Most Bearded Dragons love eating this delicious and juicy fruit! It has an enjoyable sweet taste but a low nutritional value.
Vets recommend giving only a teaspoon-sized piece of watermelon as a treat once per month in a dragon’s diet.
Read on to find out the risks, benefits, and nutritional value of watermelon as part of a bearded dragon’s balanced diet.
Here you can also find answers to questions such as:
- Can bearded dragons eat the green part of watermelon?
- Can bearded dragons eat watermelon rinds?
- Can bearded dragons eat watermelon seeds?
- How often can bearded dragons eat watermelon?
In This Article
Is Watermelon Good for Bearded Dragons?
Since it contains mainly water, watermelon is pretty neutral in terms of being good or bad.
In excess, watermelon can cause some negative effects. As it’s not very nutrient-dense, your bearded dragon can happily and healthily live without it.
It’s best to think of watermelon as a treat for your bearded dragon rather than a staple part of their diet.
Nutritional Content of Watermelon
We always recommend checking the nutritional components of foods before feeding them to your pets.
Here you can find the exact amounts of each component of watermelon according to the US department of agriculture.
The most important constituents of 100g of watermelon are as follows:
- Fiber 0.4g
- Lipids 0.15g
- Water 91.45g
- Protein 0.61g
- Energy 30 Kcal
Watermelon also contains very small (less than 0.1g in 100g) amounts of:
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Watermelon?
Feeding a bearded dragon a few small pieces once a month shouldn’t cause a problem.
We advise keeping watermelon as an occasional treat rather than a regular meal. They may crave the high sugar content, taste, and interesting texture of watermelon.
Like spinach, watermelons contain 92% water.
It won’t give your bearded dragon all the necessary nutritional requirements if consumed in the place of other more nutrient-dense fruit and vegetables.
Watermelon is great for your dragon’s hydration and taste buds!
It’s important not to let your bearded dragon persuade you to feed watermelon more often. Too much watermelon can be disease-provoking or deadly.
There’s also a risk that your bearded dragon’s preference for watermelon will lead it to start refusing other, more nutrient-dense, food!
As is the case in humans, too much of anything is never good! Bearded dragons can eat watermelon but they also can suffer from tooth decay like us!
Owners must know how much watermelon bearded dragons can eat and how to prepare it correctly.
What is an Appropriate Portion Size of Watermelon?
A few small pieces of watermelon are an acceptable monthly treat.
Reptiles normally eat only until they feel full. Feeding food with high water or fiber content causes this to happen more quickly.
This means that bearded dragons can miss out on important components of their diet from other food sources after becoming full from eating too large portions of other fruits.
Pro Tip: An electric food processor will help you to chop all fruit and vegetables into appropriately sized pieces.
You should give watermelon in a clean dish that isn’t easily flipped over. Remember to remove uneaten food promptly before it becomes rotten!
How To Feed Watermelon to Your Bearded Dragon
Types of watermelon you can feed to your bearded dragon include:
- Seeded watermelon
- Organic watermelon
- Seedless watermelon
Organic watermelons are preferable because they don’t contain pesticides or herbicides.
It’s important to remember a few things when including watermelon in your pet’s diet:
- Remove all seeds!
- Chop the watermelon into a few small pieces.
- Only give the pink flesh.
Beardies can eat watermelon alone or combined with other fruit.
Be sure to choose a watermelon that is appropriately ripened. The unripe fruit has more fibrous content and will be harder to chew.
The first time you feed your dragon watermelon don’t forget to feed less (around ¼ teaspoon).
It’s then also important to watch for adverse reactions over the following 24-48 hours.
If diarrhea, appetite loss or lethargy occur don’t feed your bearded dragon watermelon again.
Pro Tip: You can use the sweetness of watermelon to persuade your bearded dragon to eat other staple foods that they may be less keen on. Don’t overuse this though else the effect can wear off!
Can Bearded Dragons Eat the Green Part Of Watermelon?
No! The green part (the watermelon rind) is difficult to chew. Large pieces of watermelon rind can build up in the digestive tract and become stuck (impaction).
There’s also a higher risk of it damaging the digestive tract compared to other food with a softer texture.
Make sure to remove all rind before feeding watermelon to your bearded dragon.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Watermelon Rinds?
The watermelon rind is the green part of the watermelon. As mentioned above, we don’t recommend feeding watermelon rind to your bearded dragon.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Watermelon Seeds?
Absolutely not! Seeds from watermelon are a choking hazard for bearded dragons.
All the seeds can become bound together and then block the digestive system of bearded dragons.
When preparing watermelon you must remove all the seeds (black and white). Don’t ever feed your bearded dragon even soft white seeds or dark seeds.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to check even seedless watermelons for seeds!
Can Bearded Dragons Eat the White Part Of Watermelon?
No! The white part of a watermelon (near the watermelon rind/green part) is also very hard to chew.
It can also lead to digestive damage or impaction.
Potential Benefits of Feeding Watermelon to Your Bearded Dragon
Bite-sized pieces can hydrate your bearded dragon. They enjoy eating watermelon and it’s always nice to give your pet something they love as a treat.
Watermelon also provides beneficial vitamins and minerals such as:
- Potassium – helps maintain appropriate blood pressure.
- Magnesium – helps metabolism and stops inflammatory reactions.
- Vitamin C and beta-carotene – improve the immune status, eyesight, fertility, and growth of bearded dragons.
Potential Risks of Feeding Watermelon to Your Bearded Dragon
Dragons can eat watermelon in small pieces. The health of your bearded dragon is the priority.
Don’t be tempted to modify your pet’s diet to include more of their favorite food than they can have.
Overfeeding watermelon can cause the following health problems:
Hyperglycemia means that blood glucose levels (sugar levels) are higher than recommended.
If bearded dragons consume too much food with a high sugar content (like watermelon) they can become hyperglycemic.
Wild bearded dragons don’t have access to food sources with such high sugar levels in their natural habitat.
Watermelon has too much sugar for bearded dragons to consume it regularly.
Adult bearded dragons are at risk of obesity and diabetes if their owners feed them too much sugar. Bearded dragons can also suffer from tooth decay like humans!
High blood sugar levels can also interfere with a healthy metabolism and blood pressure. Problems with the liver, teeth, gums, and bones can occur as a result.
Hypocalcemia means that blood calcium levels are lower than recommended.
Watermelon, like other fruit, contains phosphorus and calcium. The high levels of phosphorus can bind up all the calcium.
This prevents the utilization of calcium (an essential mineral) in the bloodstream.
Pro Tip: Food such as beetroot and spinach can also cause a ‘binding‘ effect!
The skeleton of the bearded dragon will then become weak and wear away. This is due to blood removing calcium from the bones in an attempt to increase blood calcium levels.
This condition is called metabolic bone disease, and is fatal if left untreated.
Hypocalcemia can also occur when young bearded dragons feed on crickets without calcium supplementation by dusting or gut loading.
The high volume of water in watermelon keeps adult bearded dragons hydrated. It can also cause diarrhea.
However excessive amounts of watermelon cause huge losses of water via the digestive tract. This leads to dehydration and loss of essential minerals.
Chronic Protein Disease
Since reptiles feed until they’re full they can miss out on vital nutrients by filling up with their favorite fruits or vegetables.
Absence of enough protein in the diet can lead to a chronic wasting condition and lowered immunity. This can result in increased susceptibility to infections and health conditions.
Which Additional Fruits Can Bearded Dragons Enjoy?
Fruits that are suitable for bearded dragons weekly include:
Be aware that fruits often have high sugar content. Many are also very acidic so only feed them in an appropriate volume and frequency.
Never feed avocado or rhubarb to bearded dragons as they’re toxic to them!
Maintaining A Balanced Diet For Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are omnivores. This means that they need to eat both plants (as herbivores) and meat (as carnivores).
As bearded dragons age their diet changes. Younger individuals consume more meat and adults do the opposite. Find out more about the specifics of a young bearded dragon’s diet.
When they are younger bearded dragons eat around 80% of insects with the remainder made up of fruit and vegetables.
As they become older they consume more plant matter (around 80%) and fewer insects (around 20%).
The proportions within the plant intake should be around:
- 75% staple ‘greens’
- 15% staple fruit and vegetables
- 10% ‘occasional’ greens, vegetables and fruit
Young bearded dragons get less moisture from eating a diet with a higher proportion of insects compared to plant material.
This means that younger bearded dragons need to drink more water. Always provide plenty of fresh and de-chlorinated water for bearded dragons of any age!
Provide water in a shallow, tip-proof dish, and clean it daily.
You should feed bearded dragons younger than six months around five times per week. Feed adult bearded dragons three times per week.
Pro Tip: Try to train your bearded dragon to enjoy eating plants from a young age. This will help to when it comes to feeding them as adults later
An unbalanced diet in any way will lead to health problems. Here you can read our complete food list.
It’s very important to be aware of the following essential components of a bearded dragon’s diet and why they’re important:
- Water – to keep your bearded dragon hydrated. If your bearded dragon doesn’t drink from their water dish try misting their body or their fruit and vegetables.
- Protein – for growth in young bearded dragons and to help maintain musculature.
- Calcium – needed for healthy bones. Deficiencies can lead to metabolic bone disease. Too high calcium levels can cause soft tissue mineralization.
- Fruit and vegetables – for important vitamins and minerals.
Pro Tip: You can supplement calcium into the diet by dusting or gut loading insects.
The optimum ratio of calcium to phosphorus for a bearded dragon is 2:1.
Vitamin and mineral supplementation are very important for bearded dragons. This is to make up for nutrients not available to them in captivity.
Supplements which provide vitamin D3 and multivitamins come in a sticky powder form. You should sprinkle calcium powder onto each meal prior to feeding.
Environmental Effects On Bearded Dragons Food Utilization
A bearded dragon’s environment also affects its appetite and efficient digestion of food.
You can modify the climatological conditions within the vivarium to accommodate efficiency of food utilization.
You should keep the environmental temperature of bearded dragons at 77-95°F.
Keep their basking area at 100-107°F.
Temperature affects the efficiency and rate of digestive enzyme action significantly.
Their enclosure should have one end with a lower temperature. This enables them to moderate their body temperature.
Bearded dragons also need UVA and UVB light in the enclosure for 12-14 hours per day. You can use a timer to ensure darkness for 1-12 hours per day.
The level of light is important concerning the production of vitamin D3.
Bearded dragons are prone to eating artificial plants.
Vets advise against the use of artificial plants in vivariums. However, if you use them, you should examine them frequently for signs of snacking.
Before including any new components in your pet’s diet always check their nutritional value and potential side-effects!
Although they may love the taste of watermelon, remember that too much of anything can become hazardous.
You can always ask your vet for specialist nutritional advice regarding your bearded dragon.
If you want to brush up on your knowledge about bearded dragons in general read our complete bearded dragon care guide.
Have you had an interesting experience when feeding your bearded dragon watermelon?
Tell us about it in the comments below!