Shopping for your beardie in the produce section of your grocery store, you might have asked yourself: “Can my bearded dragon eat cucumber?” This juicy vegetable, which is technically a fruit, may taste great in your salad, but is cucumber safe for your bearded dragon?
Can You Feed Bearded Dragons Cucumber Every Day?
Bearded dragons can have cucumbers every other week or so. If you feed bearded dragons cucumber too often, some unpleasant health issues can result. But there are several nutritional benefits from the right amount of cucumber:
- 96% water, making it a great source of hydration especially if your bearded dragon is dehydrated
- Fiber, which prevents constipation
- Vitamin C, which fortifies your dragon’s immune system, vision, reproduction, and growth
- Vitamin K, which regulates blood clotting
- Potassium, which aids muscle function, prevents kidney problems, and lowers water retention
- Manganese, which aids metabolism and prevents inflammation
- Magnesium, which promotes brain and muscle health
Additionally, cucumbers are not very acidic, so they are a little easier on your beardie’s stomach than some foods.
Why Can't Bearded Dragons Have Cucumbers Frequently?
So why can’t bearded dragons have cucumbers every day? They seem like an ideal vegetable, right? There are a few factors that rule them out of the staple category:
Too much water. As desert creatures, bearded dragons don’t need much water. In fact, bearded dragons are naturally in a state of dehydration, so that’s a normal experience for them unless the dehydration is caused by diarrhea—which can happen if your beardie eats too many cucumbers.
Although cucumbers offer some notable vitamins and minerals, that doesn’t make up for the fact that cucumber is mostly water. Beardies do get most of their hydration from the foods they consume, which is why foods like cucumber can be a smart addition to their diet. The key is not to feed this kind of food too often.
Lack of calcium. Staple veggies for bearded dragons tend to have a decent amount of calcium with less phosphorus (although a balanced ratio is fine), and tend to have more nutrients than water. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus in cucumbers is 1:1.5, with phosphorus being the bigger amount.
This is problematic because phosphorus binds with calcium and prevents it from entering the bloodstream, essentially stealing that necessary mineral away from the dragon. Bearded dragons who eat too many cucumbers can develop metabolic bone disease, which is a painful condition that causes paralysis and, in severe cases, death.
As always, be observant of your own beardie. See how she responds to cucumbers the first time you feed them.
How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cucumbers?
There are a few easy steps to follow to safely feed cucumbers to your bearded dragon:
- Wash them thoroughly before peeling. (While it may seem unnecessary to wash before peeling, it helps prevent any pesticides or dirt from transferring to the flesh of the cucumber during peeling.)
- Peel the cucumber. Bearded dragons can’t chew the peel, and it can cause gut impaction (blocked digestive tract) if they swallow pieces of it.
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds to prevent choking or impaction. Don't let your beardie eat the seeds.
- Chop the cucumber flesh into small pieces.
Serve with some other veggies and maybe some fruit, and watch your beardie eat it up!
If you have any questions or would like to give feedback, please email us at [email protected]