Can bearded dragons eat cucumbers?
If you are wondering whether cucumbers are safe for bearded dragons, well, this is where to get the right and straightforward answer.
I was also wondering about the same thing, and this made me not only inquire from reptile vets but also do in-depth research. I was doing all these to make sure that I’m giving you the most precise information.
Cucumbers are popular vegetables among humans as they add a splendid taste in our salads. At least we know how good these juicy vegetables can be, and this makes many dragon owners ask themselves if cucumbers are safe for their beardies.
We’ll learn if bearded dragons can eat cucumbers, cucumbers’ impacts in bearded dragons, how often to feed cucumbers to your dragons, and lots more. Let’s get started.
What Nutrients Do Cucumbers Contain?
When dealing with bearded dragons, it is of great interest to know about the protein, calcium, phosphorus, sugar, fiber, energy, and vitamin content in various foods. Bearded dragons can eat a variety of vegetables, but not all of them are beneficial.
Below are the nutritional facts about cucumbers, which shows the details from 100g of unpeeled cucumbers, and the data is from USDA.
- Water: 95%
- Calories: 10
- Protein: 0.6g
- Calcium: 16mg
- Phosphorus: 24mg
- Sugar: 1.6g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Fat: 0.04g
- Vitamin A: 5µg
- Vitamin C: 2.8mg.
As you can see from the list above, cucumbers may be juicy vegetables but have low nutritional value and won’t have much health benefit to bearded dragons.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cucumbers?
Yes, bearded dragons can consume cucumbers, but it is recommended to provide these vegetables occasionally in limited amounts due to the low nutrients content. Feeding too many cucumbers will fill the beardie’s small stomach, and since it is not a super healthy snack, will not help the beardie.
Another thing you should know is that the beardies should be fed with merely peeled cucumbers. Like we saw in the list above, cucumbers contain water as the main constituent, which is about 95%, and this can be a bonus to a dehydrated dragon.
How Often Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon with Cucumbers?
You can feed cucumbers to your beardie every other week or so and provide it in moderation. Excess cucumbers can pose unpleasant health issues to bearded dragons, but it has some nutritional benefits if fed in the right amounts.
Bearded dragons mostly get water from the foods they eat, and because of that, cucumbers are a great addition to their diet. The main reason why cucumbers should be fed as occasional foods is that it has too much water.
Bearded dragons are accustomed to drinking water less often because they are desert animals. Water is scarce in the wild, but the beardies living there are adapted to staying for a couple of weeks without water.
Generally speaking, bearded dragons can survive for even a week without drinking water, and they remain healthy since it is a typical experience for them.
Additionally, cucumbers have disproportionate Ca:P, and this disqualifies it from being a staple food. Excess phosphorus binds to the calcium in the diet and prevents it from entering the bloodstream.
Using cucumbers more often can lead to your lizard’s metabolic bone disease because there will be calcium deficiency as it binds to phosphorus.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Unpeeled Cucumbers?
The peels from cucumbers tend to be relatively rough, and they can cause choking on your bearded dragon, so they should be avoided. On the other hand, peeled cucumbers are soft and cannot harm your dear pet.
When cucumbers are sprayed while growing in the field, some chemicals remain on the skin. That is why you need to wash any vegetables or fruits before feeding to the beardies. Even after washing cucumbers, you don’t get rid of all the chemicals.
GIT in bearded dragons is pretty sensitive, and the presence of any chemicals on the cucumber can cause severe digestive issues. But as for humans, this will not pose any problems.
Are Cucumber Seeds Safe for Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons can eat cucumber seeds because they are small, soft and cannot cause choking. Moreover, the seeds contain some vitamins and minerals that will be beneficial to your dear friend.
The only time you will need to remove the seeds before feeding the cucumber is when they are big and appear rough. You should also reduce the number of seeds you give to your lizard as too many seeds and cucumbers can cause diarrhea.
Can Cucumber Leaves be Fed to Bearded Dragons?
Cucumber leaves are not toxic and bearded dragons can eat them, but I would advise you to avoid them, especially if they are not growing from your garden. If you grow cucumbers yourself, at least you will be confident that they are purely organic and cannot harm your pet.
Otherwise, you are not sure about the leaves from the grocery store or any other place outside your garden if they are grown organically or not. So, it is better to avoid them because they may contain chemicals.
If there are other veggies available for you to feed your bearded dragon instead of cucumber leaves, it is much better. These leaves have poor nutritional value, and it is not worth it to feed them to your lizard.
Why You Need to Feed Cucumbers to Your Bearded Dragon
Although cucumbers have poor nutritional value, they do contain some minerals and vitamins and including them in a balanced diet for bearded dragons adds some value.
Cucumbers contain fiber that plays a significant role in preventing constipation. Potassium is responsible for lowering water retention, enhances the functioning of the muscles and prevents kidney issues.
There is vitamin C that boosts the beardie’s immunity and fortifies growth, reproduction, and vision. Vitamin K regulates the blood clotting process.
The fact that cucumbers are more water acts as a superb source of hydration to bearded dragons, particularly the dehydrated ones.
Another mineral contained in cucumbers is magnesium that promotes muscle and brain health.
Cucumbers will only create problems if they are fed in excess as they can result in overhydration and runny stool.
How to Prepare Cucumbers Before Feeding them to Your Bearded Dragon?
Preparing cucumbers is extremely easy and doesn’t require much of your time. Here is a straightforward way to follow when preparing cucumbers for your lizard.
- Make sure you get the right cucumber for your beardie; it should be fresh and not bitter. The bitter cucumbers are rich in cucurbitacin and can cause your pet’s health problems if fed in high amounts.
- Wash the cucumber with clean water to remove the chemicals and the wax coating.
- Peel the cucumber carefully with a kitchen knife or a peeler and make sure there is no skin remaining in the part that is to be fed to the beardie.
- Cut the cucumber into small pieces, a size that will not choke the dragon. Typically, the slice should be smaller than the size of the beardie’s eye.
- Now, it’s time to include the pieces of cucumbers in the diet and enjoy watching your pet eating.
Now, let’s recap what we have discussed above. Bearded dragons can occasionally eat cucumbers and in limited amounts, which does not pose any health issues. But excess cucumbers are dangerous and cause a lot of problems like overhydration and diarrhea.
You should note that mini cucumbers are somehow richer in nutrients than the usual cucumbers and it is much better if you can use them. Moreover, only use organic cucumbers if it is possible.