Have you ever wanted to see if your bearded dragon likes jalapenos?
Would your bearded dragon eat something spicy if offered?
You know from research your bearded dragon needs a healthy dose of vegetables each week.
But which ones are safe and which are dangerous?
All good bearded dragon owners know how different foods affect their pets, which is why we decided to dig into jalapenos in this article.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Jalapenos?
Not a whole lot of research has been done on whether bearded dragons can eat jalapenos. The recommendation is yes, but not very often. The capsaicin in jalapenos may cause digestive upset for your bearded dragon if fed to excess.
How Do You Know Bearded Dragons Can Have Hot Peppers?
When determining whether a lizard can or cannot eat a particular food, researchers often look to birds and what they can or cannot handle.
Since they have very similar body systems to reptiles, we infer foods toxic to a bird are probably also harmful to a lizard like a bearded dragon.
Avocadoes, for example, are toxic to both types of animals.
Birds can tolerate the heat of hot peppers.
In fact, hot pepper plants rely on them to carry seeds by eating their fruits.
They travel, carrying and excreting the seeds as waste, where they will grow into other hot pepper plants.
Since we know hot peppers are not poisonous to birds, we can conclude they are not poisonous to reptiles.
How Often Should My Bearded Dragon Eat Jalapeno?
Only give your bearded dragon a few tiny pieces of jalapeno if they like it.
Space feedings of jalapeno every three to four weeks.
If a bearded dragon eats jalapeno too often, it may cause digestive upset and runny poop.
Make sure to remove any leaves and seeds before feeding a jalapeno to your beardie.
The seeds and ribs of the pepper are usually where the heat is located.
Like with any new food, make sure your bearded dragon likes it before feeding it more often.
Do not force your bearded dragon to eat a vegetable it does not like.
Jalapenos tend to be milder and contain less capsaicin.
Anything spicier, like habaneros, scotch bonnets, or serranos, will have more capsaicin and will cause similar digestive upset, but probably worse.
It is best not to feed these to your bearded dragon.
Why Should You Feed Your Bearded Dragon Bell Peppers Instead?
Now for the good news: bell peppers, a relative of jalapenos, are an excellent choice for your bearded dragon’s vegetable intake due to their powerful nutrients.
They are high in vitamin A and vitamin C, which supports your bearded dragon’s immune system.
They also have a high water content, making them not only low-calorie and healthy but also providing extra hydration for your lizard.
These veggies also contain essential nutrients like:
- Potassium, great for heart health
- Vitamin B6, which helps form red blood cells
- Vitamin E, great for muscle health
- Vitamin A or Beta Carotene
- Folate, or Vitamin B9, great for pregnant bearded dragons
- Vitamin C, as we mentioned previously
Like with any vegetable or fruit you are feeding your beardie when buying bell peppers, make sure they are free of pesticides by peeling it or buying organic produce untreated with pesticides.
Make sure they are ripe and free of mold or squishy spots.
If you wouldn’t eat a vegetable you are buying, it is not safe for your bearded dragon.
Wash any vegetable you are serving your bearded dragon.
All vegetables should be served raw, not cooked.
This way, you ensure you have not cooked out the essential nutrients or added extra fat.
Remove the seeds and membranes and cut them with a knife into bite-sized pieces for your beardie.
A good rule of thumb is to cut vegetables into pieces no bigger than your beardie’s eyes or the space between their eyes.
Put them either into the habitat or into your pet’s food dish.
Watch your pet as it eats, making sure to clean up any spills in its habitat.
You do not want rotting vegetables to get gross in your pet’s home.
If they do not want to eat bell peppers, which may happen, take them, and discard them.
What Vegetables Should Your Bearded Dragon Avoid?
There are a few vegetables and greens which should only be fed to bearded dragons in moderation or avoided altogether.
Avocadoes and rhubarb are extremely toxic.
Rhubarb contains high amounts of the chemical compound oxalic acid.
In high amounts, this may kill your pet.
Avoid avocadoes and rhubarb.
Beet tops, beet greens, and spinach are very nutritious.
However, they contain a chemical which may interfere with calcium absorption into the bloodstream.
Calcium deficiency in bearded dragons may lead to metabolic bone disease, which is extremely painful and may even cause paralysis and death.
Feed these greens either in small doses or not at all.
Tomatoes are an occasional good treat.
However, they are high in phosphorous and low in calcium, which may also contribute to a calcium deficiency.
Do not offer tomatoes too often.
Lettuce should be avoided, not because it is toxic, but because it is not particularly nutrient-rich.
If fed too much, lettuces may cause intestinal upset and diarrhea.
Give your bearded dragon leafy greens like kale, watercress, and collard greens instead.
Onions of any kind are too acidic for your bearded dragon to digest.
If accidentally digested, they may cause serious issues.
Avoid onions altogether.
You might wonder if your vegetable garden at home could be a cost-effective source of food for your pet.
The answer is yes, as long as you are growing vegetables which are good for them to eat and are not using any pesticides.
We hope this article has helped you answer whether bearded dragons can eat jalapenos.
Yes, it’s safe feed a bearded dragon small pieces of jalapenos, minus leaves, every month or so.
Do not feed them too often, as too much may cause digestive issues.
Bell peppers are a much better choice for a regular vegetable.
We have also provided a list of vegetables which should be avoided or only fed in moderation.