Turnip Greens are a great low-calorie treat for your bearded dragon that is also packed with vitamins and minerals. They are very healthy, but not all bearded dragons like them. Some say they only taste good to the beardies raised on them. In addition, there can be risks in feeding your pet turnips greens, so you should always be careful with them.
Bearded dragons eat turnip greens and can eat them every day. Turnip greens have the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio (4:1) and nutrients such as vitamins A and C. Serve them raw and mixed with other vegetables and insects for a balanced diet. Never cook or heat them to preserve nutrients.
Turnip greens are among the most nutritious vegetables you can give your bearded dragons. They’re among the few foods your bearded dragons can eat daily. If your dragon likes them, you’ve just found a superfood for it.
Can bearded dragons eat turnip greens?
Bearded dragons can eat turnip greens, but they should not be the only vegetables or food in their diet. Turnips are a variety of white root vegetables with high nutritional value and fiber content. Therefore, it provides bearded dragons with much-needed nutrients to stay healthy.
Turnips can also help them digest some other foods, which may have more negative side effects on their health when eaten alone. In addition, turnips contain nutrients like calcium and zinc, which contribute to bone strength for baby bearded dragons and adult growth.
If you’re offering your beardie turnip greens or any other leafy green vegetable, make sure there’s enough protein from meat sources included too. A good way to provide this protein is by giving them insects such as mealworms or crickets or from bugs that they can find on their own.
Turnip Greens Nutritional Value
To better understand the benefits of turnip greens to bearded dragons, you should know their nutritional value as in the table below (100g of turnip greens).
|Nutrient||Amount per 100g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||7.13 g|
|Iron, Fe||1.1 mg|
|Sodium, Na||40 mg|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0 µg|
|Vitamin A RAE||579 µg|
|Beta Carotene||6952 µg|
|Vitamin K||251 µg|
|Fat (total lipid)||0.3 g|
|Calcium, Ca||190 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||42 mg|
|Vitamin C||60 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.263 mg|
|Vitamin A IU||11587 µg|
|Vitamin E||2.86 mg|
From the table above, you can see that the reasons why turnip greens are good for your bearded dragon to include the following:
Have a good calcium to phosphorus ratio
Turnip greens have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of four parts calcium to one part phosphorus, which is better than the recommended ratio.
The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio for pet lizards is at least 1:1. At all times, calcium should be more than phosphorus in a given food. For example, turnip greens have much better calcium to phosphorus ratio than many other vegetables.
Too much phosphorus will inhibit calcium absorption into the lizard’s body. Conversely, having too little calcium in the body can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease.
If you want your bearded dragon to be healthy and strong, then ensure they get enough vegetables in their diet with this optimal calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.
Are low in fat and high in fiber
Turnip greens are also low in fat and have plenty of fiber for your bearded dragon’s digestive system, making turnips a perfect addition to any diet plan for your beloved pet.
Too much fat in the diet may lead to obesity and other health problems. Fiber helps the bearded dragon’s digestive system by carrying waste out of the body and preventing constipation. Turnips are also a low-calorie, nutritious food that is easy to digest for your bearded dragon’s sensitive stomach.
Turnip greens are also high in beta carotene
Beta carotene helps the bearded dragon’s body make vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a major role in the dragon’s body since it’s important in having healthy eye cells, skin and other tissues. Vital organs such as the heart, kidney and lungs benefit from the availability of vitamin A in the body too.
High amount of antioxidants
Turnip greens provide antioxidants that fight free radicals. Turnip greens contain lots of antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage which can lead to cancer or heart disease.
Provide high amounts of calcium
Turnip greens also provide calcium for your bearded dragon. Calcium is important to your bearded dragon’s diet as it maintains good bone health and prevents metabolic bone disease (MBD).
Turnip greens have one of the highest amounts of calcium compared to other greens. For every 100g of turnip greens, there is as much as 190mg of calcium. Spinach (99mg), broccoli (47mg) and asparagus (24mg) all have much less calcium.
Healthy amount of phosphorus
For every 100g of turnip greens, there is 42mg of phosphorus. Phosphorus is important to the bearded dragon’s body since it strengthens bones and helps the growth and repair of cells.
That amount is also reasonable since too much phosphorus in the diet of bearded dragons can be harmful. As stated earlier, phosphorus inhibits the absorption of calcium into the body when in large amounts.
Has high amounts of vitamins A, C, D, K, B12 and E
Vitamins are important in the growth and development of bearded dragons. Turnip greens also contain substances that help to prevent diseases.
Turnip greens are a well-rounded food for your bearded dragon because they provide many nutritious vitamins, minerals and fibers and even some protein.
Turnip Greens make an excellent addition to a mealworm diet because it provides nutrition that worms do not offer on their own. They may be hard or slimy when consumed raw but cooked turnips can be mashed into sauces or purees easily so you don’t need to worry about your bearded dragon rejecting them.
What are risks of giving bearded dragons turnip greens?
Turnip greens are among the very best greens for bearded dragons and other pet lizards and can be served to the lizards as often as you want. However, they might cause vitamin A toxicity which would lead to vision problems, kidney failure and eventually death.
If you’re concerned about vitamin A toxicity, it’s important not to feed your bearded dragon turnip greens more than once a week or in excess of 1/5 of their weight per day. Turnip greens are so nutritious that they should make up less than half the diet for every lizard feeding.
You can also have them serve as an occasional treat after they’ve eaten most of their vegetables and fruits during the course of the week. Turnip greens provide vitamin A but don’t go overboard with these vitamin-rich foods especially when you’re already offering the dragon vitamin and other nutrient supplements.
How often should you give turnip greens to bearded dragons?
Bearded dragons can be given turnip greens every day. Turnip greens are an excellent source of protein, iron and vitamin A for bearded dragons. Turnip greens can be given daily to a healthy, active beardie without worry that the turnips will lead to obesity or other health problems. Turnip greens should only make up about 20% of a normal diet though because too much of a single food can have adverse effects on the health of the dragon.
How to serve turnip greens to bearded dragons
You should wash and then put the turnip greens in a feeding dish before serving them to your bearded dragon. Turnip greens are usually served raw, so you should not cook or microwave them. Heat destroys a large number of the nutrients in the greens and should be avoided as much as possible.
The bearded dragon can eat turnip greens as long as the leaves do not contain these harmful substances:
- If it has wilted or is spoilt in any way
- If it contains soap residue
- If there’s an excess of nitrates (meaning more than 100 ppm)
- If they grow on acidic soil or have been fertilized with animal manure
- If they have been sprayed or treated with pesticides
- If the leaves are browning on the edges
Turnip greens should not be fed to bearded dragons that eat from plants in your yard. Turnip greens can contain harmful substances such as hormone disruptors, which can affect their behavior and fertility. You may want to consult a vet about whether it’s safe for them before feeding turnips at all, so you know what is appropriate and what isn’t.
Other greens for bearded dragons
Besides turnip greens, you can feed your bearded dragons with other greens such as Bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, dandelion leaves (raw), kale, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chards and others.
Each of these vegetables are rich in nutrients and will provide your bearded dragons with the necessary vitamins to grow strong. Turnip greens should be served raw because cooking them can destroy some useful nutrients. Just wash and put in a feeding dish – that’s all there is to it.