If you’re looking for a veggie that will boost your immune system and promote good vision, carrots are a great option. You may be wondering if they could be beneficial for your beardie, too. Can bearded dragons eat carrots?
Adult bearded dragons should typically be eating 80% plants, 20% insects in their regular diet. And carrots are definitely a safe option in that 80%! (They are also safe for baby beardies, who should be eating about 80% insects and 20% plants.) However, beardies can’t just eat carrots all the time. There are a few issues you should be aware of.
Can Bearded Dragons Have Carrots As A Staple?
Bearded dragons can eat carrots once or twice a week, but not every day. Carrots aren’t on the menu in bearded dragons’ natural habitat (Australian deserts), but they do offer some great nutritional benefits:
- Vitamin A and beta carotene, which promote healthy skin, a healthy immune system, and good vision
- Fiber, which aids digestion (Without fiber, bearded dragons can’t digest the exoskeleton of insects like those oh-so-good Dubia roaches!)
Additionally, there is almost the same amount of phosphorus and calcium in carrots, so it’s much safer than plants that have significantly more phosphorus than calcium. Bearded dragons need calcium for bone development and overall wellness.
Phosphorus is a mineral that binds with calcium, thus preventing it from entering a dragon’s bloodstream. If a bearded dragon consumes too many phosphorus-rich foods, he can develop metabolic bone disease (MBD), a debilitating and sometimes fatal condition that attacks bearded dragons’ bone structure. Luckily you really don’t have to worry about this when feeding your beardie carrots.
Even so, carrots are not a safe staple vegetable for your beardie for two reasons: they aren’t a sufficient source of calcium, and they contain a lot of vitamin A. That can be a problem since bearded dragons tend to be highly susceptible to vitamin A toxicity.
Do Carrots Cause Vitamin A Toxicity in Bearded Dragons?
Carrots contain a large amount of Vitamin A, which helps your beardie have healthy skin, a strong immune system, and good vision. However, if your bearded dragon currently receives Vitamin A or beta carotene supplements, or any kind of multivitamin that may contain Vitamin A or beta carotene, you should ask your vet before feeding her carrots. This is because a combination of these supplements along with a food that contains significant amounts of Vitamin A can cause a toxicity problem in your dragon.
On their own, carrots are very unlikely to cause Vitamin A toxicity (also called hypervitaminosis A or simply overdose of Vitamin A). But when they are fed along with concentrations of Vitamin A in supplements, they can sometimes push the Vitamin A amount over the recommended limit, which can cause some uncomfortable health issues associated with Vitamin A toxicity.
If your beardie is exhibiting any of these symptoms, he may be suffering from hypervitaminosis A (overdose of Vitamin A):
- Decrease in energy
- Weight loss
Contact your vet immediately if you detect any of these issues.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat All Kinds of Carrots?
You might be wondering if baby carrots are okay for your dragon. Or purple carrots. Or steamed carrots. Or carrot tops. Here’s the lowdown!
All colors. White, yellow, purple, and orange carrots may not look alike, but they share most of the same nutritional properties, including Vitamin A. So regardless of the color, carrots are safe once or twice a week.
Raw vs cooked. Your bearded dragon can safely eat carrots raw or cooked...just keep in mind that if you cook the carrots, they will lose some of their nutrients.
Baby vs large carrots. Large carrots are the preferred kind of carrot for your bearded dragon. A lot of bearded dragon owners will warn you not to bother with baby carrots at all—just feed the big ones. While baby carrots aren’t completely off the menu for your beardie, it’s important to exercise caution in preparing them. Some baby carrots carry harmful preservatives, so even if the carrots have been washed, you’ll want to wash them again. And buy organic if possible.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrot Tops?
Carrot tops contain oxalates, which are similar to phosphorus in that they prevent calcium from being absorbed into bearded dragons’ bloodstream. In addition to MBD, this can cause kidney stones if oxalates make their way to the kidneys. Your beardie might love a carrot top as an occasional treat, but don’t feed them more than once a month or so to be on the safe side.
How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrots?
If you’re serving raw carrots to your beardie, here’s how to do it:
- Thoroughly scrub the carrot clean with a vegetable brush and water.
- Instead of chopping or slicing the carrot, which can cause a choking hazard, use a cheese grater to break the carrot down into manageable shavings for your beardie.
- Serve alone or with a salad!
Pro Tip: If you’re serving cooked carrots, you can slice them into smaller pieces and give them to your dragon since they will be much softer than raw carrots and therefore easier for your dragon to tackle.
If you’re dishing up some carrot tops, simply wash and chop them into small pieces.
Have fun watching your beardie gobble down those carrot shavings in a salad or on their own!
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