Can a Bearded Dragon Eat 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?

can bearded dragons eat cactus

Bearded dragons can eat cacti. These plants are 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 Americans, 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 pears 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

Bearded dragons can eat Christmas cactus as their pads are smooth and therefore great for them. 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 them thoroughly as they need lots of water.


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.

READ ALSO: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Turnip Greens? Benefits & Risks

Can bearded dragons eat cactus every day?

Cactus pad and prickly pear are excellent foods for your bearded dragon and can be used as a daily feeder alongside other leafy greens and vegetables. Cactus leaves are high in calcium, low in fat, and high in water, making them ideal for adding hydration and calcium to their diet on a regular basis.

Before feeding ensure they’re washed, de-thorned and chopped. You may need to cut the cactus finer for smaller beardies to suit their needs. It is also important to monitor your bearded dragon while they eat the cactus pads to make sure they are eating them properly.

How to Prepare Cactus for Bearded Dragons

Preparing cacti for bearded dragon plants differ from person to person. But, the first step is to wash thoroughly and remove the prickles. Vertically slice the prickly skin before peeling it off.  After that, Peel the whole pad and cut the pieces into bits. You can place the pieces in a container, sprinkle some calcium, and 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. To keep the cactus fresh for as long as possible make sure to keep them refrigerated

Which Cacti Are Toxic To Your Bearded Dragon 

If you’re wondering what kind of cactus can bearded dragons eat, it is important to research before bringing them to your beardie. Some of them can be toxic and if ingested they could be fatal for your pet so make sure they can only eat safe plants

Cacti that are toxic to your bearded dragon include:

  • Arizona barrel cactus
  • Marston’s organ pipe cactus
  • Cardinal cactus

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.

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
  • Aloe Vera
  • Silver Dollar Plant
  • String of Pearls
  • Kalanchoe
  • Crown of thorn

Safe Succulents for Reptiles

Although there are poisonous succulents, some safe succulents exist. Some include;

  • Schlumbergera
  • Lithops
  • X-Pacheyveria.
  • Aeonium
  • Echeveria

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 animal poison control or ask your local veterinarian for solutions.

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

READ NEXT: Do Bearded Dragons Eat Carrots? Benefits and Dangers

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