You’ve likely heard other bearded dragon owners discuss the importance of feeding your lizard dark, leafy greens, and as a result, you’ve probably considered collard greens for your beardie at some point.
What kind of benefits are expected from feeding your lizard collard greens, and are they good for your bearded dragon?
Collard greens are an excellent staple vegetable for your bearded dragon. They are full of calcium and contain decent amounts of vitamins A, C, and K. Your bearded dragon should be eating a variety of greens regularly, and collard greens are among the ideal greens for your lizard’s diet.
Keep reading to learn more about these delicious greens and the many reasons why they are so beneficial for your bearded dragon to eat daily.
Are Collard Greens Good For Bearded Dragons?
As most bearded dragon owners know, feeding various vegetables, insects, and even a small amount of fruits is key to a proper diet for your scaly friend.
You ideally want to look for foods high in vitamins and minerals, low in oxalates, and high in flavor for your beardie to both enjoy and benefit from their diet.
Although collard greens are somewhat high in oxalic acid, your beardie won’t miss out on much calcium thanks to these greens’ extremely high calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Overall, collard greens are a great staple food with several health benefits for your lizard.
You should feed them a variety of different greens, such as collards, regularly, and the majority of your dragon’s salads should be composed of a base of dark greens.
Collard greens are safe for your beardie to eat on a weekly or even daily basis, provided you are supplementing their diet with plenty of other types of dark greens, too.
Just don’t load up on one type of green, as you have a vast variety of different greens to choose from, and they’re all great for your dragon in their way.
Collard Greens: Nutritional Information
As far as nutritional information goes, collard greens are loaded with thecritical vitamins and minerals your dragon needs to stay healthy and avoid common illnesses like metabolic bone disease and impaction.
Let’s look at the nutritional makeup of these greens and why they are so great for your beardie’s diet and health in general.
The most critical nutrients collard greens contain are vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Below is a table detailing the health benefits of these vitamins and minerals.
|Vitamin A||Promotes eye health and supports the immune system. Aids in reproduction. Assists in proper lung, heart, and kidney function.|
|Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid||Essential for proper growth and development. Supports immune health and helps keep bones and teeth strong.|
|Vitamin K||Helps regulate blood clotting and maintains bone and heart health.|
|Fiber||Aids in digestive function, prevents impaction and constipation, and softens hard stools|
|Calcium||Essential for bone health and growth, particularly in baby and juvenile bearded dragons. Prevents metabolic bone disease and helps females’ eggs form properly.|
|Iron||Very important for baby bearded dragons as they grow and develop. Boosts immune health and muscle function and transports oxygen throughout the body.|
|Magnesium||Strengthens bones, normalizes blood pressure, and supports heart function.|
Collard greens are a perfect food for beardies and are excellent greens to give to your dragon weekly, if not daily.
However, you never want to feed a single type of food to your dragon too often, as variety is crucial to their health and overall satisfaction with their diet.
As long as you’re feeding collard greens alongside plenty of other healthy greens, other vegetables, and insects, they are one of the more nutritious foods available to you and your beardie.
Ultimately, you want a wide range of different vitamins and minerals obtained from other types of foods to ensure your dragon is getting a balanced diet.
Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio of Collard Greens
Indeed, you’ve heard other bearded dragon owners discuss the importance of the calcium to phosphorus ratio in all of your lizard’s foods.
This is because it’s vital and determines how much calcium your dragon absorbs from their food.
If your lizard eats foods too high in phosphorus, it will bind with any calcium they consume, rendering it useless.
As long as your dragon is getting at least twice as much calcium as phosphorus from their foods, they will be able to absorb enough of the calcium they consume to stay healthy and prevent bone issues later in life.
One of the best things about collard greens is their extremely high calcium to phosphorus ratio at a whopping 14.5:1.
This high ratio is also why the reasonably high level of oxalates in collard greens isn’t much of a problem.
Since the calcium level in these greens is so high, hardly any of it will ever have a chance to bind with the oxalic acid or minuscule amount of phosphorus present in them.
If you’re ever worried about your dragon potentially not getting enough calcium from their diet, look no further than the delicious, nutritious collard green.
Additionally, you always have the option of purchasing a calcium powder or other type of calcium supplement to further boost your beardie’s calcium absorption.
How Often Should Your Beardie Eat Collard Greens?
As we briefly touched on above, you need to be feeding your dragon a wide variety of different types of insects and plant material.
While it’s OK to feed your dragon just collard greens every day, it wouldn’t make much sense to do so as you have access to a huge range of different greens your dragon will love.
Like any animal, bearded dragons appreciate variety in their diet.
You wouldn’t enjoy eating the same thing every day, even if it were healthy food, and neither would your lizard.
Still, collard greens are fine to give to your dragon several times per week, in addition to plenty of other greens, bugs, and even the occasional fruits.
When making a salad for your dragon, you want to start with a base primarily made up of two to three different types of dark, leafy greens.
From there, you should build off of this base with other vegetables and a small amount of fruit to keep your dragon interested.
The bulk of your dragon’s diet will be staple greens, and thankfully, there are many unique types of greens you are able to provide to them.
Here is our other post on these types of bearded dragon salads if you want to learn more.
Next, let’s get into the exact types of greens you should be feeding your lizard regularly and why a bearded dragon diet isn’t truly complete without them.
Other Great Dark Greens For Your Bearded Dragon’s Diet
While collard greens are an excellent source of plenty of key vitamins and nutrients and are pretty tasty for your dragon, they are just one small piece of the puzzle making up your dragon’s overall diet.
It’s certainly possible to feed them one or two different greens and just stick to them, but why would you want to when there are literally dozens of different types your dragon would love?
Here is a list of other dark, leafy greens you should feed your dragon regularly.
Remember to swap them out often to give your dragon a balanced diet.
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Dandelion greens
- Swiss chard
- Bok choy
Keep in mind: not all greens are created equal.
In fact, there are a few dark greens you should avoid due to their inadequate calcium to phosphorus ratios and high oxalic acid content.
When it comes to these greens, avoid them:
- Beet tops
And, although it isn’t dark green, avoid anything with “lettuce” in the name as it is mainly made up of water and offers no nutritional benefits to your dragon’s health.
Overall, just be sure you’re feeding your lizard a variety of healthy, nutritious, and tasty foods.
Collard greens are an excellent option, but they aren’t the only option available to you by any means.
But for some bearded dragon owners it is difficult to get their pet to eat greens.
We have a post on how to get bearded dragons to eat greens if it’s something you’re also struggling with.