Cucumber is a central part to many salads. There can be few foods that are more refreshing on a hot summer’s day. As it’s something many of us have in our fridge each week, it shouldn’t be surprising that some keepers wonder if they can give it to their beardie. Can bearded dragons eat cucumber?
Bearded dragons can eat cucumber.
The low sugar content of cucumber can make it a very healthy addition to your pet’s diet.
However, be aware that the high moisture content means it isn’t the most nutritious ingredient.
As a result, cucumber should really only make up a small part of your bearded dragon’s diet. Instead, the majority of foods should be more nutrient-packed, like leafy greens as a great example.
Are Cucumbers Safe for Bearded Dragons?
Cucumbers are safe for bearded dragons. However they should only be fed in small amounts thanks to their moisture content.
The high moisture content in cucumbers means they are not the most nutritious food around, and foods with plenty of water like cucumber can also cause diarrhoea in large volumes.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cucumber Skins?
Bearded dragons can eat cucumber skin.
Cucumber skins are a great addition to your bearded dragon’s diet, not least because most nutrition tends to be directly under the skin. By feeding cucumber with the skin on you can be sure your beardie is getting as much nutrition as possible.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cucumber Everyday?
Bearded dragons can be fed cucumber daily, though only in small amounts.
There are several reasons for this. Firstly the high moisture content means it is relatively low in other nutrients. If you’re feeding your bearded dragon cucumber regularly then be sure to bulk up on other more nutritious ingredients.
Secondly the calcium to phosphorus ratio, which we’ll address in more detail later, isn’t optimal for bearded dragons. While cucumber can still be fed, this weakness underlines the importance of combining cucumber with other food stuffs to rebalance this ratio.
Nutrients Found in Cucumber
While the high water content of cucumber means it isn’t the most nutritious food available, the dry matter does contain a surprising number of beneficial nutrients. It is for this reason that cucumber still makes a welcome addition to your bearded dragon’s diet.
Cucumber contains a moderate amount of protein for a plant-derived food. Roughly 11% of the calories cucumber contains are protein. While this isn’t vast, it’s a lot better than many other foods. This can make cucumber particularly beneficial for growing juvenile bearded dragons, which benefit from a high protein diet while in their growth phase.
Quite a few different vitamins are found in appreciable levels in bearded dragons. Notable among these are vitamin A, pantothenic acid, vitamin C and vitamin K.
Minerals found in cucumber that benefit your bearded dragon include magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and potassium.
Combined, it should be clear that cucumber can form a useful part of your bearded dragon’s weekly food intake.
Calcium:Phosphorus Ratio in Cucumber
Bearded dragons must receive suitable calcium when kept in captivity. As you’re no doubt aware, calcium is crucial for a healthy skeleton.
However it’s not just the total intake of calcium that is important but also the calcium to phosphorus ratio. An ideal ratio for beardies is twice the calcium – often described as a “2:1 ratio”.
The calcium to phosphorus ratio in cucumber is around 1:1.3.
This ratio is less than ideal as it actually means there is more phosphorus than calcium in cucumber.
This is one reason why cucumber should only make up a small overall part of your bearded dragon’s diet. It may also be worth considering adding some supplementary calcium powder to your bearded dragon’s food when giving cucumber to correct this insufficiency.
- Recommended for reptiles or amphibians that are kept indoors
- Promotes healthy bones and vital bodily functions
Oxalic Acid in Cucumber
Just as the calcium to phosphorus ratio should be a consideration when feeding cucumber to bearded dragons, so too should oxalic acid levels.
Oxalates can bind to calcium in the digestive tract, making less available to your bearded dragon for bone health.
Fortunately the oxalic acid level of cucumber is considered “very low” with 1 cup having roughly 1mg of oxalates. This means plenty of dietary calcium should be available to your lizard.
How to Feed Cucumber To Your Bearded Dragon
Feeding cucumber to your bearded dragon is simplicity itself.
You can feed cucumber to bearded dragons either whole or cut it into smaller pieces. Generally speaking, finely chopping the cucumber is the best idea. This way it can be mixed in with other salad items and vegetables to create a varied meal.
As described earlier, you don’t necessarily need to peel cucumber before feeding.
Lastly remember the two major weaknesses of cucumber for bearded dragons – the high water content and the low calcium levels. Aim to correct these by feeding only small amounts, and feeding other foods alongside that will correct these deficiencies.
Good examples of bearded dragon foods with high calcium levels are cabbage, kale, endive, chard and watercress. Leafy greens should therefore ideally accompany any cucumber.
Additionally or alternatively add a reptile-safe supplement powder to the top of the meal to ensure enough calcium is consumed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions with regards to volumes and frequencies of supplementation to ensure safety.
Lastly, don’t forget to feed cucumber in a suitable, shallow food dish. The high moisture content of cucumber means it can leach into the substrate, leading to additional cleaning being required.