Whether it’s a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes or a plate of piping hot fries, potatoes fit a lot of recipes and are on many people’s list of favorite foods. And it’s no surprise. Potatoes are filling, versatile, and nutritious. So naturally, you find yourself asking the question: can bearded dragons eat potatoes? Let’s find out.
Can Bearded Dragons Have Potatoes?
Bearded dragons can eat potatoes, but only rarely.
Potatoes aren’t necessarily poisonous to bearded dragons the way that avocados are, but they can be toxic if your dragon has a lot of them.
While it’s technically safe to give your dragon a bit of potato once a month or so, it’s not necessary to their wellbeing and there are several nutritional issues you should be aware of before you decide whether to let your bearded dragon eat potatoes.
Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat Potatoes?
Potatoes are a great source of antioxidants as well as key nutrients including Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, and folate. However, this isn’t the only thing to consider in determining their safety for bearded dragons.
Here are the top 3 reasons bearded dragons shouldn’t eat potatoes:
Potatoes have more phosphorus than calcium
The calcium to phosphorus ratio in potatoes is about 1:5, which is quite far from the recommended range of 1:1 to 2:1. Phosphorus is a necessary part of a bearded dragon’s nutritional intake, but when it outweighs the amount of calcium, that’s when you’ll run into problems. Phosphorus prevents a dragon’s body from utilizing calcium and can even take away calcium that’s already in the body. This results in metabolic bone disease, which is very serious and difficult to treat.
Potatoes have lots of oxalates
Potatoes contain a moderate amount of oxalates, which bind with calcium and prevent it from being absorbed. The effects of too many oxalates in a dragon’s diet are pretty much identical to the effects of too much phosphorus.
Potatoes have lots of starch and carbs
Potatoes are quite filling and contain a lot of starch and carbs. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for people, it’s not the best for bearded dragons, especially ones that are not roaming out free in the wild, constantly burning calories and spending energy. Pet bearded dragons can run a risk of obesity as it is, especially if they are not often active outside their terrarium. Adding potatoes to their diet will just increase this risk.
It’s ultimately up to you what vegetables you give your bearded dragon, and it really won’t harm them to have a little cube of potato every month or so as a treat, but at the same time, you may decide it’s just not worth it and that’s okay too.
What Can Bearded Dragons Eat Instead of Potatoes?
The good news is there are plenty of other foods bearded dragons can eat more often than potatoes. Here are just a handful of them:
- Green beans – a few times a week
- Apples – once a week
- Asparagus – once a week
- Bell peppers – a few times a week
- Carrots – a few times a week
- Mango – a few times a week
- Red cabbage – a few times a week
- Squash – daily or a few times a week, depending on the kind of squash
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