Can a Bearded Dragon Eat Cactus?

Bearded dragon cactus

Bearded dragons are omnivores and can eat anything they find in the wild. They are into greens, and most Bearded dragons won’t eat greens if they are sick or are on their way to getting sick. However, most beardies are picky when it comes to food as a result of bad care.

If you have cactus plants near their tanks, you can easily find them eating your succulents. But what types of cactus are safe for bearded dragons and which ones are not safe?

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cactus?

Bearded dragons can eat cactus. These plants are a perfect staple food for your pet. You only need to know which cacti are edible before feeding your beardie.

What Type of Cactus Do Bearded Dragons Eat?

Prickly Pear (Opuntia Cactus)

Prickly pear is one of the cacti bearded dragons enjoy eating. Although native to the American’s, it’s been dispersed worldwide by humans. The plants are grown as human food and used as decorative plants in homes. However, some people exclusively rear these plants to feed their lizards.

These cacti are high in calcium, moisture, and minerals, which are great for your animals. The plant comes in various varieties. They majorly differ in color, morphology, and environmental requirements. Most are green, while others like purple prickly pear have some color.

Beardies also love eating prickly pear fruit. The plant, unfortunately, bears spines that are likely to hurt your lizard. Nevertheless, you can purchase a prickly pear cactus with its spine removed. 

Regularly pruning of this cactus is required to ensure it doesn’t outgrow its habitat.

Christmas Cactus

This cactus would be great for your bearded dragon as its pads are smooth. It’s a beautiful plant and easy to take care of it. It’s safe like most varieties of sedum and prefers a cooler environment to thrive well. You will need to water thoroughly as they need lots of water.

Stapelia

These are unique little cacti with star-shaped flowers. The flowers are sometimes purple or red, depending on the species. Their flowers could be sweet-scented or have a more putrid odor. They prefer a partial shade or partial light.

The leaves are pretty tasty; no wonder bearded dragons love eating them.

Dragon fruit

The dragon fruit is a hardy cactus with fragrant white and yellow blooms.  It’s a low-maintenance plant and great for your home. It prefers full sun to grow. The edible fruits have a red or yellow spiky coat, with the shell being either red or brown. The cactus produces a magical egg dragon-like fruit.

How to Prepare Cactus for Bearded Dragons

Preparing cactus for bearded dragon plants differs from person to person. But, the first step is to remove the prickles off. Vertically slice the prickly skin before peeling it off.  After that, Peel the whole pad and then cut the pieces into bits. You can place the pieces in a container and sprinkle some calcium, then shake.

Always try to chop off as much skin as you can. If possible, blend the seeds. The dragons won’t suffer any effects from a couple of seeds.

Placing the diced pieces in a container in the fridge helps them in drying a bit.


READ ALSO 11 Safe Plants for Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank


What Succulents Are Poisonous to Bearded Dragons?

Some succulents are poisonous. Thus, you need to keep these plants away from your beardie, or else both of you will suffer severe consequences. These succulents produce toxic enzymes, and since bearded dragons love licking everything,  poisonous plants aren’t an exception.

Some succulents are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses, and this means they might be harmful to your lizard too. If you are growing any succulent and unsure if it’s safe, it would be best to research before feeding it to your pet.

The following are some poisonous succulents.

Jade plant

This succulent can also be referred to as crassula ovata, lucky plant, or money plant. Despite this, it contains an unknown poisonous substance and may pose adverse effects to the reptiles. Your bearded dragon may develop a lowered heart rate after eating it.

Aloe Vera

As much as aloe vera has medicinal properties for human beings, it can be pretty dangerous for your pet if ingested. It contains a poisonous substance called aloin. Some of its effects include vomiting, tremors, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Silver Dollar Plant

Sometimes it’s referred to as silver jade plant. Its leaves are hairy, with the upper ones being stalkless and the lower ones having long stalks. This plant is poisonous, and if eaten, it can cause nausea and vomiting. Sometimes it may even cause tremors.

String of Pearls

The string of Pearls is sometimes referred to as the string of beads. The plant is native to Asia and Europe. It’s a creeping vine succulent and may cause effects like stomach upset, lethargy, drooling, diarrhea, and vomiting if ingested.

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe is a family name for numerous types of shrub-like ornamental and plants. An example of famous kalanchoes is the mother of millions and the panda plant. It has cardiac glycosides that result in lethargy, increased salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

When consumed in a large amount, kalanchoe is a dangerous poison. It can lead to increased heart rates, severe lethargy, breathing difficulty, and even worse, an animal can collapse and die.

Crown of thorn

This thorn hails from the family of Euphorbia. It has many sharp black thorns on its stem and main branches. Also, it produces a white sap like the fire cactus, which can be irritant on the skin and the eyes.  Sometimes it causes rashes.

Both animals and plants shouldn’t ingest crown of thorns since it’s poisonous.

Safe Succulents for Reptiles

Although there are poisonous succulents, some safe succulents exist. Some include; the terrarium, Aeonium, Schlumbergera, Harworthis, Lithops,  and X -Pacheyveria.

Schlumbergera

Schlumbergera is a safe succulent plant for bearded dragons. It’s easy to take care of it and as it can tolerate severe environmental conditions. They come in different varieties, with each species blooming at its own time.

The plant loves indirect light, and just like many other succulents, it doesn’t do well with excess watering. Schlumbergera is tasty, and most reptiles enjoy devouring them.

X-pachyveria

X-pachyveria is a hybrid between pachyphtum and Echeveria. This is a colorful succulent you’re your bearded dragon eat. When grown properly, it produces multiples colors from light green to violet. The plant is non-toxic and prefers receiving direct sunlight.

Since they are frost-intolerant, you shouldn’t leave them outside during winter.

Aeonium

Aeonium comes in different sizes and a variety of vibrant colors. You get to choose the color which appeases your soul. The succulent is hardy and can tolerate different weather conditions, including sun and freezing temperatures.

Lithops

These succulents have a weird look. Some people refer to them as living rock, as they can be mistaken as round rocks. Their color and shapes are similar to the round stones. This succulent also makes a great outdoor plant.

Echeveria

These are among favorite succulents grown by most gardeners. They come in a variety of colors. Echeveria is a perfect succulent for your outdoor garden. It’s also easy to take care of it. The amazing part about them is they are non-toxic, and your beardie can consume them.

What to Do When Your Bearded Gecko Has Eaten Poisonous Succulents

You should always have an activated charcoal kit at your home. In case your pet accidentally ingests a toxic substance, it acts as a good emergency solution. If you don’t have one, you can call for animal poison control or ask your local veterinary for solutions.

In case your vet is not familiar with toxic succulents, call the antivenom center and seek their advice.


READ NEXT: Bearded Dragons Won’t Eat Greens: How to Get them to Eat Greens


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