Strawberries are divine—for humans, that is.
The real question is, can bearded dragons eat strawberries, or will you poison your beloved pets? Join us as we delve into the ins and outs of strawberries and beardies.
Table of Contents
The Facts at a Glance
- Bearded dragons can eat strawberries.
- Beardies can digest both the seeds and leaves of strawberries.
- It would be best if you feed your bearded dragon strawberries as an occasional treat.
- While strawberries are a sweet treat, they provide little nutritional value for your bearded dragon.
- Strawberries have high phosphorus levels and a low calcium content, the opposite of what beardies need.
The Natural Diet of Bearded Dragons
According to National Geographic, a bearded dragon eats a varied and diverse diet in the wild.
Many people know about the beardie’s tenacity for eating beetles, which they crush with their strong jaws.
Few people know that these tenacious lizards will also eat rodents and smaller lizards.
Wild feeding habits may not be ideal in choosing the best live foods for bearded dragons in captivity.
Beardies are omnivores, so wild lizards will also feed on the leaves, flowers, and fruits of suitable plants.
Nutritional Requirements of Bearded Dragons
To avoid disasters like Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), you need to meet every aspect of your bearded dragon’s nutritional requirements.
Vets at the VCA hospital claim that between 80% and 90% of a beardie’s plant intake should consist of leaves and flowers.
At a maximum, a beardie should be allowed a 10% fruit intake.
This specific division of food types comes from the bearded dragon’s high calcium requirements.
Fruits tend to contain more phosphorus than calcium, and beardies require the opposite.
Reptile vets have noted that young beardies require a diet of around 80% insect matter and 20% plant matter.
As they age, this ratio changes until adult bearded dragons eat about 20% insect matter and 80% plant matter.
Calcium and phosphorus are the main aspects of the bearded dragon’s diet, and they require a ratio of about two parts calcium to one part phosphorus.
Calcium supplements go a long way towards achieving this ratio, but it’s wise to know how much calcium dust your beardie needs, so you don’t overdo it.
Nutritional Content of Strawberries
As we noted earlier, beardies require more calcium than phosphorus, a ratio of 2:1 (Ca:P).
Strawberries have the inverse of this ratio and contain too much sugar for regular feedings.
For every cup of chopped strawberries, you can expect a phosphorus content of about 40 mg. The calcium content is around 27 mg or even less.
Can bearded dragons have strawberries? Yes, bearded dragons can have strawberries, but they’re a nutrient-poor food type for a lizard with a high calcium requirement.
Feeding Strawberries to Your Bearded Dragon
As we’ve determined, you can feed strawberries to your beardie without killing it. Bearded dragon owners should be wise about how they provide strawberries.
Here we’ll discuss some of the drawbacks of feeding strawberries to your bearded dragons and how to prepare and present the fruit.
Drawbacks of Feeding Strawberries to Your Beardie
There are quite a few cons to feeding strawberries to your beardie. These are:
- Too much water – Strawberries have a high water content and little nutrients—not an ideal feeding choice for your dragon. It may fill the beardie but won’t stimulate growth.
- A high sugar content – Sugar isn’t a large part of bearded dragon diets. Too much sugar can cause health issues in these animals.
- Low nutritional value – Beardies require high calcium and low phosphorus, and strawberries offer the reverse. This disparity means that strawberries are nutrient-deficient for beardies.
How to Prepare Strawberries for Your Beardie
There are a few things to bear in mind when you’re choosing strawberries for your beardie. These are:
- The strawberry’s growth method – When possible, you should feed your bearded dragon organic strawberries. Some chemical fertilizers can accumulate in strawberries and have harmful effects on your dragon.
- Use of pesticides and herbicides – When it isn’t possible to purchase organic strawberries, look for fruits grown without pesticides and herbicides. Many toxins can harm your beloved pet.
Once you find the ideal strawberries for your bearded buddy, prepare the fruits before feeding the dragon. You should:
- Wash the fruit, ensuring that there aren’t any chemical residues on the fruit’s surface.
- Chop the strawberries into smaller pieces that your dragon can consume quickly. The strawberries should be cut into quarters at least, though smaller sizes are better.
Serving Strawberries to Your Beardie
There’s not a lot to say about serving strawberries to your bearded dragons, though there are a few rules of thumb to bear in mind.
- Provide strawberries as part of a vegetable mix.
While the fruit is a tasty treat for your beardie, mixing the pieces with other greens and vegetables gives the dragon a more balanced meal.
- Give the beardie plenty of water to help wash down the sugars.
Fruits like strawberries have high sugar content, and bearded dragons don’t typically consume much sugar. Drinking a lot of water helps the dragon dilute the sugars.
- Ensure that you offer the strawberry pieces in an appropriate bowl.
Many keepers provide bowls that make it hard for the beardie to reach the food at the bottom of the bowl.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Have Strawberries?
Even though strawberries are one of the five preferred fruits listed by VCA vets, you still don’t want to overdo it.
When you feed your dragon strawberries, you need to ensure that you don’t give them more than they can manage in a single sitting.
Often, that’s a few pieces and not even a whole strawberry.
Where frequency is concerned, strawberries are just a tasty treat, and you should avoid overdoing it.
We recommend feeding strawberries no more than once a month.
If you’d like to know more about how much and how often beardies should eat live foods, check out our fascinating article about how many crickets your bearded dragon should eat.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Strawberries?
Can baby bearded dragons eat strawberries? As we’ve noted earlier, baby bearded dragons have far different nutritional requirements to adult beardies.
While you could feed a baby beardie strawberries, we wouldn’t recommend it.
As a rule, bearded dragons have a high calcium requirement—this nutritional need is even more significant in baby bearded dragons that are still growing.
80% of a baby beardie’s food intake consists of insect-based and live foods.
Using a large percentage of the young bearded dragon’s 20% plant intake for a nutrient-poor fruit like strawberries doesn’t make sense.
If you’re sure that you’ll be wanting to treat your larger beardies to strawberries, later on, you can introduce the occasional small piece of strawberry to a baby beardie’s diet.
By small, we mean tiny, maybe a tenth of a strawberry. By doing so, your baby beardie will get used to the fruit but without sacrificing nutritional value for bearded dragon junk food.
From What Age Can Bearded Dragons Eat Strawberries?
Baby bearded dragons can eat strawberries, but you don’t want to spend a lot of their feeding schedule on foods with low nutrients.
We recommend feeding your young beardies strawberries when they reach about a year old.
By that time, most bearded dragons will have started shifting from primarily carnivorous to more vegetarian.
They’ll also be eating more significant portions and have more room for the occasional tasty treat.
As mentioned above, if you want to ensure that your beardies will eat fruits when they’re adults, introduce small pieces into the diet of younger dragons.
You can do this about once every two weeks.
There are many other cases where the age of your bearded dragon affects what you can feed it and how much.
Check out our detailed age-specific feeding guide for bearded dragons to learn more about this transition in their diet.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Strawberry Leaves?
Bearded dragons are omnivores and require greens in their diet to help maintain a nutritional balance.
Bearded dragons can eat strawberry leaves, and they may be healthier for your dragon than the fruit itself.
As with the strawberry, however, ensure that you don’t overdo the number of strawberry leaves.
Greens like mustards and some lettuce types are a much healthier option for your lizards.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Strawberry Seeds?
Bearded dragons have jaws that are strong enough to crush the solid and chitinous shells of beetles. With jaws like that, a few strawberry seeds are nothing to a beardie.
If, as you should be, you’re feeding strawberries in moderation (try for once a month, and no more than once a fortnight), you don’t need to worry.
Assuming that you’re feeding your bearded dragons far too much strawberry or too often, you may encounter some problems.
The seeds are soft, but they consist of the same material that coats other seeds.
If your beardie’s gut doesn’t have time to process the strawberry seeds, they can begin to bundle together. Too many strawberry seeds can cause a problem.
To prevent the strawberry seeds from forming digestive issues for your lizard or becoming part of a gut plug, you must feed strawberries in moderation.
Alternative Fruits That You Can Feed Bearded Dragons
While we don’t recommend making fruits a large part of your bearded dragon’s diet, many fruits make a good treat.
The strawberry is one of five fruits that VCA vets recommend feeding to your beardie. The other four are figs, dates, raspberries, and apricots.
Now, let’s answer some of your common fruit-related questions:
- Can bearded dragons eat grapes? – Yes, but not the seeds.
- Can bearded dragons eat apples? – Yes, they can.
- Can bearded dragons eat cherries? – Yes, but as a treat.
- Can bearded dragons eat peaches? – Yes, they can.
- Can bearded dragons eat oranges? – No, citric acid is harmful.
- Can bearded dragons eat blueberries? – Yes, they can.
- Can bearded dragons eat watermelon? – As a rare treat.
- Can bearded dragons eat blackberries? – Yes, they can.
There are many other treats that you can feed your dragon on occasion, and you may want to consider fruits like beans as well.
If this article has you curious about the ins and outs of caring for your beardie, check out our answers to the Frequently Asked Questions about bearded dragons.
Do you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about bearded dragons and strawberries? We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to drop a comment below.