As far as nutrition goes, kale is topmost among the nutrient-dense greens in existence. Many animals will happily eat kale, but what about bearded dragons? Can they eat kale?
Many people eat kale, and most of them will have this vegetable stored at home. Bearded dragons are fond of eating vegetables, and because of this, you might be wondering if kale is suitable for them.
Keep reading to find out if bearded dragons can eat kale, how often they can eat kale, health benefits and point of concern in kales, and many more.
Nutritional Information of Raw Kale
Kale is a high nutritional vegetable and is a favorite to humans, but does it contain nutrients that bearded dragons need?
When it comes to bearded dragons, the protein, sugar, acid, fiber, water, calcium, and phosphorus content in food materials is of great concern.
The table below shows the nutritional aspect of 100g of raw kale, according to the US. Department of Agriculture.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kale?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat kale but only on rare occasions and in small quantities. If you look at the table on the kale nutritional profile above, you will notice kale has more calcium than phosphorus, which is suitable for the beardies.
A higher level of calcium than phosphorus in food provides an opportunity for bearded dragons to absorb calcium into the bloodstream efficiently. The beardies have a high demand for calcium that is responsible for both overall and bone health.
By consuming kale, the beardies will obtain many minerals, vitamins, antioxidants like carotenoids, etc. Kale is rich in vitamin A, which is crucial for eye health and good vision.
Another good thing about kale is that it is pretty low in sugar and fat. You don’t have to worry that your lizard will get fat or suffer from health issues associated with excess sugar, like tooth decay, fatty liver diseases, among others.
You might also like: Complete list of common food can a bearded dragon eat that people usually ask.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kale?
Before we even go in-depth on this section, note that kale isn’t a staple food for bearded dragons. The three primary reasons kale can only serve as a rare treat in bearded lizards are the presence of goitrogens, high vitamin A, and oxalates.
If under any circumstance your lizard gets excess vitamin A, this can result in vitamin A toxicity, which is incredibly fatal. The dragons that take vitamin A supplements are vulnerable to hypervitaminosis A if they eat foods like kale.
The symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include swelling, dehydration, weight loss, and lethargy. Kale has oxalates that are toxic in large doses as they bind to calcium and prevents its absorption into the body.
Also, you will want to avoid high doses of kale because of goitrogen in it. Foods high in goitrogen interferes with the normal function of the thyroid gland. The gland enlarges and is unable to produce hormones efficiently.
Now you see the reasons why bearded dragons shouldn’t eat kale daily. A few kales here and there won’t be harmful. Therefore, allowing your pet to eat kale twice a month is fine.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kale Greens?
Yes, the beardies can safely eat kale greens in moderation. Kale greens are super high in vitamins and other nutrients.
The main concern with kale greens is that they may contain parasites and debris on them. But this should not bother you; you will only need to clean them thoroughly with clean water.
You will then need to chop the greens into small manageable pieces. Ideally, they should not be bigger than the width of the lizard’s eye. That will help to reduce impaction problems in your pet.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Purple Kale?
There exist tons of kale varieties, including but not limited to purple kale, black kale, dinosaur, black Tuscan palm, Lacinato, flat back kale, Italian kale, curly kale, etc.
All these kales have high nutritional value and are safe for bearded dragons to eat. Just make sure to buy fresh kale always and feed them in the right amounts.
So, if you are thinking of giving purple kale to your dragon, go ahead and do it. The beardies can eat purple kale the same way they will eat other kales.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cooked Kale?
Cooking loses some nutrients in vegetables, and kales are no exception. So, if you cook kales, your beardie might not get all the nutrients it needs from them.
Therefore, I would not recommend you to feed your lizard cooked kale at any time. Additionally, cooked kales may contain spices that are deadly for bearded dragons. Also, kales tend to absorb a lot of water during cooking.
A bearded dragon can suffer from diarrhea if it consumes such foods that are high in moisture content. So, it is always healthy to avoid what you know is harmful to your beloved lizard.
Fully understanding your bearded dragon will help you better take care of them. As a suggestion, we would recommend you to get a good 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
How to Prepare Kale for Bearded Dragons
I have a straightforward guideline for you to follow when preparing kale for your lizard friend. Check it out.
- Always buy fresh kale, and if you can find those that are organic, the better. Fresh veggies contain the highest nutrients compared to the wilted ones.
- Wash the kale with clean water to remove the unwanted debris, chemicals, or parasites, and allow the water to drain. This ensures that the lizard eats foods that are not contaminated.
- Chop the leaves into appropriate sizes that your beardie can swallow easily to prevent choking.
- Mix a handful of sliced kale with other vegetables in a bowl and provide it to your dragon as a salad mix.
I’m glad that now you are confident that you can feed kale to your bearded dragon. Make sure to wash the kales properly, chop into small sizes, and provide them occasionally.
Ensure to mix the kale with other veggies, like bell pepper or collard greens, etc., to vary the beardie’s nutritional intake. Always buy fresh kale and feed them while raw.