Can there be any tastier vegetable than fresh garden peas? If you’ve ever grown your own you’ll know exactly what I mean – eaten straight from the pod as sweet as they come.
However it’s not just people that enjoy peas. For reptile keepers a common question is whether you can give peas to your bearded dragon? Can bearded dragons eat peas?
First, the good news.
Bearded dragons can eat peas. And just like you or me they seem to adore the taste.
The bad news is that this sweetness comes at a cost; a high sugar content. It is therefore fine to feed your bearded dragon peas every so often, but they shouldn’t form the basis of your pet’s daily diet.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Peas Everyday?
Bearded dragons should not eat peas everyday.
There are a number of reasons for this.
While peas are packed with all sorts of beneficial nutrients (which we’ll cover shortly) they do also have a number of nutritional weaknesses.
Possibly the most obvious issue is the amount of sugar they contain. The very reason they taste so deliciously sweet is also their downfall for bearded dragons. Fed too frequently this excessive sugar can result in weight gain or may increase the chances of diabetes developing.
However this is far from the only reason why bearded dragons should not eat peas every day.
The other reason is that peas are relatively low in calcium, which is a crucial mineral for your pet lizard. This means peas should be combined with other fruits and vegetables that are higher in calcium, or you should consider a calcium supplement when giving peas to your beardie.
How Often to Feed Peas To a Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons can eat peas every week or two.
Peas should not be fed to your bearded dragon every day.
There are no nutrients found only in peas. As a result there is no need to give your bearded dragon peas at all if you don’t want to.
That said, they are a tasty treat for your pet. They’re also a cheap and easy food, especially if you buy a bag of frozen peas and defrost a few every so often for your pet.
Even when you give peas to your bearded dragon it is important to offer them only in small volumes, and to combine them with other foods. In doing so you’ll minimize the chances of nutritional deficiencies developing over time.
Should Peas Be Raw or Cooked for Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons can eat both raw and cooked peas.
Most bearded dragons choose to offer cooked peas to their lizard because they are softer and therefore easier to swallow and digest.
If you’re feeding raw peas to your bearded dragon then you may want to consider chopping them up, or mashing them gently, so that they’re less likely to represent a choking hazard for your pet. This is especially important for baby bearded dragons.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Frozen Peas?
Bearded dragons can eat frozen peas.
Indeed, frozen peas are arguably a better food than fresh peas. This is because the nutrient profile of peas starts to drop as soon as they’re harvested.
Freezing peas helps to maintain these nutrient levels, in comparison to fresh peas that may have been sitting on the shelf at your local supermarket for some days before purchase.
However if you opt to give frozen peas to your bearded dragon you should be mindful that they’re fully thawed beforehand.
Thawing frozen peas is simple. The easiest way is to boil a kettle, add a few peas to a mug and then pour on the hot water. Within a few minutes the peas will be fully defrosted.
Alternatively, if you decide to cook peas before giving them to your beardie then the simple act of boiling or steaming will also thaw them out effectively.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Peas in a Pod?
Bearded dragons can eat peas in a pod.
You can feed your pet whole pods or you can chop the pods into smaller pieces to make them easier to swallow.
What Part of Snap Peas Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded dragons can eat the pods and seeds of snap peas.
Nutrients Found in Peas
It is easy to take the humble pea for granted. They’re just a sweet, juicy vegetable that even kids enjoy, so surely they can’t do much in terms of nutrients?
As it turns out, peas are surprisingly nutrient-dense and offer all sorts of benefits to your bearded dragon.
Firstly, peas are a great source of protein. Almost a quarter of the calories found in peas comes in the form of protein, which is ideal for younger bearded dragons undergoing rapid growth. Indeed, if you weren’t aware, peas are a prime ingredient used in the manufacture of vegan protein powders.
Peas also contain all sorts of vegetables. Food scientists analyzing peas have found beneficial levels of vitamins A, B6, C and K, not to mention folate, niacin and thiamin.
A number of minerals are found in peas too, most notably copper, manganese and phosphorus.
All told, while the sugar content is a constant concern, this is an issue worth working around thanks to the other nutrients that peas contain. As a result, they can make a welcome addition to your bearded dragon diet plan.
Calcium Levels in Peas
Peas are a relatively low calcium food. They have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:4.4, though this can vary slightly with growing conditions.
This means they contain far more phosphorus than is ideal; or put another way far too little calcium.
This explains why peas should only be fed in small amounts, as part of a varied diet. It also suggests that a calcium dusting supplement may also be beneficial when regularly feeding peas to your beardie.
Oxalic Acid Levels in Peas
Oxalic acid is bad because it can bind with calcium, preventing it from being used to build a healthy skeleton.
While oxalic acid is naturally produced by most plants, and is therefore found in pretty much all fruits and vegetables, the volumes can vary quite widely.
The good news is that oxalic acid levels in peas are considered to be “very low”. This is another win for peas in terms of your bearded dragon’s diet.
How Do I Prepare Peas for My Bearded Dragon?
Peas are quick and easy to prepare for your bearded dragon.
They can be fed raw or cooked, although care should be taken to ensure frozen peas are fully defrosted before feeding. If you opt to cook the peas then boiling or steaming are the best methods to help maintain the nutrient profile.
You may want to consider chopping or mashing the peas to reduce the chances of your bearded dragon choking on them.
Aim to give your bearded dragon the freshest peas you can find, to ensure they have as many nutrients as possible.
Lastly, don’t forget the importance of a varied and balanced diet for your bearded dragon. Your beardie should never be fed peas alone; instead they should be an occasional treat offered as part of a mixed “salad” of other fruits and vegetables.
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