Are star-fruits a healthy addition to your bearded dragon’s diet?
Many fruits are safe to feed your pet bearded dragon in moderation, but are star-fruits one of them?
It is crucial to understand what is considered an appropriate diet for your beardie to ensure they live a long and healthy life.
Before we get into the specifics of a typical bearded dragon’s diet, let’s first understand what a star fruit is and how this fruit can affect them.
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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Star Fruit?
Carambola, also known as star fruit, is not a recommended food to feed to your bearded dragon. This fruit has a very high phosphorus content and low calcium content, making its calcium to phosphorus ratio (1:4) harmful for bearded dragons.
Like most reptiles, the calcium to phosphorus ratio of foods is very important for bearded dragons.
These lizards require calcium to thrive, and a calcium deficiency can lead to various health problems.
The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio (Ca:P) for a bearded dragon is approximately 2:1.
This means all bearded dragon foods should have twice as much calcium as it does phosphorus.
Additional risk factors associated with feeding a beardie star fruit include the fruit’s high acidity level and oxalates.
Oxalate, or oxalic acid, is a compound found in many plants which bind to minerals in the digestive system.
One of the minerals oxalates bind to is calcium, forming a compound known as calcium oxalate.
This process can interfere with the absorption of calcium in your dragon’s digestive system and can lead to further issues such as kidney stones.
Star Fruit Nutrition Facts
The following table contains the nutrition facts for 100g of star fruit.
|Total Carbohydrates||7 g|
|Dietary Fiber||2.8 g|
|Total Fat||0.3 g|
|Vitamin A||3 mg|
|Vitamin D3||0 mg|
|Oxalic Acid||9.6 mg|
As shown in the table above, star-fruits have low nutritional value in several areas of importance to beardies, including protein, vitamin A, and calcium.
It is not a great source of vitamin B6, but vitamin B6 is not as important as nutrients like vitamins A and D and calcium.
The bottom three rows of this table are the main focus of this inquiry.
Aforementioned, the calcium to phosphorus ratio of star fruit is 1:4.
The oxalic acid level is quite high, measuring at 9.6 mg per 100 g of fruit.
Health Concerns For Bearded Dragons
Your bearded dragon food list must contain the appropriate levels of calcium in every meal.
Calcium deficiency is dangerous for these reptiles and can lead to various health conditions.
Of all the nutrients to watch for, bearded dragon owners need to watch for calcium the most.
Low calcium levels in beardies can occur in several ways, including a lack of calcium in their diet, a phosphorus-heavy diet, high oxalic acid content, and low UVB rays levels.
Exposure to UVB rays, whether it is from artificial light or sunlight, is crucial for a bearded dragon.
These rays help them naturally produce vitamin D3.
Lack of UVB may lead to calcium deficiencies.
A bearded dragon suffering from a calcium deficiency can develop metabolic bone disease (MBD), which could ultimately be life-threatening if not properly treated.
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
When a bearded dragon suffers from MBD, its body resorts to pulling calcium from its bones to supplement this mineral’s deficiency in the body.
This leaves the reptile with brittle bones and increases the likelihood of fractures and limb deformities.
MBD will leave a dragon in a constant state of discomfort and pain.
The best way to prevent this disease from overcoming your pet is by ensuring its diet is rich in bearded dragon vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D3 and calcium.
Star fruit provides little to no calcium and lacks vitamin D3 altogether.
Impaction, also referred to as constipation, is a common health issue for bearded dragons.
Some causes of impaction include a nutrient-poor diet and lack of proper UVB levels.
If your pet suddenly starts refusing food, it is important to consider the possibility of impaction.
You may alleviate this at home, but if it persists for several days, your pet may need medical attention from a veterinarian.
A Healthy Bearded Dragon Diet
A well-balanced diet is essential to raise a happy and healthy beardie.
Their diet should be high in various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning they get their nutrients from both plants and animals.
You should feed these reptiles a variety of insects, vegetables, and fruits.
A bearded dragon’s diet varies depending on its stage of life.
Growing beardies under one year of age should consume 70% animal-based foods and 30% plant-based foods.
Bearded dragons should be fed the opposite, meaning 30% animal-based foods and 70% plant-based foods over the age of one year.
Keeping the essential nutrients mentioned in previous sections in mind, let’s look at some recommended beardie foods.
The following table lists both recommended and dangerous insects for bearded dragons.
|Recommended Insects||Dangerous Insects|
|Kingworms||Insects exposed to pesticides|
|Earthworms||Insects larger than the space between their eyes|
When feeding insects to your bearded dragon, it is always a good idea to add a nutritional supplement such as calcium powder or to gut load the insects with a nutrient-rich meal 12-24 hours before feeding.
And if you’re unsure how to gut load we have a post to guide you through gut loading crickets for bearded dragons that you should definitely give a read.
The following table includes a list of recommended vegetables to feed and avoid feeding your bearded dragon.
|Recommended Vegetables||Not Recommended Vegetables|
The following table includes recommended fruits as well as fruits to avoid feeding a bearded dragon.
|Recommended Fruits||Fruits to Avoid|
Star fruit has very poor calcium to phosphorus ratio and is not a recommended food to provide to your bearded dragon.
Maintaining a healthy diet rich in calcium, vitamin D3, and other essential nutrients is incredibly important when raising a pet beardie.
To avoid unwanted health issues, be sure to avoid foods with a Ca:P ratio poorer than 2:1 and ensure your dragon gets plenty of vitamin D3 and UVB rays.