While arugula is great for human consumption, it should be fed to bearded dragons in moderation. Arugula and other types of lettuce contain a few nutrients which your bearded dragon can benefit from. However, they contain too much water which can affect the dragons.
In this article, we will break down the benefits and dangers of arugula to your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons should live on a diet made up of both insects and vegetables with the latter being the focus of this article. As with all vegetables, feed the dragons with moderation to avoid health issues.
Can bearded dragons have arugula?
Your bearded dragons can eat arugula, but you need to be careful with it as they can’t have too much of the vegetable.
Arugula is a vegetable that has the potential of causing stomach problems for your bearded dragon if they consume too much of it over time. Bearded dragons should not have more than two tablespoons per day and preferably only one tablespoon with each meal. You can offer arugula instead on salads or blended in sauces without any additional dangers to your pet lizard.
In most cases, arugula should be fed to bearded dragons once per week in small amounts as a supplement and a treat.
Arugula nutritional value
Compared to other vegetables such as spinach and kale, arugula contains much more calcium.
Arugula also has a high amount of iron which is beneficial for bearded dragons as they are unable to produce it themselves.
Additionally, if you’re looking to add some variety into your bearded dragon’s diet, this plant will likely make up less than one percent of what he eats in his day-to-day life.
The nutritional value of arugula per 100 grams is as follows:
- Water: 92%
- Fat: 0.66g
- Sugars: 2.05g
- Calcium: 160mg
- Potassium: 369mg
- Vitamin B-6: 0.07mg
- Vitamin E: 0.4mg
- Beta-carotene: 1424µg
- Ca:P ratio→ 3:1
- Energy: 25kcal
- Protein: 2.6g
- Dietary fiber: 1.6g
- Phosphorus: 52mg
- Vitamin C: 15mg
- Vitamin A: 119µg
- Vitamin K: 108.6µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin: 3555µg
As can be seen from the list above, arugula is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.
However, the most notable benefit of arugula for bearded dragons is that it can help them to avoid parasites. When you feed your pet this food in small doses, their immune system will be strengthened.
Additionally, arugula provides a good source of calcium for bone health as well as antioxidant properties which reduce inflammation and aid digestion.
If you do decide to offer arugula to your bearded dragon, keep in mind that they should only eat one leaf at a time (or less). Too much may result in indigestion or stomach upset.
This vegetable offers many health benefits including lowering blood pressure, reducing heart disease risks, improving bone strength and preventing diabetes symptoms while also being low in calories.
Arugula is also a great source of iron, calcium, vitamin A and K as well as omega-three fatty acids so you’re getting more than just the basic arugula benefits when you feed it to your bearded dragon.
Is arugula bad for bearded dragons?
Although arugula is a nutritious vegetable, it can also be dangerous to bearded dragons.
The arugula plant has an anti-nutrient called oxalic acid, which is poisonous to both humans and animals. This toxin will severely affect the kidneys or liver of a bearded dragon if they consume it in large amounts over time.
Arugula and other leafy vegetables have also been known to cause calcium deficiencies in bearded dragons. As an oxalate, arugula can be very harmful to the kidneys of your pet.
Oxalates generally interfere with the absorption of calcium and other minerals since they reduce the absorption of these nutrients by the body.
If your pet has been eating arugula for only small periods of time throughout their life with no negative effects then you don’t have anything to worry about.
The high amount of water in arugula will also have a negative effect on the bearded dragon’s skin, making it more difficult to shed.
The high concentration of iron in this leafy green can be used for bearded dragons as an alternative source if there is not enough from their diet.
Arugula can also cause digestive issues for bearded dragons when over-consumed, like any other leafy green vegetables that are high in fiber.
If you do choose to feed your pet arugula, make sure they have a balanced diet and limit their consumption so it is not causing calcium deficiencies or kidney stones.
Your pet dragon can also suffer from the metabolic bone disease if they consume arugula on a regular basis.
This is because arugula contains high levels of oxalates which are harmful to the kidneys and can cause stone formation, leading to metabolic bone disease.
Lastly, large pieces of arugula can choke your bearded dragon. The best way to feed them on this vegetable is to cut it into small pieces or use baby arugula which is easy to chew up and digest.
How often should I feed arugula to my bearded dragon?
The number of times arugula should be fed to your bearded dragon is one time per day as the upper limit. Otherwise, once or twice a month is the ideal amount to feed arugula.
Feeding your beardie too much of arugula can have an adverse effect on the dragon’s health, such as diarrhea and vomiting or constipation. However, a proper diet is still very important for bearded dragons’ overall well-being so don’t think that just because they eat something unhealthy like this occasionally means you should let them get away with it all the time.
If we’re talking about how often to give arugula per day, one small handful (about five grams) is more than enough each feeding session. However, if we’re discussing frequency in terms of the number of times someone might offer their reptile some greens during a given week then once every two weeks seems like a good idea.
This might seem a bit too much for some people, but it’s not as if you need to force your beardie to eat the arugula. Some animals enjoy eating this type of food more than others while still others don’t mind it at all; and even those who do prefer other types of greens will usually go ahead and eat arugula occasionally when it’s offered.
The dietary rules are as follows:
- Baby bearded dragons: 80 percent insects and 20 percent vegetables.
- Juvenile bearded dragons: 50 percent insects and 50 percent vegetables.
- Adult bearded dragons: 25 percent insects and 75 percent vegetables.
Bearded dragons can eat arugula as long as they are not given it too often. It is important to make sure that the arugula has been thoroughly washed and you don’t feed more than a quarter cup of arugula per day for an adult bearded dragon or less than ½ tablespoon every other day for juveniles.
How to prepare arugula for bearded dragons
To give the dragons arugula that won’t choke them, follow these steps:
- Choose young arugula leaves which are easy to chew and digest.
- Wash them thoroughly using clean running water.
- Cut the leaves into small pieces with the largest piece being about the width of the dragon’s eye.
- If possible, mix the arugula with other vegetables to provide other nutrients not available in it.
- Serve the arugula to the bearded dragon.
Arguably the most important consideration when preparing arugula for bearded dragons is that it should be young and soft, so as not to present a choking hazard for these slow-moving creatures.
It’s also best served fresh with no other vegetables mixed in. If you do want to add something else (e.g., lettuce or spinach), make sure they’re cut small enough to fit inside of your dragon’s mouth comfortably. Remember; never to leave any arugula on the floor which may go bad and rot which would be unhygienic.
Arugula can be lightly steamed, then cooled before serving so that your reptile does not burn their mouths. Make sure there isn’t any water left in them after this process because many reptiles will refuse to eat anything if it’s dripping with liquid.
Can bearded dragons eat iceberg lettuce?
Iceberg lettuce is classified as a green vegetable, but it’s not actually any better for your lizard than some other types of lettuce.
This type of lettuce is notorious for being grown in nutrient-depleted soil that leaves the plants low on iron and calcium, both valuable minerals to include in their diet.
But if you’re looking purely at calories then iceberg has one more calorie per leaf than arugula (although less protein), so it may be worth switching up from time to time.
And don’t forget: bearded dragons love fresh vegetables just like the rest of us.
Can bearded dragons eat romaine?
Bearded dragons can eat romaine lettuce, but it is not the best food choice for them. Romaine can contain pesticides and fertilizers that are toxic to bearded dragons. Even organic romaine has too much calcium in it which cannot be digested by a bearded dragon’s stomach and intestines.
Can bearded dragons eat lettuce?
Lettuce can also make good food for bearded dragons. Lettuce is a vegetable that has many of the same benefits as arugula but without some of the risks associated with arugula.
- Lettuce can boost nutrient absorption in your pet’s body and it contains other useful plant chemicals like beta carotene, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin – all important to help maintain healthy eyesight.
- It also provides folate which helps produce red blood cells while preventing anemia. This makes lettuce great if you have a beardie who likes to stay outdoors or doesn’t get enough sunlight exposure during the day because they’re nocturnal (most bearded dragons are crepuscular).
Other vegetables you can give to your bearded dragon besides arugula include beet greens, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, Swiss chard, kales, kale, mustard greens, and many others. Always look at the benefits and any side effects of the vegetables before feeding them to your bearded dragon.