Can bearded dragons eat strawberries?
Strawberries are refreshing, tasty treats that many bearded dragon owners undoubtedly enjoy eating.
But is it safe to share these sweet fruits with your beardie, or could they do some serious harm?
Read on for the answer…
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Table of Contents
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Strawberries?
Veterinary Dr. Edele Grey explains that it’s perfectly safe to give your bearded dragon strawberries. They aren’t toxic to beardies and won’t cause any immediate problems.
However, this doesn’t mean you can lavish your reptile friend with a never-ending supply of nice berry treats. They’re no replacement for leafy greens.
If you’ve read any of our other “can bearded dragons eat” articles, you’ll know that you should only give your beardie fruit as an occasional treat.
I’ll explain why a little later…
Related: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Grapes?
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Strawberry Leaves and Seeds?
Dr. Grey also mentions that strawberry leaves, or strawberry tops, are also safe for your beardie when given in moderation.
What does moderation mean? I’ll explain shortly…
Strawberry seeds a super small, even in the eyes of a beardie. You should only be feeding your reptiles a small amount of strawberry at a time, so they’re nothing to worry about.
If strawberry leaves were a particular concern to you, it might be that you were worried about pesticides.
It’s important to always wash any fresh fruit or vegetable before feeding them to your beardie as this helps remove pesticides and dirt.
Is canned fruit and veg a cleaner, pesticide-free option? Check out our article titled, “Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spring Mix?” to find out.
Benefits of Strawberries for Bearded Dragons
Now that we’ve answered the question as to can bearded dragons eat strawberries let’s take a look at some of the health benefits this little fruit has to offer your pet.
Nutritional Value of Strawberries
Values per 100 g of Strawberries
Calcium is a vital mineral in any bearded dragon’s diet.
Unfortunately, insufficient intake of this nutrient is one of the leading causes of a beardie health condition called metabolic bone disease (MBD).
MBD is especially common in younger (up to 2 years old) bearded dragons, so it is vital to monitor their calcium intake.
So much so that vets often advise sprinkling a calcium powder supplement onto your dragon’s food.
Strawberries contain 16 mg of calcium per 100 g, so they’re by no means packed with it. But it’s still a little extra towards their daily requirement.
That said, you will need to pair any strawberry snacks with other foods high in calcium and low in phosphorus for it to do any good.
More on the relationship between calcium and phosphorus soon…
Antioxidants and Minerals
Magnesium and iron help maintain your beardie’s bone, tissue, and blood health.
Your beardie won’t get much of these minerals from a serving of strawberry, but it is still contributing to their daily requirement.
Antioxidants do lots of good in your body as well as that of your bearded dragon.
They help to reduce the risk of heart problems, lower cholesterol, and help to prevent cancer.
Vitamin C plays a part in many regenerative processes, helping with the repair, growth, and development of body tissue.
It also helps to maintain your beardie’s bones, immune function, and assists with iron absorption.
Like most fruits, strawberries are high in water content. In fact, they are around 91% water.
While eating a strawberry isn’t going to be enough to keep a lizard hydrated for the day, every drop helps them consume their daily quota.
Fruit is no substitute for a constant supply of clean, fresh water.
Constipation is a common problem for bearded dragons, which can be brought on by various factors such as dehydration and poor diet.
The fiber contained in this sweet fruit, coupled with the water content, can help to ease the symptoms to help free things up and get the digestive tract moving again.
Drawbacks of Strawberries for Bearded Dragons
Poor Balance of Calcium and Phosphorus
Earlier, I mentioned that the relationship between calcium and phosphorus in your beardie’s diet is important.
This is because phosphorus binds to calcium in a way that makes it impossible for bearded dragons to absorb.
Too much phosphorus could lead to your bearded dragon becoming calcium deficient, which causes metabolic bone disease.
Veterinary Dr. Margaret Wissman advises that the ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be somewhere around 1.5 to 2:1.
In the case of strawberries, they contain more phosphorus than calcium, so they miss the sweet spot and could cause problems if eaten excessively.
I’ll give you a rough guide on portion size in a moment…
Strawberries taste sweet because they are relatively high in sugar. In small amounts, this won’t harm your beardie; however, too much can contribute to weight gain.
Obesity is linked to various health problems, and a high sugar intake can exacerbate these further.
In many ways, strawberries are like sweets to your beardie. Unfortunately, they are high in sugar which can lead to plaque and tartar buildup.
This causes tooth decay, which is something of a common problem among bearded dragons.
Sugar-associated problems don’t stop with dental health when it comes to bearded dragons. Too much sugar can also wreak havoc with their digestive system.
Veterinary Dr. Edele Grey explains that sugar ferments in a bearded dragon’s intestinal tract and can create imbalances in the natural gut flora. This can induce diarrhea.
How Often Can My Bearded Dragon Have Strawberries?
I’ve been talking about moderation and small amounts throughout the article without really explaining what that amount is.
Dr. Grey recommends that you feed your beardie no more than one strawberry, once every one or two weeks.
She adds to this recommendation that a smaller-sized strawberry is preferable.
Based on this advice, it’s wise to think of the strawberry as an occasional sweet treat for your bearded dragon.
The positives of the strawberry’s nutrient profile don’t outweigh the negatives enough to make it a staple food or good source of anything in particular.
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
Veterinary Dr. Richard Axelson explains that bearded dragons are omnivores.
That means they eat animal- and plant-based food sources such as insects, fruits, and vegetables.
The makeup of a balanced bearded dragon diet varies with age. For example, younger beardies require more meat and fewer plant foods in their diet.
Meanwhile, adults need the opposite. An older beardie’s diet can consist of up to 70% plant-based and 30% animal-based food sources.
Calcium is essential to all bearded dragons and is crucial for younger lizards as they grow and develop. Young beardies are at the highest risk of developing MDP.
The plant-based segment of a bearded dragon’s diet is broken down again further into fruit and vegetable categories.
A massive 80-90% of your beardie’s plant-based food should come from vegetable food items. Leafy greens such as collard greens and lettuces fit into this category.
The remaining 10-20% is fruit. So in terms of the overall diet, that’s 5-10%. Based on these figures, it’s easy to see why vets only recommend such small servings of strawberries and other fruits.
RECOMMENDED ARTICLE: Can I Feed My Bearded Dragon Bananas?
What is Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)?
Dr. Axelson describes MBD as one of the most common conditions to affect bearded dragons.
As we looked at earlier, a diet that is high in phosphorus and low in calcium can lead to the onset of MBD. In addition, a lack of vitamin D-3 can also cause the condition.
Metabolic bone disease causes a beardie’s bones to soften, weaken, and eventually deform through a lack of calcium.
Common signs and symptoms include swelling of the lower jaw and hind legs, and softening of the facial bones.
Bearded dragons with MBD may tremor and shake as they try to move, or they may be unable to walk or stand at all.
Instead, they hunker down low or lay on their abdomens for lack of any other option.
How to Prepare Strawberries for Your Bearded Dragon
- Pick a good one –
If you’re following veterinary advice, you’ll only be giving your beardie one strawberry. So make it a good one!
Pick a relatively small one from the selection you have. Check to see if it’s ripe, unspoiled, free from mold or other nasties, and clean.
2. Wash it thoroughly –
While purchasing organic strawberries will reduce the risk of any pesticides being present, there is still the potential for traces of fertilizer or dirt on the fruit’s skin.
Rinse your strawberry well under running water to be sure.
3. Chop it up –
You can serve the single strawberry on its own or as an exciting element in a bowl of leafy greens.
Either way, you’ll need to chop it into smaller strawberry pieces that are manageable for your beardie. You can include the strawberry tops, leaves and all.
4. Serve and observe – It’s fun to see how your beardie interacts with a new food and good to get a sense of what they enjoy eating.
Will your beardie avoid the strawberry altogether, or will they love it so much the rest of their food gets left behind? It’s good to supervise so you can adapt if necessary.
The Best Strawberry – Vegetable Pairing for Bearded Dragons
A little earlier, I mentioned that it would be good to pair your beardie’s strawberry treat with a vegetable that is high in calcium and low in phosphorus.
This helps to eliminate the binding problem phosphorus causes. One vegetable that fits this role perfectly is collard greens.
They have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 14.5 to 1, so they are ideal to cancel out the imbalance found in strawberries.
Find complete lists on what else to feed them (and what NOT to feed them) in our brand-new book!
How Many Strawberries Can a Bearded Dragon Eat?
Veterinary advice is that bearded dragons should eat no more than one small strawberry every one to two weeks. Exceeding this amount risks health issues linked to obesity, excess sugar, and calcium deficiency.
Can Baby Beardies Eat Strawberries
Strawberries are not toxic to baby bearded dragons but eating them can contribute to health problems. Young beardies are particularly prone to calcium deficiency and metabolic bone disease, which can significantly affect their growth and strength.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Strawberry Jam?
No, you should never give your beardie strawberry jam or other preservatives. Jam is packed full of sugar which can really upset a beardie’s digestive system, with fatal consequences in extreme cases.
Can bearded dragons eat strawberries? That’s the topic I set out to tackle in this article.
You learned that strawberries are safe for your beardie so long as they eat them in moderation.
That means one small strawberry once every one to two weeks. We also looked at the question, can bearded dragons eat strawberry leaves and seeds.
The answer was yes in both cases.
High sugar content and the phosphorus to calcium ratio are the main factors limiting how many berries your beardie can eat.
These could cause obesity, dental health issues, calcium deficiency, and metabolic bone disease. All things your beardie is better off without!
As a responsible pet owner, you took the time to do some research before feeding your bearded dragon strawberries.
If you’re still in any doubt, talk to your vet. They will be able to advise you based on your pet’s current daily diet and any existing health conditions.
Thanks for reading!
- Ramirez, D 2020, Can Bearded Dragons Eat Strawberries? Vets Explain, Feeding My Pet, viewed 20 June 2021, <https://www.feedingmypet.com/can-bearded-dragons-eat-strawberries/>.
- Strawberries, Raw 2020, U.S. Department of Agriculture, viewed 20 June 2021, <https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1102710/nutrients>.
- Axelson, R (DVM) n.d., Bearded Dragons – Diseases, VCA Animal Hospital, viewed 20 June 2021, <https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-diseases>.
- Zelman, K 2020, Vitamin C Benefits, Sources, Supplements, & More, Web MD, viewed 20 June 2021, <https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-benefits-of-vitamin-c#2>.
- Constipation n.d., Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital, viewed 20 June 2021, <https://azeah.com/lizards/constipation>.
- Wissman, M (DVM) 2011, Bearded Dragon Supplements, Retiles Magazine, viewed 20 June 2021, <https://www.reptilesmagazine.com/bearded-dragon-supplements/>.
- Axelson, R (DVM) n.d, Bearded Dragons – Feeding, VCA Animal Hospital, viewed 20 June 2021, <https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-feeding>.
Can bearded dragons eat strawberries? Share your thoughts 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.