Can bearded dragons eat alfalfa sprouts at all? Knowing which foods are safe or best for the beardies is exceedingly important when it comes to their diet.
Alfalfa sprouts are sprouting everywhere, and you can easily find them around your home. Many people don’t want to feed these sprouts because they aren’t sure whether they are Ok for bearded dragons or not.
And the same should apply to all dragon owners who care about the wellbeing of their pets. Keep reading to know if bearded dragons should eat alfalfa sprouts and lots more.
Alfalfa Sprouts Nutritional Profile
You are not sure if alfalfa sprouts are suitable for the beardies until you understand their nutritional content. Consider checking the protein, sugar, calcium, phosphorus, fiber and acid content in these sprouts. This is key to determining if you should feed them to your lizard.
Below is the nutritional content per 100 grams of alfalfa sprouts, according to USDA.
- Water: 92.8g
- Energy: 23kcal
- Fat: 0.7g
- Sugars: 0.2g
- Calcium: 32mg
- Phosphorus: 70mg
- Fiber: 1.9g
- Vitamin C: 8.2mg
- Vitamin A: 8µg
- Vitamin K: 30.5µg
- Beta-carotene: 87µg
- Ca:P ratio→1:2
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat alfalfa sprouts on an occasional basis. Alfalfa sprouts are great veggies to feed your bearded dragons because they are highly nutritious.
The sprouts are rich in several nutrients, including but not limited to vitamin C, K, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, thiamin, folate and riboflavin.
While bearded dragons can eat alfalfa sprouts sparingly, there’s no harm feeding alfalfa plants regularly.
So, what health benefits do alfalfa sprouts have towards bearded dragons? Let’s explore them.
You might also like: Complete list of common food can a bearded dragon eat that people usually ask.
High Water Content
In every 100 grams of alfalfa sprouts, 93 grams is mainly water. Due to this high-water content, alfalfa sprouts play a significant role in hydrating bearded dragons.
Remember that the beardies originate from the desert, and this makes them adapt to living for a couple of days without drinking water. Even in captivity, they rarely drink water from the bowl, especially if they’re getting a healthy diet.
If your lizard isn’t drinking the water you give, it might be getting sufficient water from the diet. Most of the fruits and vegetables that bearded dragons eat are incredibly high in water, containing above 80g water per 100g.
Decent Amount of Vitamin A and C
The level of both vitamins is not too high and is great for bearded dragons. Vitamin A has so many roles in the beardie’s body, including good eyesight, boosting the immune system and helps to maintain healthy skin.
Also, vitamin A contains some great antioxidant properties that are beneficial in different ways.
You have heard of multiple roles from vitamin C, and it does the same to bearded dragons. It is due to vitamin C plus other nutrients that your beardie has strong immunity, and this prevents it from contracting diseases.
Good Source of Fiber
Bearded dragons need fiber to help in the digestion of food. They obtain the fiber from fruits and veggies, such as alfalfa sprouts.
Most of the insects that the beardies eat have a hard exoskeleton, and if the lizard does not get adequate fiber, it will be difficult to digest the food.
Poor digestion of food can cause the beardie to experience constipation. So, it is essential to consider the level of fiber in every food you intend to feed your lizard. Avoid excess fiber as it can cause diarrhea and other issues.
How Often Should Bearded Dragons Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?
Bearded dragons can eat alfalfa sprouts once in 1-2 weeks. The reason why the beardies should eat these sprouts in moderation is that they have low calcium levels. The ratio between calcium to phosphorus is not within the healthy range for bearded dragons.
So, let’s look into details about why alfalfa sprouts shouldn’t be part of the bearded dragon’s staple diet.
Disproportionate Ratio of Ca:P
The ideal ratio of calcium to phosphorus for the beardies is 1:1 or 2:1. Unfortunately, alfalfa sprouts have less calcium than phosphorus; thus, it isn’t safe for regular consumption.
The high phosphorus content may eventually decrease the calcium level in the beardies. In case this happens, it leads to calcium deficiency that, in the end, causes metabolic bone diseases.
Excess Water Content
Providing watery foods to your lizard exposes it to diarrhea and other digestive problems. Since most fruits and vegetables tend to be too watery, you need to feed them rarely to your pet.
To be on the safer side, make sure to use limited amounts of alfalfa sprouts and occasionally. It would be best if you always avoided anything that can potentially harm your beloved lizard.
How to Prepare Alfalfa Sprouts for Bearded Dragons?
Alfalfa sprouts have both negative and positive impacts on bearded dragons depending on the amount used. I’m glad you have this information with you, and now it’s upon you to decide.
When it comes to preparing alfalfa sprouts for your lizard, here are steps to follow.
- Choose the right alfalfa sprouts, as this is pretty important. Go for the fresh sprouts, which contain a lot of nutrients.
- Wash the sprouts with clean water to remove any unwanted chemicals.
- The second step is to chop the sprouts into smaller pieces that the beardie can swallow easily. The perfect size of the foods bearded dragons can eat is equivalent to the space between their eyes.
- Now, you can mix alfalfa sprouts with other vegetables and fruits. Alfalfa sprouts shouldn’t serve as a primary salad component.
Mixing the salad is a good idea for fussy bearded dragons as they won’t be able to pick their favorite food ingredients, and it makes the salad pretty colorful.
Fully understanding your beardies will help you better take care of them. As a suggestion, we would recommend you to get the best bearded dragon book. Not to become an expert on bearded dragon care but will help you avoid the common mistake in new pet lizard owners.
Last update on 2020-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
There you have it; alfalfa sprouts are safe vegetables, and bearded dragons can eat them on an occasional basis.
The main reason why these sprouts are not acceptable as staple foods for bearded dragons is that the Ca to P ratio is disproportionate and also has high water content.
So, if your lizard eats alfalfa sprouts rarely, they will not be harmful. This helps to keep your dragon safe from potential health problems due to Ca:P imbalance and too much water.
Good read: proper care for your bearded dragon