Carrots are packed with nutrients including beta-carotene. They’re a constant favorite among the human population, but do bearded dragons eat carrots?
The short answer is that bearded dragons can eat carrots.
Carrots are a great food for bearded dragons for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are easy to prepare, as they can be finely diced or even grated. This makes them easy to mix with other foods to provide a balanced diet.
Unlike fruit, carrots contain lower levels of sugar, which subsequently makes them a healthier option. There are also no seeds or pips that might represent a choking hazard.
Best of all, however, most bearded dragons love the taste of carrots. While you shouldn’t feed your beardie just carrot alone, it can make up a central part of a healthy, varied diet for your pet lizard.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrots Daily?
Bearded dragons can eat carrots on a daily basis.
However if you are feeding carrots to your bearded dragon everyday then it is important to only feed a very small amount. The rest of their meal should be made up of other suitable vegetables and fruits.
There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, giving a highly varied diet like this minimizes the chances of any vitamin or mineral deficiencies in your pet.
Just as importantly, however, carrots have a moderate-to-high level of oxalic acid which can lead to health problems in high doses. We’ll talk more about oxalates a little later in this article to explain further.
For these reasons, while in theory your bearded dragon can eat carrot every day, some keepers prefer to feed it only on occasion.
How Often to Feed Carrots To a Bearded Dragon
A good rule of thumb is to feed carrots to your bearded dragon once or twice a week.
While carrots do offer many benefits to your bearded dragon, they are deficient in some areas. Feeding too much carrot, or too often, can therefore lead to nutrient deficiencies.
As always, variety is key when it comes to feeding bearded dragons. It is dangerous to rely too much on any single food, lest the health of your pet starts to suffer as a result.
Fortunately there are a huge range of different vegetables and fruits that bearded dragons can eat. Of course they also eat live feeder insects alongside this too. Therefore it is very easy indeed to offer a varied diet to bearded dragons.
Do You Need to Peel Carrots for Bearded Dragons?
There is no need to peel carrots before feeding them to bearded dragons.
The skin of carrots is very thin, so shouldn’t present a choking hazard at all.
Furthermore, the area directly under the skin is typically the most nutrient-dense. Removing the skin then risks disposing of this most-beneficial part.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrot Greens or Carrot Tops?
You might be surprised to hear that bearded dragons can eat the green, leafy tops of carrots without problem.
The feathery leaves of carrots tend to be very popular with bearded dragons. It is said that they also taste like carrot.
If you decide to feed carrot tops to your bearded dragon then be sure to wash them thoroughly and finely chop them. Also dispose of any particularly twiggy stalks that might represent a choking hazard.
Nutrients Found in Carrots
Carrots contain a huge number of nutrients that are beneficial for bearded dragons. They can therefore make a welcome addition to your beardie’s diet when fed in moderation.
Nutritional analysis has demonstrated that carrots are a rich source of vitamins. Some present in particularly high amounts include vitamin A, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and vitamin C.
Interestingly, carrots have a particularly high amount of vitamin K. Vitamin K is perhaps not a vitamin that many of us think too much about. While vitamin K is only required in relatively small amounts, it plays an absolutely crucial role when it comes to a healthy skeleton.
Vitamin K can be thought of as a “signal” for calcium to be directed towards the bones. For diurnal lizards like bearded dragons, which are historically prone to skeletal issues, a suitable intake of vitamin K can therefore make all the difference.
However it’s not just vitamins that carrots are famed for. Your bearded dragon will also benefit from a range of minerals including manganese and potassium.
They’re also a great source of fiber, to keep your bearded dragon’s digestive system firing on all cylinders.
Oxalic Acid / Oxalates in Carrots
Oxalic acid isn’t something that we humans think too much about. It’s something present in pretty much all plant-based foods and rarely causes any issues.
It is more of a concern for pet keepers, however. In particular, for those of us who keep reptiles like bearded dragons.
So what’s so bad about oxalic acid?
Oxalic acid can bind with calcium in the body, forming crystals in the kidneys. Of course, kidney stones are never comfortable. A bigger concern when it comes to bearded dragons, is how they can cause issues with calcium use in the body.
We know that bearded dragons need suitable calcium to build and maintain a healthy skeleton, so anything that reduces the availability of calcium is something worth considering.
Carrots are considered to have a moderate-to-high amount of oxalic acid.
Laboratory analysis puts the level at around 14mg for an average-sized carrot.
It is for this reason that it’s worth feeding carrot in moderation, rather than as a daily part of your bearded dragon’s diet.
One useful tip, however, is that studies suggest that cooked carrots contain less oxalic acid than raw carrots. Gently steaming or boiling carrot before feeding it to your bearded dragon therefore lessens the potential impact on oxalates.
What is the Calcium:Phosphorus Ratio in Carrots?
The calcium:phosphorus ratio is a measure of how much calcium is in a given food.
The ideal calcium:phosphorus ratio for bearded dragons is generally agreed to be 2:1. While it is impossible to maintain this ratio at all times it is worth at least taking it into consideration when feeding your dragon.
The ratio of calcium to phosphorus in carrots is 1:1.
This means that carrots are considered a “low calcium” food.
Whilst this ratio certainly isn’t the worst seen in vegetables, it’s far from ideal.
Once again, this highlights that while bearded dragons can and do eat carrot, it should only be a small part of their overall diet. By offering a range of foods – especially those with a higher calcium content – you can correct for these insufficiencies.
It may be that adding a reptile-safe calcium supplement to your bearded dragon’s meal may be beneficial when feeding carrot too.
- Recommended for reptiles or amphibians that are kept indoors
- Promotes healthy bones and vital bodily functions
Should Carrots Be Raw or Cooked for Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons are omnivores, and they will eat both raw and cooked carrots.
Raw carrots are perhaps most tempting for owners, because they require minimal preparation. Carrots will store for long periods of time in the fridge and can simply be removed, chopped or grated, and fed.
However, cooked carrots contain less oxalic acid so are arguably more beneficial for your bearded dragon.
How to Feed Carrots To Your Bearded Dragon
Carrots should be offered to your bearded dragon in small amounts.
They can be offered whole, especially if cooked, but most bearded dragon owners favor finely chopping the carrot root. In this way it can be mixed in with other plant materials to create a varied “salad” for your pet to enjoy.
It is important to offer a variety of different fruits and vegetables to your pet each week. As a good rule of thumb try to offer as many different colors as possible, as the color of a foodstuff is a good indication of the nutrients it contains. So if you’ve got the orange of a carrot, consider something red, or green, or yellow to go with it.
Lastly, don’t forget that carrots have only a small amount of calcium in them. For this reason it can be a good idea to dust your bearded dragon’s food with a mineral supplement to boost their calcium intake.
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