This delicious summer treat is a hit at picnics, but you might be wondering if you can share it with your bearded dragon. She’ll likely gobble up any watermelon you put in front of her...but is that safe? Can bearded dragons eat watermelon?
Bearded dragons can eat watermelon rarely, as a treat. Watermelon in particular is not very nutrient dense for dragons, so it’s less beneficial than some other fruits that offer a little more substance.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Watermelon?
Consisting of 92% water, this melon is aptly named. While this makes watermelon a rich source of hydration, it also means that the nutrients are fairly...well, watered down, at least for bearded dragons’ needs. Typically bearded dragons can eat a few small pieces of watermelon once a month or less frequently.
When they do eat watermelon, they’ll receive a few key vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C and beta carotene, which strengthen the dragon’s immune system, vision, reproduction, and growth
- Magnesium, which aids metabolism and prevents inflammation
- Potassium, which regulates blood pressure
So in limited amounts, watermelon can give your dragon’s health a little boost. Your beardie is likely going to love watermelon, since most can’t get enough of its sweet flavor. But it’s very important that you stay strong and prioritize your dragon’s health by regulating his intake of this tasty treat. Watermelon is a wonderful dessert, not a main course.
Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Have Watermelon Every Day?
Quite frankly, too much watermelon is dangerous, even deadly for your bearded dragon. Be sure to feed no more than a few tiny pieces of watermelon once a month or so for these reasons:
Sugar-related health concerns. Out in the wild, bearded dragons don’t consume a lot of sugar. In the more controlled domestic environment, beardies run a risk of obesity especially if they are given too many sugary foods (usually this means fruits).
Similar to humans, bearded dragons on sugar-heavy diets can end up with liver problems, diabetes, and tooth and gum decay, which can lead to inflammation and bone issues as well. So it’s best to keep fruits to a minimum, even though it may be tempting to give your beardie more of what she loves.
Calcium depletion. Like many fruits and vegetables, watermelon contains both phosphorus and calcium. In watermelon, there is more phosphorus than calcium, which means it cancels out the calcium. Phosphorus binds with calcium, preventing its absorption into the bearded dragon’s bloodstream. Long term, diets that are high in phosphorus with insufficient calcium will lead to bone deterioration, or metabolic bone disease (MBD). This is a horrible yet sadly common disease that wears away a dragon’s skeletal structure and causes weakness, deformity, and paralysis. It can kill your dragon if left untreated.
Digestive issues. Watermelon has quite a bit of water, as we mentioned. This is beneficial in small amounts to keep your beardie hydrated, but in large amounts it causes diarrhea, which then in turn causes dehydration.
How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Watermelon?
You’ve got two options when it comes to watermelon: seeded or seedless. Both are fine to use, but you must remove all the seeds. Sometimes even seedless watermelon has a seed or two. Bearded dragons can choke on seeds or can suffer from gut impaction (blockage in the digestive tract) if they swallow the seeds. Remove all seeds, both black and white, before feeding this fruit to your dragon.
Pro Tip: Give your beardie the soft, dark pink flesh. Never feed any part of the watermelon rind, including the white part, since it's difficult to chew.
Once the seeds are removed from the fruit, slice the pink flesh into fairly small pieces and place them alone or with veggies in your beardie’s food bowl.
Because watermelon is so sweet, it can be used to coax bearded dragons to eat vegetables, especially important staples like collard greens and squash. Just don’t use this trick too often, or it may backfire...your bearded dragon may end up preferring the sweet fruit to the healthy vegetables.
What Fruits Can Bearded Dragons Have More Often Than Watermelon?
If you’re looking for a fruit that can top off your beardie’s salad on a more regular basis—say, once a week—here are some great options to try:
At the end of the day, fruits are a delicious and fun way to offer your beardie a little treat. Just don’t overdo it, especially with watermelon.
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