They’re sweet, juicy, and delicious, and your bearded dragon will probably gobble them right up. But you might be wondering, can bearded dragons eat blueberries? Are they safe?
Like strawberries, apples, and grapes, blueberries are one of the safer fruits for bearded dragons. In fact, although fruit should only play a small role in their diet, bearded dragons can have a few blueberries once a week.
Why Can Bearded Dragons Eat Blueberries?
Typically bearded dragons love blueberries, so it’s good news that this nutritious and sweet fruit doesn’t have to be avoided. In the proper amount, blueberries do have some awesome qualities that can boost your beardie's health:
- Antioxidants (especially in the skin of blueberries), which promote heart health and reduce inflammation
- Carbohydrates, which provide energy
- Manganese, which aids metabolism and prevents inflammation
- Vitamin C, which strengthens your dragon’s immune system, vision, reproduction, and growth
- Vitamin K1, which regulates blood clotting and supports bone and heart health
Additionally, blueberries are 85% water, which means they’re a good source of hydration for your bearded dragon.
So as you can see, blueberries are pretty nutritious for your dragon. However, there are a few pitfalls that make them unsafe to eat all the time.
Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Have Blueberries Every Day?
Bearded dragons should only eat fruit as a treat, not as a staple in their diet. For blueberries in particular, there are two main reasons they can't be a daily snack:
Too much sugar. High sugar content is one of the biggest reasons fruit is off the daily menu for bearded dragons. In their natural habitat, bearded dragons scurry around and have plenty of space to move and burn calories, and even then their diet doesn’t consist of much sugar. In a domestic setting they have less opportunity to run and crawl in such a large open space, so it’s even more important to regulate your dragon’s sugar intake. Bearded dragons who eat too much sugar can end up facing obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and even death.
Like most berries, blueberries contain a lot of sugar. In occasional servings, this isn’t harmful at all…just make sure you don’t give your beardie too many, too often.
Too much phosphorus vs. calcium. The best kinds of produce for bearded dragons to eat on a daily basis generally have at least a balanced ratio of phosphorus and calcium (meaning there is the same amount of each in the food). Calcium is a key mineral that bearded dragons need to survive, but phosphorus counteracts calcium by binding with it before it can be absorbed into the bearded dragon’s bloodstream.
When a dragon consumes small amounts of foods that are high in phosphorus, no harm usually follows. But too much phosphorus in a dragon’s diet can cause all kinds of health issues, including metabolic bone disease, or MBD, which is a painful and paralyzing condition that sometimes results in death. So protect your beardie from this common yet preventable condition by limiting his intake of phosphorus-rich foods, including blueberries.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Frozen Blueberries?
Frozen blueberries offer convenience, but are they the best option for your bearded dragon? Over the years concerns have been raised about whether frozen produce has less nutritional value and more pesticides than fresh produce. It’s definitely a valid concern...after all, you want to make sure you’re giving your dragon the best, healthiest option.
Whether you are buying fresh or frozen, you can always choose organic blueberries to ensure they are pesticide-free. Non-organic frozen blueberries usually have less pesticide residue than fresh blueberries due to different processing and storage procedures. So if you are trying to decide between non-organic fresh blueberries and non-organic frozen blueberries, frozen may be the better way to go.
If you are buying certified organic, it comes down to your personal preference since neither option has pesticides. You can always freeze your own fresh organic blueberries, too.
As for nutrients, the difference between fresh and frozen is usually negligible. In some cases, frozen blueberries have actually been found to be more nutritious than fresh.
Pro Tip: Berries can rot quickly in your dragon’s hot terrarium. Promptly remove any uneaten fruit to avoid a mess and keep your beardie safe.
How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Blueberries?
To serve blueberries to your bearded dragon, follow these quick steps:
- Check the quality. Don’t give your beardie blueberries that look like they are on the verge of rotting, since that can make your dragon sick. If you are using frozen berries, make sure they are properly thawed before feeding.
- Wash them. If you are using fresh berries, thoroughly wash them first, even if they are organic. (You don’t want your beardie choking on any dirt or stems!)
- Feed them whole or sliced. Some Dragon Keepers prefer to slice the blueberries in half before feeding them, but you can also feed the berries whole. Once the two or three blueberries are washed, you can place them in your dragon’s salad or alone in her food bowl.
Chances are, you’re going to have a great time watching your bearded dragon eating blueberries...they tend to love this delicious treat!
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