Put some banana in your beardie’s terrarium, and chances are, your bearded dragon will love this yellow potassium-loaded fruit. But are they safe for your dragon? If so, how much banana can they eat and how often? Let’s find out: Can bearded dragons eat bananas?
The short answer: yes, they can, but not too often.
The long answer will explain why bearded dragons can eat bananas only once or twice a month.
Why Can’t Beardies Eat Bananas All the Time?
Bananas are a nutrient-rich fruit that contain many essential vitamins and minerals. In small doses (a few bites or pieces, or maybe half a banana at a time, depending on the size of your lizard), bananas offer your dragon some key benefits:
- Vitamins A and C, which aids the dragon’s immune system, vision, reproduction, and growth
- Potassium, which aids muscle function, prevents kidney problems, and lowers water retention
- Antioxidants, which lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart problems
- Minerals including calcium, iron, and magnesium, which strengthen bones and tissue
So a little banana goes a long way for your little beardie. However, when eaten regularly, bananas can actually paralyze or kill your dragon. Bananas have a large ratio of phosphorus to calcium (3:1), meaning the phosphorus outweighs the calcium enough to make bananas harmful to dragons in large quantities. Why?
Bearded dragons rely on calcium in their diet to keep their bones strong. In fact, calcium is so crucial to beardies’ bone health and overall wellness that it is recommended to dust your dragon’s meals with calcium powder. When a dragon consumes a food containing phosphorus, it’s important for the calcium and phosphorus to have a balanced ratio (from 1.1 to 2.1); otherwise the phosphorus binds with the calcium and prevents the calcium from being absorbed into the dragon’s system.
Long term, this can cause some serious calcium depletion.
When a dragon repeatedly consumes a phosphorus-rich, calcium-low food, the debilitating and deadly condition MBD (metabolic bone disorder) can result, causing your pet significant pain and even paralysis. So that’s why bearded dragons can eat bananas only in small doses once or twice a month.
Another reason dragons shouldn’t be eating too many bananas: they contain a lot of sugar when ripe. Similar to humans, It’s perfectly fine for dragons to have some sugar...but too much can cause obesity and other health issues. (Too much fruit can even cause some dragons to turn away from their veggies.) Because of this, fruit should be the smallest portion of your dragon’s diet.
How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas?
Peeled or unpeeled? Whole or sliced? What’s the best way to feed this tasty treat to your reptile friend? There actually isn’t one way that’s better than another; it all depends on what works best for you and your beardie. Here are some options to try:
- Sliced with peel. You may be surprised to hear that dragons actually enjoy eating the banana peel as well as the fruit, and it adds a little extra nutrition to the treat. So you can slice the banana up with the peel and place the pieces in your dragon’s food bowl alone or with some other fruits and veggies in a colorful, healthy salad. Make sure you slice the peel into fairly small pieces, since it can be harder for your dragon to chew.
- Sliced without peel. If you prefer not to feed the peel, or if you are concerned because your fruit is not organic and you don’t want to risk feeding your dragon any pesticides that may be on the peel, you can simply slice up the peeled banana and place the pieces in the food bowl.
- Unsliced without peel. Another option is to place half of an unpeeled banana in your beardie’s cage for a day or two. Just make sure you never leave rotting food in the cage!
- Human style. If you want to have a little fun, you can peel the banana as you would for yourself, hold it up to your beardie, and watch her devour it bite by bite.
What Should I Look Out for When Feeding My Dragon Bananas?
The primary concern you should keep in mind when feeding your dragon bananas is any sign of MBD:
- Shaking limbs or tremors
- Softening jaw and face bones
- Weakness and fatigue
- Stunted growth
- Swollen rear legs
If you are limiting your dragon’s bananas to once or twice a month, you shouldn’t have to worry about any of these alarming symptoms.
What Other Fruits Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Beardies love fruits, and most of them are safe and healthy as long as they don’t exceed the percentage of veggies and insects in your dragon’s diet. Here are some fruit favorites that can easily be part of your dragon’s complete nutritious and balanced diet:
- Apples (peeled; weekly) - Learn More
- Apricot (every other week)
- Blackberries (every other week)
- Blueberries (weekly) - Learn More
- Dates and raisins (very rarely)
- Figs (every other week)
- Grapes (weekly) - Learn More
- Guava (weekly)
- Kiwi (peeled; very rarely)
- Mango (a few times a week)
- Papaya (a few times a week)
- Peaches (very rarely)
- Pears (peeled; very rarely)
- Raspberries (very rarely)
- Strawberries (weekly) - Learn More
- Watermelon (monthly) - Learn More
As it turns out, bearded dragons can eat bananas if you’re careful about how often you offer them. Have fun going bananas with your beardie!
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