What Not To Feed Your Bearded Dragon

Are you a new bearded dragon owner worried about accidentally getting your pet sick by feeding it the wrong thing? 

Do you worry about choosing the wrong foods for your reptile friend?

Like all animals, there are certain things we humans can eat and they can’t.

There are also foods you might think are okay for beardies, but, they aren’t.

This is why you need to know what not to feed your bearded dragon.

To know what not to feed your bearded dragon, you need to know what foods are acceptable. Most fruits, vegetables, and insects will be acceptable as long as they’re all-natural and are smaller than the distance between their eyes. However, there are some exceptions to this rule you should look at in detail in this article.

Read on for the list of what not to feed your pet.


5 Big Foods Not To Feed Your Bearded Dragon

In this section, we’ll share 5 of the most prominent foods not to feed your bearded dragon and why.

#1 Lettuce

Lettuce is one of the most often forgotten foods you shouldn’t feed your pet.

Most people overlook this is on the “no” list.

Beardies love lettuce because it feels so fresh to them.

However, for beardies, it has very little nutritional value, and it can give your pet diarrhea.

So, instead of feeding them, it may make them lose food and nutrition in the end.

Avoid lettuce except in dire situations.

#2 Fireflies

You’re outside on a cool summer night, and you see some fireflies.

You think:

My pet would just love to eat some of these.

So you catch some and feed them to your pet….

DON’T!

These insects are very poisonous to your beardy and all other reptiles.

They can make your pet sick and even kill them.

This means if you’re letting your beardy roam around outside, make sure it doesn’t get any fireflies.

#3 Avocado

Avocado is considered a superfood for people.

Not so much for bearded dragons.

These vegetables have higher amounts of oxalic acid, which is toxic to bearded dragons.

While a small amount will just make them sick, high amounts can poison them.

Avocado isn’t part of their natural diet; they prefer leafy greens instead of these exotic ones.

what not to feed your bearded dragon

#4 Rhubarb

I love rhubarb.

My father-in-law grows it during the spring and summer, and it tastes great.

But for beardies, these plants are very toxic.

If your pet gets some of this, give it water right away and take it to the vet.

#5 Beets

You’d think beets, and specifically, beet tops, would be an excellent choice for nutrition.

They’re packed with magnesium and vitamin A.

But, they also contain a chemical like spinach (read later on), which prevents the reptile from absorbing calcium.

Metabolic bone disease is a deficiency of calcium in your bearded dragon’s body.

It results in deformities and easily broken bones.

When the chemical from beet tops is blocking calcium absorption, it results in this severe condition.

So avoid beet tops as food.

However, in small doses, it isn’t poisonous.

The beardy will be okay.

But there are many other great foods for beardies, so just pick something else and avoid all potential complications.


Insects To Avoid Feeding Your Bearded Dragon

Most insects are just fine to feed to your bearded dragon if they’re free from all chemicals.

The only real way to guarantee this is to buy them from a pet store or online food supplier.

These are some insects you want to avoid:

  • Fireflies
  • Elder bugs
  • Bees, wasps, scorpions and other venomous bugs
  • Glowing bugs
  • Insects you found randomly outside
  • Insect bait for fishing
  • Insects found in your home
  • Insects larger than the space between their eyes

You may find it easier just to eat the foods which you know are suitable for beardies.

Check out our post on the best insects for bearded dragons for a list of protein bugs they can eat, and stick with this.


Greens To Avoid Feeding Your Bearded Dragon

The more veggies you eat, the healthier you are, right?

It’s mostly the same with bearded dragons as well, but there are some greens to avoid, including the ones we mentioned above.

Here are some plants to avoid:

  • Vegetables from gardens using chemicals or pesticides
  • Lettuce, or any green with the word “lettuce” as part of its name
  • Spinach
  • Greens in chunks larger than the space between their eyes
  • Avocadoes
  • Vegetation which is poisonous or known for having irritable qualities such as poison oak

There are fewer “bad” greens than there are insects, but you should still focus on the greens, which are suitable for your beardy’s health.

Good greens provide the needed vitamins and minerals for a long and healthy life.

Read up on the best fruits, vegetables, and salads for bearded dragons and choose with confidence.


Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach?

This area deserves special mention because there is a lot of confusion out there on whether or not a bearded dragon can eat spinach.

The answer itself is a little complicated.

Bearded dragons can eat spinach within minimal amounts, but it isn’t recommended.

The risk isn’t worth the reward.

On a molecular level, calcium binds more efficiently to spinach than other greens, which may sound desirable, but it robs the greens of their nutritional value for beardies and causes nutrition issues, such as calcium deficiency.

In short, don’t feed your beardy spinach.


Conclusion

We hope you found our guide on what not to feed your bearded dragon helpful.

Most fruits, veggies, and insects will be okay, but there are some other ones you need to watch out for.

Bookmark this page if you need to protect your lizard friend.

And, when feeding, take care never to feed them food chunks or insects larger than the space between your pet’s eyes.

Alternatively, check out our list of safe foods in our bearded dragon overview and stick with these.

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