Normally when Dragon Keepers wonder “Can bearded dragons eat corn?”, they are curious about sweet corn. That’s the corn you would typically grill on the cob or bake into cornbread. Sweet corn is the vegetable we’re discussing in this post—not field corn (also called dent corn) or flint corn (the multi-colored hard kernels). With that in mind, let’s find the answer: can bearded dragons eat corn?
The quick answer is yes, they can...but they really don't need to. Corn is not exactly harmful in limited amounts, so some Dragon Keepers opt to feed their bearded dragon corn once a month or less often. This is fine if your dragon is healthy, but there are just so many other vegetables that are worth more to your bearded dragon than corn.
Corn is not an ideal choice for bearded dragons primarily because it has a very poor calcium to phosphorus ratio. There is about 13 times more phosphorus than calcium, so even dusting the corn with calcium and Vitamin D3 won’t make up for that deficit.
Phosphorus can wreak havoc on your bearded dragon’s health if it is left unchecked by the proper amount of calcium to counterbalance it. Because phosphorus binds with calcium and prevents absorption into the bloodstream, it can cause metabolic bone disease (MBD) when eaten too often.
Metabolic bone disease attacks your dragon’s skeletal system. It is very painful and can cause paralysis, warped limbs, and even death. That’s why it’s so important to look at the calcium to phosphorus ratio in foods before feeding them to your bearded dragon. Making sure your dragon doesn't eat too many phosphorus-rich foods is one way to help prevent this all-too common disease.
Is There Any Benefit to Feeding My Bearded Dragon Corn?
Corn has more benefits for people than it does for bearded dragons. However, if you do opt to feed corn to your dragon on occasion, these are the nutritional highlights:
- 77% water, which offers a hydration boost
- Vitamins A and C, which are beneficial to the immune system, vision, reproduction, and growth
- A little protein, which is good for muscle strength
- Thiamine (or Vitamin B1), which boosts energy
- Folate, which promotes healthy cells and tissues
- Magnesium, which supports the brain and muscles
- Potassium, which assists in water retention, blood pressure regulation, and healthy nervous system
Corn also has a little fat, some fiber, and some sugar.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Canned or Cooked Corn?
You might wonder if your bearded dragon can eat canned or cooked corn, or perhaps if those options are even better for them than raw corn. Bearded dragons should not eat canned or cooked corn.
If you are going to feed corn to your dragon, raw is your best bet. Canned corn often contains salt or preservatives that are harmful to your beardie’s system. And generally it’s best that bearded dragons eat raw vs. cooked vegetables since raw veggies more closely reflect what they would eat in the wild.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Popcorn?
Some snacks we eat are so delicious that it’s really tempting to share them with our bearded dragons. Unfortunately, popcorn is not safe for bearded dragons to eat. It doesn’t offer them much nutritional value, and the kernels can cause choking. You’ll have to enjoy that next bowl of popcorn without your beardie...but you can offer her some other veggies and fruits instead!
How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Corn?
If you’d like to offer corn as an occasional treat for your bearded dragon, here are a few tips for preparation and feeding:
- Always thoroughly wash corn (and any veggie or fruit) before serving it to your bearded dragon.
- As with all produce, organic corn is the best option for your beardie.
- Some dragons will eat corn right off the cob (with supervision, of course!).
- If your bearded dragon doesn’t seem to like that too much, you can offer individual kernels.
- If you cut the kernels off the cob for your dragon, it’s helpful to remove the tips just to eliminate any cause for choking.
- You can offer your bearded dragon frozen corn if it’s thawed but not warm.
Corn isn't the best vegetable for your bearded dragon, but every once in a while it's not harmful. Ultimately your dragon's diet is up to you, so you can decide if it's worth it for corn to sometimes show up on the menu!
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