Aside from vegetables, bearded dragons should also eat herbs. But which herbs are safe for the beardies? Can they eat basil?
Your bearded dragons might eat basil unintentionally, and this can create a lot of concerns. Perhaps you have basil herbs in your garden, and you are wondering if your lizard should eat them or not. I mean it’s healthy to explore every food first before feeding it to the beardies.
In this article, we’ll learn about bearded dragons and basil, and other helpful information.
What are the Nutrients Found in Basil?
To determine if bearded dragons should eat basil or not, we first need to understand its protein, calcium, phosphorus, sugar, water, fiber, vitamins and acid content. Ideally, foods that are suitable for the beardies to eat should have a Ca:P ratio of 1:1 or 2:1.
The nutritional data from USDA shows that 100 grams of basil have the following nutrients;
- Water: 92g
- Energy: 23kcal
- Protein: 3.2g
- Fiber: 1.6g
- Sugars: 0.3g
- Calcium: 177mg
- Phosphorus: 56mg
- Vitamin A: 264µg
- Vitamin B-6: 0.2mg
- Vitamin C: 18mg
- Vitamin K: 414.8µg
- Vitamin E: 0.8mg
- Beta-carotene: 3142µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin: 5650µg
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Basil?
Basil is not toxic, and bearded dragons can safely eat it but in moderation. Excess basil can make your precious lizard sick due to its acidity and too much calcium.
So, if your lizard eats basil from your home garden, you should not panic at all as long as it doesn’t happen more often; the herb isn’t harmful.
Basil is rich in several nutrients including, folate, manganese, calcium, iron, vitamin A, C, and K. Moreover, this flavorful herb has antibacterial, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds which can optimize the beardie’s health.
Furthermore, this nutritious herb helps in fortifying the immunity, eye health, kidney function, tissue growth, digestion, strengthening muscles, etc., in bearded dragons.
You might also like: Complete list of common food can a bearded dragon eat that people usually ask.
So, incorporating limited portions of basil in your lizard’s salad is a smart thing to do. Basil is super healthy and has a lot of health benefits in the dragons.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Basil?
Although basil is suitable for bearded dragons, it is beneficial to them when given in limited amounts. Bearded dragons cannot eat too many basils because the calcium content is way too high, and it is also acidic.
The beardies should also not eat basil every day or as a staple food. It is just a herb that they can eat once or twice a month and in small amounts.
The fact is, too much calcium can result in calcium toxicity if bearded dragons eat basil every day. Hypercalcemia is dangerous as it can make the dragon sick or even die.
Basil also contains several acids, including caftaric, chicoric, and rosmarinic acid. Acidic foods in excessive amounts will poison your dearest lizard.
It is possible to prevent such problems if you use basil sparingly and as a rare treat. Even if your lizard loves eating this herb, it is good to limit its intake than be sorry.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dried Basil Leaves?
Dried basil leaves contain a lot of nutrients compared to the fresh ones. They are highly concentrated in calcium as they contain a Ca:P ratio of 8:1. Moreover, the sugar content in dried basil leaves is way too high, plus many other nutrients shoot up after drying.
Dried basil leaves require you to use less of it, but seriously, these nutrients are extremely high for bearded dragons, especially calcium, fiber, and sugar. It will be best if you would avoid this kind of leaves and stick to feeding fresh leaves instead.
Preferably, consider giving fresh foods to your lizard friend at all times to prevent any possible health issues. The beardies can eat fresh basil flowers as they are also nutritious.
What Other Herbs Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Herbs can play many roles when it comes to bearded dragons. You may choose to use herbs as decor plants in the terrarium or include them in the beardies veggie mixes.
Herbs have many benefits to bearded dragons, and it is a smart thing to allow the beardie to eat them occasionally.
Besides basil, bearded dragons can eat other herbs, including, cilantro lavender, rosemary, thyme, parsley, fennel, sage, bell pepper, radicchio, chicory, fresh dill leaves, etc.
Most of these herbs are highly nutritious but are quite acidic, and that’s why you should limit their intake; use them on an occasional basis for your pet’s safety. You can as well use either of these herbs as a live plant in the terrarium. The beardies love munching on them.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Basil Seeds?
Basil seeds are highly nutritious as they are rich in fiber, minerals, and contain a lot of beneficial plant compounds. However, these seeds are rougher in texture and have high-fat content which is dangerous for bearded dragons.
The seeds can present a choking hazard to bearded dragons as they have a poor chewing ability and cannot handle hard foods.
So, bearded dragons cannot eat basil seeds, and you should also avoid feeding them any seeds to prevent choking issues.
How to prepare Basil for Bearded Dragons
There are different ways to prepare different foods for bearded dragons. When planning to feed basil leaves, first of all, you need to select fresh leaves. If you can get organic basil, it will be much better.
Then, wash the leaves with clean water to get rid of chemicals like pesticides sprayed to the plant when in the field.
Cut the basil into smaller sizes; ideally, they should be smaller than the width of your beardie’s eye.
Then, mix a few pieces of basil with other veggies and include them as part of the lizard’s diet. Provide the meal to the beardie and be sure to remove the remains.
Fully understanding your pet bearded dragon 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
Bearded dragons can eat basil but only as a rare treat and in small quantities. Basil is a great source of vitamin A, C, and K, calcium, antioxidants and other minerals.
Bearded dragons can eat basil flowers, but they should not eat dried basil leaves and seeds. You can also use basil as a live plant in your beardie’s terrarium, besides using it in the diet.