Basil is a delicious herb with a place in many recipes, from salad dressings to roasted chicken to pasta sauce. If you love it, you might wonder if your reptile would love it, too. So let’s find out: Can bearded dragons eat basil? Why or why not? Can they eat it dried? How often can they eat it? Read this before you sprinkle your bearded dragon’s next salad with basil leaves.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Basil?
As a Dragon Keeper you hear a lot about how bearded dragons need to eat their greens—staples such as mustard greens, collard greens, or endive. Herbs are a little different. They are supplementary rather than necessary. You can offer basil once a week for your dragon. It makes a fragrant, flavorful addition to your reptile’s salad.
Along with calcium, basil has several benefits:
- Vitamins A, C, E, and K for vision, the immune system, and healthy cells and blood
- Antioxidants for a healthy immune system
- Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties
- Good for digestion (in small amounts)
However, the Vitamin A can potentially be an issue for bearded dragons if they eat basil on a daily basis. This is one reason basil isn’t a staple for them. Too much of any food rich in Vitamin A (such as bell peppers) can potentially cause Vitamin A toxicity in bearded dragons, especially if they take a multivitamin or Vitamin A supplement, or eat a lot of foods rich in Vitamin A. It’s not overly common, but it is something to be aware of.
Additionally, basil is acidic and can cause diarrhea or stomach pain if bearded dragons eat too much of it.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Fresh or Dried Basil?
Fresh basil is better than dried for bearded dragons (in fact, this is true of all herbs) because dried herbs are more concentrated and too strong for them. For example, dried basil is more potent and acidic, which could leave your dragon with an upset stomach. Aside from all that, your dragon may not like the taste of dried basil compared to fresh.
How to Serve Basil to Your Bearded Dragon
It’s easy to prepare basil for your bearded dragon.
- Thoroughly rinse the fresh leaves
- Chop or rip them into smaller pieces
- Toss them with other veggies and greens, or just give them to your dragon as is
You don’t necessarily need to chop up the basil, especially if the leaves are small, but it might be a nice touch to your dragon’s meal if you sprinkle tiny basil flakes on top.
What Can Bearded Dragons Have More Often Than Basil?
Although herbs, including basil, are not daily staples for your dragon, there are plenty of nutrient-dense, leafy greens that fit the bill. Here are some of the best ones you can offer on a daily basis:
- Cactus pad
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
Takeaway: Bearded dragons don’t need basil every day, but it makes a healthy and delicious topper for their salad once a week.
Does your bearded dragon love basil? Do you have any questions or feedback for us? Email us at [email protected]