Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cantaloupe?

Are you looking for new foods to add variety to your bearded dragon’s diet?

Do bearded dragons like fruit, and is it as healthy for them as it is for humans?

Bearded dragon owners need to know what they can feed their beardies. 

Pet reptiles often have different nutritional requirements than the more-familiar cats and dogs. 

Fortunately, most vegetables and fruit from your fridge are fair game, but you still need to be careful, which may lead you to ask: 

Can bearded dragons eat cantaloupe? 

Bearded dragons can eat cantaloupe, but they should have it as an occasional treat and not part of their daily diet. Feed your dragon small portions of just the fruit itself, no rinds, seeds, leaves, or stems.

can bearded dragons eat cantaloupe

What Is Cantaloupe?

Also known as honeydew, cantaloupe is a muskmelon. It is in the same family as rock melons, sweet melons, and spanspek.

Cantaloupe is a large fruit with a hard, porous outer rind.

The fruit is pastel-orange in color.

Cantaloupe has a mild, sweet flavor and is a very juicy fruit when fully ripened.

Nutritional Value Of Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe contains several vitamins and minerals bearded dragons need to maintain proper health. 

The nutritional content of 100 grams of cantaloupe is listed in the table below.

NutrientAmount in 100 grams of cantaloupe
Calcium9 milligrams
Phosphorus15 milligrams
Potassium267 milligrams
Fiber0.9 grams
Sugar7.86 grams

Calcium is essential for bearded dragons. 

It promotes bone, tooth, muscle, and body tissue health.

Vitamin C is great for boosting immune systems, allowing your bearded dragon’s body to better fight off potential illnesses.

Potassium helps muscles function properly and prevents kidney disease.

90.15% of cantaloupe is water. 

The cantaloupe’s water content is one of the highest of all fruits, equally juicy to watermelon and juicier than fruits like pineapple and orange.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cantaloupe?

Cantaloupe, nor any other fruit, should be a part of your bearded dragon’s daily diet. 

Let’s look at a few of the reasons for potential health concerns when bearded dragons overeat cantaloupe.

Calcium-To-Phosphorus Ratio

Beardies need good amounts of calcium in their diets to stay healthy. 

However, phosphorus prevents their bodies from being able to absorb the mineral. 

Phosphorus binds with calcium and renders it inactive.

The best foods for bearded dragons have a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio between 2:1 and 3:1. 

A 3:1 ratio would mean the food contains three times as much calcium as it does phosphorus.

This ratio is a great guideline to follow when deciding what to feed your beardie.

Cantaloupe contains a disproportionate calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of 0.6:1. 

It has a lot of phosphorus compared to calcium.

This is the main reason you should only feed your bearded dragon cantaloupe occasionally. 

A calcium deficiency is a dangerous circumstance for a beardie.

No Vitamin D

Vitamin D3 is an essential nutrient for bearded dragons because it makes calcium absorption possible. 

Without vitamin D, your beardie could be eating healthy amounts of calcium, but its body wouldn’t know what to do with it!

Bearded dragons get some of their vitamin D from their diet, but they also produce it in their bodies when they’re exposed to healthy levels of UVB light rays.

Metabolic Bone Disease

A common occurrence for bearded dragons in captivity, metabolic bone disease (MBD) is the result of calcium disruptions or deficiencies.

If your beardie doesn’t have enough calcium, not enough vitamin D3, or too much phosphorus in its diet, it may develop metabolic bone disease.

The disease is widespread in young bearded dragons, most frequently seen in beardies under 2 years of age.

If your beardie needs calcium boosts, here are some of the best vegetation options with high calcium levels:

  • Squash
  • Papaya
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Escarole
  • Mustard greens
  • Endive
  • Cactus leaves

Ask your veterinarian about dietary supplements, as well. 

Sprinkling calcium supplements on your bearded dragon’s food is the best practice for preventing calcium deficiencies in your pet.

MBD is relatively easy to prevent. Follow the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio guidelines, feed your beardie a well-balanced diet, and practice good husbandry by providing correct UV lighting, heating, and humidity. 

High Sugar Content

Too much sugar can cause several health problems in bearded dragons. 

Some notable potentials are:

  • Obesity
  • Gut over-fermentation
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Tooth rot
  • High blood sugar

If your bearded dragon is already overweight, avoid feeding it cantaloupe or any other sweet, sugary foods. 

Sugar will only increase its weight woes.

Fatty Liver Disease

Associated with obesity and overfeeding, fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) affects liver functions. 

Bearded dragons experiencing fatty liver disease will exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Light-colored poo
  • Yellow-green urates (normally white)
  • Vomiting

Take your beardie to the vet if it is showing signs of fatty liver disease. 

The vet will prescribe different courses of action depending on if it is an acute (sudden onset) case or if it is a chronic (ongoing) case.

Tooth Rot and Mouth Rot

A diet too high in sugar and high in soft foods can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and tartar buildup in bearded dragons.

Periodontal disease in bearded dragons first appears as brown or yellow spotting on teeth. 

As it worsens, a beardie’s teeth will become brown with yellow tartar and red gums.

If your beardie is bleeding from the mouth, has swollen or receding gums, is missing teeth, or seems to have pain or discomfort chewing and swallowing food, consult with your veterinarian.

Overhydration

The high water content of cantaloupe can overhydrate a bearded dragon, leading to discomfort, upset stomach, and watery poo. 

When this happens, a beardie’s body can no longer retain the correct amount of water.

Overhydration may prevent a bearded dragon from fully digesting its food, disrupting nutrient absorption.

In the long run, consistent overhydration can have serious consequences. 

An overworked filtration system can lead to kidney failure.

Diarrhea

Ironically, because overhydration leads to diarrhea, it can cause your bearded dragon to become dehydrated. 

Giving your beardie too much water throws its digestive system out of whack.

If your beardie experiences diarrhea after eating cantaloupe, don’t feed it any more fruits.

Make sure it stays well-hydrated by drinking water. 

Feed it fibrous foods to get it back to normal.

High Acidity

Acidic foods cause an upset stomach (or worse) in bearded dragons. 

The back of their throat may become irritated, and they may vomit or develop diarrhea.

Sometimes, high acidity disrupts proper digestion. 

A beardie may defecate undigested materials coated with mucous or blood. 

This is a sign of food acid, causing internal trauma. 

You should take your pet to the veterinarian if this happens.

Cantaloupe is not the most acidic of fruits, but it’s acidic enough to be appropriate only as an occasional treat. 

If your beardie has a bad reaction to cantaloupe or appears to experience discomfort after eating the fruit, stop feeding it cantaloupe and find another better-suited food.

How To Feed Your Bearded Dragon Cantaloupe

Here are some guidelines on how to feed an occasional cantaloupe treat to your bearded dragon.

Serving Size And Frequency

Feed your beardie small pieces of fruit, around the size of a pea. 

Stick with a couple of pieces a week, and you won’t be feeding your dragon too much fruit.

A range of 100 to 500 grams each month is a safe serving amount for your bearded dragon. 

Make sure to spread those meals out – don’t exceed 100 or 150 grams in a week.

Preparation

Always wash the cantaloupe thoroughly to get any chemicals and impurities off of the rind.

Cut away the rind and any green flesh between the rind and fruit. 

You don’t want to feed your beardie these parts of the fruit. 

The green flesh may have absorbed chemicals through the rind. 

Plus, the rind contains a lot of phosphorus.

Remove any seeds. 

Seeds are a choking hazard for your beardie.

Also, avoid feeding your dragon muskmelon stems and leaves. 

These contain alkaloids, which can cause severe hormonal imbalances and digestive issues in your beardie.

Cut the cantaloupe’s flesh into small pieces. 

Let them sit for a while or lightly press them to drain away any excess water from the fruit.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cantaloupe At Any Age?

Bearded dragons eat insects and vegetation.

Of the vegetation they consume, they require mostly dark green, leafy vegetables. 

Fruits are not a required part of a beardie’s diet.

A bearded dragon’s ideal diet balance and daily intake of nutrients changes with their development. 

Babies eat mostly insects, and as they get older, they must transition to a majority-vegetation diet.

Diet Percentages Of Insects, Vegetation, And Fruits

When factoring how much fruit is safe for your bearded dragon, consider it a part of your beardie’s total vegetation consumption.

The following table highlights some key percentages for providing well-balanced nutrition for bearded dragons at any age.

Age (months)Insects in DietVegetation in DietFruits in Diet
Baby (0 to 5)80%20%None/minimal
Juvenile (5 to 17)50%50%10% of vegetation
Adult (17+)20%80%10% to 20% of vegetation

For juvenile beardies, this means 10% of all vegetation you feed them can safely be fruits. 

Therefore, fruits should account for no more than 5% of your juvenile beardie’s entire diet.

For adult beardies, this means between 10% and 20% of all vegetation you feed them can safely be fruits. 

Therefore, fruits could account for between 8% and 16% of your adult beardie’s entire diet.

Safe Sugar Amounts For Bearded Dragons

An adult bearded dragon’s body can process sugar more quickly than younger dragons.

Since fruits are not a required part of a bearded dragon’s diet, it is best to start babies with the healthiest foods possible. 

As beardies get older, they can partake in occasional sweet treats without fear of harm.

The following table shows amounts of safe sugar intake for bearded dragons at different ages.

Age (months)Safe amount of sugar per 100-gram meal
Baby (0 to 5)0 grams – 1.0 grams
Juvenile (5 to 17)0.4 grams – 1.2 grams
Adult (17+)0.5 grams – 2.0 grams

There are safer and healthier fruits available for beardies, so cantaloupe should be fed sparingly.

Safe Foods For Bearded Dragons

Which Fruits Are Safest For Bearded Dragons?

All fruits should be occasional treats for beardies because of their high sugar, water, and oxalate contents. 

However, these are the best nutrient-packed fruits for your bearded dragon.

  • Apple (without the peel)
  • Apricot
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries (without the pits)
  • Cranberries
  • Figs (these, in particular, have a high calcium content)
  • Guava
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Prunes
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

The healthiest fruits are those with lower levels of acidity and sugar and those with no harmful compounds or naturally occurring chemicals which are poisonous to beardies.

What Vegetation Is Unsafe For Bearded Dragons?

Certain fruits and vegetables capable of causing serious damage, injury, or even kill your bearded dragon. 

Avoid these at all costs!

  • Avocado
  • Azaleas
  • Beets
  • Chives
  • Dates
  • Eggplant
  • Eucalyptus
  • Garlic
  • Goji berries
  • Grapefruit
  • Honeysuckle
  • Hostas
  • Inch plant
  • Irises
  • Kumquats
  • Leeks
  • Lemon
  • Lettuce
  • Lilies
  • Limes
  • Morning glories
  • Mushroom
  • Nettles
  • Oak leaves
  • Olives
  • Onion
  • Oranges
  • Philodendron
  • Pickles
  • Pine needles
  • Pothos
  • Rhubarb
  • Snapdragons
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Stonecrop
  • Tangerines
  • Tulips

Avoid highly acidic foods, like citrus and pickles. 

These can cause serious internal damage to organs and digestive tracts.

Also, avoid oxalic acid (present in avocados and other vegetation on this list). 

It is poisonous to bearded dragons.

Conclusion

Bearded dragons can eat cantaloupe, as long as it’s given to them occasionally. 

Healthful variety is critical. 

If most of a beardie’s diet is dark green vegetation and insects, you shouldn’t have to worry about malnutrition problems in your pet.

Fruits are not a required part of a bearded dragon’s diet, but they will enjoy cantaloupe as a sweet treat every now and then!

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