bearded dragon handbook

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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kiwi?

Have you ever considered feeding your bearded dragon kiwi?

What vitamins and nutrients does kiwifruit contain beneficial to your lizard’s health?

How often can your beardie eat kiwi, and can they also eat kiwi skin or the seeds?

Bearded dragons can eat various types of fruits, vegetables, and insects, but building the perfect diet is tricky and time-consuming for many bearded dragon owners. 

During your research, you might have considered the kiwi, and it is essential to understand the potential health benefits and risks of any new food you give to your pet.

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Can My Bearded Dragon Eat Kiwi?

Kiwi is acceptable as a rare snack for your bearded dragon around once or twice a month. While the kiwi is a good source of vitamin C, which boosts your lizard’s immune system, it also has far too much sugar and oxalates to be considered an appropriate staple food or even a semi-staple.

In general, fruit should only be given to your beardie on an occasional basis and not as a regular meal or staple food. 

For an adult bearded dragon, around 80% to 90% of their diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, while the remainder of their food intake should be made up of insects. 

Only around 10% to 20% of the 80% to 90% portion should be made up of various fruits, while the rest should be leafy, nutrient-dense greens and other safe vegetables.

If you adhere to these general guidelines, it is easy to see if you are considering adding kiwi to your lizard’s diet; only a minimal amount is acceptable. 

Most fruits tend to be high in natural sugars, and your bearded dragon will become overweight and unhealthy very quickly if they consume too much fruit.

Kiwi, in particular, is very naturally sweet and high in oxalates, also known as oxalic acid, an organic acid compound, crucially for bearded dragons, often binding to calcium during the digestion process. 

Your lizard will be unable to absorb any of the calcium-binding with oxalates. 

Since beardies require plenty of calcium, eating too many foods high in oxalic acid will quickly cause a calcium deficiency, which negatively impacts bone health and leads to metabolic bone disease.

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How Often Can My Beardie Eat Kiwi?

As mentioned earlier, due to kiwifruit’s high sugar content and oxalate content, it should only be given occasionally as a treat. 

At most, kiwi should only make an appearance in their food dish once or twice a month.

Bearded dragons greatly enjoy fruit, mainly fruit high in sugar, but they gain weight quickly from a sugar-packed diet. 

Overweight dragons are susceptible to several problematic health issues. 

Tooth decay is also common, with dragons consuming too much sugar. 

Plus, the high amount of oxalates in kiwi is problematic due to oxalic acid binding with calcium and thus preventing calcium absorption.

Fruit, in general, should only make up a small portion, or less than 10%, of your bearded dragon’s overall diet. 

Beardies typically love fruit and aren’t very picky eaters, so a well-rounded diet consisting of many different fruits with different vitamins and nutrients will keep them happy and healthy. 

Your lizard will appreciate having a varied diet, so if kiwi is on the menu for their daily salad, make sure to include small amounts of one or two other safe fruits such as: 

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Mango

It is appropriate to think of the kiwi as a delicious dessert for your bearded dragon rather than the main course.

It is very sweet, flavorful, and almost universally loved by beardies everywhere. 

Still, you wouldn’t want to eat chocolate cake for every meal, and your lizard wouldn’t enjoy this, either.

Vitamins and Nutrients in Kiwi

Although kiwi should only be fed to your beardie in small amounts on rare occasions, it is a pretty nutritious fruit packed with lots of vitamins and nutrients benefitting your lizard’s health in many small yet notable ways.

Kiwifruit contains small to moderate amounts of the following vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients:

  • Vitamin C, which boosts your beardie’s immune system
  • Vitamin E, which is excellent for cell health and reducing inflammation
  • Folate, or folic acid, to keep tissues strong, boost cell growth and function, and transport oxygen throughout the body
  • Protein for energy, strength, and growth
  • Fiber to assist in the process of digestion and prevent impaction
  • Potassium for cell function and nerve, muscle, and heart health
  • Calcium for bone health and strength, although kiwifruit’s high oxalic acid levels can prevent calcium absorption in bearded dragons
  • Antioxidants, which boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and aid digestion

It is important to note: while kiwifruit is somewhat nutritious and delicious, there are still far better fruits with much greater nutritional values to give to your dragon. 

Remember, fruit should make up less than 10% of your beardie’s total food intake, with dark, leafy greens, such as collard greens and turnip greens, for example, being the bulk of their diet. 

Your dragon will get most of its vitamins and nutrients from the vegetables, nutritious greens, and insects they consume on a more regular basis.

Risk Factors

With kiwifruit, there are a few risk factors to be mindful of when feeding it to your bearded dragon. 

The main issues are the high amount of sugar and high oxalate content in kiwi (and other fruits), preventing calcium absorption.

Calcium is one of the most essential minerals to any bearded dragon’s diet as it is necessary for bone health and growth, muscle function, and maintaining a healthy metabolism. 

While beardies get most of the vitamins and minerals they need from their diet, a calcium supplement is the best way to ensure they get the huge amount of it their bodies need to stay strong and healthy. 

You should add calcium to your dragon’s diet via a calcium powder you will dust their food with around three to five times per week.

Foods high in oxalic acid are problematic for bearded dragons because oxalates bind with calcium, and your lizard will be unable to absorb any calcium binding with oxalic acid. 

If your dragon’s calcium stores become depleted too quickly, they will develop a calcium deficiency, which leads to painful conditions such as metabolic bone disease and even kidney stones.

Because of kiwi’s high amount of oxalates, it should only be given to your beardie around once or twice a month at most as a small treat or salad topper. 

The risk factors associated with oxalic acid are easily avoided by simply not giving your dragon too many foods high in oxalates and providing them with a calcium supplement a few times a week.

Kiwi is also very high in natural sugar, and although many bearded dragons greatly enjoy consuming sugary fruits, it is very harmful to them. 

Sugar in any form is difficult for reptiles to digest and, when eaten, will severely upset your dragon’s stomach. 

Tooth decay is also common in beardies whose diets contain high sugar levels. 

In addition to this, very sweet fruits such as the kiwi cause dehydration and diarrhea in bearded dragons, which often leads to more severe health issues.

Finally, eating too many sugary fruits like the kiwi will cause your lizard to gain weight very quickly and become lazy and unmotivated. 

Overweight bearded dragons are especially susceptible to several health problems, such as prolapses, egg binding in females, organ dysfunction, and shorter lifespans than dragons not overweight. 

If you find your lizard is gaining weight, lower their kiwi and fruit intake in general and supplement it with more dark, leafy greens.

Kiwi’s Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio

With any food you give to your bearded dragon, always be mindful of its calcium to phosphorus ratio. 

The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio is 2:1, so your lizard should be getting at least twice as much calcium than phosphorus from anything they consume.

Kiwi’s calcium to phosphorus ratio is approximately 1:1, making the fruit a poor source of calcium. 

Phosphorus also binds with calcium, rendering it useless and unable to be absorbed by your dragon’s body, instead of being passed as waste in their urine or feces or even accumulating in their kidneys and forming kidney stones.

Hidden Dangers of Oxalates

As touched on earlier, oxalic acid is dangerous to bearded dragons when consumed in large or even moderate amounts, and kiwifruit is unfortunately packed with it. 

To be more specific, oxalic acid is an organic compound in many different plants, and it is notably present in most fruits and vegetables. 

It is usually bound to minerals in plants, which forms oxalate. 

The terms “oxalic acid” and “oxalate” have essentially the same meaning and are largely used interchangeably when discussing nutrition, particularly in plants.

High oxalic acid content is one of the primary reasons why so many fruits are not to be used as staple foods for your bearded dragon. 

Oxalates bind with calcium during the process of digestion and prevent calcium absorption, rendering it nutritionally useless. 

Although many fruits do contain a fair amount of calcium, they typically also are quite high in oxalates. 

Because of this, most of their calcium content quite literally goes to waste when consumed by bearded dragons when it leaves their bodies in their stool rather than being absorbed by their bodies. 

If you feed your dragon too many foods high in oxalates, they will eventually develop a calcium deficiency, which leads to weak, brittle bones and even metabolic bone disease.

An additional risk factor surrounding oxalic acid and your bearded dragon is kidney stones. 

Any of the oxalate not binding with calcium will still become a waste product, but instead of being passed through the stool, it builds up in the kidneys. 

It eventually is passed through the lizard’s body via their urine. 

Still, over time excess calcium oxalate will become kidney stones, a painful health condition for your lizard, often needing veterinary intervention.

Be sure to avoid these potential health issues by keeping your lizard’s kiwi intake to a minimum, and be mindful of the oxalate content in any other fruits or vegetables you give to them.

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Preparing Kiwi For Your Bearded Dragon

There are a few general rules to keep in mind when preparing fresh kiwi for your bearded dragon to eat.

First, it is preferable to purchase organic kiwi and organic foods in general for your lizard as they contain far fewer pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, as well as no genetically modified organisms.

Next, when getting ready to give kiwi to your bearded dragon, it is best to remove the kiwi skins entirely as they are very dense and difficult for your lizard to chew and digest properly. 

The seeds are mostly fine for consumption as they are tiny and pass through your dragon’s digestive tract reasonably quickly, but too many of them can build up and cause impaction, so you may choose to avoid them entirely as well. 

With kiwifruit, it is easy to simply cut out the middle portion containing the seeds.

Finally, always be sure when giving your lizard any fruits, vegetables, or even insects, their food is in small, bite-sized pieces smaller than the width of the space between their eyes. 

Feeding your dragon smaller pieces of food will help to prevent choking, impaction, and difficult bowel movements.

Final Thoughts

The kiwi fruit should only be fed to your bearded dragon once or twice a month. 

Kiwi is very high in sugar and oxalates, so it is a poor choice of a staple or even semi-staple food. 

Avoid feeding your dragon kiwi skins and seeds to prevent impaction and choking.

There are plenty far more nutritious fruits for your dragon. 

Still, if your lizard has developed a taste for kiwi, it is best to only feed it to them on rare occasions, perhaps as a salad topper once a month, to keep their sugar intake and oxalate intake low.

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