Cauliflower is one of those versatile vegetables that makes its way into many entrees and side dishes. It can be found in a variety of recipes, from alternative pizza crust to soups and stews. With a nutty, earthy yet sweet flavor, it’s a favorite for a lot of people. If cauliflower is a staple in your meal plan, you might wonder if you can share it with your bearded dragon. Can bearded dragons eat cauliflower? Yes, they can…but they really shouldn’t.
Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is great for people—it’s got fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin K, to name a few. Despite these benefits, cauliflower is not ideal for bearded dragons for the following reasons:
- Cauliflower has double the amount of phosphorus as calcium, which essentially cancels out any calcium the cauliflower has. Phosphorus can even remove calcium from your dragon’s body. This is problematic because calcium deficiency causes metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons.
- Cauliflower has goitrogens, a compound that can prevent a dragon’s thyroid from functioning correctly.
Cauliflower isn’t toxic every once in a while for bearded dragons, but it might be best left out of your dragon’s diet due to these reasons.
At the same time, there is one part of the cauliflower that is actually good for bearded dragons: the leaves. That’s right, the cauliflower leaves that are usually thrown away or tossed into a stew.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cauliflower Leaves?
Yes! Unlike the head, cauliflower leaves are an excellent source of calcium. They also contain some other very beneficial nutrients:
- Iron, which supports healthy blood, bones, and organs
- Fiber, which supports healthy digestion
- Folic acid, which supports healthy tissues and cells
- Potassium, which supports a healthy blood pressure and nervous system
You can easily wash and chop these leaves up and add them to your bearded dragon’s salad.
Pro Tip: Like feeder insects, pieces of vegetables and fruit should be no longer than the space between your dragon’s eyes.
What Can Bearded Dragons Have Instead of Cauliflower?
If you are looking for staple veggies to give your dragon instead of cauliflower, toss any of these veggies with staple greens to make a delicious salad:
- Acorn squash (a few times a week)
- Asparagus (weekly)
- Bell peppers (a few times a week)
- Bok choy (every other week)
- Butternut squash (daily)
- Carrots (a few times a week)
- Cucumber (every other week)
- Green beans (a few times a week)
- Peas and snap peas (every other week)
- Pumpkin (a few times a week)
- Yellow squash (a few times a week)
It’s up to you if you would like to offer your bearded dragon a piece of cauliflower every once in a while, but there are so many other more nutritious options available for your dragon to enjoy.
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