvenile bearded dragons eat carrots?
Baby bearded dragons can eat carrots in small amounts as they are a great source of vitamin A and beta-carotene which can help with their immune system, eyesight. On top of that, carrots are filled with rich nutrients which baby bearded dragons need so that they can develop and grow healthily.
However, it should be fed very rarely to the juvenile bearded dragon to avoid vitamin A toxicity. Instead, the majority of their nutrients should come from insect protein such as crickets, and they should be given the option to munch on high-calcium leafy greens throughout the day.
Carrots are not the best veggie to feed to bearded dragons on a daily basis, however, there are still benefits to adding it to your beardie’s diet. Even baby or juvenile bearded dragons can enjoy a bit of carrot on the side, and homegrown carrots make a delightful treat.
However, it is essential to use caution and moderation when feeding bearded dragon carrots as too much can be harmful.
- “Bearded Dragon Care Including Diet, Set up and More | RSPCA.” 2017. Rspca.org.uk. 2017. https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/other/beardeddragon.
- “Bearded Dragons – Diseases.” 2021. Vca_corporate. 2021. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-diseases.
- Gardiner, John. 2019. “Bearded Dragon Care.” Animal Health Topics / School of Veterinary Medicine. April 12, 2019. https://healthtopics.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/health-topics/exotics/bearded-dragon-care.
- “Lizard with Metabolic Bone Disease – Reptiles Magazine.” 2011. Reptiles Magazine. December 2011. https://www.reptilesmagazine.com/lizard-with-metabolic-bone-disease/.
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